The fairy tale castillo Manzanares el Real, set above a clear-water reservoir and backed by some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in central Spain, lies just 48km (30 miles) north of the capital beside a small, attractive town. Built in the 15th century by the powerful Mendoza family in a heady blend of Gothic and Mudéjar, its towers, ramparts, and crenulated walls form everyone's dream of what a castle in Spain should look like.

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