Articles, Blog

Ciudad Real – One of Spain’s most peaceful and liveable cities

November 9, 2019

Hola amigos, Stuart here from
Spain Speaks today coming to you from the heart of Spain I’m in the middle of
Castilla-La Mancha in a city called Ciudad Real checking out what it’s like in
a small city here in Spain and I’m going to have a look around and check it out from
a quality-of-life point of view and also to see if it lives up to its reputation
as one of the most peaceful cities in Spain so let’s go and check it out. Now
I’ve been working in Ciudad Real for the last two months – not on a full-time basis,
on a part-time basis. I’ve been coming down here every Saturday for the last
two months and one thing that has struck me about this city is just how quiet it
seems to be now some people say it’s a boring city I don’t necessarily think
that’s true of course you’re not going to have a lot of things to do in a city
like this compared to say Madrid which is
obviously a lot bigger than here I mean this is a population of 80,000 people
very rural surroundings a lot of farmland surrounding here and of course
this is a provincial capital and as you can see now it’s about 8:30 in the
morning and it’s really quiet but that’s typical of cities here in Spain at this
time of the day of course Castilla-la Mancha is where
this saga took place the famous Don Quixote and here we have the famous
Don Quixote and his offsider Sancho Panza over here and everywhere you go in
the city you will be reminded of the Don Quixote story now this is a city where
everything is a maximum of 15 to 20 minutes away on foot you can get around
this city easily on a bike it is extremely flat and it has a reasonable
public transport system from what I’ve seen so getting around the city no
problems there of course lots of cars and parking could be a bit of an issue
but we didn’t seem to have a problem yesterday to find a place to park
now the proximity of this city to Madrid it’s about two hours away by car that
200 kilometers let’s say and there’s also a fast train from Madrid to here
which takes about 50 minutes and that means that a lot of people from Madrid
do consider coming to live in a place like this because it is way cheaper
cheaper to live cost of living of course a lot cheaper than a big city like
Madrid and if you don’t mind a 50-minute commute by fast train in the morning and
a 50-minute commute back again you could live in a city like this easily now
there’s no airport here so to catch flights you’d have to go to Madrid there
was an airport they did build an airport here it was a very big infrastructure
project here the Castilla-La Mancha Airport and the idea was that it was
going to be a secondary airport to baracus in Madrid but financial problems
didn’t really get off the ground and I’m not really sure what’s happened
to it I think it’s owned by the Chinese or at least that’s what I read so I know
commercial flights coming in or out at the moment but that could change in the
future maybe I do not know so yeah you’d have to catch a train to Madrid
and then a plane from there and because we are bang smack in the middle of Spain
on the Meseta you’re going to get the typical weather hot summers and cold
winters although today we’re at the end of October it’s going to be about 23
degrees today so not too bad from that point of view but winters here can be
cold and summers can be hot and there’s also no river and the coast there’s a
long way away however there are places where you can go into the countryside
there is a wetlands here called the Tablas de Damiel don’t know whether you
can swim though or not but there are places where you can find a bit of water
and there is a water park here in theory out if you needed to cool off in summer
and another thing I’ll say about the city is it seems to be really really
safe last night in the centre we were near the cathedral walking around the
platform a or the main square and there was a police presence there no police
cars there were no police in the cars but you got the sensation that it is a
safe city and this would be a great city to bring up kids I must say and because
it’s a provincial capital you can get all of the services you need done in a
place like this this is a government building behind me you’d have your
social security officers here you’d have everything you needed to live well you
probably wouldn’t have to go to other places to get things done hospitals here
schools so from that point of view excellent Another name for that rial is it the
Royal City or is it the real City well I think it’s the Royal City although
that’s a bit ironic because there’s no Royals here
there’s no royal palace there’s no king or queen living here of course all of
that takes place in Madrid but it does have the name of theory al the Royal
City I think because there was a king that decided to give it that name back
in the day don’t know the exact history but I think that is the story they
changed the name of the city back in the day but no Royals present here and of
course Castilla-la mancha is famous for Manchego cheese which is one of Spain’s
most famous varieties and you can find it everywhere you go this is also an
area where there’s a lot of hunting going on so you’ll get a lot of products
related to hunting for example pheasants and that type of stuff
boar meat so those are the the main regional products it’s also a wine area
and I’ll be honest the ones are not too bad and fewer rial is also a university
city so for the months of the year when people are studying there is a bit of
life in this city but apparently when the course is in the city does get a bit
dead from a from a nightlife point of view and that let’s be honest there’s
not a lot of places around I didn’t see a lot of places last night to get a
drink but I’m sure there are a few here and the nightlife of course as in every
city in Spain is better than a lot of other places in the world this is one of
the reasons why a lot of people from Madrid decide to come to a place like
this because you can get a flat in the center of the city for a row you know
around a hundred thousand euros whereas in Madrid you’d be paying
anywhere from 250 to 300 thousand euro for the same thing most likely but here
as we can see for less than a hundred thousand you can pick up something flat
in the center of the city there four bedrooms ninety-two thousand euros. no
mas o menos tengo todo localizado el Cathedral aquí,
La Plaza Mayor por ahí y luego hay una iglesia que se llama San Pedro que también es…Bonito? now behind me here we have the the
Cathedral one of the main sights in this city and definitely worth a visit last
night we had dinner in the very same plaza here next to the cathedral and in
a city like Madrid you would expect to pay a lot of money but here it was not
expensive I think two people we were able to have dinner and a few drinks for
about 30 euros which is a good value for money
so last night this place was full of outdoor seating it was a great night it
was about 18 or 19 degrees were able to sit outside and have dinner
that’s a definite pro for a city like this wasn’t crowded able to get a table
really really easily and the food was not bad
I recommended and the service wasn’t bad either so were quite good from that
point of view and that’s one thing I will say that people in this part of the
world the people that I’ve seen so far are extremely friendly haven’t had a
problem to find anything everybody but has been more than helpful showing us
around and telling us what to see so great from that point of view is that
Man Quixote again okay now we’re coming into another of the must-sees here in
theory l which is the the Plaza Mayor yard and not the most exciting platter
my god I’ve seen although yesterday there were quite a few people sitting
out on the terraces having a drink and something to eat but this time today
quite quiet not one of the most beautiful ones that I’ve seen either in
fact my mate yesterday said that this is one of the ugliest cities that he has
seen here in Spain I wouldn’t go that far
it’s not that bad but definitely not one of the most visually spectacular places
in Spain I will say and as you can see here from the plateau my yard will have
a look around all of these places that we have here behind me
put chairs out there out door seating and these are all the
typical restaurants in the area serving the typical fare and the local wines as
well which as I mentioned are quite good somebody just shouting their Espania guy
over here on the bench obviously had a big night last night and sleeping it off
now unemployment in this part of the world is a bit of a problem
I think castilla-la mancha the region has one of the highest youth
unemployment in the European Union so the European Union puts a lot of money
into training young people trying to get them into employment normal unemployment
as well also quite high difficult to get a job a lot of people depended on the
construction industry a few years ago and of course the hole that let that
left was difficult to fill and tourism another one of the main industries and
also the agriculture as I said before but I have noticed that there are a lot
of English academies in the area so if you did decide to come and live in a
city like this and you’re looking for that authentic Spain experience you
could get a job teaching English reasonably easy I would think and the
other private course is that you have Madrid less than 15 minutes away by a
fast train so that’s always an option so work in a big city live in a smaller
city and get that good quality of life with a Madrid salary and again we see
the presence of el Quixote literally everywhere you go here you will see that
name and his offsider Sancho Panza and check out this for a
church why impressive but of course that is one thing that Spain is not short of
massive churches and every city that you go to has one or two and of course they
are realities we saw before also has a cathedral so that’s also something you
can come and visit when you come to a city like this but that’s also something
that I noticed last night is that there are very very few foreign tourists in
this city I saw a couple of Japanese people walking around a couple of other
people from Asia didn’t see the usual massification of tourism that you’ll see
in other cities in Spain so that is a definite pro
now this is one of the main areas where people come to eat and drink in theory
all this Street over here was teeming with people last night all of these
places behind me were also really really busy it being Saturday night of course
and there were lots and lots of people sitting out on terraces enjoying the
good weather that this city has to offer and the good food and with Quixote in
the background I’ll start to wrap this video up so if you are looking for a
small manageable city with high quality of life where you can live really really
well close to Madrid well-connected to hours away by car 50 minutes away by
fast train and your smack bang in the centre of castilla-la mancha this is the
city for you I recommend it as a great city to live and if you’re looking for
that quality of life aspect that you can’t get in bigger cities in Spain
anymore safe what more do you need the food is good and the people are friendly
questions or comments please leave them in the section below give the video a
thumbs up if you liked it I’ll see you in the next video
hasta luego


  • Reply Dave Murphy November 4, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    Great stuff. Love seeing off the beaten track places in Spain

  • Reply Cheaper Charlie November 4, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    What a quiet Sunday morning. Great for a spirited walk.

  • Reply Go Gym November 4, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Another great video👍👍👍

  • Reply John Newton November 4, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    excellent video stuart, i do like your out and about ones and as always its good to see these places from a tourist that doesn't tour type aspect if you know what i mean? property prices seem good, amazing to think that you are able to buy a good size apartment there as a parking place alone in san sebastian would cost in excess of 100k !

  • Reply H p November 4, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Stuart, just out of interest, what are your most favourite and least favourite cities in Spain ?…

  • Reply Charles Georgine November 4, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    If you are an animal lover, you will have hard times living in Spain. And the worst regions of Spain, where animals are very bad treated are Castilla y Leon, Castilla La Mancha, Extremadura and part of Andalucía. That part of Spain has still a medieval mentality, and keeps loving the time of Franco. People seem nice, but when you know them a little better, you would be surprised. I live 21 years in Spain and had my experiences… but thank you for showing the cities☺️

  • Reply Philip Lindley November 4, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    I think your mate isn't far off. Pretty ugly. Perhaps house prices reflect that fact?

  • Reply Nordkapp November 4, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Stuart, thank you for this, really like the comparative price index chart, perhaps you can build into future city and Portugal comparisons with Madrid as the reference point? What time of year were you there? weather is certainly alot better there (no rain!)

  • Reply Paul Graham November 4, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Really enjoying this series of videos!

  • Reply Welsh Toro November 4, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    Great to see you in this part of the country Stuart. It's little explored by foreigners and Spaniards alike. I have to admit that I usually pay flying visits through La Mancha, stopping off for a visit to something and some lunch somewhere. Last year I spent some time in Calzada de Calatrava, Almagro and Belmonte on route to Cuenca. All very interesting and some great castles. Consuegra is well worth a visit too with the quintessential windmills of Don Quixote. One thing that was very obvious was the small populations in towns and villages with very little employment opportunities. I'm sure it's a little better in Ciudad Real, as a regional capital, but youth unemployment is very high as you point out. Regions like this are suffering depopulation as the young clear out to find work elsewhere at the same time Spain's population continues to age. You can see it places like this.

    Personally I find the landscape a tad monotonous and a two hour commute to get to work each day is not likely to improve your way of life. I disagree that it's a plus that there are no tourists. Places like this desperately need tourists to fire up the local economy and the authorities have been promoting the region with Don Quixote tours and the like. To explore this region properly you need a car and it is worth doing but I think it's a tough recommendation as a place to move to for work, even when you factor the low cost of living. Cheers.

  • Reply Walter Casagrande November 4, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    one of the most boring city I ve ever been

  • Reply EzE Eze November 4, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Good review. I noticed your compliments for CR didn’t get past “not bad.” You ultimately recommend it as a “great city to live.” 🤔

  • Reply Albert Hernández Torné November 4, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    I live in Toledo since 1992 but for two years between 2008 and 2010 I was living there in Ciudad Real during the weekdays (the weekends I returned to Toledo and come back to CR on Sunday evening or Monday morning) because I did there the last two years of my chemistry degree and I liked so much living there. It's a very quiet city to live as Toledo and sincerely I keep very good memories of my two-year stay there.

  • Reply Soundgrounder Music November 4, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Stuart, nice one. Something happened there which i have never seen or heard before. I'm talking about the exchange you had with the local resident. It is a great idea to feature this more. I understand it may be rude to have a camera stuck in someones face whilst they are talking to you so you could turn it off or point it away but even to have the volume and the subtitles I thought really worked. It gives an extra dimension. Your pronunciation and understanding of the language is first class, why not try that more it makes a great watch/understanding.

  • Reply Enri Llor November 4, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    I was in Ciudad Real a few years ago, and the two things I liked the most were, first, the extremely friendly people, and second, the absolute lack of tourists!

  • Reply Ian Westwood November 4, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    Hi Stuart, Thanks for another great video. I love the series and am learning so much in advance of our move to Spain next year in retirement. I do have one comment and hope you will not be offended???? As you walk around it would be great to see more of the environment that you are in, some views and highlights, rather than have you speak into the camera so much. Hope you understand?? I would like to see more of what you are seeing. Anyway, please keep them coming, and thanks again.

  • Reply Aimara Rojas November 4, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    I have been around some countries in Europe, and I have to say, that from what I have seen, nothing compares to Spain. The people, the food, the history, the incredible natural beauty and varied topography, architecture. The different cultures, languages, music, etc. All in one country.

  • Reply Matthew Bevan November 5, 2019 at 12:44 am

    You were right by my house! There is an area for nightlife, called Torreon, with a load of bars and clubs. I agree, the people are very friendly here. Great video!

    Btw: las tablas is a national park, no swimming. But a lot of people go to ruidera to swim

  • Reply Luis Alfonso Rodrigáñez November 5, 2019 at 1:22 am

    It's very nice to have you here in my dear city, Stuart!

    The charm and beautiful sightings are in the towns around (check the El Viso Palace), but the capital city is perfect for living, mostly if you have a job with a 900+ € salary.

    I work as a receptionist at a hotel and I'm quite happy about the amount of visitors we have, is nice to welcome people to your place but not having the problems that massive tourism brings.

    I'm surprised you found the nightlife at the Torreón area scarce… You must be quite a party guy! 🤪

    If you need anything, just let me know!

    Keep up the great work man!

  • Reply denniszenanywhere November 5, 2019 at 2:53 am

    Good video. Where are the people? Is it because you shot the video on a Sunday?

  • Reply slafito44 x November 5, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Ciudad Real is a small provincial capital, a nice and livable city and could be more beautiful, but in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, as a result of great speculation, dozens of really beautiful and historical buildings disappeared, replaced by modern buildings of questionable good taste, for example the Town Hall 14:26. A widespread practice in all the cities and towns of Spain, that could be even more beautiful today…

  • Reply slafito44 x November 5, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    You've to confess it, confess!!!! … you've recorded the video on Sunday, to adapt the images to your comments and say the city is quiet and nobody in Ciudad Real or in Spain works or gets up early to work… you should not make videos so biased and with so many cliches …

  • Reply Randal Moore November 5, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Hey Stuart – I'm an expat from America (US) living in Barcelona (2 years now), pondering where to settle down. Your channel is awesome, very useful information. Thank you!

  • Reply Adewale Kadiri November 5, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Nice and informative video of a city and part of Spain away from the usual tourist hotspots. Thank you.

  • Reply Franciskito November 5, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    You have to move on to Badajoz!

  • Reply Ray Vogensen November 6, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    You were very gentle and vague about the airport, which is considered one of the biggest corruption cases in Spain and in Europe. According to the BBC the "Ciudad Real airport was the most spectacular raid on public money ever". Local politicians made a fortune off the inflated contracts, and they were never punished.

  • Reply Ray Vogensen November 6, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    I think "real city" would be "ciudad verdadera". The title Royal City arose because the king, Afonso X created a new city in in 1255. "Es por ello que Alfonso X decidió fundar una ciudad en una nueva ubicación, a 9 km de Alarcos, en la aldea conocida como Pozuelo Seco de Don Gil. Esto ocurre en 1255. … A partir de este momento la ciudad pasó a llamarse Ciudad Real. Desde su fundación hasta el siglo XV Ciudad Real vivió una época de crecimiento."

  • Reply Ray Vogensen November 6, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    Despite being a fanatic for everything Spanish I have never made it to Ciudad Real. But then I don't live two hours away by car. I have visited several places nearby though. Around the city there are loads of interesting sights like las Lagunas de Ruidera, located 132 kms. to the east, Almagro with its spectacular Plaza Mayor, located 27 kms. southeast of the city, and finally Calzada de Calatrava with the majestic castle of Calatrava, located 42 kms. south. An interesting trip is to come from Mérida in Estremadura crossing the immense region of dams and reservoirs passing through Almadén (mercury mines) and the industrial center of Puertollano. You cross one of the most isolated areas of Spain, called la Siberia.

  • Reply Pablo Gonzalez November 7, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Stuart just wondering if one day you would do a review on Aldea de Fresno

  • Reply Esperanza Barco Alonso November 7, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Ciudad Real was founded by King Alfonso X "El Sabio" (The Wise), this Is why it was named Royal City (Ciudad Real)

  • Reply Carlos Martín November 7, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    I find it surprising that an englishman shows me what my country is like!

  • Reply Fer Kara November 7, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    The more buring and agly city of Spain. Sorry but it is my opinion about this village.

  • Reply Tuiqpan November 8, 2019 at 6:51 am

    I live in Ciudad Real, the problem is that this city has just a few Big Shops, like clothes and food

  • Reply Tuiqpan November 8, 2019 at 6:53 am

    15:14 thats my school xD

  • Reply Karl_ November 8, 2019 at 8:34 am

    Muy bonita, gracias Stuart!

  • Reply Prado Muñoz November 8, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Viva ciudad real castilla la mancha

  • Reply Juan Muñoz Gonzalez de la Aleja November 8, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Thanks for the video of my city

  • Reply Oblongo 89 November 8, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Soy de ciudad real

  • Reply Alberto González García November 8, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Nowadays there is an airport working you normally can use.

  • Reply Sergio E November 8, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Esa es mi ciudaaad llevo viviendo 15 años

  • Reply ENVY November 8, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Hi I'm from Ciudad Real if u need anything talk to me! I'm here

  • Reply Lorena Carlota Alba Pallarés November 8, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Gracias por retratar mi ciudad de una manera tan bonita!!!!

  • Reply Zane Taylor November 8, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    G'day Stuart @soainspeaks enjoyed your vlog on Ciudad Real. Just wondering from the other side of the planet, do the Spanish realise Don Quixote was NOT a real person in history OR do the celebrate the liturary character that the Author created? I noted he was very prominent, in and around the City. It felt like the Spanish may think he was a real person? Imagine if the Italians had statues on Pinocchio everywhere and hero worshiped him, or the Americans paying homage to Mickey Mouse as a real mouse/person ….. Just wondering how the character is viewed by the people of Spain.

  • Reply Astrolabio Lotario November 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    If you want to know what a peaceful city is, go to a French city on Sunday morning… No people, no shops open, no bars, no cafés, nothing at all.

  • Reply Alpargata Turboalimentada November 9, 2019 at 2:02 am

    Me crié en Ciudad Real y hace 20 años que vivo en Sevilla. Hecho de menos aquello a diario. La tranquilidad, la actitud de los manchegos (los andaluces dan asco)…. Algún día espero volver.

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