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 8 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

2022 Thursday 21-Thursday 28 or Friday 29 April.

PRICE Thursday-Thursday: 865 euros per person; single room supplement 135 euros.
Price with the one-night extension in Toledo (Thursday-Friday, see below): 925 euros, single +165 euros.

FLIGHTS choose an arrival in Madrid before 13.00 and a departure after 16.00.
RENDEZVOUS 17.11, Valdepeñas station (14.56 train from Madrid-Chamartín).

DISPERSAL Toledo station, for a short high-speed journey to Madrid.
We can book your train tickets in advance and send them to you. Please contact us if you wish to arrive and depart by bus or train, other than from Madrid.

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).

SAT & SUN: The Campo de Calatrava, land of volcanoes and knights. The impressive fortified citadel of Calatrava la Vieja. The Volcanoes: Columba with the Oreto-Zuqueca archaeological site; a walk around Cuevas Negras and Cornudilla; interior of the cone of Cerro Gordo, with 84 layers of ashes. In Almagro: National Theatre Museum; a performance in the Corral de Comedias.

MONDAY: In the footsteps of the Visigoths in 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. The spectacularly-sited castle and 'giant' windmills of Consuegra, and Puerto Lápice, where Don Quijote was 'knighted' by an innkeeper.

TUESDAY: 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.

WEDNESDAY: 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. The impregnable Calatrava la Nueva fortress.

THURSDAY: To Toledo; transfer to the station for those leaving today or free time (with topoguide) for the rest of the day. Night in a hotel with a splendid view over the old city (entrances, bus/taxi fares, lunch and dinner not included in the price).

FRIDAY: Morning taxi transfer to the station (not included in the price).


Ciudad Rodrigo Theatre Festival / Bienal Flamenco Seville / Jerez Flamenco Festival/ nature rambles
Discovery: Berlanga-Soria / Candás-Costa Verde / Liérganes-Santander / Extremadura: Trujillo / Zafra
Two centre discovery: Ciudad Rodrigo-Arribes del Duero / Ruta del Oro / The land of lakes and storks
Campiña Cordobesa / Segura-Júcar-Mundo / Almería-Tabernas-Cabo de Gata / Huelva
Escapade in Cantabria / Madrid-Segovia
walking
/ historical journeys / Xmas Costa de la Luz / New Year Natural Parks Cádiz
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 2 April 2022. 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 8 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: pickled aubergines, tiznao, pipirrana, duelos y quebrantos...

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

DATES (Saturday-Friday)

2022 16-22 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.

We can book your train tickets in advance and send them to you. Please contact us if you wish to arrive and depart by bus or train, other than from Madrid.


DAY-TO-DAY
SATURDAY: Short transfer from Valdepeñas to Almagro. The National Theatre Museum.

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

THURSDAY: The impressive fortified Omeyyad citadel of Calatrava la Vieja, where the Calatrava order was later founded.

FRIDAY: Transfer to Valdepeñas station.