Home to one of Spain’s best-preserved old towns (and the country’s second-biggest church!), Toledo in central Castilla-La Mancha region is a must-visit. Here are 10 incredible things to do in Toledo, including the best of the UNESCO-listed medieval city.
This guest post comes courtesy of Linn Haglund. Originally from Norway, Linn has spent most of her adult life travelling and living abroad, the last 6 years in Spain. She founded her travel blog, Brainy Backpackers, to help people make a positive impact when they travel.
One of the most impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain, Toledo’s old town is a haven for any history buff. A local once told me that the only city with more historical sites per square metre is Rome… Now that’s saying something!
While most people go on a day trip to Toledo, the medieval town deserves so much more. If you want to get lost in the streets and really take the time to absorb everything, you should plan to stay for 4 to 5 days.
There are so many things to do in Toledo, it’s hard to know where to start. In this post, I’ll show you the top 10 sights that you can’t miss when visiting Toledo.
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Where to stay in Toledo: Agapo Home (budget); Hotel Boutique Adolfo (boutique). Browse more Toledo accommodations on Booking.com.
Toledo car hire: Planning a Spain road trip? Use Discover Cars to find the best price on a rental car in Toledo.
Toledo Card: Get admission to Toledo’s top attractions plus city transport for a discounted price. Buy your Toledo Card online through Get Your Guide.
Top-rated Toledo tours and experiences: Private city tour with a local guide (from €30); Underground city tour (from €12); Guided tour of Toledo Cathedral, Spain’s second-largest church (from €19); Night tour with tapas tasting (from €70).
Pro tip: Make sure you have comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking a lot in Toledo. I also suggest you pack a reusable water bottle in your eco-friendly backpack.
Where to stay in Toledo
There are lots of accommodations to choose from in Toledo. I recommend staying in the old town, as that’s where you will want to spend most of your time.
A reasonably priced accommodation with shared bathroom and kitchen is Agapo Home, which is situated in one of the back streets of Plaza Zocodover. The owner is super friendly and the rooms are simple but clean. I can recommend this place warmly – it’s one of the best-priced accommodations in town. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
10 wonderful things to do in Toledo
To get the most out of your time in Toledo and save money on the top attractions, consider picking up a tourist bracelet from the Tourist Office. It costs €9 and includes entry to many of the attractions mentioned here.
Perched on one of the highest points in Toledo, El Alcazar overlooks the city. The old fortress originates from Roman times but was rebuilt by Alfonso VI and Alfonso X and later by Emperor Charles V.
Today, El Alcazar is a Military Museum exhibiting the history of the Spanish army. The building itself, especially the main patio and stairs, are very impressive. It’s worth visiting just for the stunning city views from the top balcony.
Mezquita Cristo de la Luz
Located inside the ancient medina where Toledo’s wealthy Muslim families used to live, the Mezquita Cristo de la Luz was built in 999. The square-shaped mosque is still in pretty much the same state as when it was built, which is makes it quite special.
When Christians took over Toledo in 1085, they added to the building and converted it to a church. Mezquita Cristo de la Luz is situated close to Puerta del Sol.
Plaza Zocodover is a large open plaza that connects many of the main sites in Toledo. It has a long history of being a connection point for the city, and is a natural meeting place for tourists today.
The plaza also has a dark side. A ‘cage of the dead’, where the bodies of people who didn’t have family to bury them were kept and bullfights and public burnings were staged, used to sit in the center of the square.
The square is beautiful at night when the surrounding buildings are all lit up.
The main cathedral of Toledo, Catedral Primada, is one of the most majestic structures in the medieval town centre. The Medieval Gothic style architecture is very unique and ranks among the top 10 cathedrals in Spain.
Inside the cathedral, the details are impressive. The building holds a gallery exhibiting works by El Greco, Goya, Velazcuez, and many more iconic artists.
Be sure to climb the tower of Catedral Primada that stands 44 metres tall and relish the incredible city views from the top.
Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes
It’s impossible to overlook Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes in the heart of Toledo’s Jewish Quarter. The late-Gothic style monastery was built in the 15th century to commemorate the political victory of the Catholic Monarchs.
The structure is beautifully decorated both on the inside and out. The interior features a combination of late Gothic-style detailing on the bottom floor and Mudejar design on the top floor. On the northeastern wall, you can see chilling depictions of chains of freed prisoners.
Walk up to the Plaza Virgen de la Gracia viewpoint for a great view of the monastery and surrounding area.
El Greco Museum
The El Greco Museum is dedicated to late renaissance art painted by the famous El Greco. He was originally Greek (El Greco means ‘The Greek’ in Spanish), but lived most of his life in Toledo. The museum opened in the Jewish Quarter in 1911 and consists of two buildings, a beautiful courtyard and a garden.
Other than El Greco paintings, the museum contains works by other Spanish artists from the 17th century, as well as furniture and ceramics.
Puente de Alcantara
Puente de Alcantara might just be the most beautiful of the historic bridges in Toledo. Crossing the Tajo river, the old Roman bridge used to be the only entry to the city for pilgrims. The bridge is situated below the medieval Castle of San Servando.
While the Puente de Alcantara originates from Roman times, the bridge you see today was rebuilt in the 10th century after it was damaged.
It’s a great place for night photography, as you can see the Castle of San Servando behind it on one side, while the Alcazar lights up on the other side of the old stone bridge.
Puente de San Martin
Puente de San Martin has a dramatic history. Legend says that while the bridge was being constructed, the architect realised he had made a terrible mistake in his calculations. Since he didn’t know how to solve the problem, he kept silent and let the building continue.
Finally, he confessed his error to his wife. During a thunder storm, she went out and lit the middle part of the bridge on fire so it looked like lightening had struck and parted the bridge in two. Afterwards, the architect was able to make new calculations to correct his initial error and finally finish the impressive bridge that stands today.
The middle arch on the bridge is 40-metres wide and 27 metres high – impressive dimensions at the time it was built. Today, the funnest way to experience the bridge is by riding the zip-line that goes from one side of the river to the other.
Convento de Santo Domingo el Antiguo
Another fascinating medieval building that dates back to the 9th century, the Convento de Santo Domingo el Antiguo was the first monastery in Toledo’s old town. While it truly grabs your attention as you walk pass it, the interior is what makes this such a special site.
The cloister contains the grave of El Greco and a museum that displays his first paintings from when he arrived in Toledo, long before he became famous. There are also other items like ceramics and sculptures that are worth seeing.
Monasterio de Santa Clara la Real
Close to Convento de Santo Domingo el Antiguo, you’ll find the Monasterio de Santa Clara la Real, a Poor Clares monastery consisting of two Mudejar palaces.
The interior of the church is beautifully decorated with paintings by important Spanish artists such as Jorge Manuel Theotocopuli, Luis Tristan, and Juan Bautista Monegro.
There is a lot of history to this place and just wandering around the interior is a great experience. The patio is the oldest part of the monastery – here you’ll find yet more fantastic vistas of Toledo.
Enjoy your trip to Toledo!
If you start with these 10 things to do in Toledo’s UNESCO old town, I’m sure you will have a great time in this historic city.
If you visit during the autumn-winter months, you will avoid the major tourist pressure that Toledo experiences in the spring time.
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