All the information you need to visit the castle of Belmonte, this 15th century jewel of La Mancha which is well worth a visit.
Belmonte is one of the villages to visit in the outskirts of Madrid and also forms part of the Don Quixote Route. I can say that I have travelled back in time and lived a whole medieval experience knowing the Belmonte Castle as a tourist site and the medieval combat as a sport which, although it may not seem so, is very new in Spain.
That is to say, not only did I get to see the beautiful castle, an ideal setting for films, but I also witnessed a training session of the Spanish Medieval Combat League.
It was a unique experience for me to visit the Belmonte Castle.
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Visit the castle of Belmonte
Belmonte Castle was built on the San Cristóbal hill, at the foot of the town of the same name, about 150 kilometres from Madrid and about 100 km from Cuenca.
Juan Pacheco, Lord of Belmonte and first Marquis of Villena, ordered its construction in 1456, but he died before it was completed.
The castle has been witness to Spanish history since then, given that Juan Pacheco has been very well known in the reigns of John II of Castile, and then in the Enrique IV of Castile, having actively participated in the War of the Castilian Succession which ended up being won by Isabella I of Castile.
Although his son, Diego, attempted to complete the entire construction of the castle, it fell into disrepair until the mid-19th century, when Empress Eugénie de Montijo (married to Napoleon III) took it over and began restoration work. He kept the initial construction idea, but the interior was decorated completely to his own taste (and very different from what Juan Pacheco would have imagined).
After the fall of the French Empire, restoration work ceased and Belmonte Castle was abandoned again. Although it was declared a National Monument in 1932, during the Spanish Civil War it was used as a barracks and prison. Later, it became of more banal importance, being the ideal setting for the filming of period films, such as the one starring Charlton Heston and Sofia Loren in El Cid.
The ground plan of the castle is built in the shape of a star, and the parade ground is an equilateral triangle. Very peculiar for the rather square styles found in other castles.
We also visited the various rooms of the castle, which is very luxurious and recently restored.
And this is the spectacular “medieval bestiary“, a vaulted chamber sculpted in stone, one of the main protagonists if you visit Belmonte Castle. A beauty!
Also, some areas of the castle had domes carved in stone and wood.
Visit the castle of Belmonte from the top of the walls was perfect, so that we could admire the landscapes of La Mancha in all their splendour and feel like guardians of such a fortress. The views from up there were truly breathtaking.
📷 If you want a tour in the La Mancha area, you can take a look at the one day tour to the castle of Garcimuñoz, the castle of Belmonte, the windmills of Mota del Cuervo and the Monastery of Uclés.
Like many places in La Mancha, it is an area of windmills that turn any landscape into a quixotic scene.
Medieval Combat World Cup
And now the novelty! One of the activities that were scheduled during the day was to watch the training of the Spanish medieval combat team that is preparing for the World Cup to be held in Belmonte Castle.
The show itself was very picturesque: ideal scenery, impressive acting. Everything was ready.
Medieval combat is a contact sport. To give it the seriousness it deserves, much emphasis was placed during the visit on the fact that it is not a game, nor is it a choreographed show. It is a sport and a real fight for victory. The equipment, fighting techniques and the conduct of the participants are regulated, so that the participants are safe during the fights.
Where to stay in Belmonte?
If you want to spend the night in Belmonte there are several options, from rural houses, old palaces and hotels. Our recommendations for hotels in Belmonte are:
- La Casa de la Vieja: offers classically and tastefully decorated rooms, flats and penthouses in the city.
- El Paseo: excellently looked after by the owners themselves, it is a small accommodation with three rooms. Clean and cosy.
- Palacio del Infante Don Juan Manuel Hotel Spa: to stay in a former 14th century palace with views of the castle, spa and garden. The communal areas still retain their medieval charm. It has an outdoor swimming pool.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Belmonte.
How to get to Belmonte from Madrid?
It is advisable to reach Belmonte by car. It is more comfortable and takes less time, as well as allowing you to admire the beautiful landscapes of La Mancha. We went by private bus and it took between 1.30 and 2 hours.
Ticket Price Belmonte Castle
If you want to visit Belmonte Castle, general admission is 10 euros, and can be purchased online.
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