What Is Toledo Best Known For? A Handy Guide With Activities, Transport, & Places To Stay

Planning to visit Toledo soon? You’re at the right place! Four to five days allow you to get lost in the streets and really take the time to absorb everything if you wish to discover this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Town to the fullest. Lied on the outskirts of Madrid, Toledo is easily accessible by bus or train in less than an hour’…

Nguyen Oanh

Planning to visit Toledo soon? You’re at the right place!

Four to five days allow you to get lost in the streets and really take the time to absorb everything if you wish to discover this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Town to the fullest.

Lied on the outskirts of Madrid, Toledo is easily accessible by bus or train in less than an hour’s drive. It is a must-visit attraction in the suburbs of Madrid.

The small town of Toledo has a long history, once ruled by the Romans before being taken over by the Islamic Moors and now the Spanish. It served as the ancient capital of Spain and now has become a melting pot of religious culture and architectural styles spanning various periods.

Read More: A Guide to Madrid, Top Attractions, Navigation, & Best Places To Stay

In this travel guide to Toledo, I will share with you my favorite things to do in Toledo as well as a brief guide to get around and my favorite food spots in town.

2 Best Ways To Reach Toledo From Madrid

By A High-Speed Train

Take the 30-minute Renfe Avant S-104 train from Madrid’s Atocha Railway Station to Toledo Railway Station.

The train is fully equipped with an air-conditioner, a power outlet at each seat, and designated storage to keep your baggage.

Tickets can be booked online. You can print it out or keep a soft copy to access via your smartphone. The fare costs about EUR 14. Get off at Toledo Railway Station and walk for 20 minutes to reach the center of Toledo Old Quarter.

By Alsa Bus

A tad longer than the train, a direct bus departs from Plaza Eliptica (Alsa Bus) for an hour’s ride. Tickets can be bought online. The arrival destination is Estación de Autobuses de Toledo which is 15 minutes away from the Old Quarter on foot.

For a hassle-free option, join a local one-day tour from Madrid if you’re traveling with children or elders or have language concerns.

Getting Around Toledo

You can easily get around Toledo on foot and connect major attractions that are very close to one another.

Despite the steep terrain and gravel paths, walking should be no hassle at all. Otherwise, taking a bus or hailing a cab also comes in handy if you’re on a shoestring.

With a few more pennies, you can benefit from their insightful sightseeing ride from the Toledo Train Vision Zocotren or a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus.

By Bus

For less than one EUR, you can consider taking one of the 20 urban and extra-urban daytime lines to get around Toledo with ease. Tickets are available for sale directly in person once you’re on board.

Most of the bus lines are centered around major attractions and city squares such as the Zocodover Plaza. Buses are in service from 7 AM to 10:30 PM.

By Taxi

Taxis are popular and affordable in Toledo, which comes in handy if you’re looking for a fast-track option to reach your hotel directly from the bus/train station.

By Toledo Train Vision Zocotren

Much like a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, Zocotren is a sightseeing train with an audio guide included to give you a glimpse into important sights of interest around Toledo. Reach out to the ticket provider at Plaza Zocodover to sign up for your trip, starting at EUR 6.5 per person.

By Hop-on Hop-off Bus

Hop-on Hop-off Bus tickets are available online while on-site tickets can be found at Zocodover Plaza. The iconic red double-decker bus connects ten popular attractions in Toledo, with prices starting at EUR 22.47 and valid within 24 hours.

At a few more bucks, you’re granted entry to Toledo Cathedral on top of the bus tickets.

You can get on and off at any stop, but if you want to join a guided walking tour, you must meet at Plaza de Zocodover 15 minutes before the designated time.

Things To Do In Toledo For An Insightful Exploration

Toledo Railway Station

Just ten minutes east of the Tagus River, Toledo Railway Station holds a rich historical value and plays a crucial role in Toledo’s history beyond its core purpose as a railway station.

Built in 1919, the current Toledo Railway Station mirrors the city’s historic architecture where you can take a step back and admire the vivid interior.

Today, the central hall is sandwiched between two side naves, one next to the clock tower resembling Toledo’s church towers.

Mirador del Valle

Five minutes south of Toledo Railway Station, Mirador del Valle boasts some of the most scenic vistas in all of the city. You can also stop here on a Hop-On-Off bus ride where the whole old town of Toledo is wrapped up in front of your eyes.

The quiet and peaceful ambiance makes it an ideal place to spend an hour soaking in the panoramic view.

Alcázar de Toledo

Situated in Toledo’s highest part, the Alcázar is a formidable stone fortification that once served as a palace and a fortress at the same time.

Thanks to its excellent location, Alcázar de Toledo watches over the ancient city of Toledo and offers a glimpse of the far-flung Tagus River Valley.

During the Spanish Civil War, the Alcázar served as a refuge, enduring a prolonged siege by Republican forces. This historic site stands as both a formidable fortress and a powerful symbol, echoing legendary tales from its past.

Here comes an interesting souvenir spot leading to the Alcázar.

Plaza de Zocodover

When the sun hits the peak, nothing’s better than a shelter at Plaza de Zocodover while munching on some good eats.

Wrapped up by towering old buildings, Plaza de Zocodover is steeped in a whimsical yet bustling feel, once acting as a venue for duels and bullfights.

Today, the central square is a vibrant meet-up of restaurants and events as well as impressive buildings and cafes. Rest your tired cores sipping on your cup of Joe and people-watch in this lively plaza. It’s just a short walk west of the Tagus River.

Toledo Cathedral – Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo

Executing a perfect blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles, this Catholic cathedral captivates you with its grand exterior that reflects the prosperity of Castile and imperial Spain since the 11th century.

During the Middle Ages when Toledo was Spain’s capital, this area served as a crossroad of Christian and Islamic cultures. For that reason, many nobles and merchants donated generously to the church, enabling the Cathedral of Toledo to boast luxurious interiors, exquisite artwork, and magnificent architecture as you can see today.

Monastery of Saint John of the Monarchs

A short 15-minute walk west of Toledo Cathedral, the Monastery of Saint John of the Monarchs has stood the test of time since it was first erected in 1477 under the reign of King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I.

Today, the washed-out Gothic-style monastery still impresses with its atrium and Mediterranean-style garden. Take a closer look at its beautiful church and cloister or climb to the second-floor balconies for a unique view of the city and countryside.

San Martin Bridge

Crossing the cascading Tagus River, the 14th-century bridge offers a moment to absorb the city’s historical charm out of its medieval stone structure.

The bridge was set up to replace transport by wooden boats that crossed the Tagus. It was once destroyed during the civil war in Castile but soon managed to undergo a renovation and ended up with two heavily fortified towers at the two ends of the bridge.

Silhouettes of the monastery are reflected along the walkway.

Nueva de Bisagra Gate

Making way to the entrance of Toledo, the Nueva de Bisagra Gate has been held up since it came around in the 10th century.

Originally of Arab origin, Nueva de Bisagra was rebuilt in the Renaissance style by Alonso de Covarrubias in the 16th century, boasting two faces.

The city side features a semicircular arch with two square towers, adorned with Charles I’s coat of arms. Meanwhile, the outer side displays an arch with the city’s coat of arms, flanked by two massive circular towers.

Munch On Toledo’s Authentic Staples

No visit to Toledo is complete without munching on its local tasty bites. If you’re seeking a regional delight, jot down heavyweights like Carcamusas, Cuchifrito, Pisto Manchego, and Manchego Cheese!

To delight your sweet tooth, don’t forget to seek a crunchy bite of the almond-rich Marzipan!

This is one of the most common sweet treats enjoyed as part of the Christmas tradition.

Toledo Marzipan has been around since the 16th century, first created by the nuns who ingeniously mixed almonds with sugar. Today, marzipan is widely sold in many shops across Toledo.

Best Places To Stay in Toledo

Visiting Toledo for the first time?

Stick to the Old Quarter!

The lively atmosphere here and proximity to renowned restaurants make it easier to get around and explore major attractions.

Note that dragging luggage on gravel roads can be challenging. If not taking a taxi, you can opt for accommodation around the bus station, considering easy access to transportation hubs such as the train or bus station.

Alternatively, consider staying by the bank of the Tagus River if you’d rather steer clear of the business of the Old Quarter. This area provides an ample setting and serenity amid the beauty of Toledo.

Here are some of the best hotels in Toledo you can consider:

Parador de Toledo: is the go-to choice if you wanna stay atop Cerro del Emperador hill. The hotel offers stunning views of the Old Quarter plus there is a refreshing swimming pool to recharge at the end of the day.

Hotel Princesa Galiana: is the best call if you wanna soak up the appealing Spanish charm. The hotel is adorned with an armored knight at the entrance despite its location next to a busy road.

Hotel Hospederia Casa de Cisneros: is across the road from Toledo Cathedral. This family hotel is set on the ruins of an 11th-century Muslim palace. With rooms styled in a 16th-century fashion, its prime location adds to the allure.

Toledo is a must-visit. Given its proximity to Madrid, plan at least two full days to cover most of the important sights at a leisurely pace. The city is on a hill so be mindful of the steep terrain.

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