Places to visit


Further afield.

Arenas de San Pedro.


Arenas de San Pedro is a small town in the valley, about 5km from La Hacienda. It has a full range of services, including several banks, an internet cafe, bars and restaurants. There is also a regular bus service between Arenas and Madrid. Architecturally, it is unremarkable, but there are several attractive buildings including the castle, the Mosquera palace, and the medieval bridge. In summer, there is a programme of open-air concerts. For further information see

The Puerto del Pico pass leads to Avila on the northern side of the Sierra de Gredos. The drive from the house takes about 1 ¼ hours. This magnificent Castilian city is famous for its 11th century city walls and for being the birthplace of Saint Teresa. The ancient buildings within the city walls have largely been preserved and some are now used as local government offices, since Avila is the provincial capital. The planning department, for example, is in an old monastery, and the planning officers sit in what were clearly once the monks' cells! Avila has a number of excellent restaurants.

Las Cuevas del Águila. Ramacastañas.

La Laguna Grande.

These are a series of underground caves with fantastic stalactites and stalagmites. The caves are over three million years old but were only discovered in 1963. The temperature underground is a constant 200 making a guided tour of the caves an attractive option on a hot day. For further information visit

A beautiful lagoon, high in the Gredos mountains, with wonderful views of the Gredos cirque. The lagoon itself is 12km from Hoyos de Espino, a small village about an hour's drive from the house, on the northern side of the mountains. The route is well-sign-posted and after parking, there is a relatively easy walk up to the Laguna which takes about two hours.

Barranco de las Cinco Villas.

Parque Nacional de Monfragüe.

The "cinco villas" are the five villages in the valley leading up to the Puerto del Pico, one of only two passes over the Gredos mountains. The largest is Mombeltran, which boasts a magnificent castle, built by the Duke of Albuquerque. The villages remain largely unspoilt and the views as you climb the valley are fantastic. There are extensive remnants of the old Roman road and, even today, you may still see cowboys driving hundreds of cattle up the valley to their summer pastures in the mountains.

This important nature reserve is in the province of Caceres in Extremadura, but is within easy reach of the house. The flora and fauna are extraordinary and there are some beautiful well-marked walks. Particularly recommended is the gorge formed where the rivers Tagus and Tietar meet. Here, you can see vultures nesting on the crags, and eagles and other raptors circling in the air currents above the river. Hides are provided at all the main viewing points.

Talavera de la Reina.


Talavera is the nearest big town to the house and can be reached in about 40 minutes. The town is largely modern, although there are still remnants of the city walls and the old quarter. Talavera has been famous since the 15th century as the centre of the Spanish ceramics industry. Although its importance has now waned, it is still worth visiting one of the many ceramic shops, and also the Ruiz de Luna Pottery Museum. Talavera has an enormous Carrefour supermarket; useful if you like to get all your holiday food shopping over in one go. For further details, see

Toledo is one of the great cities, not just of Spain, but of Europe. The "must see" things are the Cathedral, and the El Greco pictures in both the Cathedral and the Museo del Greco, although you should also leave time to walk around the city and soak up the atmosphere. A word of warning; Toledo is very hot in the summer.


Segovia and Monasterio del Escorial.



Both are to the north west of Madrid and could be seen in a single day. They are well worth a visit. Segovia boasts an astonishingly well-preserved Roman aqueduct, which continued to provide fresh water for the city right up until the early 20th century.
The Escorial Palace is one of the most famous buildings in Spain. Built by Philip II, it is part monastery, part royal palace, and is situated on the southern foothills of the Guadarrama mountains, not far from Segovia. See and