Discover Toledo Spain: 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 the most unique cities in Spain. Toledo is a UNESCO city, a historical gem of Spanish Andalusia and a real pearl of Spain. It’s one of the popular day trips from Madrid – a journey 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

day trip from Madrid to Toledo

As you already know, Toledo is known for its mix of cultures, and it is one of Spain’s best preserved old towns. But that is not all – this city is also 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 (Cathedral Primada)

things to do in Toledo, Spain: One of the first activities on your list of things to do in Toledo should be a visit of Toledo Cathedral because it is one of the grandest cathedrals in Spain. Toledo Cathedral is also one of the grandes cathedrals in Spain and a top attraction in Toledo, Spain.

One of the first activities on your list of things to do in Toledo should be a  visit of Toledo Cathedral. The construction of this impressive building began in the 13th century on the remains of the previous mosque. Cathedral Primada took centuries to complete, and today it is one of the most famous attractions in Toledo, Spain. But that is not all – 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 inside. Highlights of the cathedrals are a wooden altarpiece, impressive choir stalls and side chapels. Don’t miss the sacristy, which contains a gallery with stunning paintings by masters such as El Greco, Caravaggio and Raphael.

Toledo Cathedral: Toledo Cathedral is famous for its magnificent medieval Gothic architecture and a rich collection of artworks inside. No wonder it is a top attraction in the city. Toledo Cathedral: Toledo Cathedral is famous for its magnificent medieval Gothic architecture and a rich collection of artworks inside. No wonder it is a top attraction in the city. Cathedral Primada took centuries to complete, and today it is one of the most famous attractions in Toledo, Spain. But that is not all - Toledo Cathedral is one of the grandest cathedrals in Spain.

Toledo Cathedral amazes visitors with its magnificent proportions and mixes of architecture and design.

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If possible, visit the bell tower, which 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). You will need to pay a €50 deposit for your audio guide.

 

2. Iglesia de San Ildefonso in Toledo, Spain

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

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

Iglesia de San Ildefonso: The Jesuit Church is one of baroque masterpieces in the city. Iglesia de San Ildefonso (also known as the Jesuit Church) is famous for its bright interior and two paintings by El Greco.

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 – Iglesia de San Ildefonso offers some of the best views of Toledo’s Old Town. All you have to do is find the entrance to the belltowers and climb the tower for the breathtaking views of the Cathedral and the Alcazar.

Toledo, Spain: Visiting Iglesia de San Ildefonso is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain because it offers stunnings views of the old city. From here, 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.

The Jesuit church offers some of the best views of the Old Town. Find the entrance to the belltowers 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. However, it is worth purchasing a tourist bracelet, which includes an entry fee to the most famous monuments in the city.

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3. Alcazar Toledo, Spain

Toledo Alcazar: One of the first tourist destinations most people head to is the Toledo Alcazar. This imposing fortress with four corner towers is hard to miss. It stands on the highest point of Toledo, overlooking the river and the city.

One of the first tourist destinations most people head to is the Alcazar of Toledo. This imposing fortress with four corner towers is hard to miss. It stands on the highest point of Toledo, overlooking the river and the city. Its roots date back to the 3rd century when there was an earlier Roman palace. Today, you can see some ruins inside this renaissance building.

The Moors once had a strong influence on the city, and they built this square fortification. Later the Christians Kings renovated it. Today 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 – you can see everything from 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. 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.

The Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes is another famous landmark in Toledo, Spain. The Catholic Monarchs King Fernando and Queen Isabella provocatively founded this building as a symbol of Christian power in the heart of the Jewish Quarter. The construction of the monastery of San Juan de los Reyes was built to celebrate the birth of their son and their victory over the Portuguese. Also, the rulers wanted to be buried here, but later they chose 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: Puente de San Martin in another must see attraction in Toledo, Spain, because this bridge with two towers on each side 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. Today it is a popular place for a romantic evening walk.

Toledo is also famous for its beautiful bridges. One of them is Puente de San Martin – you can find it 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. The San Martin bridge connects the old town from the west.

Puente de San Martin: At the time of its construction, Puente de San Martin was one of the longest bridges in the world. Today the San Martin bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges and one of the top attractions in the city. You can find it only a short walk from the Monastery of Saint Juan de los Reyes.

Walk across the bridge and see the beautiful panorama of the old town and the green waters of the Tagus River. Puente de San Martin is a romantic place for an evening walk. It is also a must visit attraction in the city.

 

6. Mirador del Valle

things to do in Toledo, Spain: Seeing Toledo from the Mirador del Valle is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain because this viewpoint offers the best views of Toledo. From here, you will see all the main attractions, such as Toledo Cathedral, Alcazar and the other churches.

A trip to Toledo would not be complete without a visit to Mirador del Valle. Mirador del Valle is a hilltop viewpoint from where you can see Toledo in all its glory. Yes, there are many beautiful viewpoints across the city, but Mirador del Valle is the best of them all. From here, you will see all the main attractions, such as Toledo Cathedral, Alcazar and the other churches.

If you are visiting 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.

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There are many scenic viewpoints of Toledo – not only Mirador del Valle. Therefore, it is worth walking from the old town. Walk from the Puente de Sant Martin to Mirador del Valle on the Carretera de Circunvalación is easy, but hilly at times. It takes about half an hour to reach Mirador del Valle from the San Martin Bridge. Afterwards, continue to Puente de Alcantara. It takes about an hour to walk all the distance (4,2km – 2.6 miles).

Toledo, Spain: A trip to Toledo, Spain would not be complete without a visit of Mirador del Valle. Mirador del Valle is a hilltop viewpoint, from where you can see Toledo in all its glory. The Carretera de Circunvalación offers the best lookout points in the city.

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

GOOD TO KNOW:

If possible, visit 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 Spain: Visiting the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz is one of the best things to do in Toledo Spain if you would like to see Andalusia’s Islamic heritage. This beautiful building is 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? Yes, that is right, 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 others got converted into churches or were demolished.

This well preserved square mosque might be small, but has pristine condition. Moreover, this unique monument has retained its original Mudejar elements. Because of that, 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 if you would like to see Andalusia’s Islamic heritage. This beautiful building is one of the oldest monuments in the city and the only remaining mosque of Toledo’s 10.

Mosque of Cristo de la luz inside

The mosque with horseshoe arches was at some point converted into a Christian church but somehow avoided being damaged after the Christian Reconquest. Today you can find religious paintings on the walls.

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

 

 

8. Iglesia de Santo Tome, Toledo, Spain

things to do in Toledo Spain: Visiting Iglesia de Santo Tome also deserves to be on a list of the best things to do in Toledo Spain. 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.

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 paintingsBurial of the Count of Orgaz. You can find it in the back of the temple.

Toledo, Spain: Iglesia de Santo Tome in Toledo, Spain possesses one of El Greco’s most famous paintings – Burial of the Count of Orgaz.

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

 

9. Plaza de Zocodover

Toledo, Spain: Plaza de Zocodover is the largest square and one of the top attractions in Toledo, Spain. It connects the main sites in Toledo. This lively square in the heart of the historic centre is famous for beautiful houses with porches and railed balconies. It has been a well-known meeting place for centuries.

Plaza de Zocodover is the largest square and one of the top attractions in Toledo, Spain. It connects the main sites in Toledo. This lively square in the heart of the historic centre 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 market, bullfights, and executions. Later, Plaza De Zocodover became the city’s Tuesday market until it moved somewhere else. Today you can watch the world go by in the cafes and restaurants.

 

10. El Transito Synagogue

You might not know it, but 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. You can find El Transito Synagogue in the heart of the Juderia.

Exploring El Transito Synagogue is one of the unique things to do in Toledo, Spain. It is because this Hebrew synagogue is one of the most beautiful and exclusive examples of synagogal architecture in Spain. Rectangular El Transito 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, pay attention to the Mudejar decoration and carved pine ceiling. See geometric and floral motifs as well as inscriptions in Arabic and Hebrew.

 

11. El Greco Museum in Toledo, Spain

El Greco Museum: El Greco Museum is a museum is where you can see the works of one of the most famous Spanish artists – El Greco. El Greco had a major influence in shaping the city's history and made it famous with its unique works. Today you can visit this renovated museum and see a recreation of the painter’s studio and some of his works.

Just a stone’s throw away from Sinagoga del Transito is 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 Greek artist spent the last years of his life in this city. Moreover, El Greco had a major influence in shaping Toledo’s history and made it famous with its unique works. Today you can visit this renovated museum and see a recreation of the painter’s studio and some of his works.

Visiting El Greco Museum is one of the best things to do in Toledo, Spain for art enthusiasts. It’s because you can see works by El Greco here. El Greco Museum is open to the public every day except Mondays (free of charge on Sundays).

 

12. Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca

Toledo, Spain: The Santa Maria La Blanca synagogue is unique because it is the oldest intact synagogue still standing in Europe. This iconic building is a perfect example of the unity that existed between the three religions. Because of that, visiting the Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca is one of the top things to do in Toledo, Spain.

Just a short walk from there, you will find the Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca. This beautiful 12th-century temple is one of the top attractions in Toledo, Spain for many reasons.

The Santa Maria La Blanca synagogue is unique because it is the oldest intact synagogue still standing in Europe. This iconic building is a perfect example of the unity that existed between the three religions.

sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca: The Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca is unique because it is the oldest intact synagogue still standing in Europe. The architects behind this temple for the Jews were Muslims, and the construction was under the Christian Kingdom of Castile.

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 three cultures during the Middle Ages. But that is not all – the Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca has a beautiful interior. It has white painted arches and a wooden beamed ceiling.

Toledo, Spain: The Singagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca is one of the best places to visit in Toledo, Spain, because this beautiful synagogoue stands as a reminder of cooperation and tolerance between faiths. Moreover, the Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca is the oldest synagogue still standing in Europe.

After the Christian Reconquest of Toledo, this Mudejar synagogue got 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. From here you can see the Castle of San Servando, breathtaking views of the Tajo River, gorge, and the Alcazar.

Another popular attraction where people head is Puente de Alcantara. The Romans built Puente de Alcantara 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. During the Middle Ages, this was the only bridge that gave access to the city to all pilgrims.

Toledo, Spain: Another popular attraction where people head in Toledo, Spain, is the Alcantara bridge. The Romans built the Puente de Alcantara - one of the most beautiful bridges in the city when they founded Toledo.

The Puente de Alcantara bridge has been standing here from 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, gorge, and the Alcazar.

 

15. Puerta de Bisagra, Toledo

Toledo Spain: Visiting Puerta de Bisagra is one of the best things to do in Toledo Spain because this beautiful city gate with two semi-circular towers was once the main entrance to the old town. You can also find here a statue of Miguel de Cervantes – it is one of the greatest writers in Spain.

Puerta de Bisagra is 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 see two city gates when walking through Puerta de Bisagra. 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. You can also find here a statue of Miguel de Cervantes – it is one of the greatest writers in Spain.

Puerta de Bisagra is another famous landmark in the city. Today, you can see two city gates when walking through Puerta de Bisagra. 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. You can also find here a statue of Miguel de Cervantes – it was one of the greatest writers in Spain.

 

16. Toledo’s Torture Museum

things to do in Toledo 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 the medieval devices like the head crusher, rack, masks of shame, or iron maiden. Even though the Museum of Torture is small, you can spot plenty of terrible tools used during the Inquisition-era Spain.

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 the Museum of Torture 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 the 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.

 

17. Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal, Toledo

Toledo Spain: Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Toledo, Spain. This imposing monument retains many original details from Islamic architecture. Moreover, Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal is a unique church in Toledo because it combines round and rectangular shapes. Because of that, Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal is one of the popular places to visit in Toledo.

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

Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal a unique church in Toledo because it combines round and rectangular shapes. Because of that, Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal is one of the popular places to visit in Toledo, Spain. You can find it not far from the Bisagra Gate in the northern part of the centre.

 

18. Puerta del Sol

Toledo Spain: Toledo is a UNESCO listed city, and Puerta del Sol is a part of this cultural heritage. 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.

As you already know, Toledo is a UNESCO listed city, and 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

As you already know, 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 an 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 once the Church of San Gines stood. Visiting the Caves of Hercules is one of the free things to do in Toledo, Spain. Plan to spend here about 20 minutes.

GOOD TO KNOW:

You can find the Caves of Hercules just a short walk from Toledo’s cathedral.

 

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 to Pinterest 🙂

things to do in Toledo, Spain

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