Toledo, Spain is a beautiful, historical city just south of Madrid, the capitol of Spain. This city is really a “must see” for a full day trip, or, even better, two days with one overnight.
Toledo sits up high on a hill and has wonderful views. There is a river that surrounds it, the Tagus, and the windy roads and cobblestone streets and walkways are still from “medieval” times. This city goes back to 192BC, and there are still remnants.
Most tourists go to Toledo because they are visiting Madrid.
There is a high speed train, AVE, from Madrid to Toledo that takes 30 minutes. Cost is about $25 round trip same day. Arrive early for your train.
My friend and I took a bus (from Plaza Eliptica in Madrid), and the trip was just fine, we even fell asleep on the return trip. We had our own seats and got to relax and look out of the windows at the scenery. About $12. When you are dropped off, it is at the bottom of the hill, sort of a grand entrance to Toledo, so you have to hike up and it is steep. But we loved it because when we got to the top, we were blown away by the beauty, the view and the history.
Where to Stay
Parador De Toledo – Pricey but fabulous. We did not stay here, however we did go inside and look around because it was recommended to us. Incredible views, a pool, terraces and more, this was a gorgeous (and romantic) hotel with a lot of amenities (golf, horseback riding…)
Hotel Imperio – Budget. We stayed and it was perfect for us. Close to major historical attractions, this hotel has been renovated for comfort. Second floor rooms have balconies and there are great restaurants nearby. About $60 – 80 for a double room.
What to Do
Just wandering around this historical city is a “what to do” in itself. Great architecture, wonderful shops and restaurants to browse through and try and history at every site and smell can take you a whole day. It is a great walking city if you are up to it. Below were three of our favorite places we visited.
Casa Museo El Greco
This museum is an homage to El Greco, a brilliant 17th century painter and includes other masterpieces by 17th century Spanish painters. Located in Toledo’s Jewish quarter, the old architecture of the building(s) are as beautiful as the paintings inside.
Alcazar of Toledo
An old Roman palace, this incredible structure was under “siege” during the Spanish Civil War is on Toledo’s highest point. Now a museum, it is a must see for it’s architecture, views and history. Open Tuesday – Sunday. About $7 for adults.
A gorgeous. Gothic 13th century Cathedral and a must see. It took 250 years to complete, and it’s intricacy shows. Open all week at different times, this Cathedral has everything you think of when you think of old Cathedrals – spirals, buttresses, arches and more.
There are many smaller churches that are all worth seeing in Toledo because of it’s history and ancient background. One in particular, San Juan de los Reyes, a historic monastery, is worth a visit.
Where to Eat
There were many choices, and unfortunately, some of them included American fast food chains, if you go for that sort of thing when you are in another country, but you have to remember that Spaniards eat later – lunch at 3pm or so and dinner at 10 pm or so.
Hostal del Cardenal
This is the only sit down restaurant we ate in since we did a full day, stayed overnight and left the next morning. The food was great and so was the service. It had been recommended to us, and if you like good fish, this was the place to go. Prices were very reasonable (about 20 – 50 for main courses and they also have a fixed price menu).
I wish we’d had a chance to go here. Friends raved about this place, and the gorgeous views (it’s on a cliff), and it has gotten great reviews from all over. Modern and friendly kitchen.
Toledo is wonderful and great city to experience, young or old.