Discover Toledo Spain: things to do in the city of 3 cultures

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Imagine a charming hilltop city enclosed by historic walls with countless churches, mosques and synagogues. Toledo is such a place. This cultural city has more than 2,000 years of history – it has seen numerous cultures and dynasties walking through its walls. For centuries, the Romans, Jews, Moors and Christians have lived here and left their mark on the old town. Because of that, Toledo is famous as a city of three cultures and a world cultural heritage site. It’s also one of the oldest and most unique cities in Spain. Toledo is a UNESCO-listed city and historical gem of Spain. It’s one of the popular day trips from Madrid – a journey here takes only 30 minutes by train. Whether you come here for one day or stay a little longer, there are many incredible things to do in Toledo, Spain.

 

Take a closer look at this city, and you’ll find out that Toledo offers something for everyone.

what to see in Toledo

With its combination of history, culture and scenery, it is no wonder why Toledo stands proud in Iberian history.

 

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Why you should visit Toledo, Spain

Madrid to Toledo day trip

As you already know, Toledo is famous for its mix of cultures and is one of Spain’s best-preserved old towns. But that is not all – this city is also world-famous for one of the biggest churches in the country and traditional crafts such as swords and handmade marzipan (sweet almond candies). You can also find artworks by El Greco displayed in the local churches, convents, and El Greco Museum.

 

The best things to do in Toledo, Spain

things to do in Toledo

If Toledo is on your itinerary, these are the 19 best things to do in Toledo, Spain.

 

1. Toledo Cathedral

things to do in Toledo, Spain: One of the first activities on your list of things to do in Toledo should be a visit to Toledo Cathedral. It's because this UNESCO-listed church is one of the grandest cathedrals in Spain. It's also one of the most famous landmarks in the country.

Toledo Cathedral, or Cathedral Primada as the locals call it.

 

One of the first attractions on your list of things to do in Toledo should be the impressive Toledo Cathedral. Its construction began in the 13th century on the remains of the previous mosque. Cathedral Primada took centuries to complete, and today is one of the most famous attractions in Toledo, Spain. But that is not all: did you know Toledo Cathedral, with a soaring tower, is one of the grandest cathedrals in Spain? It’s also one of the most famous Christian landmarks in the country.

toledo cathedral inside

Cathedral Primada is a symbol of the Catholic Church’s power in Spain.

 

Toledo Cathedral is famous for its magnificent medieval Gothic architecture and a rich collection of artworks. Highlights of the cathedrals are a wooden altarpieceimpressive choir stalls and side chapels. Don’t miss the sacristy, which contains a gallery with stunning paintings by masters like El Greco, Caravaggio and Raphael.

things to do in Toledo, Spain: Toledo Cathedral is famous for its magnificent medieval Gothic architecture and a rich collection of artworks. That's why visiting Toledo Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain.

Toledo Cathedral will amaze you with its magnificent proportions and mixes of architecture and design.

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Don’t forget to visit the bell tower – it offers beautiful views of the Old Town.

 

GOOD TO KNOW:

The entry fee to the Toledo Cathedral is €12.50 with an audio guide and access to the bell tower (if open on a day). Plus, you will pay a €50 deposit for your audio guide (as of December 2023).

 

2. Iglesia de San Ildefonso in Toledo, Spain

things to do in Toledo, Spain: It's easy to see why visiting the Iglesia de San Ildefonso is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain. This Baroque-style church with beautiful twin towers is one of the most important architectural works in the city.

It is easy to see why visiting the Iglesia de San Ildefonso is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain. This Baroque-style church with beautiful twin towers took a century to complete. Today, it is one of the most important architectural works in the city. You can find the Church of San Ildefonso just a short walk from the cathedral at one of the highest points of the old town.

things to do in Toledo, Spain: Tourists flock to the Church of San Ildefonso to see two paintings by El Greco. That's why visiting this Baroque-style church is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain.

The Jesuit Church is one of Toledo’s baroque masterpieces.

 

Iglesia de San Ildefonso (also known as the Jesuit Church) is famous for its bright interior and two paintings by El Greco. But that is not all – this pretty church offers some of the best views of Toledo’s Old Town. All you have to do is find the entrance to the bell towers and climb the tower for the breathtaking views of the Cathedral and the Alcazar.

things to do in Toledo: Visiting Iglesia de San Ildefonso is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain, because it offers stunning city views. You can see the Alcazar, Catedral Primada and other famous churches. Also, you will find here two paintings by El Greco.

Climb the tower of Iglesia de San Ildefonso for the best views of the city.

 

This Jesuit church offers some of the best views of the Old Town. Find the entrance to the bell towers and climb the tower for the breathtaking views of the Cathedral and the Alcazar.

GOOD TO KNOW:

You can find Iglesia de San Ildefonso at Plaza del Padre Juan de Mariana. The entry fee to the Jesuit Church is €3 per person (as of December 2023).

 

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Purchase a tourist bracelet and visit the most famous monuments in the city.

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3. Alcazar Toledo, Spain

things to do in Toledo: Visiting the Alcazar is one of the best things to do in Toledo if you would love to learn more about Spanish military history.

This imposing fortress with four corner towers is hard to miss. 

 

 

One of the first tourist destinations most people head to is the Alcazar of Toledo. It stands on the highest point of Toledo, overlooking the river and the city. Its roots date back to the 3rd century (there was an earlier Roman palace). Today, you can see some ruins inside this Renaissance building.

 

Did you know the Moors had a strong influence on Toledo? They built this square fortification, and later, the Christian kings renovated it. Today, the Alcazar of Toledo houses the Museum of the Army, where you can learn more about Spanish history and culture. You can also find here the Alcazar Library inside one of the towers.

 

Visiting the Alcazar is one of the best things to do in Toledo if you would love to learn more about Spanish military history. The museum hosts different exhibitions – knives, swords, medals, flags and even uniforms.

 

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Do not miss breathtaking views from the Alcazar Library cafe.

 

GOOD TO KNOW:

The entrance fee to the Alcazar of Toledo is 8 euros, but if visiting on Sunday, it is free.

 

4. Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo, Spain

things to do in Toledo Spain: Today, exploring the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain, because it is one of the finest examples of Late Gothic architecture in Spain.

The Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes is another famous landmark in Toledo, Spain. The Catholic Monarchs provocatively founded this building as a symbol of Christian power in the heart of the Jewish Quarter. The rulers built the San Juan de los Reyes monastery to celebrate their son’s birth and win against the Portuguese. King Fernando and Queen Isabella also planned to be buried here. Later, they changed their minds and decided to be buried in Granada instead.

Today, exploring the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain. It is because this beautiful monastery, in gothic style and Mudejar touches, is one of the finest examples of Late Gothic architecture in Spain. Once here, pay attention to the exterior façade where you can spot the chains of Christians freed from Moorish captivity.

 

5. Puente de San Martin

Puente de San Martin: At the time of its construction, Puente de San Martin was one of the longest bridges in the world. Today it is one of the top attractions in the city.

Toledo is also famous for its beautiful bridges. One of them is the Puente de San Martin.  It’s only a short walk from the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes. This bridge, with two towers on each side, is also a part of Toledo’s medieval heritage.

Centuries ago, the San Martin Bridge replaced a Mudejar bridge that swept away when the river rose – only the bridgehead now remains. At the time of its construction, it was one of the longest bridges in the world. Today, the San Martin Bridge connects the Old Town from the west.

Toledo Spain: Puente de San Martin is another must see attraction in Toledo, Spain, because this bridge is also a part of the city's medieval heritage. At the time of its construction, San Martin's bridge was one of the longest bridges in the world.

Walk across the bridge and see the beautiful panorama of the Old Town and the green waters of the Tagus River. The San Martin Bridge is a romantic place for an evening walk. It is also a must-visit attraction in the city.

 

6. Mirador del Valle

Seeing Toledo from the Mirador del Valle is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain. It's because the Carretera de Circunvalación offers the best lookout points in the city.

A trip to Toledo would not be complete without a visit to Mirador del Valle. You are right to think that his hilltop viewpoint is the most scenic viewpoint in Toledo. From here, you can see Toledo in all its glory. You can spot all the main attractions, such as Toledo Cathedral, Alcazar and other pretty churches.  If you come to Toledo on a day trip from Madrid by bus, most tour companies stop here before entering the city. Otherwise, you need to catch the Trainvision from Plaza de Zocodover or walk from the city centre.

 

There are many scenic viewpoints in Toledo – not only the famous Mirador del Valle. Walk from the Puente de Sant Martin to the Mirador del Valle on the Carretera de Circunvalación is easy, but hilly at times. It takes about half an hour to reach the Mirador del Valle from the San Martin Bridge. On your way, you will find plenty of photo opportunities. Afterwards, continue to Puente de Alcantara. It takes about an hour to walk the distance (4,2km – 2.6 miles).

 

Mirador del Valle Toledo

Seeing Toledo from the Mirador del Valle is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain. It’s because the Carretera de Circunvalación offers the best lookout points in the city.

 

GOOD TO KNOW:

If possible, visit the Mirador del Valle early in the morning or come late in the evening for the sunset. Otherwise, you will have the sun behind Toledo, and your pictures won’t be perfect.

 

7. Mosque of Cristo de la Luz (Mezquita Cristo de la Luz)

things to do in Toledo: Visiting the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz is one of the best things to do in Toledo because it has Andalusia’s Islamic heritage. It is also one of the oldest monuments in the city and the only remaining mosque of Toledo’s 10.

Did you know that Toledo was once home to 10 mosques? Many years ago, the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz was one of ten built within the city during the Moorish period. Today, only one survives. The locals converted others into churches or demolished them. This well-preserved square mosque might be small but is in perfect condition. The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz has also retained its original Mudejar elements. That’s why the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz is one of the rare gems of early Hispanic-Muslim architecture in Spain.

Visiting the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz is one of the best things to do in Toledo because it has Andalusia’s Islamic heritage. This beautiful building is one of the oldest monuments in the city. It is also the only remaining mosque of Toledo’s 10.

Mosque of Cristo de la luz inside

 

What you probably don’t know is that this mosque with horseshoe arches was, at some point, converted into a Christian church. It’s unusual because it didn’t get damaged during the Christian Reconquest. You can still see religious paintings on its walls.

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Do not miss scenic views from the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz gardens– they offer beautiful city views.

 

 

8. Iglesia de Santo Tome, Toledo, Spain

things to do in Toledo: Visiting Iglesia de Santo Tome also deserves to be on a list of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain because it houses one of El Greco’s most famous paintings – Burial of the Count of Orgaz.

Visiting Iglesia de Santo Tome also deserves to be on a list of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain. This Mudejar-style church, situated on a narrow street in the old Jewish Quarter, is another monument that was originally a mosque. The beautiful bell tower you can see today was once the old minaret. But that is not the only reason to visit this unique church.

The main reason why visitors flock to Iglesia de Santo Tome is a striking painting by El Greco. Yes, that is right, this church possesses one of El Greco’s most famous paintings – Burial of the Count of Orgaz. You can find it in the back of the temple.

 

Toledo Spain: The Iglesia de Santo Tome is home to El Greco’s most famous painting. That's why it is one of the best places to visit in Toledo Spain.

Iglesia de Santo Tome is home to El Greco’s most famous painting.

 

9. Plaza de Zocodover

Plaza Zocodover

The Plaza de Zocodover is the largest square and one of the top attractions in Toledo, Spain. This lively square in the heart of the historic centre connects the main sites in the city. The Plaza de Zocodover is famous for beautiful houses with porches and railed balconies. It has been a well-known meeting place for centuries. Years ago, this large square was famous for a horse marketbullfights and even executions. Later, it turned into the city’s Tuesday market until it moved to a different place. Nowadays, it is a popular place to sit in cafes and restaurants and watch the world around you.

 

10. El Transito Synagogue

Did you know Spain was once home to one of the world’s largest Jewish populations? Toledo had ten synagogues in the past, but only two large ones survived. One of them is the Transito Synagogue in the heart of the Juderia.

Exploring El Transito Synagogue is one of the unique things to do in Toledo, Spain. It’s because this Hebrew synagogue is one of the most beautiful and exclusive examples of synagogal architecture in Spain.

You are right to think that this rectangular synagogue is one of the most significant Jewish buildings in the city. It houses the Museo Sefardi, where you can learn more about Judaism’s history. Even though it was later converted into a church, you can still see a lot of original characters.

Once inside the Large Prayer Room, look at the Mudejar decoration and carved pine ceiling. Don’t miss geometric and floral motifs, as well as inscriptions in Arabic and Hebrew.

 

11. El Greco Museum in Toledo, Spain

things to do in Toledo Spain: Exploring the El Greco Museum is also one of the best things to do in Toledo because it is the most visited museum in the city. Tourists flock here to see the works of one of the most famous artists in the country.

Just a stone’s throw away from Sinagoga del Transito is the El Greco Museum. It is one of the most famous museums in Toledo, Spain. As the name suggests, El Greco Museum is where you can see the works of one of the most famous artists in Spain – El Greco. You might not know it, but El Greco was Toledo’s most important resident. This famous Greek artist spent his last years in this city. El Greco had a major influence in shaping Toledo’s history – he made it famous with its unique works.

Visiting El Greco Museum is one of the best things to do in Toledo for art lovers. Explore this renovated museum and see a recreation of the painter’s studio and some of his works.

GOOD TO KNOW:

El Greco Museum is open to the public every day except Mondays (free of charge on Sundays).

 

12. Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca

things to do in Toledo: The Santa Maria La Blanca synagogue is unique because it is the oldest intact synagogue still standing in Europe. Because of that, visiting the Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca is one of the top things to do in Toledo, Spain.

The Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca is just a short walk from the El Greco Museum. This beautiful 12th-century temple is also one of the top attractions in Toledo, Spain. The Santa Maria La Blanca synagogue is the oldest intact synagogue still standing in Europe. Plus, this iconic building is a perfect example of the unity that once existed among the three religions.

 

The Santa Maria La Blanca synagogue is the oldest intact synagogue still standing in Europe. Plus, this iconic building is a perfect example of the unity that once existed among the three religions.

The architects behind this temple for the Jews were Muslims, and the construction was under the Christian Kingdom of Castile. Hence, you can see the cooperation among the three cultures during the Middle Ages. But that is not all – the Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca has a beautiful interior. It is famous for its white painted arches and a wooden beamed ceiling.

Toledo synagogue

After the Christian Reconquest of Toledo, this Mudejar synagogue was turned into a church. Today, it is no longer a house of worship. It stands as a reminder of cooperation and tolerance between faiths. Because of that, visiting the Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca is one of the top things to do in Toledo, Spain.

 

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13. Castle of San Servando

Toledo, Spain: The castle of San Servando is another exceptional example of a Mudejar-style fortress in Toledo, Spain. This charming castle with towers and an Arabic-style gateway is a national monument.

The Castle of San Servando is another exceptional example of a Mudejar-style fortress in Spain. This charming castle with towers and an Arabic-style gateway is a national monument. It lies high above the river, opposite the Alcantara bridge. The history of this building dates back to the 7th century when there was a Benedictine monastery. Later, it served military purposes because of its strategic location. The Knights Templar occupied this fortress and protected the bridge from an attack by the Muslims.

places to visit in Toledo Spain

 Even though the Castle of San Servando is not open to the public, it is well worth seeing the exterior. Plus, you can see beautiful views of the Alcazar and the Alcantara Bridge from here.

 

14. Puente de Alcantara in Toledo, Spain

things to do in Toledo Spain: Strolling through the Puente de Alcantara is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain, because it is one of the most beautiful bridges in the city. This Roman arch bridge with a castle tower also offers excellent photo opportunities.

Another popular attraction where tourists head is Puente de Alcantara. The Romans built the bridge here when they founded this city. However, the bridge suffered a lot of damage over the centuries. The Puente de Alcantara you can see today was rebuilt by Arabs, and later, Alfonso X the Wise (king of Castile and Leon) restored it. This was the only bridge that gave access to the city to all pilgrims during the Middle Ages.

The Puente de Alcantara you can see today was rebuilt by Arabs, and later, Alfonso X the Wise (king of Castile and Leon) restored it. This was the only bridge that gave access to the city to all pilgrims during the Middle Ages.

 The Puente de Alcantara bridge has been standing here since Roman times.

 

Strolling through the Puente de Alcantara is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain, because it is one of the most beautiful bridges in the city. This Roman arch bridge with a castle tower also offers excellent photo opportunities. From here, you can see the Castle of San Servando, breathtaking views of the Tajo River, the gorge, and the Alcazar.

 

15. Puerta de Bisagra, Toledo

Puerta de Bisagra

Afterwards, find the Puerta de Bisagra – it’s another famous landmark in the city. This beautiful city gate with two semi-circular towers was once the main entrance to the old town. Today, you can spot two city gates when walking through this gate. The older one dates back to the Moors. Later, a grander Puerta Nueva de Bisagra with a triumphal arch and the city’s coat of arms replaced the older gate. Don’t miss a statue of Miguel de Cervantes – he is one of the greatest writers in Spain.

The Puerta de Bisagra - it's another famous landmark in the city. This beautiful city gate with two semi-circular towers was once the main entrance to the old town.

 

16. Toledo’s Torture Museum

things to do in Toledo: Visiting the Museum of Torture is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain, because you can see the methods of torture and execution.

If you are more interested in visiting museums, it is worth popping into the Museum of Torture. As the name suggests, the museum displays various instruments of torture and their history. Even though this museum is small, you can spot plenty of terrible tools used during the Inquisition-era Spain.

Visiting the Museum of Torture is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain, because you can see the methods of torture and execution. Here, you can see medieval devices like the head crusher, rack, masks of shame, or iron maiden.

 

GOOD TO KNOW:

The entrance ticket to Toledo’s Torture Museum costs €5 (as of December 2023).

 

17. Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal, Toledo

The Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal is a unique church because it combines round and rectangular shapes.

If you want to see one more church, make sure it is the Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal. The Church of Santiago del Arrabal is one of the most beautiful landmarks and one of the best places to visit in Toledo, Spain. This imposing monument retains many original details from Islamic architecture.

The Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal is a unique church because it combines round and rectangular shapes. You can find this church not far from the Bisagra Gate in the northern part of the centre.

 

18. Puerta del Sol

Toledo Spain: The 14th century Puerta del Sol is one of the most photographed monuments in Toledo, Spain. It showcases the Mudejar style that you can see everywhere in the city.

Toledo is a UNESCO-listed city, and the Puerta del Sol is a part of this cultural heritage. This northern city gate is one of many gates surrounding this historic old town. The name of this gate comes from the sun and the moon – they were once painted on the medallion.

The 14th-century Puerta del Sol is one of the most photographed monuments in Toledo, Spain. It showcases the Mudejar style that you can see everywhere in the city. Pay attention to the detailed architecture – see a classic Moorish horseshoe-shaped archway and a medallion above the arch.

 

19. Caves of Hercules in Toledo

Toledo was an important city in Roman times. Today, you can see the evidence of the city’s existence in this era in many areas. One of the archaeological remains of Roman origins is the Caves of Hercules. The Caves of Hercules is a free attraction in Toledo where you can learn more about the Romans and their engineering skills. Here, you can see ancient Roman water reserves below the streets of Toledo. Yes, that is right, the cave is under a building where the Church of San Gines stood many years ago.

 

GOOD TO KNOW:

You can find the Caves of Hercules just a short walk from Toledo’s cathedral. Plan to spend here about 20 minutes.

 

Now you know what to see in Toledo, Spain

Have you been to Toledo, Spain? Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments below. If you like our post, please save it also to Pinterest 🙂

things to do in Toledo, Spain

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Last updated: 29/12/2023


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