Central Spain is dry, hot and arid and, bar the capital Madrid, is all too frequently overlooked. Castile-La Mancha is, in fact, excellent for a self-drive tour, with olive groves and crumbling villages. This is traditional Spain, a rural heartland where the people are notoriously friendly and the pace of life is slow. The midday siesta, away from the beating sun, is an absolute necessity.
Gran Via Madrid
Madrid is, of course, the biggest draw for most travellers to Central Spain. The Spanish capital is a vibrant city and a European capital of art. Grand and stoic compared to Barcelona's fluidity, it's the political heart of the country and it deserves a few days of any tailor-made holiday to the region. The region's other major draw is Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage site with a lot of history and easily one of Spain's prettiest cities.
Windmills and castle, Consuegra, La Mancha