A monumental old town that falls in love (Toledo)

Toledo It has several ways of defining itself: “the imperial city” or “the city of the three cultures”. In the terms we like to refer to on the blog, it is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Spain and for various reasons.

Toledo it is pure history materialized in the form of walls, palaces, its cathedral, synagogue, or vestiges of Muslim domination. That’s where the “three cultures” comes from. But above all, what makes this city impressive is its history, located on a huge hill (almost surrounded by the Tagus River).

The old part is accessed by bridges, porticoes, walls are crossed, and you begin to walk through a city so well preserved as to deserve to be recognized as World Heritage. If we add to this that it is very close to Madrid, the idea of ​​visiting it ceases to be a possibility and becomes unavoidable for any visitor: on a high-speed train we will be in a very short time enjoying this urban labyrinth full of stories to tell.

For example, from one of its most photographed bridges you can access the historic center with the imprint of the Alcazar of Toledo located in the highest part of the city:

Images Matias Callone

But if there is another monumental construction in Toledo, it is the cathedral itself:

Toledo, Spain The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo

It is a catholic temple (gothic style). Its dimensions are colossal: about 120 meters long, 60 wide, and inside five ships plus a cruiser. The finished tower is the only one that could be completed in a project that included two.

When one walks through the city one begins to understand the importance of the history embodied in its architecture and constructions: in the modern age it was the seat of the Catholic Monarchs until 1561 when the court moved to Madrid. The subsequent decline due to the loss of the royal seat is the same that managed to preserve it almost unchanged until today in its old part:

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Some of the bridges that provide pedestrian access to the city of Toledo:


By day and by night, walking the streets of Toledo is a highly recommended experience:



The monumental display of its architecture also explains the reason why Toledo is a World Heritage Site.  Another of its buildings to highlight is the monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.  From the top, the styles, domes, towers and roofs that appear on one of the most beautiful urban hills in Spain are varied:


Toledo is a collection of details in each facade:

Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain

And although the historic center is traveled in relatively little, the stories that its walls can tell us deserve to spend a lot of time.  For example, the city, due to its power in court times, attracted artists (protected by patrons).  Toledo was the birthplace or residence of Garcilaso de la Vega, or El Greco, and there are rooms and museums dedicated to them.

Toledo, Spain

Towards the river, another view of Toledo:

Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain

Toledo is one of the most recommended historic centers to see in Spain, and there is little to discuss.How to get around Toledo


You can explore it on your own (using, for example, the tourist bus (**) or access to monuments with the Toledo Card), but you may also be interested in consulting the guided tour options. (For example, here you have a guided tour option that includes a visit to the great monuments in a total duration of about six hours). Other guided activities in Toledo

(and always in Spanish).

– Night tour through the mysterious Toledo.

– Underground route through forgotten Toledo.

– Night tour through the Toledo of the Templars.

– Private tour of Toledo

– Balloon ride over Toledo.How to get to Toledo from Madrid

. I think there is no easier option than the train. Trains leave from Atocha station every hour. In just 30 minutes you will be at the Toledo train station (which by the way alone deserves some photos for its historic building next to the platform). Once at the station, it only remains to walk for about 5 minutes to one of the medieval bridges that form the entrance to the old town of Toledo.How to book the AVE train + tickets + transport in Toledo

. If you wish, you can book the AVE train ticket + the Toledo Card at a convenient price (which includes access to the Primate Cathedral without queues, the Church of Santo Tomé where there is a masterpiece by El Greco «The burial of the Lord of Orgaz» , the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca and the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes). You can make the reservation for several people, and with this pack you will also have transportation included in the panoramic bus (which also takes you from the train station to the old town). I think it is a good way to organize the trip on your own but saving by buying a promotion that is difficult to improve in terms of costs. Also from the previous link you can add a guided tour (and without queuing) to the cathedral.

You can see more options in the post 4 easy ways to go to Toledo from Madrid

Images Matías Callone via Flickr under CC license (**) This post contains outgoing links to hire third-party services at no extra cost to our readers.You might also be interested in:

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