Toledo in one day?

Can you suggest a plan to spend a day in Toledo? What to see and do? How to travel from Madrid (bus or train)?

Most Helpful Answer

Toledo day trip itinerary

Toledo is a relatively effortless day trip just 70 kilometers from the heart of Madrid.

How to reach Toledo from Madrid?

Take the train from Madrid to Toledo. It is just 30 minutes by train to Toledo. It is better to prebook tickets online as these commuter trains get filled up quickly. For your onward journey, you can book AVANT 08292 - leaving Madrid Atocha station at 09:20 and arriving at Toledo at 09:50. You can return by AVANT 08193, departing from Toledo at 19:20 and arriving at Madrid at 19:55.

Alternately, you can travel by bus. Though cheaper, the bus is not recommended as it takes longer, 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the traffic conditions.

What to see in Toledo in a day

1. The Cathedral of Toledo

Visit the Cathedral of Toledo at Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Pay particular attention to the circular stained-glass windows and the Sacristy. Many visitors miss the El Greco work “The Disrobing of Christ”. Later day artists like Goya, Raphael, and Titian were highly inspired by this masterpiece.

Toledo Cathedral is ranked among the greatest Gothic structures in Europe.
The Cathedral is open weekdays and Saturdays from 10:00 to 18:30. On Sundays and public holidays, the cathedral is open from 14:00 to 18:30. Entry costs €7. For more information, you can call (+34) 925 222 241 or visit the official site. Go for the tower tours: 10:30 am, 11:15 am, 12 noon, 4 pm, 4:45 pm (Monday – Saturday).

2. Town Hall

Across the plaza from the cathedral is the Ayuntamiento de Toledo (Town hall), an impressive building designed by the famous architect of Spain Juan Herrera who also designed Monasterio de El Escorial, Archivo de Indias, Cathedral de Valladolid, and Palacio Real de Aranjuez. At the ground floor is the Toledo tourist office where one can collect Toledo's map and also other useful information.

3. The Alcazar on the hill

Visit the impressive Alcazar Fortress that now houses a military museum. Located on a hill, it is perfect to take in the panoramic views of Toledo.

The Toledo Alcázar now houses a vast military museum.
Entry costs €5 unless you visit on a Sunday when entry is free. For more information, you can call (+34) 925 238 800 or visit www.museo.ejercito.es.

4. Monastery of San Juan de Los Reyes

Founded by the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabella) in the 15th century, it is considered as the first building built to a unified Spanish Monarchy. Look out for the beautiful cloisters with carved ceilings looking down on the inner courtyard.

5. The Sephardic Museum

Jews were expelled from Toledo in 1492. The museum narrates the story of Jewish people in Spain. It is housed in an old synagogue that was later converted to a church and then into a military barrack.

6. Mirador del Valle for best Instagram photos

If you are looking to take some amazing photos of the city, head to Mirador del Valle. It is located on the Carretera Circunvalacion (ring road) and is well known for its views.

7. Re-live Moorish History at the walls

Another site you should see while in Toledo are the city’s original Moorish walls. To see them, head to 9th century Puerta Vieja de Bisagra.

8. Experience Toledo vibe at Plaza Zocodóver

Looking for something a little unexpected? Visit Plaza Zocodóver and you might be lucky enough to catch an impromptu concert. Plaza Zocodóver is named after a Moorish market that was housed in the same location. It is a lively, sometimes touristy area with an enjoyable atmosphere.

Tips to make the most of your day trip to Toledo

  1. Use the escalator to get from the station to Plaza de Zocodóver, where the tourist office is located.
  2. Be sure to pick up a map. The streets of Toledo are beautiful, but they also have many twists and turns.
  3. Last, but not least, be sure to get lost in Toledo! Yes, you should have a map, but you don’t want to stay glued to the paper in your hand and miss all there is to see.
  4. If you have time, climb the bell tower of Iglesia de San Ildefonso for spectacular views.
  5. Take the Zocotren ride across Toledo. The 'train' takes you through all important points of Toledo and stops at all strategic viewpoints for you to take a photograph. Practical suggestion - sit on the right side.

While on a day trip, should you buy Toledo Card?

Toledo has its own card called Toledo Card. Options include one with only guided tour and entry, to a comprehensive option that includes the AVE train too. That said, I do not recommend city cards because they are more expensive than going to individual sights like museums. Unless you are planning to see all the sights in their program, it is best to buy tickets at each sight. Also, lines at Toledo sights are rarely long. There is a €8 bracelet called the Pulsera Turistica which grants tourists entry to six of the city’s smaller sites. However, this bracelet does not cover all of the above-mentioned sites.

What and where to eat in Toledo

Toledo is famous for its world heritage monuments and as well as for its unique cuisine which is largely based on hunting and slaughtering. This post gives details of what to eat and where to eat in Toledo.

What souvenirs should you purchase while in Toledo?

Toledo Swords and Marzipan are unique to Toledo and make for great souvenirs.

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Daytrip to Toledo

Toledo at just 45 miles from Madrid is the most popular day trip from Madrid. Go to Toledo to visit historic architecture, learn its unique culture and taste local foods.

Take the train from Madrid to Toledo

Fastest way is the train. It’s a half an hour trip from Madrid to Toledo by train, whereas the bus takes 90 minutes although it costs half. The train station leaves you a 15 minute walk away from the city entrance.

Renfe AVE is the fastest and most convenient way to reach Toledo
Some people may find it easier to reach the bus station, it does not matter either way actually, you should decide based on your schedule.

What to see in Toledo?

Visit the Cathedral, the Alcázar and the San Juan de los Reyes Monastery. These are the top three attractions in Toledo. I also suggest (if you have time) going inside a beautiful Synagogue that stands on a high viewpoint of the river, in one of the ends of the city.

San Juan de los Reyes Monastery was commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs to commemorate victory at the Battle of Toro.

The city walls and the famous bridge are also very nice and easy to get to (you will probably get there without even wanting to).

Sign up for free walking tour of Toledo

You should sign up for a walking tour of Toledo. I’ve been to one last year so I assume they are still there. You just show up at the starting point ten minutes prior to their departure, although you can make a reservation online too, because the groups are limited to a certain amount of people. The one I did was (the Spanish version of) Cuéntame Toledo .

They start in the morning. They use a yellow umbrella. We ran into umbrellas of every color of the rainbow so I assume there are many other companies offering free tours as well.

Typical Toledo souvenirs

Toledo is famous for its swords and armors, anything related to that is a good souvenir (you don’t need a full armor, maybe just a tiny replica? :-P )

Marzipan is another major characteristic thing. I personally love the creamy marzipan liquor they do.

You will find shops of these things all over the city. The farthest from the very center, the better.

Stay in a castle

Finally, while Toledo is an ideal day-trip from Madrid, I suggest you stay over for a night at Toledo. If you plan to stay back, book a room at Parador de Oropesa, Toledo. The hotel is housed in a castle that used to be the ancestral home of the Álvarez de Toledo family, counts of Oropesa. For the experience of staying in a castle, the room tariffs are very nominal.

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