“Don Quixote,” which was published in 1605, is widely considered to be the world’s first modern novel. And its appeal has certainly proved to be timeless: a new tour celebrates the author, Miguel de Cervantes, on the 400th anniversary of his death. The tour starts in Madrid—where Cervantes’ tomb was discovered last year—and visits the places that inspired his epic novel and Quixote’s quest to become a knight.
Throughout the eight-day itinerary, you’ll pay homage to the writer by visiting Madrid’s Plaza de España to see the statue of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza. Nearby are stone sculptures of Aldonza Lorenzo and Dulcinea del Toboso, representing two versions of Quixote’s true love. There’s also a trip to the 17th century Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians, where scientists believe they have found the burial site of the famed author.
On day two, the tour heads 20 miles northeast to the author’s birthplace of Alcala de Henares, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There, you’ll learn about the colorful life of the young writer, who spent time in jail for being a tax collector who didn’t keep proper records.
Next up is Esquivias, the village where Cervantes married his wife. Find inspiration for your own novel when you visit the well-preserved manor where Cervantes wrote most of the second part of “Don Quixote,” after the original installment became a bestseller and was translated into English, German, and French.
In La Mancha, the area that lent the Man of La Mancha his name, you’ll dine on manchego and wine, sleep in medieval paradores (Spain’s version of a luxury hotel), tour vineyards, and joust windmills at your peril. Remember, when Quixote was jousting with windmills, Panza kindly informed him that those were windmills, not giants. To which Cervantes's hero replied, “Obviously, you don't know much about adventures.” No one will accuse travelers of that after this tour.
Get more information on the tour here.