Toledo may shadow today next to Madrid, the capital. Relatively small in size, Toledo is however large, actually huge, in the nations´s history. Learn about about to spend the perfect day in this fascinating city in this Toledo city guide.
Toledo, located in the region of Castilla la Mancha, used to be the capital of Spain till this honour changed in favour of Madrid. Toledo was once a super religious power and the centre of a multicultural society that, despite not always in peace, managed to live together in the middle ages.
Walking its streets is like walking in an outdoor museum. It is so close to Madrid that it is very easy to get to Toledo by either train or with one of the many excursions and tours that departure from Madrid everyday. The visit is worth every minute!
Toledo travel guide - Contents
TOLEDO TOP ATTRACTIONS
OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
Our 3 top accomodations in Toledo
Hotel San Juan de los Reyes
Eugenia de Montijo, Autograph Collection
Tres Lunas Apartments
5 Top Reasons To Visit Toledo
The perfect day trip from Madrid
Its proximity to Madrid and its easy access by train or motorway make of the excursion to Toledo the most popular amongst the day trips from Madrid. The high-speed train from Madrid to Toledo departs from Atocha and takes half an hour. From the train station, you will need to walk to the escalator to avoid the steep hill to the historical site.
A city of 3 cultures
Few cities in the world can pride themselves to offer a stroll through history and religions in such a small place. You will get lost in the labyrinth of streets of the old town of Toledo where Sinagogues, Mosques, churches, monasteries or the cathedral co-exist.
A Unesco heritage site
A stroll through the streets of the old town of Toledo is to walk back in history. Toledo was recognized as a Unesco cultural heritage site in 1986. There are so many sights that preparing for the trip to Toledo is no easy task. We strongly recommend planning well ahead and set your priorities to avoid hesitation on the spot. The most “typical itinerary” in the city will take you from Plaza de Zocodover (the modern main square of Toledo) all the way to the Monastery and Church of San Juan de los Reyes and the other side of the walled city. Through this itinerary, you will enjoy the top highlights: the Alcazar, Tornerias mosque, the Cathedral Primada, Jewish quarter and its Sinagogues, Santo Tomé and the Greco´s burial of Count Orgaz painting, interesting shopping streets full of shops that offer damasquinos and swords, and the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, from where you will be able to descend to the bridge of San Martin to enjoy fantastic views.
Due to its location at a hill next to the Tagus river, you will be able to enjoy some of the best views in Spain from the other side of the Tagus river during your visit to Toledo. To enjoy the very best views you will have to cross the Puente de Alcantara (best by car or taxi) and stop at the Parador Nacional for a coffee, or at one of the restaurants or viewpoints. The views of the cathedral, Alcazar and the messy Jewish district are fascinating.
Art galleries, army museums, tortures museum, sky jump for children and much more
Due to the number of tourists that arrive in Toledo every day, the city has developed a good number of activities to ensure there is something to be enjoyed by everyone. You will find cultural activities, art museums, ethnographic museums, and activities for children.
One of the best things about Toledo is that all its sights (and there are many) are at walking distance from each other. The streets of Toledo are pebbled, so you want to make sure you bring with you comfortable shoes. If you stay till dusk and manage to get to the other side of the Tagus river you will be delighted by the amazing views of the city at night.
Weather In Toledo
You can expect pure continental weather. Rain is pretty unlikely in Toledo and you may only have some risk to get rain from mid October till March.
Temperatures in Toledo in both July and August range 90F and probability of rain on those months is almost nil (with the exception of some occasional summer storms) The city hall of Toledo installs awnings on many of the tourist streets. Most restaurants and hotels offer aircon and there are many shops where you can purchase bottles of water at reasonable prices.
Best Time To Visit Toledo
Our favorite months to visit Toledo are June (the Corpus Cristi Fiesta is the time of the year in which the city is most impressive due to the flower decoration in the streets. be ready however to share the experience with many other visitors!) Other excellent months are March, April, May, September and October.
Bear in mind that most restaurants in Toledo will be close on Sunday nights and mondays.
Most popular attractions in Toledo
The Cathedral and the Monastery of San Juan de los reyes are in our view the 2 top highlights in Toledo (besides its amazing views). But there are many more attractions. Find them all here.
Brief History of Toledo
This provincial capital has some 53,000 inhabitants and lies above the Tagus in the middle of the Meseta of Castile. Toledo is one of the oldest cities in Spain, it was captured by the Romans in 192 BC and named Toletum. The Visigoths occupied the city in 418. In 527 the 2nd Council of Toledo took place. From 569 Toledo was capital of the Spanish Visigoth empire.
The city fell into the hands of the Moors in 711. Alfonso VI of Castile recaptured Toledo in 1085 and from then on Toledo became capital of the Kingdom and also the focal point of the Church in the whole of Spain. Ferdinand III, the Holy, founded the cathedral, and Alfonso X, the Wise, set up the famous school of translation, which made Toledo a centre of medieval knowledge. The city lost its political importance when Philip II moved his court to Madrid.