Toledo, the city of three cultures… Christians, Jews and Muslims, they lived within its walls together whose features can be recognized in the art and architecture of the city. Besides, the group “Toledo School of Translators” worked together in the city during the 12th a century to translate many of the philosophical and scientific works from Classical Arabic that contributed to the creation of conditions for the Renaissance.
This historic walled city is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and was Spain’s former capital. This city is often compared to Jerusalem. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Wandering its small streets, you will feel its magical atmosphere. You can explore this city in a one day. That´s why it is a good choice for a day trip.
Here are some ideas for a day trip to Toledo from Madrid!
Getting to Toledo
Toledo is only 30 minutes train ride from Madrid and 45 minutes by bus. I prefered going by bus because my hostel offered a day tour by Express Tourist Bus Toledo for 24 € to bring us until the center of Toledo and bring back to the center of Spain. Also they brought us to the best spots for panoramic views of Toledo. As another option, you can buy a one-way bus ticket only for 5 € and train ticket for 13 € on the website of goeuro.
What to Do in Toledo
Toledo Cathedral: It was built in Gothic style in the 12. century on top of a mosque, that used to be a church before. It is one of the most important monuments of Toledo, served as a translation center where many philosophical and scientific works were translated from Arabic and Hebrew into Latin and Castilian.
The Alcázar: Don´t miss visiting the beautiful fortress of Alcázar,with the military museum and the regional library. It was built on the highest point of the city for military benefits. The Alcazár was almost destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. Later, it had been rebuilt as a military museum by Franco. Besides, it is one of the greatest places for a panorama view.
Buy a Toledo Tourist Bracelet: The Toledo Tourist Bracelet will allow you the entrance to the seven most important monuments of Toledo. It costs only 9€ and does never expire. You can buy it at the entrance of any monuments.
With his bracelet, you will enjoy the cultural legacy left by Christianity, Judaism and Islam in Toledo. Santo Tome Church where you can see the Greco’s masterpiece “The Count of Orgaz”. Jesuitas Church is a baroque style church which offers one of the best views of the city from its towers. Santa Maria la Blanca synagogue was the main synagogue in Toledo´s Jewish quarter, later it was converted into the church. Church of El Salvador was built as a mosque, but it became a Christian church. There, you will find the Visigothic pilaster carved with four scenes from the life of Jesus. San Juan de los Reyes Monastery was built during the reign of Elizabeth of Castile, one of Spain’s most powerful queens. It is an example of Elizabethan gothic style that was predominant in Spain under the monarchy. Cristo de la Luz Mosque is the only remaining mosque of ten that once existed in the city. It was built in 999 and was transformed into a church in the 12th century. Real Colegio de Doncellas Nobles was an educational institution.
Puente de San Martín Bridge: Puente de San Martin Bridge is built over the Tajo river. It is one of the landmarks of Toledo and one of the most important historical bridges – built in the 13th century – in Spain. It is also an entrance to the city. Following the bridge, you will find yourself in the Jewish Neighbourhood, La Juderia.
Mirador del Valle: It is an amazing viewpoint where you can watch the entire city of Toledo.
Museo del Greco: El Greco is one of the most important and influential Spanish artists of all time. This museum shows an extensive collection of El Greco’s pieces from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Plaza Zocodóver: This square was the main center of commerce. Today, it is a popular meeting point for locals and travelers but also the place where festivals and ceremonies take place.
Where to Eat in Toledo
Lo Nuestro: This restaurant offers the typical dishes of the Spanish cuisine. I would recommend you to taste Carcamusa (Sauté Pork with Tomatoes).
Manchego Chese Museum: It is the place for cheese and wine lovers. Only for 4€, you will try a cheese of their best selection and a glass of local wine.
La Abadía: This restaurant is my favourite. You will eat inside a building from 16th century which looks like a cave. They use local products and have the best tapas that I have tasted so far. Croquttes and calamari are highly recommended!
As you can see Toledo offers you anything from food to the history. It is very much worth it to visit!
Have you ever been to Toledo in Spain? What did you like most?
P.S: All photos were taken by me with Sony Alpha 6000.