In the Footsteps of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
Alcazar de San Juan, Spain
N 420 continues from Daimiel to Puerto Lápice, where the innkeeper dubbed Don Quixote a knight, and Alcázar de San Juan (alt. 643m/2,110ft), a little town on the railroad from Madrid with an important collection of Roman mosaics in the Museo Arqueológico Fray Juan Cobo, the 13th century church of Santa María, a Railway Museum and a number of the windmills so characteristic of La Mancha.
Campo de Criptana, Spain
8km/5mi beyond Alcázar de San Juan is Campo de Criptana, an attractive village which could have been the scene of Don Quixote's fight with the windmills. In the surrounding hills, the Sierra de Molinos, there are more than 30 windmills, several of them still working. Some of them (e.g. El Quimera and El Pilón) contain small museums.
El Toboso, Spain
From N 420, just beyond Campo de Criptana, a minor road runs 15km/ 9mi northeast to the charming village of El Toboso which is also 9km/6mi southeast of Quintanar de la Orden. Here, Don Quixote found his mistress Dulcinea, a peasant's daughter. Visitors are shown her supposed home at the entrance to the village. The Town Hall has a collection of handsome editions of Cervantes' novel in many languages.
Mota del Cuervo, Spain
From Mota del Cuervo N 420 leads southwest to Pedro Muñoz, from which a secondary road continues south to Tomelloso. The 16th century parish church has a retablo of the Virgen de la Paz.
Argamasilla de Alba, Spain
Beyond Tomelloso is Argamasilla de Alba, where Cervantes was held prisoner in the Cueva de Medrano and began his famous novel. It is also supposed to be the village in which Don Quixote was born and to which he returned to die. It has a windmill known as the Molino Dulcinea.
Castillo de Peñarroya
12km/ 7.5mi southeast of Argamasilla de Alba is the Castillo de Peñarroya, a Moorish stronghold which was taken by Alonso Pérez de Sanabria in 1198.