Spain Guide


Toledo Car Hire

You don't need a car to explore the city of Toledo (in fact its narrow, hilly streets making driving here a hazardous occupation). But you may want to hire a car to explore the many attractions of Castilla La Mancha and the many beautiful historic towns and cities which lie within easy driving distance Segovia, Salamanca, Avila and Cuenca are all within a couple of hours drive from Toledo.

This is Don Quixote country and if you drive through the plains of La Mancha you'll be able to see the windmills which feature in the novel by Spain's most famous literary son, Miguel de Cervantes. The hills around Quinta de la Orden, to the south east of the city, are the best places for spotting the mills which Don Quixote imagined were giants that had to be slain. Souvenirs of the Man of La Mancha and his sidekick Sancho Panza are everywhere in this region including the village of Tobosa, the hometown of Quixote's Dona Dulcinea.

At Alcala de Hernares, to the north east of Toledo, you can visit the house where Cervantes was born in 1547. Many of the original features have been preserved in the house which has been turned into a museum dedicated to the writer. There's an extensive collection of his writings as well as an interesting array of paintings, carvings and furniture from Cervantes' time.

The local tourist information office will be able to provide you with an itinerary for the "Route of the Castles" which is one of the most popular past times of visitors to Castilla la Mancha. Guadamur, just to the west of the city, has one of the most beautiful medieval fortresses in the whole of Spain. You'll find other ancient castles in the villages of Barciense, Torrijos, Maqueda and Escalona.

Castilla La Mancha has been famous for the high quality of its handicrafts especially ceramics, textiles and lacework since the Middle Ages. The medieval town of Puente de Arzobispo, to the west of Toledo on the border with Extremadura, is an important producer of ceramics and an ideal place to pick up some beautifully crafted but incredibly cheap pots, plates, vases and various gifts to take home. Nearby Lagartera is the place for finely embroidered linens and lacework.

If you plan to hire a car, check in advance that parking is available either at your hotel or within easy reach of it. And remember that when driving in Spain it's a legal requirement to carry your passport with you at all times (or identity card in the case of Spanish nationals) together with your car hire policy documents.

On the spot speeding fines are imposed on non residents (the police will accompany you to the nearest hole in the wall if necessary!). Children are not allowed to travel in the front passenger seat and the use of mobile phones while driving is banned.