Best things to see in Toledo Spain
…and a quick guide to Toledo with tips from a local.
Recently, I visited Toledo on my current tour around España. Toledo was one of the places that I didn’t get to spend too much time in, but it was still quite enjoyable. It is a place with a rich history, nice scenery and people. To me, it was where you can begin to see the Eastern connection as there are Jewish synagogues and other buildings with Arabian influenced architecture. Toledo is definitely a nice stopping point on your way to Andalusia from Madrid.
After consulting with a friend, native to Toledo, and visiting the place, I came up with a list of things to do in Toledo if you are on limited time. Also at the end, I offer you a few tips on getting to Toledo and more.
What to do in Toledo Spain
As far as things to do in any city, what interests one person to the next will vary quite significantly. Here are a few suggestions for you though.
1.) Sinagoga del Transito (Inclusive with the Museo Sefardi) – Dating back to the 14th Century, this synagogue is an important symbol to the Sefardic Jews. The building, also known as Sinagoga de Samuel Ha-Levi, was converted to a church after the expulsion of the Jews, then reconverted into a museum. I really enjoyed the museum side as well, as there was lots of interesting information both on the Sephardic Jews and Jewish history in general. When I went the entrance cost was 2.50€.
3.) Sinagoga Santa Maria la Blanca – This synagogue is quite different from the Sinagoga del Transito. This synagogue has a very Islamic feel to it although it is wholly Jewish. You can definitely feel the Arabian influence there as the Jews brought influences from their homes in the east. Entrance cost was 2.50€.
4.) Cathedral in Toledo – The Cathedral, or catédral, of Toledo is the city’s largest. It is centrally located in Toledo’s old town and may be of interest to you if you are interested in viewing churches and Catholic history. It has high arching ceilings with stained glass, a very spacious interior. Cost to enter is around 4.50€.
5.) The Alcazar – The Alcazar is a large palace-style building, which is currently the museo del ejercito, or Spanish Army Museum, as my friend told me, unless you have a lot of time to look around it might be better to see other parts of the city because you can spend a lot of time reading about the Army’s history.
6.) Walk the nights – There is something to be said about walking a city in the night. By day, you get to see one side of a city, by night another. I enjoyed just walking the city both night and day, it is a fun and free way to explore a new place.
7.) Plaza de Zocodover – This is Toledo’s most famous plaza and probably the one that you will see first when arriving in the old town. It is a central place for Toledo’s tourism industry and there are many little cafes and shops in the area. If you like to people watch, then you may enjoy a coffee or beer overlooking the plaza.
8.) Hike along the river – One thing that I didn’t get to do in full, was complete a hike around the city or visit the city’s parks, which is something that I typically like to do. I found a trail that seemed to follow the river, but I only walked on part of it. If I had more time, then I definitely would have walked the entire thing, but it would take a few hours.
¡¡Random Fact about Toledo Spain!! Did you know that Toledo Spain is known for making cutlery (particularly knives) and leather works?
A Quick Guide to Toledo
Getting to Toledo
Arriving in Toledo is not difficult. Toledo is well-connected to other major Spanish cities via bus and train.
Toledo by Bus
Alsa Bus is Spain’s largest and most well-connected bus company. By bus, Alsa can take you to Madrid within an hour or two, or to other cities farther south. The bus station is located at the foot of the town.
Renfe, Spain’s premier train company, is actually extremely nice. It is a bit pricier to travel Spain by train, but it can be quicker as well. If time isn’t important, you can save by going with the bus. The train station in Toledo is beautiful.
Where to stay in Toledo
Toledo is not a cheap city, which is very non-traditional for Spanish towns. If you plan to stay the night on a budget, then you may be able to find a place somewhere around the town or with CouchSurfing. However, if you plan to stay the night somewhere, then I’d suggest checking out Urbany Hostel as it is not everyday that you can sleep in a castle. Castillo de San Servando is an old medieval castle that has been used for many different things over the years. Now, it serves as a youth hostel. If you go, be sure to ask about the legendary “fantasma”.
What to Eat in Toledo Spain?
From a local
– For tapas and drinks go to the Enebro, is a bar near Plaza de Zocodover. If you ask for some drinks, they will give you some tapas for free. If you order more drinks, you’ll get more food. You do not get to choose your tapas though.
– If you are still hungry, my favourite place in Toledo, El Trebol, near Plaza de Zocodover, it is a bit hidden, but the food is very nice, and typical of my region. I suggest “venado” “cervatillo” tapa, “migas”, and the croquetas, but everything is very tasty!
– I actually didn’t eat a typical Spanish dish for my last dinner in Toledo. I found a Middle Eastern restaurant tucked away in a back alley and decided to give it a go. The food was great as I had been craving a good Moroccan Lamb Tajine. I hadn’t had one in a long time. The restaurant is called Posasa Cristo de la Luz.
Tips from a local:
– For Toledo you will likely need two days. One day to walk around and other to visit the interesting places.
– Do NOT eat in the bar/restaurants near the main paths that offer Paella. They are very expensive, bad, and non-typical of my region.
– Also avoid seafood and fish from the sea, because they are expensive and not fresh.
– To go out during night I would go first to “El Picaro” and from 23:00 or midnight to “El Círculo del Arte” that used to be a church and it has been converted into a night club. You may also enjoy walking the streets near Cathedral at night.
– If you stay out of the old town and have to walk up everyday, then you’d be pleased to know that there are escalators on the side of Castillo that take you from the bottom almost completely to Plaza de Zocodover.
Let us know what you think!
**Tags: things to do in Toledo Spain, toledo espanha, attractions in Toledo Spain**