SORIA is a modest provincial capital of around 40,000 – an attractive place, despite encroaching suburbs, and the inspiration behind much of Antonio Machado’s best-loved verse (the Seville-born poet lived here from 1907 to 1912). It stands between a ridgeback of hills on the banks of the Duero, with a castle ruin above and a medieval centre dotted with mansions and Romanesque churches. You can see all the sights easily in a day, but a quiet night or two has its attractions, especially if you use the city as a base to explore some of Castile’s loveliest countryside. The Roman site of Numancia, in particular, is an easy side-trip, while to the northwest rises the Sierra de Urbión, the weekend getaway of choice for Soria’s inhabitants.