Traveling to Madrid and looking to plan a day trip to explore the Spanish culture? Look no further than Toledo, Spain. With its proximity to Madrid, 72 km, Toledo is the perfect option to dive into the rich history of Spain. What makes Toledo such a great city to visit? In 1986 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the significant monuments and cultural heritage that lies within the city limits.
Toledo is also known for being a melting pot with over 2000 years of history. The City of Three Cultures; a name that signifies the Islamic, Christian, and Jewish cultures that united and intermingled within its borders, with each group adding their stamp to the city’s history and traditions.
Getting to Toledo
I recommend taking the high-speed train from Puerta de Atocha in Madrid. If you buy a round-trip ticket, it will cost about 21 euros, and one-way fares are about 13 euros. I opted to go with a one-way ticket because I wasn’t sure how long I would want to spend in the city. Next time I visit, I’ll go ahead and book the round-trip ticket.
The ride from Madrid to Toledo is a relaxing 30-minute trip. I enjoyed being able to see outside the city limits on Madrid, make sure to get a window seat.
Once you arrive at the train station in Toledo, you can either decide to walk into town (it’s a pretty walk, but it will be mainly uphill), purchase a City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off tour bus ticket, or take a taxi. As a quick way to get an overview of the city, I decided to pay 10 euros and do the hop on, hop off tour bus.
I was traveling solo with limited background knowledge of the Toledo, so I decided the best use of my time would be the City Sightseeing, Hop-On Hop-Off tour. This way I could quickly get acclimated to the city and plan out my day. The bus is one of the regular double-decker tourist buses that allow you to see 360-degree panoramic views of Toledo. Included in your ticket, you’ll find headphones to listen to the audio commentaries that are available in 12 languages.
Mirador del Valle
Mirador del Valle is the best scenic overlook, in Toledo, offering panoramic views of the whole city. It’s entirely gorgeous up there. Whether you do the bus tour or decide to explore the city by foot, Mirador del Valle is a must see on your trip to Toledo.
Bridge of San Martin
The bridge of San Martin is a medieval Bridge across the Tagus River located west of the historic center of Toledo.
Alcázar – Army Museum
Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to visit Alcázar, the Army Museum. The museum is housed in two linked buildings, the city’s historic Alcázar (castle) and a more recently built extension. Within the exhibits, you’ll find almost anything Spanish Army related, knives, swords, firearms, flags, uniforms, medals, archeological sites, and so much more. You’ll also have access to gardens, Charles V Courtyard within Alcázar, and beautiful terraces that make great locations for photos of the city.
I paid four extra euros to have the audio recording in English. I found that almost all the descriptions of exhibits are in English. If you want to save money, I would forego paying for the audio recording device.
Address: Calle de la Paz, 1, 45001 Toledo
Museo del Queso Manchego
Museo del Queso Manchego is a great place to stop in for samples of Spanish cheese and wine. You’ll first go through the three small exhibits and then take a seat at one of the tables. I was able to try three different types of cheeses made in Spain, paired with a glass of Spanish red wine, an apple jam, nuts, and two small pieces of toast with some red pepper spread. It was a great place to unwind and figure out my next stop Toledo. Plus, did I mention that I got all of that for 4 euros and if you have two people, it’s 7 euros total, an absolute steal.
Address: Calle Sixto Ramon Parro, 7, 45001 Toledo
Iglesia de Los Jesuitas
Iglesia de Los Jesuitas (Church of the Jesuits) is a beautiful church located in the highest area of the Historic District. Known for its history of the Society of Jesus, the art within this church is beyond spiritual. Not only is the outside of the structure easy to the eye, but the inside is as well. For me, I fell in love with the views from the two towers that you can climb and see the great views of the city.
Admission: 2.80 €
Address: Plaza Padre Juan de Mariana, 1, 45002 Toledo
Get Lost in Toledo
Wander around the narrow streets that make up the city of Toledo. While getting lost, I came to admire the ornate doors and winding alleys.
Garden of Tránsito
Relax and enjoy the Garden of Tránsito. If you have children with you, this is an excellent place for the kiddos to play on the playground while you sit back and enjoy the views of the San Martin Bridge.
Cathedral of Toledo
A visit to Toledo wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Cathedral of Toledo. This church is an impressive example of medieval gothic architecture.
The Sol Gate is a city gate of Toledo. Built during the 14th Century and best known for the medallion above the arch that represents the ordination Toledo’s patron saint, Visigothic Ildephonsus.
Bisagra Gate is the most popular gate in the city of Toledo. It’s considered to be the primary entrance to the town. Built during the Islamic period, 9th and 10th century, today there isn’t much of the original structure but as the city and culture grew so did the architecture of Bisagra’s Gate.
Other Sites in Toledo
- Stroll through the El Greco Museum
- See the Tavera Hospital
- Visit the many Synagogues
- Check out the sword and armor shops
- Eat Marzipan
- People watch in the Zocodover Square
Have you been to Toledo before? If so, what were your favorite sites? Were you obsessed with the ornate doors as I was? We would love to hear about your trip to Toledo.