This blog post was originally posted on September 17, 2015, and was updated on December 19, 2017.
Want to travel back in time? Visiting Toledo is a must to experience historic architecture, taste delicious local foods and enjoy multiple cultural influences all at once.
Only about 45 miles from the capital, a day trip to Toledo from Madrid makes for a perfect outing. Tourists and locals love to escape the city to nearby villages, but what is it about Toledo that people like so much?
For starters, UNESCO declared Toledo a World Heritage Site in 1986 for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage. It boasts 2,000 years of history, and is filled with small hidden squares, winding side streets and historic buildings and monuments at every turn. History buff? The Roman, Moorish, Jewish and Christian influences that are seen throughout the city are sure to impress. Christians, Arabs and Jews lived there together for many years, earning this town the nickname of the “city of the three cultures.”
Love food? Toledo boasts some of the best rustic cooking in Spain, with delicious stews and local meats available on restaurant menus all around the old town. Don’t miss a thing with our insider tips for sights, bites and transportation!
- Cathedral: The colossal Gothic Cathedral is filled with relics, artifacts and beautiful murals and was one of the first examples of Gothic style in Spain. Considered one of the high achievements of Gothic art, take a moment to sit in the pews and admire the soaring buttresses.
- Synagogue: Over in the Jewish quarter, the El Transito Synagogue and Museum is one of the oldest and best conserved sites of its kind. Founded in the 14th century, the synagogue has beautiful plasterwork details. The museum houses a collection of Jewish artifacts from Spain and other countries around the world.
- Museums: Just across the street from the Synagogue, head over to El Greco museum to see an amazing collection of paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries. The museum houses the works of famous Spanish Renaissance painter El Greco (of course!). Kill two birds with one stone and be sure to visit the Alcazar. This 16th century palace houses a military museum, and as the highest point in the city, has unbeatable views of the old town.
- Walls: To appreciate the ancient walls of the old city, visit the 9th century Puerta de Bisagra, the historic stone gate at the city entrance. Dating back to the 10th century during Moorish rule, it is the only remaining part of the original Moorish city walls.
- Market: The recently restored Mercado San Agustin is composed of five stories of restaurants, food stalls and bars. You can taste local wines, sample regional cheeses and eat a variety of tapas. You’ll find something for everyone here! (Calle de la Cuesta del Águila, 1 & 3)
- Tradition: If you’re looking for a more traditional eatery, try La Abadía Cervecería Artesana. Housed in a 16th century building, the restaurant features hearty stews, tapas and salads. If you go during the week, try the €12 set lunch menu! (Plaza San Nicolás, 3)
- History: For a taste of the Middle East, head over to Restaurante Alqahira Rincón, serving homemade dishes prepared with fresh ingredients. Tradtional Moorish decorations cover the walls, taking you back to another time and place. (Calle Ciudad, 7)
- Class: Located in a 12th century Jewish house, Restaurante Adolfo serves plates that are as beautiful as its historic interior. The ambience is friendly and unassuming, but don’t let that fool you! They serve elevated and elegant cuisine, guaranteed to delight and surprise your tastebuds. Head to the rooftop terrace for amazing views! (Calle Hombre de Palo, 7)
Planning your transportation for a day trip to Toledo from Madrid is quick, easy and affordable!
- By High-Speed Train: Take the 30-minute high-speed train from the Atocha station. Trains run hourly and cost about 20 euros round trip. You can buy tickets at the station or online.
- By Bus: You can also take a bus from the Plaza Elíptica station. The bus takes about an hour, runs frequently throughout the day and costs approximately 10 euros. You can buy tickets at the station or online.
Once you arrive at the train or bus station you can take a taxi up into the historic center, catch a local bus or hike/ride up the multi-story escalators that scale the city walls.
Back in Madrid
Let the fun continue! After your culture packed day trip to Toledo from Madrid, you can continue the fun back in the capital! For culture and food lovers we recommend our Madrid Tapas, Taverns and History Tour where you’ll satisfy your belly and your mind! Join us!
Featured Image Photo Credit: Ahson Wardak