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Posted by on Jan 22, 2017 | 109 comments

A Perfect Day in Toledo: Travel Itinerary

Trying to decide if you want to visit Toledo makes no sense.  If you are visiting Central Spain, you want, need or are compelled to visit Toledo.  You do not need to question yourself or make a decision.

In a similar way, you do not think about it twice when you encounter the opportunity to revisit Toledo.  I stopped by the city more than 10 years ago as part of a month long trip across the European continent.  I remember how I walked the narrow streets, stood under the light of El Transparente and marveled in front of El Greco’s masterpiece.

Toledo was my first taste of Europe’s grandiose architecture and rich history.  It was a dream come true to return to the place that stole my heart so many years ago.

A Bit of History

Toledo is known as the “Imperial City” for having been the main venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and as the “City of the Three Cultures”, having been influenced by a historical co-existence of Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Toledo was part of the Roman Empire during antiquity.  Once the Empire entered a period of decadency, the city was controlled by Visigoths and later conquered by North African Arabs (this is the period were the three religions co-existed).

The city was taken by the Castilian king during the Reconquest. Toledo continued being a cultural center during that period.  Arabic or Jewish texts were translated to Castilian and vice versa.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

How to Make the Most of the Day

It feels remorseful to write about how to spend one day in the city.  There are more than 30 museums and monuments in Toledo.  Plus, there are special exhibitions, interest specific tours, ecological routes and much more.

Yes, it is difficult to narrow a visit to one day but, being realistic, most travelers would visit as a day trip from Madrid.  Here are some considerations to make the most of the day:

  • The train from Madrid to Toledo takes about 40 minutes
  • You will need transportation from Toledo’s train station to the city center. Once at the station, you can take a taxi, public bus or touristic bus
  • Try to arrive to the city as early as possible
  • Toledo is touristy. There is no doubt about that.  Do not worry.  Visitors tend to congregate around Plaza Zocodover and the Cathedral.  You will be fine once you move from those areas.
  • Since the city is so popular with visitors, almost every church, monastery, synagogue and museum charge an entrance fee. Prices range from 2 to 10 Euros. It may be more cost effective to get a touristic card or pass (depending on how many places you want to visit).
  • Many tourist companies and vendors are located on the train station. Resist the temptation and compare prices (and ask for advice) at the tourism office located in the city center.
  • For folks on a budget, it is possible to enjoy Toledo without entering every single monument or spending a lot of money. This is one gorgeous city!
  • A company called Cuentamelo Todo offers free tours of the city

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Places to Visit

Mirador del Valle (Valley Viewpoint)

I recommend starting your visit by taking an open bus (or taxi) around the city (outside the walls, on the other side of the river). This is the only way to admire the famous panoramic views.

When negotiating your ride to the city center, ask if you can be driven around the city first.  Make sure you will have a stop at the Mirador del Valle.  To me, this is a must!

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

El Alcazar

The city’s most notorious building is located on the highest part. Once used as a Roman palace in the 3rd century, it was restored under the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. This is where Hernán Cortés was received by the Emperor after the conquest of the Aztecs.

Today, it houses the Army Museum and the Castilla-La Mancha Regional Library.


A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Zocodover Plaza

This small plaza houses the Visitor’s Information Center.  It is a nice meeting point but crowded and overpriced.  Avoid eating around and staying too long.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Catedral Primada (Primate or Gothic Cathedral)

The cathedral of Toledo dates from the 13th century and it is considered by many experts, to be the magnum opus (the most important) work of the Gothic style in Spain. It was begun in 1226 and the last Gothic contributions were made in 1493 (one year after the discovery of America). It also combines some characteristics of the Mudéjar style.

One of the most outstanding features of the Cathedral is the altarpiece called El Transparente. Its name refers to the unique illumination provided by a large skylight cut very high up into the thick wall across the ambulatory behind the high altar, and another hole cut into the back of the altarpiece itself to allow shafts of sunlight to strike the tabernacle.


A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Ayuntamiento and Plaza (City Hall)

The City Hall and the Archbishop Palace are located across the Cathedral. There is a nice plaza among the buildings from where you can relax and people watch.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

La Juderia (Jewish Quarter)

During Moorish rule, most of the Jewish contingent of Toledo lived in this area. They were allowed to work, raise families and practice their religion.  Much of this area has been preserved over the years and is now on display for tourists.

This is where the city’s more interesting architecture can be found.  Inquire about guided tours in the Visitor’s Office.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes (San Juan Monastery)

This Franciscan Monastery has Gothic and Mudejar architectural influences.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca (San Maria Synagogue)

This is considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing.  Its stylistic and cultural classification is unique as it was constructed under the Christian rule by Islamic architects for Jewish use.


A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Sinagoga del Transito

This synagogue is famous for its rich stucco decoration. It holds a museum with exhibits about the Jewish history in Spain.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Iglesia de Santo Tome

This small church holds the masterpiece of El Greco, El Entierro del Conde Orgaz.  As the name implies, the artist was born in Greece but lived and worked in Toledo for a long period of time.  He is considered one of Spain’s Master Painters.  A museum dedicated to the artist is located nearby.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Puerta de la Bisagra

This door was built to resemble a triumphal arch. It holds the imperial shield of the Roman Holy Emperor.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Puente de San Martin (Saint Martin’s Bridge)

This medieval bridge has five arches and two doors.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

Puente de Alcantara

This bridge has Roman origin and was reconstructed during the Moorish and Christian times.

A perfect day in Toledo, Spain: A Travel Itinerary

More Details

Have you been to Toledo?  What are your recommendations?

Ready to pin? Let’s do this!

Toledo, the City of Three Cultures, makes a perfect day trip from Madrid. Here are some recommendations on what to see and how to make the most of your day.



  1. It’s always wonderful to travel to new places and see amazing architecture Rita. I’ve never been to Toledo before now, so thank you for sharing your fantastic photographs.
    Have a wonderful week 😀

    • You are right! Architecture is one of the things that draw me to European cities. I can’t get enough of the different styles in so many cities.

  2. Beautiful architecture – your series of photos is like a wonderful travel presentation

    • Thanks a lot Carol! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. It is touristy for a reason. Visiting “all” of Spain is top on my list and I’d love to see these beautiful architectural in person.

    • Visiting “all” of Spain is something I would love to do. I wouldn’t mind living in the country. I just connect with it.

  4. Great post, with wonderful photographs and a lot of information. I am fascinated by the synagogue designed by Islamic architects under Christian rule.

    • I was fascinated by that synagogue too. I thought it was very unique, like something I have never seen before.

  5. Your description and photos make me realize i am so very much deprived. I hope i can still see Spain in this lifetime. So thank you so much.

    • I hope so too! Spain is one of my favorite countries in the world for a reason. It has great cities, food and natural areas.

    • Well, I imagine it is nicer since it is smaller and cozier. Plus, there are tons of places to visit not only in the city but in the surrounding areas.

  6. beautiful city! I’ve visited Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. I’d like to visit Toledo and Sevilla and Granada one day:) #citytripping
    Tanja recently posted..WPC: Graceful (my cat)My Profile

    • I want to visit Southern Spain too! I have plans for my grand tour but I need the time to do it ;0)

    • Wow! That sounds great! Where you able to visit the surrounding areas? I know the city is surrounded by artisan towns.

  7. Ah anything related to Spain and I love it! I would love to visit Toledo! It looks absolutely beautiful! Pinned! #CityTripping

    • Me too! Spain has so many great places!

  8. Absolutely love Toledo!! One of my favorite places ever! I lived in Madrid for college semester abroad and the city stole my heart too. Beautiful. #citytripping

    • I am pretty sure you got to know the city very well. It would be a dream to stay in the Madrid area for some time (a couple of months will do it for me).

    • Didn’t get to visit those two places! I googled the castle and it looks stunning! Thanks for the tip.

    • The Jewish Quarter was so beautiful! I found ton of surprises on it. It was a pleasure to stroll the streets.

  9. So informative! I love how rich in culture Toledo is… If I ever get to visit Spain again, I’d love to make a stop there.

    • Oh yes! This place is very rich in culture. Will need pages to describe all the historical events related to the city.

    • Believe me, more than a day is needed. I felt bad rushing through the attractions (and skipping some).

  10. I would love to visit Toledo (and Madrid… and Seville and Córdoba among others) and your photos have just confirmed that. Great tips on what there is to do there and some fascinating history. #citytripping
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted..City Tripping #61My Profile

    • Thanks Cathy. Yes, there are so many places to visit in Spain. It is kind of difficult to decide what places to visit. It is like 10 trips are needed to properly see the country.

  11. I have to admit, I actually haven’t heard much about Toledo before but the city looks so gorgeous, especially the palace!!

    • Agree! The Alcazar is the crown jewel of the city. It is huge! So bad I didn’t have time to enter. A guy told me they had an exhibition about Puerto Rico.

    • Ok,I get a feeling of the places you like.

  12. It looks like a wonderful city – I’d love to spend some time exploring Spain. When I saw the post’s title I thought it would be about Toledo, Ohio, another city I’ve never seen.

    • Ha, ha! That is funny. Toledo, Ohio and Toledo, Spain are sister cities, by the way. I imagine they are very different.

  13. Amazing architecture! I’ll look forward to seeing your Sedona photos too. Great travel minds think alike!

    • Sharon, agree! Seems like we have similar tastes in travel. Have a good one!

  14. Wow, visiting the Valley viewpoint is definitely a must! That’s some amazing architecture going around. It’s hard to imagine trying to cover all these in a day trip! #CityTripping
    Bumble Bee Mum recently posted..Dahlia Dreams 2017 @ Gardens by the BayMy Profile

    • I feel you. I think I rushed too much. Not enough time in one day to cover all the wonderful sights in the city.

  15. Oh it does look so beautiful! Some bits remind me of Salamanca. We spent 48 hours on Madrid last year but unfortunately didn’t have time to see Toledo. I shall remember it for another trip. Oh, and I do love a good Roman bridge don’t you! #citytripping
    alex muir recently posted..Take An Alicante Food TourMy Profile

    • Roman bridges rock! Have to agree with that. If you enjoy Roman ruins, you have to stop by Segovia. it is an easy day trip from Madrid too.

    • Thanks Marcella! I was swoon by the architecture too!

  16. It seems all the countries bordering the Medditerranean Sea are full of interesting places!
    When we travel, we’re not trying to see as much as possible, but like to get a feel for the culture and way of living, as well as art. Long time ago we decided on the South of Spain, stayed at the town Malaga, birthplace of Picasso (where closeby the Rock of Gibraltar, and the Moorish palace (forgot its name)
    By the way thanks for visiting me on Tuesday -couldn’t figure out if you are helping with the meme”Our world”?

    • Hello Jesh, I haven’t visited southern Spain but I know you are referring to The Alhambra (Moorish Palace). I do not help with the “Our World” meme but like to visit several people who participate.

    • Your welcome Danielle! Glad you were able to get a glimpse of Toledo.

  17. Toledo looks pretty amazing! The architecture is incredible and that bridge! It seems like the locals have worked hard to preserve their rich history.

    • I think this city has been protected by the country. Spaniards know this is a place full of history. They have worked hard to preserve the heritage.

  18. We are traveling to Spain this summer and doing a road trip (starting in Madrid) – I literally have 0 idea why Toledo isn’t on our list of places to visit! Pinned for later 🙂

    • Well, hope you can include Toledo in your plans. It is one of the prettiest places in Spain!

  19. Very beautiful! I can see why it’s so popular.

    • Ava, you are right! I think it is pretty obvious why it is popular.

  20. Ruth I have been to Madrid several times now but never to Toledo although I have always wanted to. Loved your inspiring post so I’m more determined than ever to get there. Thanks for sharing with us on #farawayfiles

    • Katy, I am glad you have Toledo in your plans. This city will blow you away. There are so many interesting and charming places to visit.

  21. Toledo is as you say easy to visit as a day trip from Madrid. We arrived by train and were captivated by the tile work and design of the train station. We stayed there so long that all the buses had left so we walked into the city!

    • I didn’t include the train station in here but it surely deserves a mention. I can’t believe such a beautiful building welcomes you to the city.

  22. Toledo looks incredible! I can’t believe it hasn’t really been on my radar before! Your photos are fantastic particularly the ones from the valley viewpoint. Spain has so many pretty cities and towns with rich histories…I need another road trip! Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    • Agree with you! Maybe another road trip is needed. Believe me, I am dying to go back to the country.

  23. Lovely! I’ve not been but my husband was in Spain for business and was able to tour Toledo for a day. Someday!

    • Lucky husband! It should be nice to be able to travel to interesting places for work. You guys have to go to Spain together.

  24. Toledo is so unbelievably beautiful! It was one of my favourite day trips during my trip to Spain! Your photos and words capture it perfectly and really brought me back to one of my most memorable trips!
    Lynne Sarao recently posted..3 Must-do Hikes in Zion National ParkMy Profile

    • So glad you love Toledo too! I get chills thinking about it. I would like to explore more of the province in the future.

  25. Toledo looks incredible and just like my kind of destination. Sadly, my only visits to Madrid have been overnight transfers and so I never got the chance to do a day trip out. Your photos are amazing and I love me some grandiose architecture so this definitely confirms that I need, want and am compelled to visit Toledo the next time I’m in Spain. Pinned for then!

    • David, I think you will enjoy this part of Spain. Not sure how much time you have spent in the country but will recommend it if you have not explored a lot of it.

    • Thanks Allison, I am sure yo understand the reason.

    • Your welcome Jim! The mix of cultures that still lives in Toledo is what makes it special. I am not sure if there city like this one.

  26. Toledo is one of the most amazing cities in Spain. I couldn’t stop taking pictures there while my husband and our son could’t stop shopping for swords. If you want original, best quality Spanish swords, then Toledo is the place to go. We had a very hard time bringing them home however.

    • Anda, the first time I went to Toledo, my travel companions had problems bringing the swords back home too. Customs wanted to confiscate them. After they complained and complained, they let the swords on the plane under but guarded by the flight attendants.

    • On the contrary, I have never been to the Costa Brava area. You need to check out other parts of Spain. I think you will find them very different from Catalonia.

  27. Fascinating to learn about a place that has a mix of Christian, Jewish, and Islam. I was thrilled to see all of the great architecture from synagogues to cathedrals to bridges. Thanks for sharing your explorations of Toledo!
    Brooke of Passport Couture recently posted..Chinese New Year 2017 InspirationMy Profile

    • I am glad you liked the post. The mix of cultures and architectural styles is what makes this city so unique.

  28. Great post and beautiful photos. I was drawn to reading this as we visited Toledo a few years back, whilst on a trip to Madrid. The place is amazing and I loved the maze of little streets and you could explore do hours. We even climbed the bell tower, which I am still not over being afraid of heights but the views were spectacular. Great post #flyawayfriday

    • Are you referring to the cathedral’s bell tower? I didn’t know you were able to climb it. Bummer!

  29. I love the way you talk about traveling to Toledo like it isn’t a choice! It has always seemed such an amazing blend of cultures and I would love to visit. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • Erin, glad you enjoyed that but there are certain cities that give you that feeling. It is like you really have to visit them for one reason or another.

  30. Toledo is such a beautiful city! Was there 5 years ago, and your pics made me wanna go back! Catedral Primada is one of the most beautiful gothic cathedrals I´ve ever been to…#TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Anna, I agree with you! The Cathedral is beyond words.

  31. Love!! Thank you so much for posting all the tips and beautiful photos! I’ve only been to Barcelona but taking a train around Spain is on my to-do list! Can’t wait to start planning that trip! xoxo

    • I will love to do more train travel around Spain. We have done the Madrid-Valencia-Barcelona-San Sebastian-Madrid circuit. Would like to do the southern part of the country.

  32. It’s funny. I don’t know many people who have been to Toledo, but everyone who has says it’s their favorite Spanish city! Unfortunately, our visit to Toledo will have to wait until next year, at least. But…Pinning this in case we get to go sooner! Thanks for the details and the gorgeous photos!
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) recently posted..This Week in Travel News: 27 January 2017My Profile

    • Rob, I totally get the people who say that. Toledo has everything you want to see and do in a concentrated core and still retains a small city feeling.

  33. I really enjoyed your photos and descriptions of Toledo, Ruth. It looks like the sort of place I’d like to spend longer in than is possible on a day trip. Great tips too. Thanks for sharing this on #FarawayFiles

    • Correct! I feel so bad for only having a day here. There is an entire province to explore.

  34. I am kicking myself that we couldn’t make it to Toledo. We wanted to but ended up with so much work in Madrid, we didn’t make it. Next time for sure. Great post

    • Thanks Paula. I hope you are able to visit Toledo in the future.

  35. I loved Toledo even though I visited on a bitterly cold day. I want to go back again when the weather is warmer, and my hands don’t freeze to the camera. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. #TPThursday

    • Your welcome Nancie! I can’t think of the city (or the country) as a cold place even though I know in can get miserable in the northern and central regions.

  36. Toledo looks absolutely gorgeous, your photos have made me want to go even more. I may go to Madrid sometime this year, hoping to squeeze in a visit to Toledo as well. #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Vlad recently posted..This Is Why You Need To Visit Portugal In 2017My Profile

    • That would be great. Spain is always a good idea (at least to me).

  37. Silly me thought you meant Toledo, Ohio. Looks like there’s so much to do that it would be hard to cram it all into a daytrip. I’d really like to take that bus ride outside the walls, the San Maria Synagogue and the Gothic Cathedral.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Different Views on Washington, D.C.My Profile

    • You are not the only one! Looks like I need to make it to Toledo, Ohio. The two cities are sisters.

    • Wow! That sounds great! I bet you saw a lot of beautiful cities and places.

  38. What a charming city! You can imagine the street and the buildings telling their stories… Great captures!

    • You have a put things in a perfect way. Thanks for your comment.

  39. Thanks for the great tips. My husband and I are heading to Spain in the summer! Will definitely try to get here!

    • Hope you can go to Toledo. I am sure you will love the city.

  40. At first, I thought you were talking about Toledo Ohio and was shocked – haha! But really, the photos are absolutely gorgeous! Need to get myself to Spain!!! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this week!

    • Well, if you take a look at the comments, you are going to notice you are not the only one. Will have to visit that Toledo.

  41. Aww Toledo is so pretty! I went a few years ago when I studied abroad in Madrid and loved it. Such beautiful alley ways and architecture!!

    • Wow! I would have loved to study in Madrid. So great you had that opportunity.

  42. Thank you, Ruth !


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