I love ticking as many boxes as I can when I travel, and so when we had a spare day in which to explore outside of Madrid, I was looking for something a little different…. Luckily the walled town of Toledo isn’t far away, and given that it’s famous for the influences of the very different three cultures – Moorish, Jewish and Christian – I thought it would be a great place to see another side of Spain. Toledo turned out to be a lovely little trip into the countryside, a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with small squares, cobblesd streets and historic gates at every turn. I definitely recommend.
The doorways of Toledo are a thing of dreams
Toledo is dubbed the city of three cultures because of the successive empires that have ruled it over time – Romans, Visigoths, Moors and the Spanish. That has made for a mix of Jewish, Arabic and Christian influences that can be seen still in the architecture, food and people.
We took the train from Atocha Station in Madrid, it took about 30 minutes and through warm toned Spanish countryside. You’ll get off the train at the bottom of the hill, from which you’ll need to journey up to top of the hill where the walled town sits. If you can, skip the bus or a taxi and walk, you’ll go over ancient bridges, under ramparts and through big Moorish gates. You’ll earn those sweets!
Visit the historic fort of Alcazar, we skipped the army museum and wen straight up to the courtyards.
Check out the incredible Gothic Cathedral, we took a moment to get out of the heat, sit in the pews and crane our necks at the soaring buttresses.
Wander over to Mirador Del Valle (it’s an hours walk) to see the city from the other side. Amazing!
Visit one of the ancient Synagogues in the town.
Wander the streets of the old town, taking your time to drink in all the lanes and doorways. The best way to see Toledo is to walk its narrow cobblestoned streets and get lost.
Take a break off at Moorish tea house Teteria Dar-Al Chai, my fave!
For a more fancy meal, try Adolpho, it’s been around for 25 years and it somewhat of an establishment.
For a quick lunch, get marketside at either the newly refurbished Mercado San Agustin.
Try the local sweets, made from Marzipan. Traditionally made by cloistered nuns, you can still get the original ones from one or two of the convents.
Good to Know
The town is small and relaxed, so is perfect for a day trip. If you wanted to settle in to a laid back few days it would be a good weekender too.
The view from Alcantarra Bridge, wandering up to the city from the train station
You won’t be able to (or want to!) miss the local sweets.
A quiet moment in the town centre. Feeeeeel the romance.
The Courtyard within Alcazar
So many textures and patterns in Toledo!
Isn’t the internet a glorious thing? No sooner do you have a question, i.e. ‘where should we go on a day trip from Madrid?’, but then you have the answer, in the form on dozens of informed, detailed and completely genuine recommendations. You guys were once again so useful in as guides for us to decide where to day trip too. Thank you thank you!