10 Things To Know Before Planning Your Trip to the Consuegra Windmills
Updated: Aug 23, 2021
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When I think of historic windmills, the first countries that come to mind are Greece and the Netherlands. So I was really excited during our trip to Toledo and Segovia to find out that some of the most famous windmills in Spain were located nearby in the municipality of Consuegra. The Consuegra Windmills are only a short drive from the Spanish capital, so they make for the perfect day trip from Madrid if you happen to be staying there. Or, if you're like us, it's also a great place to visit as part of your Spanish road trip! There are a few different names given to these Spanish windmills, so don't be alarmed if while doing your research you come across terms such as los molinos de Consuegra, or the windmills of La Mancha - they're all the same thing. Before we get into the things you should know before visiting the Consuegra Windmills, I've put together a few answers to some of the most asked questions from visitors to help you better prepare for your own trip:
Where is Consuegra?
Consuegra is a Spanish municipality located in the province of Toledo, in Castile-La Mancha. It's only a 45 minute drive from the city of Toledo itself, and a 1.5 hours drive from Madrid. Since the Consuegra Windmills are a very popular attraction in Spain, there are several public bus routes as well as tour groups that will take you there if you haven't rented a car.
How many windmills are there?
There are twelve windmills in Consuegra sitting at the top of the Cerro Calderico mountain (originally there were thirteen), and they are all positioned in more or less a straight line so they're easy to walk between. The majority of the windmills can be found near the parking lot, but there are a few that are near the entrance as well.
When were the Consuegra Windmills built?
The windmills we see today are restored versions of the originals, but some date back as far as the 16th century, and were modelled on the Dutch windmills. Due to the lack of flowing water in the area (it's believed that La Mancha is a rough Arabic translation for "dry land") the windmills were built in order to grind grain from the surrounding fields instead.
Why are they the most famous windmills in Spain?
As well as the Consuegra Windmills painting a pretty picture sitting at the top of the hill overlooking the town, they are most famous thanks to the 17th century Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote the famous novel Don Quixote. In this novel, the windmills are mistaken by Don Quixote for giants and he rides into battle against them. If you haven't read the novel yet, I would highly recommend doing so since it's one of the most widely read novels in the western world and very entertaining!
Now that you have a bit of background information about the windmills, here are a few tips I've put together about visiting them, and some things to know before planning your trip to the Consuegra Windmills:
1. The first windmill at Consuegra has a small parking lot and a nice view
Locating the windmills at Consuegra is very easy - you can see them in the distance as you drive towards the town. The road leading up to the top of the hill is nicely paved, but you'll need to pass through some narrow residential streets before getting to it. As you make your way to the top, you'll come across a windmill on the left which has a small parking lot in front of it. This spot is often overlooked by tourists, but it's worth parking up here and taking in the views of the town below. We actually parked here and explored a couple of other windmills as well before continuing on to the main part.
2. The next two windmills have hardly any people visiting them
If you park at the first windmill, you'll be able to walk to the next two windmills very quickly. These two windmills stand apart from the remaining nine windmills, and are separated from the rest of them by a medieval castle. This means that while most people are driving directly to the main section of the windmills, you'll have these two all to yourself! There is also a great viewpoint you can climb up to on the left hand side which offers a gorgeous view of the castle and the other windmills behind it. So when you visit the Consuegra Windmills, don't forget to check these ones out first!
3. There's a castle in Consuegra
One thing I didn't know before visiting the Consuegra Windmills was that there's a medieval castle sitting right in between them! Castillo de la Muela dates back to the 10th century, and was constantly passed between Muslim and Christian hands for quite a long period of time. In the 12th century the castle was gifted to the Knights Hospitaller, who were a Catholic military order predominantly based in Jerusalem. The castle itself is open most days, and costs just €4 to enter. It's definitely one of the best things to do in Consuegra so if you have time I would recommend visiting it. If not, you can always get a photo of it from the outside!
4. There's free parking at the Consuegra Windmills
If you're not planning on taking a guided tour or a bus tour to the Consuegra Windmills, you'll be glad to know that there is plenty of free parking available! We had no problems parking our campervan here, and noticed that people weren't staying more than an hour, so if there is no parking available when you arrive, chances are someone will be leaving within a reasonable amount of time. If you want to visit the castle, you'll have to walk down the road for a few minutes, or you can park closer to the castle along the side of the road if there is room (make sure you leave enough space for the large tour buses to get through though).
5. There's a souvenir shop inside one of the Consuegra Windmills
Directly opposite the parking lot is one of the main windmills, called Rucio. Inside this windmill you'll find a souvenir shop and an information desk. This is also where you can purchase a ticket for €1.50 to go inside the only windmills that are still in working order. We didn't pay to go inside the windmills, but there are a lot of positive reviews about the experience, so if you're interested in seeing the inner workings of the Consuegra Windmills it's a very budget friendly activity!
6. There's also a restaurant inside another windmill
If you visit the Consuegra Windmills and forget to bring a snack or something to drink, one of the windmills has been turned into a restaurant! There are only 16 tables available at Gastromolino, but it's definitely a memorable experience. I actually had no idea that this restaurant was here until we arrived, which was a shame because we had just eaten a large breakfast before driving up to the windmills. There were plenty of people sitting outside, enjoying a glass of wine and some tapas while taking in the beautiful views surrounding them, that's for sure.
7. Get there early to avoid tour groups
One of the best things about doing this trip in a campervan was our close proximity to the windmills. We were up nice and early, and made our way to the Consuegra Windmills before any of the tour buses or lines of cars showed up - which was ideal for taking photos and exploring this historic Spanish site. I would highly recommend doing this if you can! We spent the whole morning here, and as we were leaving there were a lot of cars lining up along the road - and who wants to deal with crowds? Not me.
8. The windmills have names
If you've read about Don Quixote and his windmills, you may recognize some of the names that have been painted above the doors of each of the windmills. All of the windmills have been given the name of a character from the novel, with the most popular characters getting their names above the main windmills. I personally haven't read the novel, but this is definitely a nice addition to the windmills for anyone who is a fan of Don Quixote!
9. There's no fee for the Consuegra Windmills
Apart from entering the working windmills for €1.50, there is no other charge for visiting these famous Spanish windmills. That's right - you can walk around the entire site for free, and take as much time as you like as well. If you're planning a road trip in Spain and are looking to visit budget friendly sites, then the Consuegra Windmills can easily be added to your itinerary!
10. Go to the last windmill for a full length shot
If you want to get the perfect photo of the Consuegra Windmills, I would suggest walking to the furthest windmill and taking a shot from there. This way you're able to fit a majority of the windmills into your photo, and you'll get the castle in it too! This is a particularly beautiful spot to watch the sunset from. I've seen various photos of the windmills at sunset and they are absolutely stunning.
Planning a trip to the windmills at Consuegra is an absolute must if you're visiting Madrid and the surrounding area. Not only are the views amazing, but you'll be able to put yourself in the shoes of Don Quixote and try to fight some giants if you want! And for those of you who love Spanish literature and want to dive deeper into the world of Don Quixote, there's an official Don Quixote route that you can travel along which includes 13 towns that have links to the novel - pretty fun right? Maybe I will have to incorporate the route into my next Spanish road trip adventure! This is definitely one of the more unique places to visit in Spain - so don't miss out!
Have you read Don Quixote before or perhaps seen one of the many television adaptations of the novel? Or have you visited Castile-La Mancha and come face to face with the windmills? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below! Don't forget to follow me on Instagram as well to keep up to date with my latest travel ventures!
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