Marta González-Hontoria Castilla-La Mancha

Castilla la Mancha

Updated Friday, February 23, 2024-21:35

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Royal Cloth Factory

of Brihuega continues to spin fine lines.

Although it does it in its own way, now as a thermal hotel and the only five-star hotel in Guadalajara, the new use that this unique building, an industrial jewel of the 18th century, has had since last autumn.

We see an example in the spa menu, where


, the year the factory was inaugurated, is also the name given to the star massage of this hotel in the Castilla Termal chain.

Attention hedonistic travelers eager for a treat: it is a

massage with linen fabrics

that stretch, press, relax...

Another way, without a doubt, to experience the Alcarria Garden in winter, the town one hour from Madrid where more than one globetrotter, from

Margarita de Pedroso y Sturdza

, Juan Ramón Jiménez's platonic love, to the journalist

Manu Leguineche

has visited sense happily trapped.

There is more than one essential viewpoint to feel the crush in this corner of the

Tajuña River valley


One is in the romantic garden that surrounds the royal factory converted into a hotel.

Another must be looked for at the top of the

Castillo de la Piedra Bermeja


In that watchtower Brihuega appears in its entirety: the 800 meters of wall still standing (of the 2,500 that existed), the Puerta de la Cadena, the Romanesque churches, the arcades of the Plaza del Coso and the Royal Prison of Carlos III, today Tourist office, where it is always useful to start the trip.

The Castilla Termal Brihuega hotel.MGH

Much is miraculously standing, including the castle itself, which was left in ruins in the War of Independence.

The French did not hesitate to dynamite the entrance arch so that their troops could easily cross it.

Of course, today, the walled enclosure of the castle has much more to do with a previous era, the seven centuries that Brihuega belonged to the Lordship of Toledo and this was the

summer residence

of the bishopric.

There are many details that make the enclave unique.

From the legend of

the beautiful Elisa and the vermilion stone

, to the cemetery, still in use, which occupies both the garden of paradise and the private garden of the castle.

Also within the enclosure, a visit to the Church of

Santa María de la Peña

, patron saint of the town, is essential, as well as the two museums housed in the Convent of San José, the one of


- with the only loom that remains of the Royal Cloth Factory, and the

Miniatures Museum

, even more amazing, with some Guinness Records included.

The Cistercian church of Santa María de la Peña, one of the jewels of Brihuega.SHUTTERSTOCK

Bullfighters probably know that Brihuega has the

oldest bullfights

in Spain (after those in Cuéllar), and that its bullring is the largest in Guadalajara, with nearly 8,000 seats.

Cultureites, for their part, will want to stop in front of the

Grammar School

, rehabilitated, among other monuments of the town, by Margarita de Pedroso.

The noblewoman, in fact, lived in this house, as would Leguineche years later, "alcarreño by vocation," as the reporter said.

Here he would write some of his last books, such as

The Happiness of the Earth


La Celestina Café & BoutiqueM.


The obligatory walk through the town continues with the soundtrack of the


that are almost everywhere you look.

Many rich aromas are also appreciated.

The coffee they serve at La Celestina, for example, or the freshly baked pastries that flood the Calle Mayor next to the

Panificadora Cepero.


best sellers

are the orange pastries, but watch out for the Virgin cakes, the muffins and all those desserts named after this family of artisans, such as the Martín cheesecake or the Angel Hair Pablitos.

The honey from Apícola Moreno is another local treasure - with its own designation of origin: Miel de La Alcarria -.

And all the lavender products would remain, whose flowering has made us know the area as Spanish Provence.

Cepero.MGH Bakery Counter


Lavender Festival

was born without any desire to become one of the summer events, but it is exactly what it has achieved: guests in white, concerts among the plants at sunset, the aroma of lavender... and the entire town decked out in purple.

To know how lavender essential oil is made you have to visit one of the two distilleries in Brihuega, but in the shops you can also learn... and taste, from soaps to

lavender gin


And when night falls, a bouquet on the bed, at least in the five-star Royal Cloth Factory.

Lavender souvenirs.SHUTTERSTOCK



Brihuega Castilla Termal.

Five-star hotel with restaurant, spa and infinity pool in what was the former Royal Cloth Factory, an industrial jewel of 18th century Spain.


Sumac Route.

A circular route that follows the so-called 'cow path' along a slope of the Tajuña valley full of colorful (at the time) sumac bushes.


Honey and sweets


You can't leave without buying the Virgin cakes or the orange and chocolate pastries from Panificadora Cepero.

Nor without Apícola Moreno honey.


Roasts and more.

Villa de Brihuega, Princesa Elima, El Tolmo... are all highly recommended for having roast lamb or beans with partridge, two of the typical dishes.

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