Vast plains and evocative castles and mills… This could well be the portrait of Castilla. There are in fact 2 Castillas in Spain. Castilla Leon, mainly North West to Madrid and Castilla La Mancha, South of Spain´s capital. Madrid and its regions is somehow an island in the middle of these 2 large Castillas. Castilla´s name is due to the Castillos (Castles) and it actually means land of Castles.
The name of Castilla la Mancha has an arab origin. La Mancha (stain in Spanish) has in this case an arab origin from “Al-mansha” plain land and with no rivers.
The case of Castilla Leon (Lion in Spanish) is probably derived from “Legio” from the roman legions that founded the city of Leon in Castilla.
Why go to Castilla? There are many reasons why any of the 2 Castillas is worth a trip. A very valid one is for sure found in its imposing and many times isolated castles.
Many of the castles found in both Castillas have a roman (this would apply more to Castilla Leon) and arab origins. The Reconquista (reconquest) is that period of Spain in which Christians progressively re-conquered the territory of Spain. The period was long, almost 8 centuries! And throughout this long process castles were erected, reinforced, destroyed and rebuilt, normally at those areas that served as borders in each phase of the reconquering process.
After this sort historical introduction we go ahead with our list of 10 favorite castles in both Castillas.