Almagro and La Mancha
Almagro Theatre Festival

Theatre, history, nature of La Mancha - small international guided group








Almagro was once the seat of the knights of Calatrava, whose power was so great that King Alfonso X el Sabio founded Villa Real (now Ciudad Real) to balance it. Today it is a fascinating little town, one of the few in Spain where bicycles vie with cars in the streets, a harmony of white, green, ochre and blue, well known for its Plaza Mayor, its Renaissance theatre the Corral de Comedias (1628, oldest in Spain), and its lace-making, introduced from Flanders by Carlos V's court.
From Almagro, we follow the tracks of Don Quijote and of the Calatravan knights, to discover the hidden treasures of La Mancha... the mysterious River Guadiana, whose upper section flows through the delightful ladder-lake system of Ruidera, only to disappear near Argamasilla de Alba then "reappear" in time to water the Tablas de Daimiel National Park... Spain's largest region of volcanoes, the Campo de Calatrava, with over 330 volcanic phenomena identified... numerous traces of past civilizations from the Bronze age to Mediaeval castles...

We propose 2 ways of exploring La Mancha from Almagro, one at the time of the Theatre Festival (July), the other a spring 'discovery' holiday.



DISCOVERY WEEK

ONE WEEK Activities: visits and excursions; 5 days with walks of about 1-3h in fairly easy terrain; theatre performance in the Corral de Comedias. Group 10 maximum.

FULL BOARD
EXCEPT 3 MEALS, in rooms for 2 (private bathrooms) at Almagro in a quiet hotel very near the Plaza Mayor. Delicious specialities of La Mancha, some with curious names: pickled aubergines, tiznao, pipirrana, duelos y quebrantos...

DATES (Thursday-Thursday)

2018 12-19 April.

PRICE 825 euros per person; single room supplement 135 euros.

FLIGHTS choose an arrival in Madrid before 13.00 and a departure after 15.30.
RENDEZVOUS 17.11, Valdepeñas station (14.56 train from Madrid-Chamartín).
DISPERSAL Valdepeñas station for the train arriving at Madrid-Chamartín at 12.28.
Please ask us for travel information — we can book train tickets for you.


Location of this programme:


DAY-TO-DAY

THURSDAY: Short transfer from Valdepeñas to Almagro. Tapas dinner on the Plaza Mayor.

FRIDAY: The Despeñaperros Natural Park: the Órganos vantage point over the vertiginous Despeñaperros cleft, and the Cimbarra waterfall. Visits to the palace of El Viso del Marqués and to the square bull-ring of Las Virtudes, Spain's oldest (1641). Ramble amid the lagoons and marshes of the Tablas de Daimiel wetland National Park.

SATURDAY: The Campo de Calatrava, land of volcanoes and knights. The impressive fortified citadel of Calatrava la Vieja and the impregnable Calatrava la Nueva fortress. In Almagro: National Theatre Museum; a performance in the Corral de Comedias.

SUNDAY: The Volcanoes: Columba with the Oreto-Zuqueca site; a walk around Cuevas Negras and Cornudilla; interior of the cone of Cerro Gordo, with 84 layers of ashes.

MONDAY: Quijote route in the plains of La Mancha, including the spectacularly-sited castle and 'giant' windmills of Consuegra, and Puerto Lápice, where he was knighted by an innkeeper. A ramble in the footsteps of the Visigoths at the feet of the Montes de Toledo: the ruins of San Pedro de la Mata and Los Hitos, and friezes from them incorporated in the walls of Arisgotas village.

TUESDAY: Valdepeñas, famous for wine: visit to an organic bodega and to the Cerro de las Cabezas Iberian site. Walk of the Maar de Cervera, created by an enormous freatomagmatic explosion. Ciudad Real museum.

WEDNESDAY: The Lagunas de Ruidera, an enchanting Natural Park with 15 lakes linked by waterfalls and places visited by Don Quijote, Peñarroya castle and Argamasilla de Alba, where an imprisoned Cervantes first began writing about the strange knight.

THURSDAY: Transfer to Valdepeñas station.


Ciudad Rodrigo Theatre Festival / Lucena Theatre Festival
Discovery: Berlanga-Soria / Jaén / Candás-Costa Verde / Liérganes-Santander / Escapade in Cantabria
Two centre discovery: Ciudad Rodrigo-Arribes del Duero / Ruta del Oro / Extremaduran Kaleidoscope
Bienal Flamenco Seville / Jerez Flamenco Festival / Al-Andalus (festive Granada & Cordoba patios)
walking / nature rambles / historical journeys / Xmas 2018 at Cordoba / New Year 18-19 at Trujillo
for families or friends / Holiday index+calendar / Introduction in English / How to book / e-mail us







THEATRE FESTIVAL

The Almagro Classical Theatre Festival takes place in July in the Corral de Comedias, the two other theatres (C19 and modern) and the patios of other notable buildings of the town, some not otherwise open to the public, and all within a few minutes' walk. Plays are performed in Spanish and other languages with both conventional and experimental representations of classical pieces; there are also concerts, dance and other events. In the evening the streets and squares of the town are invaded by an animated crowd of theatre-goers and strollers.

IMPORTANT: in view of the popularity of the festival, and of the limited space in the venues, tickets are sold out in a few days. In order to be able to guarantee reservations for at least 4 performances, we MUST receive bookings by 7 April 2018. We shall send you a list of the pieces booked so that you can read them in advance if you wish.

7 DAYS (6 nights) Activities: 4 theatre pieces, exhibitions, street animation, monuments open for the festival. Visits, excursions; 2 days with easy walks of about 2 hours. Group 10 maximum.

FULL BOARD
EXCEPT 3 MEALS, in rooms for 2 (private bathrooms) at Almagro in a quiet hotel very near the theatres and Plaza Mayor. Delicious specialities of La Mancha, some with curious names: tiznao, pipirrana, duelos y quebrantos...

PRICE
925 euros per person; single room supplement 155 euros.

DATES (Thursday-Wednesday)

2018 12-18 July.

FLIGHTS choose an arrival in Madrid before 13.00 and a departure after 15.30.
RENDEZVOUS 17.11, Valdepeñas station (14.56 train from Madrid-Chamartín).
DISPERSAL Valdepeñas station for the train arriving at Madrid-Chamartín at 12.28.
Please ask us for travel information — we can book train tickets for you.


DAY-TO-DAY
THURSDAY: Short transfer from Manzanares to Almagro. Discovery of the town and tapas dinner on the Plaza Mayor.

FRIDAY: The Cerro de las Cabezas Iberian site. Quevedo route through Villanueva de los Infantes
and Torre de Juan Abad.

SATURDAY: The impressive fortified Omeyyad citadel of Calatrava la Vieja, where the Calatrava order was later founded. The National Theatre Museum at Almagro.

SUNDAY: The Campo de Calatrava with its ancient volcanic cones, curious examples of volcanism, and Calatrava la Nueva, castle-monastery of the knights.

MONDAY: Quijote route through the plains of La Mancha, with spectacularly-sited castles and windmills. A stroll in the wetlands of the Tablas de Daimiel National Park.

TUESDAY: Walk in the Lagunas de Ruidera, a Natural Park with 15 lakes linked by waterfalls. Argamasilla, where an imprisoned Cervantes created his most famous character.

WEDNESDAY: Transfer to Valdepeñas station.