Where to visit in central Spain

In En-Route, Europe, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Spain, Trip-Types, World Travel by Janis10 Comments

A few more of our Spanish treats...

After writing a piece on some of our favourite towns and cities in northern Spain, it immediately occurred to me, that we had also visited some charming places in central Spain. 

If you enjoy visiting Spain as much as Gary and I do, then hopefully, some of these locations will inspire you to return, or even visit for the first time.

Vera Cruz church in Segovia at night

Vera Cruz church in Segovia at night

You may be thinking, why Madrid is not on this list?

To be perfectly honest although we have toured around Spain quite a lot, we’ve haven’t yet made it to Madrid, but it’s certainly on our list (one for next time).

Quick Links

On our trips we often like to visit the less obvious destinations; however, we still enjoy the old favourites. Who could resist a paella in its birthplace of Valencia? Take a peek at these, I’m sure one will tempt your taste buds.

A helpful guide

There are so many incredible places to discover in Spain and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Eyewitness books, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

Salamanca, Castile and León

I would return to Salamanca at the drop of a hat!

The architecture is amazing, the tapas is incredible, it has two Cathedrals and a Plaza Mayor to die for. What more could you want?

Plaza Mayor, Salamanca, Spain

Plaza Mayor, Salamanca

I urge you to stay of an evening, as the sun goes down the Plaza Mayor takes on a whole new feel. The elegant galleried arcades light up and the bustling cafes and bars, stretch out on to the square.

We found that English wasn’t spoken so much here, which was great. Our choppy Spanish and the ability to point and nod in certain places meant we discovered all the more.   

A view of the Catherdals from the south, Salamanca, Spain

A view of the catherdals of Salamanca

Take a wander around the ancient city of Salamanca and see if you can spot the hidden frog on the façade of the historic university.

Further Reading

If you'd like to know more we've a post on our visit to this historic city.

Something from Get Your Guide

Segovia, Castile and León

Segovia is breathtaking, it’s not until you come face to face with the 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct, that you can truly believe its scale. It’s hard to imagine that not one piece of mortar is holding it together.

The aqueduct in Segovia, Spain

The aqueduct in Segovia

For a city that is so small, it’s incredible that a structure of this size was undertaken. Although the Royal Alcazar of Segovia needed to be supplied with water somehow.

The view of the Alcázar from the Templar church, Segovia, Spain

The view of the Alcázar from the Templar church, Segovia

Take a stroll through the ancient city, along its cobbled lanes and around Segovia’s ramparts, to really discover its depth of history. You’ll be enchanted for hours.

The Cathedral at night, Segovia, Spain

The Cathedral at night, Segovia

Something from Get Your Guide

Toledo, Castile-La Mancha

Our visit to Toledo was all too brief, we stopped there for one night on a road trip heading south. I just know it’s a place we’ll return to, the 13th-century Gothic cathedral is incredible and so too is the Alcazar, sitting high in the city.

The view of Toledo, Spain

The view of Toledo

We spent our time strolling through the ancient streets, soaking up as much of the historical vibes as we could.

All the while trying not to be tempted with a Toledo steel sword and the armour to go with it (hours of fun).

The lane to the Cathedral, Toledo, Spain

The lane to the Cathedral, Toledo

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Why not?

Start creating your own Spanish adventure and discover the delights of mid-Spain yourself, easyJet & British Airways are just a couple of options.

Cáceres, Extremadura

One of the things I love about Spain is the Moorish influence, and Cáceres is just oozing with it. This medieval walled city has cobbled lanes and tiny alleys that I could wander around all day. 

The birds fly high around San Francisco Javier church, Cáceres, Spain

Across the rooftops of Cáceres

I really loved it here, it had such a relaxed atmosphere. We spent our couple of days, climbing ramparts, visiting the historical sights, one of which was a Moorish Cistern. Winding our way amongst the whitewashed homes and enjoying the local tipple of Tinto de Verano ‘summer red wine’ (take me back there).

Al fresco dining, Cáceres, Spain

Al fresco dining, Cáceres

The quiet lanes of Cáceres, Spain

The quiet lanes of Cáceres

Further Reading

We've a little more on Cáceres if you're interested.

Have You?

Visited central Spain and discovered any towns or cities that you really want to share with us, as we’d love to add them to our next road trip?

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Valencia, Valencia

I know I keep saying it, but Valencia is another of my favourite Spanish cities. We visited there as a Spring mini-break and loved it. It’s similar in some ways to Barcelona; however, I don’t want to say it too loud, but I actually preferred it.

The Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia, Spain

The Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia

There is so much to see and do here, just strolling through the plazas and parks is enjoyable. That’s before you’ve even taken a glimpse of the ancient Holy Grail, visited the modern City of Arts & Sciences and wandered amongst stalls in the Art Nouveau Mercado Central.

Hemisferic, City of Arts & Science, Valencia, Spain

City of Arts & Science, Valencia

Valencia is the spiritual home of Paella, and who doesn’t love a perfect paella? Also, a couple of things to keep an eye out for is the Horchatería, where you can sample a Horchata and Fartons. Also indulge in the local drink of Agua de Valencia, which is made up of Cava, Vodka, Gin and orange juice. You may want to save this for the evening sunshine.

Oranges in the garden of the Silk Exchange, Valencia, Spain

Oranges in the garden of the Silk Exchange, Valencia

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Tempted to?

Discover more of Spain’s historic towns and cities and all the picturesque countryside in between? Then jump in a car,  you can do it all on a road trip, Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.

Cuenca, Castile-La Mancha

The historical old town of Cuenca isn’t very big; however, this ancient little city perched high above two gorges is undoubtedly worth a visit.

The stroll across the bridge of Saint Paul that straddles the ravine high above the River Huecar is not for the faint-hearted. I saw a grown man hanging on to the side, reluctant to cross. It’s 40 metres high, but I think it’s the fact you can see through some of the wooden slats, and that it’s a sheer drop, which puts you off from crossing. My advice is “don’t look down”.

The Bridge to the town, Cuenca, Spain

The bridge to the Cuenca

There’s a beautiful Gothic cathedral located in the Plaza Mayor, in Cuenca.

However, one of the main draws for visitors is the unbelievable Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses).

There is no way I could live in one of these, they almost appear to be clinging to the rock face.

They date from 15th Century, and now only a few examples remain.

Casas Colgadas at night, Cuenca, Spain

Casas Colgadas at night, Cuenca

Further Reading

We've a post from our visit if you'd like more information

Something from Get Your Guide

Did you know?

All of these towns and cities are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Either for their historical old towns or individual sites within these delightful locations.

The Spanish windmills

You can’t visit the region of La Mancha without venturing across the plains to the iconic windmills in Campo de Criptana or Consuegra. These beautiful windmills were made famous by Cervantes in his Don Quixote novel.

The Castle & five windmills, Consuegra, La Mancha, Spain

The castle & five windmills, Consuegra, La Mancha

You can see them in the distance for miles, standing so proud across the hillsides. There are 12 to visit in Consuegra and 10 in Campo de Criptana.

Facing the wind, Campo de Criptana, Spain

Facing the wind,the windmills of Campo de Criptana

Further Reading

We've a couple of posts with more detail on the windmills of La Mancha.

Those yet to visit

We’ve enjoyed our trips to Spain so much, there are still lots of places we want to see. Here's a few more places in that we will get to sometime in the future.

  • Valladolid

    The Plaza Mayor here looks amazing along with the intricate facades of its churches.

  • Zamora

    The Medieval castle is a must to see along with the incredible architecture through the narrow streets.

  • Teruel

    This small city in Aragon looks really picturesque, wonderful Moorish buildings and lovely plazas to relax in.

I can hear Spain calling my name again, when will we revisit?

Inspired to visit central Spain?

Tour amongst the plains of La Mancha and visit some incredible towns and cities along the way.

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  1. I have to say, I am loving your series on Spain broken up into regions! There’s some fantastic places in here I haven’t heard of, but have to say the modern bits of Valencia just don’t fit for this amazing post! #FarawayFiles

  2. You listed some true gems in this article! I would love to visit Salamanca one day, the Plaza Mayor looks so elegant. The Royal Alcazar of Segovia has also been on my list for a long time. Never heard of the Casas Colgadas in Cuenca but they look pretty amazing. Gorgeous photos! #FarawayFiles

    1. Ahhh thanks very much Sarah, Salamanca was wonderful, we highly recommend it. The Spanish certainly know how to create an elegant plaza.

  3. What a great post! We love Spain, and did a road trip there a few years ago. We visited Toledo, and it was a highlight! I would love to visit Valencia and am a big fan of the old meets new architecture. Thank you for sharing your tips and lovely photos with us on #farawayfiles

    1. Thanks Hilary, a road trip is the best way to see Spain, there is so much to see throughout the country. As I mentioned our visit to Toledo was a too short.

      Valencia is really lovely, it didn’t feel as busy as Barcelona and the architecture is wonderful. We also found some incredible street art.

  4. I have been to Teruel and it is really lovely – I’m sure you’d like it. I fancy staying in Segovia. It really looks like my kind of town. I spent a week learning Spanish in Salamanca once – it’s a gorgeous city. Thanks for sharing your Spain tips on #FarawayFiles

    1. The best way to learn a language is by staying in the country for a while, my Spanish needs a lot of improvement. Segovia is incredible and I would definitely stay the night, seeing the aqueduct lit up in the evening was breath-taking.

      That’s good to know about Teruel, it does look pretty.

  5. Salamanca was my first destination in Spain, so it holds great memories for me! I’ll admit I hadn’t realised what I was missing in Segovia, so that’s added to my list now! As an aside, I love the layout of your site and all the links in the post!

    1. Author

      Hi Fizz,

      Thanks very much for your kind comments.

      Salamanca was beautiful and didn’t feel touristy at all, the Plaza Mayor was stunning.

      In regards to Segovia, the aqueduct took my breath away, it’s magnificent. For such a reasonably small place it has some incredible history. The castle and the cathedral are amazing too. I would always recommend Segovia.

      Have fun & happy travels

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