Consuegra Windmills (Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha)
From where can I plan this day trip? Toledo, Madrid, Ciudad Real, or even some further locations if you’re into roadtrippin’
What is it? If you don’t already know, Cervantes’ classic novel Don Quixote made Spanish windmills famous on an international level and arguably put this communidad on the map (especially when the classic text was reinterpreted in the 1972 film “Man of La Mancha”). For this reason, I feel like so many people who visit Spain have hopes of seeing one of these traditional windmills, but the reality is that they’re sometimes difficult to come across. In Consuegra, however, you’ll find twelve of them—one of the largest concentrations of these traditional windmills left in Spain. One of them even serves as a ‘museum’ and you can buy entrance for just 1.5€ (which also came with a bottle of water when I visited!) to see it in action and learn about how these windmills were used to make flour.
How to prepare ahead of time: Minimal preparation is necessary. Consuegra is simply a normal Spanish pueblo that is easily accessible off some of Spain’s major highways and known for its beautiful windmills or molinos de viento in Spanish. As a small village, there is not that much to do in terms of tourism (although there is also a castle and municipal museum as well) so you typically don’t need to schedule anything in advance. On the other hand, some very affordable guided tour options are available, so you might consider that as well (more details here).
Pro-Tip: The food scene is limited to mostly full-fledged restaurants that serve delicious food, but at full-fledged restaurant prices. We enjoyed a wonderful meal including traditional migas and queso manchego dishes to share at Restaurante La Bodeguita-Casa la Tercia, but if you’re looking to save on money, I might pack a sack lunch and merely enjoy a drink at their outdoor bar.
How to get there: Car or Bus
It is possible to find a bus to Consuegra from nearby cities like Madrid and Toledo (approximately 10€ for a 2.5 hour ride from Madrid and 5€ for a 1.5-2 hour ride from Toledo) but the timetable is quite limited and this won’t take you directly to the windmills, which are located atop a pretty large precipice. Unless you are rather stealthy at arrangements or looking to turn this into more than a day-trip, I would recommend arriving by car. This village is easy to reach by the E-5, CM-42, and N-401 highways.
Pro-Tip: The signposting to get you from the center to the windmills is a bit confusing. I would recommend using a GPS, if possible. It’s normal if you feel like you’re driving off into the distance, away from the village (to an extent), but keep at eye on it as it can be difficult to turn around because there aren’t too many intersections if you end up on one of the long country roads. About halfway up the mountain you will reach a parking area and it will seem unclear if you can proceed with your private vehicle. You can and—unless you’re looking to add a hike to your agenda—you SHOULD! There is typically plenty of parking space along the road near the windmills (and an open area out front of the ‘museum’ where you can safely turn around to head back down).
Recommended time of year to visit: You can visit these windmills year-round and, aside from the fact that it will obviously be colder in the winter (especially because you’re up high in a windy spot), there’s really nothing that makes one time of year better than another. If you’re interested in adding another attraction to your trip, you can check out when some of Consuegra’s festivals are here. For extra impressive shots, you might want to plan your visit so that you can capture this beautiful scene as dusk.