Travel story in Spain, itinerary including the main places of interest seen, with stops in Toledo, Castile, city of Andalusia, and Madrid.
In the summer, between the end of July and the beginning of August, my wife and I decided to go on holiday to Spain, in the central-southern part and precisely Andalusia and Castile.
We booked everything via the internet, hotels, flights, car rentals and visits to places of tourist importance.
As for the flight, we departed from Pisa airport with Alitalia making a stop in Milan with a change of plane to connect with Madrid.
Excellent flight, clear weather with excellent photographs taken from the plane. Landed in Madrid at the Barajas airport, we collected our luggage and, crossing the road in front of the airport entrance, we took the rental car booked with Avis and we took the highway to Toledo, the first leg of our journey.
Arrived at the hotel, a few meters from the city center, booked for one night, we put our bags in the rooms and in the late afternoon we went out on foot along the streets of this picturesque town, located on a hill in a pink atmosphere that reminded us of a little Siena.
We arrived in a few minutes at the Alcazar and from there, along the Calle del Comercio, we reached the Cathedral square, the main square of the town which houses the Cathedral complex with the tower, considered one of the most beautiful monuments in all of Spain.
We had dinner in a small restaurant with a typical Spanish dish, paiella.
The next morning we took a panoramic tour through the Puerta del Sol, which represents the main gateway to the northern part of the city where the Puerta Vieja de Bisagra and the Hospital de Tavera are located.
In the western part of Toledo is the Paseo del Transito, which is worth a visit for the presence of important religious buildings, including the Church of Sao Tomè, the Church of Santa Maria la Blanca, the Church of San Juan de los Reyes and the Synagogue.
The mills of Consuegra
In the afternoon we left for Granada with a stop in Consuegra to see the famous windmills, which constitute the scenario where the fighting took place described in the novel Don Quixote of La Mancha of Cervantes.Recommended readings
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Very characteristic is the landscape around the hill where the mills are located, which makes the gaze wander for endless kilometers.
In the evening we arrived in Granada and settled in the excellent excellent hotel booked near the center.
After leaving the hotel in 10 minutes on foot, we reached the center along the picturesque streets with an upward glance to admire the Alhambra.
The evening atmosphere was very suggestive with the many typical clubs among which we chose one to eat, where a flamenco show, typical Spanish dance, was scheduled for after dinner.
The following morning, as anticipated, we visited the Alhambra, exceptional for its indisputable beauty.
First the residence of the Sultans, it is made up of the Palazzo Comares, the Palazzo dei Leoni and the fortified area called La Vela.
We visited the museum and the gardens, fortunately we had booked the ticket via the internet as otherwise we would have had to queue at the checkout.
In the afternoon we went instead to Albacin, the typical Arab neighborhood of Granada, consisting of a series of narrow streets and small squares, from where you have a magnificent overview of the Alhambra and Granada.
After leaving Granada we headed to Seville where we had booked the next hotel.
We began the visit to the city from Guadalquivir, at the height of the Puente de Triana, from which we can quickly reach the majestic Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria, where those interested can watch the main bullfight of all Spain, seen that Seville is the capital of bulls and bullfighters.
Nearby are the Teatro della Maestranza, the Hospital de la Caridad, and the Casa della Moneda, where numerous exhibitions are held.
To finish the visit to the neighborhood, we visited the Torre de l'Oro, an ancient building now used as a Naval Museum.
Very beautiful is the cathedral complex, which stands on the ruins of the Great Mosque and is the largest in the Catholic world by size.
Inside we saw the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
Next to the cathedral are the museum, the Patio degli Aranci, where you can see what remains of the mosque and the Giralda tower, where we went up to get a panoramic view of the whole city.
Very close to the cathedral we admired the Alcazar, an ancient royal residence surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Around lunchtime we arrived at the renowned neighborhood called Barrio de Santa Cruz, where we tasted the typical Tapas, characteristic snacks widely used in those parts.
In the afternoon we went to Pilate's house.
Piazza di Spagna, located inside the Maria Luisa Park, together with the cathedral and the Alcazar, is certainly one of the places not to be missed.
The next day, leaving Seville with the arrival in Madrid in the late afternoon, we stopped in Cordoba which is considered the second largest city in Andalusia.
Formerly conquered by the Arabs, it has preserved the same architectural imprint in the arrangement of the streets and squares, all particularly narrow and winding.
But the real attraction of the city, the one for which it is recommended to stop in Cordoba, is the mosque.
This is an imposing building, 179 meters long and 128 meters wide, which was built by the Arabs and later transformed into a church.
The interior has multiple marble columns connected together by arches of white stones and red bricks which, combined with the penumbra, give an effect of unlimited extension.
To be admired, in the central area, the Choir and the Major Chapel, while on the right side there is the Villaviciosa Chapel, full of exclusive decorations.
We also liked the niche for prayer and the Kebla.
The bell tower which reaches 93 meters and is in Greek-Roman style is also very beautiful.
In the afternoon we continue to Madrid.
Contrary to what one might think, we immediately say that we found ourselves very well, despite being a large city: in fact, we found it on a "human scale" as it can be easily explored on foot, to reach all the main places of interest.
The hotel was a 4-star hotel, booked in the area of the Metro station called Principe Pio, near the Royal Palace and the center.
The visit to the Royal Palace was very interesting.
The Royal Palace was built by the Bourbons in the 18th century on the ruins of the Alcazar castle, destroyed by fire in 1734.
In it there are over 2000 rooms, of which, however, those open to the public are only three hundred.
It remained the official residence of the Spanish royalty until 1931, today it is owned by the state and is used by the king only for official receptions.
Square in shape, it is composed of white stones and granite.
All around are the Jardines de Sabatini and Campo del Moro, designed to hide the difference in height between the north and west facades, also the Piazza di Oriente, where on one side is the facade of the Royal Theater, built in 1850 and enriched with statues of the Visigoth kings and the equestrian statue of Philip IV.
Another interesting place of our visit was Plaza Mayor, a meeting place where the philatelic market takes place every Sunday.
Around, under the arcades, there are numerous souvenir shops and bars.
In the old days, bullfighting and horse fighting were held in this square, as well as theatrical performances, public acts and the proclamation of the various kings.
But an even more beautiful visit was that of the Prado National Museum, which represents one of the most important art galleries in the world for the abundance of paintings and works of art it contains.
It was inaugurated in 1819 and the royal collection, consisting of about 8600 paintings and 600 sculptures as well as numerous drawings and precious objects, is made up of works from deconsecrated churches, convents, dynasties ousted or already in possession by the royal family.
Most of the works present were carried out on behalf of the various kings.
Also worth seeing is the Spanish Steps, where the monument dedicated to Don Quixote stands out.