Are you wondering what to see in Spain and find yourself close to Madrid? Being so close to Toledo, you might as well make your way down to the old capital of Spain for a night or two.
Toledo is a truly magical location and also a UNESCO World Heritage site. In ancient times, Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived here together in harmony – making the city of three cultures (as it was known in the Middle Ages) one of the top destinations to add to your list.
We went down there to experience this for ourselves, and were blown away by everything Toledo has to offer. Inspiring architectural styles, a vibrant cultural history and it’s also located close to some of the most prestigious wineries in the region.
So make space in your itinerary, because Toledo is one of the most famous places in Spain, definitely deserving of your undivided attention.
Where Is Toledo?
Located in the magical Castilla La Mancha region, Toledo is around an hour’s drive from the capital, Madrid. But if you want to be as time-efficient as possible, book a train ticket.
High-speed trains run daily from Madrid to Toledo and only takes 33 minutes. Make sure to allow extra time to buy your tickets and organize transport from the station to the city centre of Toledo. You can also take a guided day tour from Madrid, if you’re looking for easy and informative travel.
Transport to Toledo: Train Station
The Toledo train station displays picturesque stained glass windows and an impressive roof made of planar trusses. The train station, built in the 1920’s, shows the wealth and elegance of the era’s design and reflects the Mudejar architectural style.
When exiting the train station you can either take a bus or a taxi to town. We wouldn’t advise walking to town since it is quite far and mostly uphill!
Map Of Toledo, Spain
It might be helpful to download or buy a map of the city of Toledo before visiting. If you’re only visiting Toledo for a day trip or on your way to the Hanging Houses, it is advised to plan where you want to go, as well as your route, to make the most of your time in this city.
Things To Do In Toledo, Spain
If you are wondering what to do in Toledo, don’t fear. We have gone on a search to find all the must-see attractions, our favourite local Spanish and Middle-Eastern inspired restaurants, and the best regional wineries.
Visiting Spain: What To Do In Toledo
Well, the options are endless. This ancient city sits majestically on a hilltop above a gorge, overlooking the Tajo river. This picturesque site in itself has plenty to explore, so be sure to take a bunch of snapshots.
Toledo is well-known for its art masters, diverse architecture, and of course, being at the top of the culinary chain.
If you want a new perspective into the country’s previously known capital, then put the Madrid sightseeing on pause and head down to Toledo. We’ve included some of the best attractions Toledo, Spain has to offer.
A wide variety of cultural diversity and a vibrant mix of styles. If you’re looking to emerge yourself in a truly cultural experience, Toledo won’t disappoint. You can even take a guided walking tour of the gorgeous historic city, with tourist passes to its seven top monuments!
Cathedral of Toledo
If you want to explore the art of the masters, against a beautiful architectural backdrop, then add the Toledo cathedral to the top of your attraction list. Boasting a mix of architectural styles, this cathedral is one of the top 10 cathedrals to see in Spain.
The location of the church was always a place of worship. First it was home to Toledo’s central mosque and in 1085 it was converted into a church.
The whole church got destroyed and in 1220 they started to build the cathedral, with its gothic structures and mix of different architectural styles.
One of our highlights is all the art made by famous artists, including Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco, that decorate the walls of the sacristy. You can also climb up to the bell tower to get magnificent views over the historical landscapes of Toledo.
Alcázar of Toledo
Abd-ar-Rahman III raised a fortress (a very large fort) known as the Alcazar in Toledo, Spain during the 10th century. It was rebuilt as a royal residence for Carlos I, but the court moved to Madrid and the site became a military academy.
It almost got destroyed in the civil war of 1936 but acted as a symbol of powerful nationalism because of the famous refusal of commander Moscardó, to give it up in return for his son’s life.
Today, you can visit this military museum and discover the wide array of war memorabilia -which includes an impressive sword collection. What we loved most were the displays of the ruined state of the castle. You can also expect a gruesome site, stumbling across the recreation of Moscardo’s office, wrecked with bullet holes.
Take a look at some tours around the Alcázar of Toledo.
Synagogue of El Transito and Musea Sefardi
This synagogue houses the Museo Sefardí where you can gain insights into the Jewish history of Spain. The main prayer hall has been restored by experts and contains elements of Mudéjar decoration.
In this building, founded in 1356, you can expect to find archaeological artifacts, a memorial garden, traditional costumes, and ceremonial objects.
Santa Cruz Museum
All art-lovers listen up! At Musea De Santa Cruz you will find a wide selection of beautiful arts and ceramics.
The ground floor of the museum has a cross-shaped layout – making it a truly remarkable site. All the art in this museum is accompanied by explanatory boards, which will give you a better perspective into their historical context.
Toledo Rampart: The Old City Walls
Toledo’s old city walls are a beautiful sight to behold. The wall is incomplete, but it is the design that will grab architecture-lovers attention.
When you cross the bridge and walk through the tower gate you’ll be stunned by the city gate of Toledo, with its keyhole-style arches that open into a long, zigzagging, open-air hall. The zigzag pathway made it easy for defending soldiers lining on the rampart above to see invaders who would enter the town. This forms part of common defensive construction in classic Moorish times.
If you head upwards, you will reach the top of the ramparts. Should you go left or right? Well, if you have city views in mind, take the dead-end to the right. If you want to head back to the city for some tapas and wine, head left!
6 Best Restaurants In Toledo
Suckling pig is one of the town’s biggest specialties, so if you want to indulge in a cultural mixture of foods and flavours, you have come to the right place. Having influences from Jewish, Arabian, and Spanish culture, you can expect to be in culinary heaven upon visiting the town of Toledo.
Nowadays, the country’s cuisine is influenced a lot by its Arabian roots, which can be seen in the rebirth of Arabian inspired dishes. We have gone on a search to find some of the best restaurants in Toledo for you to try out:
Tulaytula Cafe & Restaurant
Tulaytula offers something unique if you feel like you need a break from Spanish cuisine. Expect to find Moorish food with a lot of Arabian influences. Vegetarians will be able to enjoy the delicious beet tabbouleh, and other Arabian delicacies like baba ganoush, hummus, couscous and tagines. Locals like to feast here, so we would recommend you try it too!
Escuela De Hosteleria Toledo
Why should you head to this hotel school for dinner? Well, it offers a sampling menu of a few courses, prepared by the cooking school students. This is an exceptional Spanish culinary school, where you will get first-hand experience on what is cooking in the test kitchen. Be sure to reserve a spot in this trendy, popular restaurant way ahead of time.
For interesting tastes, textures and food that looks too good to eat, head to Escuela De Hosteleria.
Taberna El Botero
With guests making special mentions of the black cod, the freshly baked bread and the tasty tapas, we think you have to visit this unique little restaurant. Downstairs, you can enjoy tapas while having a drink in the allocated bar area. If you want to enjoy the beautifully-presented food with all its Spanish flair, ask to be seated in the upstairs restaurant area.
Book in advance if possible, as this restaurant is quite popular!
This authentic Spanish restaurant offers hearty dishes for a very affordable price. Local favourites include the partridge and the veal – so be sure to try those if you want to taste traditional dishes from the region. Guests also make mention of the delicious paella and deer stew that they’ve tried at Lo Nuestro.
If you’re in search of a good deal, be sure to try out their daily tasting menu.
With a warm and wonderful atmosphere, located outside of the concentration of tourists in old town Toledo, you can find El Albero restaurant. It will offer you a true traditional Spanish experience. The food is exceptional and so is the staff – they will make sure that you’re well attended to during your visit to their restaurant. If you’re looking for an intimate experience, try this local favourite.
Comes Restaurant And Pizzeria
We know how hard it can be for vegans to find a suitable place to eat while traveling. Especially in countries traditionally serving a lot of meat. Although this option isn’t an authentic Spanish experience, you will at least know that vegan and vegetarian options are available.
Comes is a modern restaurant specializing in Italian cuisine. Guests absolutely devour their thin-based pizzas and rumour has it that it’s up to Italian standards. Comes is one of the only places in Toledo serving food all day. So make a trip down there to curb the hunger pains.
Madrid To Toledo Day Trip
We would strongly advise on spending at least one night in Toledo, so you can experience all the attractions, Toledo Spain wants to introduce to you. If you only have time in your itinerary for a day trip, we would recommend booking a day trip from Madrid.
There is a good mix of tours to suit everyone’s needs, including visits some of the most well-known wineries in the region and cultural visits to some of the town’s favourite sites. Here are 9 of the best Madrid wine tours, so you can pick your favourite one!
Get inspired by architecture and the wonderful presentation and taste of gastronomic wonders. Emerge into the accepting diverse culture, where the rich history of old town Toledo lies waiting to be explored. And if you don’t feel inspired to embark on a journey to Toledo just yet – book a wine tour and soak up the glorious Spanish sun while enjoying the robust, regional wines.