Toledo, the medieval city that is located a train ride from Madrid, here you will find a city that will captivate you for its beauty that has remained through the centuries

Toledo is the heart and soul of Spain. This monumental walled hilltop city is a captivating UNESCO World Heritage Site. Behind its imposing medieval walls, in a maze of winding pedestrian streets, are some of the most important historical monuments in the country.

Magnificent old stone buildings and quiet cobbled streets whisper the legacy of the past. For centuries, Christians, Jews and Muslims flourished in a “city of three cultures” and built a dazzling array of churches, convents, palaces, fortresses, synagogues and mosques.

Toledo is full of history

Toledo is known for its traditional crafts, including damascene metalwork, antique-inspired swords, and handmade marzipan (sweet almond candies). However, the most famous works of art to be found in Toledo are the masterpieces of El Greco which are exhibited in the city’s churches and convents, as well as in the El Greco Museum.

A place that became the Imperial City and whose beauty was able to reflect El Greco in his paintings. A city from which the traveler cannot leave without looking out from its viewpoints, going up to its Alcázar, getting lost in its narrow streets or watching a sunset from the Alcántara or San Martín Bridges. Less than 80 kilometers from Madrid, it is worth spending more than one day to see the city illuminated at night and get to know it in depth.

World Heritage

Whenever I visit a city I try to look for those that are world heritage sites: they are better preserved, have more resources and the experience for the traveler is usually totally what is expected.

Toledo’s cultural heritage and its rich collection of historical monuments have secured its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the start, as you enter the city through any of the gates in the old wall, you’ll be treated to gorgeous views of pretty squares, eclectic monuments, and cobbled streets.

Toledo offers plenty to see with its impressive monuments such as the Gothic Chapel of San Bartolomé and the great Alcázar, as well as ancient medieval stone bridges such as the Puerta de Alfonso.

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What tourists don’t know

I’ve been there a couple of times and have certainly taken the same tours as thousands of others, but there are also things worth trying:

In addition to its incredible Mirador del Valle -on the other side of the river and from where you will surely get the best views of the city- there are others such as the Tower of the Jesuítas church. To soak up its lively atmosphere, there is nothing like going through places like the Plaza de Zocodover. And when it’s time to have breakfast, lunch or a drink… Toledo has been innovating for years and offering alternative proposals. There are always gastronomic classics such as migas, carcamusas, cochifrito or marzipan;

The city of three cultures

Different cultures have occupied Toledo over the centuries, including the Romans, the nomadic tribes of the Visigoths, and the North African Moors. Evidence of these various inhabitants can be seen in depictions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam throughout the city. Here, we can find its lasting architectural traces in the well-preserved synagogues, mosques, and cathedrals.

While there are many museums in Toledo, such as the Museo de Santa Cruz and the Museo del Greco, the entire city is effectively one large open-air museum. Striking monuments such as the Alcázar, the Synagogue of El Tránsito and the Church of Santo Tomé offer the tourist impressive views to enjoy.

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Where to eat in Toledo?

In Toledo many places close at lunchtime -in my experience- However, there are others that go unnoticed like this market.

The Mercado de San Agustín is a gourmet food market in Toledo. It is built on a historical site and features a modern design, with a wide variety of vendors spread over several floors selling all kinds of food and drinks.

You can find specialized wine bars, restaurants with open kitchens, as well as a pleasant gastronomic terrace with a vertical garden to enjoy your tapas or seafood. You can get to the Market a short walk north from Plaza de Zocodover.

Walking around the city is undoubtedly one of the simplest but most beautiful pleasures of the Toledo experience. Except for a few corners of the city where gastrobars attract night owls, the city is mostly quiet and subtly lit after sunset, with its magnificent monuments and cathedrals illuminated.

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