Toledo, Spain, is the “City of Three Cultures”, known for its Muslim, Christian, and Jewish heritage present within the city walls. This city is the perfect day-trip from Madrid. If you have the time, staying a night can be well worth your time as well. Read on for suggestions on how to get there, things to do, places to eat, and where to shop in Toledo, Spain.
How to Get There: Take the train! It is so simple and very affordable. For non-citizens of Spain, there are ticket packages (Renfe Spain Pass) to save you money if you are planning on traveling by train to multiple destinations within the country. Find more information here.
Things to See and Do: This city is full of history and architecture. We are going to list just a few of the incredible places to tour in Toledo.
- Toledo Cathedral - Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo is one site that you are sure to not miss when visiting this city. Just from walking around, you’re sure to walk past it. There are many churches in Toledo, but this one is not one to skip. There may be an entrance fee to the church and may be closed during church services, that the public is generally able to attend.
- Mirador del Valle - an incredible panoramic view of the city
- Alcázar of Toledo - There is a library with a cafe plus the museum of the army located within the Alcázar. Don’t forget to explore the courtyards!
- Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes - This is an Isabelline-style monastery built by the Catholic monarchs
- Mezquita Del Cristo de la Luz - Built in 999,this is the oldest standing monument in the city of Toledo. Although small, this is something you won’t want to miss if you’re hoping to soak up Toledo’s multicultural history.
- Jesuit Church - Possibly the second best church in Toledo. Don’t forget to climb the tower! Sometimes there is a small fee of a few Euros to enter the church, and always be conscious of what you are wearing when planning on entering churches and synagogues.
- Circo Romano - While the building is long gone, you are able to tour the remains just outside of the wall of Toledo. You can walk here easily and this is a great excuse to ride the multiple outdoor escalators the lead into and out of the city!
- Santa María La Blanca - this synagogue was constructed under the Christian Kingdom of Castile by Islamic architects for Jewish use, one of the symbols of cooperation between the three cultures in Toledo’s history.
- Cerro del Bu - This archaeological site is located on Bu Hill just outside of the city’s walls. Tour preserved remains of construction and ceramic pieces on this hill as researchers continue to uncover history of who and how people settled here.
- Torre de Santo Tomé - The tower is attached to the Iglesia de Santo Tomé, located in the center of the city. The church holds a Greco painting that is definitely worth checking out.
- Piedra del Rey Moro - This can be a trick spot to find on a map, but if you are able to find it with a quick search or help from the locals, this can be a great hike with rewarding views of the city beyond the wall.
- Convento de San Pedro Martir - This is one of the richest and most important convents in the city and is organized around 3 spectacular courtyards.
- Universidad de Lorenzana - take a walk through a university located in Toledo.
- Synagogue of El Transito - explore the stucco work within this synagogue
- Museo del Greco - The museum holds a lot of artwork and recreates what the home of El Greco used to look like. The museum displays works that Greco based his paintings of of and how his style was unique compared to artists who painted people and scenery decades before him. The museum has a garden in which Albert Einstein visited. Einstein described Toledo as a “fairy tale” and was fascinated with the streets, the view of the city, the stonework of the bridges, the cathedral, synagogues, and sunsets.
Where to Eat/Drink:
- El Enebro - sangria and tapas, free taps when we purchased sangria
- Dragos - a great place near Plaza de Zocodover to grab a drink and begin your evening! Jesús is the bartender and is happy to provide you with large glasses of sangria for 2€ and the wi-fi password.
- Mercado de San Agustín - multiple floors from coffee, dessert, dinner, and a rooftop bar
- La Pepa - grab a seat with a coffee and a croissant, they also have delicious smoothies!
- Plaza de Zocodover - relax with a glass of wine and some marzipan from a nearby shop. If you’re craving fast food, you’ll find a McDonald’s, Burger King, and a Starbucks within the plaza (or just a short walk away).
Where to Shop:
- Jewish Quarters - get lost in the winding streets in the Jewish Quarters while shopping the best artisan shopping we’ve found in Toledo
- Calle del Comercio - the retail shopping center of Toledo where you can shop name brands you’ll find familiar as well as popular European brand names.
- Mercado de San Agustín - sample local wines here
Events to Consider Visiting During:
- Corpus Cristi - Corpus Christi occurs the ninth week after Easter each year and is one of the city’s most important and oldest festivals. The streets are all decorated with awnings, lanterns, and wreaths in preparation for the procession. You’ll find information that tickets are required to reserve seats, but you’ll be able to stand anywhere along the path of the procession ultimately leading to Plaza de Zocodover.
What to Bring on Your Day-Trip to Toledo:
- RFID-Blocking Passport Wallet
- Portable Adapter for on-the-go charging
- Motion relief accessories (traveling by train or through the countryside can enduce motion sickness for some individuals)
- Backpack suitable for train travel