What to See in Toledo

What to See in Toledo

What to See in Toledo: On a hill above the Tagus River, in a privileged situation, in the beautiful city of Toledo, one of the most interesting and ancient in Spain, known as the City of the Three Cultures due to the coexistence throughout the centuries of Muslims, Christians and Jews, who have left their legacy here, making it an essential destination for any traveler. Therefore, we have decided to present to you the Best Things To Do In Toledo, Spain

How to Get to Toledo From Madrid

Toledo is one of the perfect excursions from Madrid since it is only 72 km away. From the capital, and is perfectly communicated by train, bus, and of course, by road.

  • Train: they leave every hour from Atocha station and take 30 minutes to get to Toledo. The price is $16.73one way, but there is a promotion of $13.36 for a round trip. Definitely worth it.
  • Bus: this is the cheapest option, since it only costs $12.09 round trip, although the journey takes a little longer, 1 hour. Suppose the bus is direct and 1.30h. with stops, leaving from the Plaza Elíptica interchange. Check the schedules in ALSA.
  • Rental car: If you want to travel comfortably, and you have decided to rent a car, from Madrid taking the A-42 road you will arrive in just 54 minutes.
  • Guided excursion: If you have little time and want to make the most of Toledo, it is best to book a guided excursion, for which you have several options, take a midday excursion to Toledo, combine it with beautiful cities like Segovia and even with places as emblematic as El Escorial and El Valle de Los Caídos + Toledo, or simply take it easy and discover it at your own pace traveling by high-speed train and without queues.

Where to Park for Free in Toledo?

Toledo is a city in which it is much better to forget about the car since most of the sites of interest are in the old town of a medieval walled city, considered one of the largest in Spain and Europe (2,6 km²), with narrow streets, regulated with parking meters, and most of them with access only for residents with security pivots that prohibit entry. Therefore, if your option to get to Toledo has been this, and although there are numerous paid car parks, we recommend several places where you can leave your vehicle for free:

  • Safont: by the access descent to the Toledo bus station, we find the Safont car park, from where you can take an escalator that will take you to the center in just 10 minutes, although if you prefer to go up the steep slope of the tour, it will take between 25 and 30 minutes.
  • AVE station: In front of the train station, on the other side of the Tagus river, there is a free car park where you can leave your car, and although it is a bit far from the center, also taking the Safont ski lift, you will be there in about 15 minutes.
  • Zona del Circo Romano-Venta de Aires: This unpaved and bumpy car park is well known by the people of Toledo, as it is very close to the Paseo de Recaredo escalators, which go from the Puerta de la Bisagra to the Puerta Cambrón.
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What to See in Toledo: the 12 Essential Places in the City of the Three Cultures

And the time has come to discover why Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, thanks to its historical and cultural legacy, which we are going to know through the 12 best places to see in Toledo :

1. Toledo Cathedral

One of the essential places to visit is undoubtedly the Cathedral of Santa María de Toledo, not only for being one of the representative monuments of the city but also of the Spanish Gothic, along with that of Burgos and León.

In addition, the Primada Cathedral of Toledo, which began to be built in 1226 on the foundations of a mosque, which in turn had replaced a Visigothic temple, claims to be the second-largest cathedral in Spain, after Seville. However, its large size is not appreciated as it is surrounded by buildings.

The exterior is exquisite with its towers, vaults and doors, but the interior houses authentic treasures, such as the choir and stalls, the impressive altarpiece of the main altar, or its imposing sacristy with works by El Greco, Luca Giordano, Goya, Van Dyck or Titian among others. Therefore, we recommend that you count on spending 1h30 minutes on your visit to the Cathedral of Toledo, and I assure you that it will know you little by little.

  • Address : C / Cardenal Cisneros, 145002 Toledo
  • Hours: from 10 am to 6 pm. Monday to Saturday and from 2 pm to 6 pm. Sundays and holidays.

2. Puerta Del Sol

Since the 1st century AD, in the form of a small tower, the Puerta del Sol gives access to the walled city of Toledo, modified over the centuries until it became in the 14th century the jewel of Mudejar art that we can contemplate today. With the scene of the miracle of the imposition of the Chasuble to Saint Ildefonso, sculpted on its arches.

The interior is also really fascinating, but it is open to the public a few times a year. If you are interested in seeing this monument that will soon adorn the € 2 coins, contact the Toledo Tourist Office directly.

  • Address: Callejón San José, 2, 45003 Toledo.

3. Monastery of San Juan De Los Reyes

Another of your essential visits in Toledo is the Monastery of San Juan de Los Reyes, ordered to be built in 1476 by the Catholic Monarchs after the Battle of Toro, originally thought as the place where his remains would rest, and today it is considered as the most representative building of the Elizabethan Gothic.

As you can see, its exterior is rather modest, being the west facade the one that attracts the most attention with chains and handcuffs of the prisoners who were freed after the reconquest of Granada, but its interior will captivate you with a Renaissance cloister with beautiful windows. a Plateresque style staircase and a Mudejar coffered ceiling worthy of admiration or a Gothic church with a single nave, among other corners.

The whole place is a true work of art, don’t forget to bring your camera!

  • Address: Calle Reyes Católicos, 17. 45002 Toledo.
  • Hours:  from 10 am to 6:45 pm from March 1 to October 15, and until 5:45 pm from October 16 to February 28. (The ticket office closes 20 minutes before).

4. Santa María La Blanca Synagogue

The old Santa María la Blanca Synagogue was built in the 12th century, is called the Greater Synagogue, as it is the main center of Hebrew worship in the city. Although it was converted into a church in 1390, today it is a curious museum with a clear Mudejar style more typical of a mosque, and a strange irregular plan with five naves, where its 32 impressive white octagonal columns stand out, with capitals adorned with pinecones and scrolls. Do not forget to visit this place, declared a National Monument since 1930.

  • Address : Calle de los Reyes Católicos, 4
  • Hours: from 10 am to 6:45 pm from March to October 15 every day and until 5:45 pm the rest of the year.
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5. Alcazar of Toledo

On the highest hill in the city, dominating the views of Toledo from practically any point is the robust building of the Alcázar de Toledo, built as the royal residence of Carlos V in the 16th century on top of an old medieval castle that was destroyed almost by full.

Throughout its history, it has had a multitude of uses such as a prison, barracks, silk workshop, infantry academy, and currently houses the Army Museum, with various exhibitions on the military history of Spain, the evolution of the military strategies and weapons.

Tip: Do not leave without visiting its large terrace, which will give you charming views of Toledo.

  • Address: Calle de la Unión, s / n, 45001 Toledo. See map
  • How to get there: From Plaza de Zocodover, there are buses 3, 62 and 94, you can walk since it is relatively close, although the journey is uphill, or with the escalators of Paseo de Recadero or in Safont, which take only 5 minutes.
  • Hours:  from 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday.

6. Door Hinge

The Puerta de la Bisagra, with its imposing monumentality and Renaissance style, welcomes us since the 16th century to this fortified city, with its arch accompanied by two semicircular towers crowned with the coat of arms of Carlos V, whose statue is also located in the inner courtyard, until we get to show us the inner façade with two rectangular towers, which preserve remains of the first previous door of Arab origin, topped with original pyramidal roofs, and everything, under the guardian angel that protects the city.

This gate was part of the monarch’s urban plan to give Toledo the appearance of Imperial Capital since it was anchored in the Middle Ages and not only served for the defense or surveillance of the city but also for the collection of taxes. Known as portazgo.

A few meters from there, you can also see the Puerta de Alfonso VI or Antigua Puerta de la Bisagra, built in the 10th century with various modifications of the Mudejar style, which is well worth a visit.

  • Address: Calle Real del Arrabal, 26, 45003 Toledo.

7. Alcántara Bridge and San Martín Bridge

The privileged enclave of Toledo, surrounded by the waters of the Tagus River, means that it has several bridges, but without a doubt, there are two of them that are a must-see: the San Martín Bridge, declared a National Monument in 1921 and located in the western area. And the Puente de Alcántara, considered the oldest monument in the city, although of course, both have suffered various damages and reconstructions over the centuries.

  • Address: Bajada San Martín, 45004 Toledo.

8. Church of Santo Tomé

In the Jewish Quarter, a must-see in Toledo, is the Church of Santo Tomé, settled in the 12th century in a mosque preserved exactly the same since no buildings were destroyed in the city’s taking. It was not until the 14th century when the minaret was changed for the bell tower that we see today, in the Mudejar style.

During your visit to this church with 3 naves, you will be especially struck by its Main Chapel with mixtures of Mudejar and Flamboyant Gothic styles with an eight-pointed star dome, the two Baroque altarpieces and another Plateresque, the baptismal font from the year 1,300, but above all, the painting of The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, the famous Renaissance work painted by El Greco , which attracts thousands of tourists.

If you are a lover of art, and of this painter in particular, remember that you can not only see his works here, but also in the Monastery of San Juan de Los Reyes as we talked about previously, and in the Museo del Greco.

  • Address: Plaza del Conde, 4, 45002 Toledo.
  • How to get there : buses: 5D, 11, 61, 62, 94.
  • Hours:  from 10 am to 6:45 pm from March 1 to October 15 and until 5:45 pm from October 16 to February 28. (the ticket office closes 20 minutes before)
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9. Mosque of Cristo De La Luz

This small temple of about 81 m². It is an example of the Islamic past of Toledo, being one of the 10 mosques that came to the house the city. The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, built in the year 999, is undoubtedly another of the places that you should not miss, not only for its antiquity but for its impressive architecture, which they claim to be an exact copy of the Mosque of Cordova.

In addition, during your visit you will also be able to see Romanesque paintings inside, a Roman site with an old road considered one of the most important in Spain, as well as take a walk through its beautiful garden with charming views of the city, where passing of the water will accompany you at all times. An ideal place to relax!

  • Address: Calle Cristo de la Luz, 22, 45002 Toledo.
  • How to get there: buses: 5D, 61, 62.
  • Hours:  from 10 am to 6:45 pm from March 1 to October 15 and until 5:45 pm from October 16 to February 28. (the ticket office closes 20 minutes before)

10. Synagogue of the Transit

Once again, we return to the heart of the Jewish quarter to discover the Tránsito Synagogue, which was built in 1356 as an oratory of a great palace and is currently considered the greatest example of Sephardic architecture in Spain.

The façade of this red brick building with a bell tower makes it impossible to imagine that inside we will find a Jewish synagogue with striking geometric designs, large windows, a beautiful wooden coffered ceiling, and above all the Sephardic Museum, where you can learn a little more about the history of the Jewish people in our country.

Recommendation: When you finish your visit, don’t leave the area without getting lost in the streets of the Jewish Quarter of Toledo. You’ll love it!

  • Address: Calle Samuel Levi, sn, 45002 Toledo.
  • Hours:  from 9.30 am. at 7.30 pm. Tuesday to Saturday between March 1 and October 31 and until 6:00 pm from November 1 to February 28. Sundays and holidays from 10 am to 3 pm (The ticket office closes 15 minutes before).

11. Church of San Román

The Church of San Román, another example of Toledo Mudejar from the 13th century, houses the Museum of Visigoth Councils and Culture, where valuable pieces are exhibited, such as crowns from the Guarrazar Treasury, trousseau from the Carpio de Tajo necropolis and many other vestiges.

  • Address: Calle San Román s / n
  • Ticket price:  $7.22per adult – Free on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 4 pm to 6.30 pm. and Sundays from 10 am to 2.30 pm.
  • Hours: from 10 am to 2.30 pm and from 4 to 6.30 pm Tuesday to Saturday, and Sundays from 10 am to 2.30 pm. Closed Monday.

12. Mirador Del Valle

Last but not least, we arrive at the Mirador del Valle, a quiet and peaceful place where you will get the best panoramic views of Toledo, seeing the most emblematic buildings mentioned above. It was built in the seventeenth century and has served as an inspiration to many painters such as Sorolla or Picasso, and who knows if for you too. Without a doubt the best postcard of Toledo!

  • Address: Ctra. Circunvalación, s / n, 45004 Toledo.
  • How to get there: If you go by car, there is a parking lot right next door, although it is usually quite full, so you could choose to take the tourist bus, the tourist train from Plaza de Zocodover, or bus line 71.

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