Just 70km off Madrid there’s this magnificient city, well known not only historical heritage (having been the main setting of Charles V court, for e.g.) but for the co-existance of muslims, jews and christians… all contributing to its vast architectonic richness.
Getting there is simple! Everyday from Atocha train station you are able to take the high-speed trains and you will get to Toledo in just 30mins! They run almost every hour, single ticket is around 12 euros and 20 for return trip.
Ok! Assuming you just arrived to Toledo’s train station… the city gates are just a kilometer away. I believe there are two ways to get there conveniently: The first (and most exciting one) is going through Alcantara bridge, over river Tajo… finding La Bisagra gate: built in the X century! Raise your head and you will be appreciating Toledo’s Wall. Getting across these gates is like traveling in time! You will find yourself in a small square with some El Greo replicas.
The second alternative is to keep walking alongside the road until the escalators… Yes! Escalators that can take you all the way up! Yay! This idea seems way more relaxed than the other but this mall/supermarket was built without matching with the city architecture… I don’t know, it kinds of lose the magic for that while! However… once you are at the top, the views from the terraces are outstading!
No matter the choice you took just continue to Plaza Zocodover, the neuralgic city center: I believe this is a great spot to start your tour around Toledo, either by foot or by the public trolley “Vision Toledo Train”; you can hop on every 30mins and the journey lasts about an hour! Ideal if you are short on time.
As I got there already, decided to do it by foot! Toledo is quite small and definitely worth walking. There are signs showing the way to the city highlights, but believe me that it’s easy to get lost! You may wan’t to grab a map somewhere or just download it to your pone using Maps.me (Offline maps app) and its GPS.
Then I leave a walking tour with some of the the most important city highlights. The distance is approximately 2.5km, it isn’t easy to give an estimated duration though, just take your time! In my case I made several intermediate stops, either to walk along some random little street I liked, enter a church, museum or just get lost around Toledo.
This is the meeting point of the city where tourists and toledanos coexist, small but picturesque, it is worth taking a moment to appreciate it; pleasant enough to have lunch or coffee cortado with churros at the terraces.
Miguel de Cervantes Monument
You can’t miss this one! Located beside Arco de la Sangre, just passing Zocodover Square and one of the finest statues of Cervantes that I saw… It’s about 2m high and casted in pure bronze. Go just a little bit further down the Street and enjoy the view!
Alcázar de Toledo
MUST! If you are looking for THE view of the city, whether to have a coffee or reading something, you cannot miss the Biblioteca de Castilla-La Mancha. On the top floor there’s this Cafeteria with the best views of Toledo. I recommend not only go up to the Cafe, but also to take a walk around the library, which guards a very old collections of books worth seeing, as well as aisles with benches to sit and appreciate the spectacular view.
In the same Alcázar there’s the Museum of the Army, a review by the Spanish warlike conflicts and its history. TIP! On Sundays admission is free.
Cathedral of Toledo
Considered one of the most important Cathedrals of Spain, with a unique gothic style, it’s an authentic example of the best of art in architecture, sculpture, painting, etc. Although the entrance seemed a little expensive (10 euros), definitely deserves a visit! Moreover, there’s a small museum with paintings by El Greco, Rafael, Goya and Caravaggio, among others.
The charming Town Hall (Casa del Consistorio) was in construction for almost 125 hundred years! After several interruptions the works from 1575 were concluded by 1703.
The Town Hall square (Plaza del Consistorio) used to be the city center of Old Toledo, surrounded by emblematic buildings like the Cathedral, the Arzobispal Palace and the House of Dean.
Santo Tome Church
The star of this place is the famous picture of El Greco “The Burial of Count Orgaz”. At its feet lays the tomb of Orgaz! There’s not much else to see… So the €2.50 entrance fee seems a Little bit excessive?
San Roman church
For just 1 euro, you can access to this old church made into a Visigoth Art Museum, although on the outside it doesn’t say much, the interior is fascinating!
Monastery of Santo Domingo
One of the oldest Convents with a looong history, slightly deteriorated but it is worthy of your time! See the inside of a real cloister! It is the home of some of the first paintings of El Greco and even manuscripts of the XIV Century! Including a work contract of El Greco, medieval carvings, relics and some striking wax miniatures.
Synagogue of Santa María La Blanca
According to some historians this is the oldest Synagogue of Europe, very well preserved, as the time went by this place was transformed into a Catholic Church, although no cults are celebrated anymore. The interior has horseshoe shaped arches that form five naves besides a beautiful dome. The entrance costs 2.50 euros… not a main attraction but if you have enough time, why not?
Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes
Beautiful outside and inside, a must-see! An impressive display of Gothic art, not for nothing was the residence of Catholic kings every time they visited Toledo. The central courtyard deserves a good time to wander and enjoy its architectural details.
The ticket also costs 2.50 euros and is totally worth paying for. Curious Fact: THIS PLACE APPEARED IN Game of Thrones!!!
Puerta del Cambrón
One of the gateways to the Walled City, also known as the Gate of the Jews, since it was the part of the city where the Jewish neighborhood was, along with several Synagogues. It is one of the better preserved entrances, actually you can read inside inscriptions about the tithe that the Jews had to pay in order to go through the door. A few meters ahead you will find terraces with terrific views.