One of the best day things you can do while visiting Madrid is a day trip to Toledo, Spain.
Toledo is a beautiful medieval city known for being a melting pot of 3 cultures: Judaic, Islamic, and Christian. It is located on a hill in the town of Castilla-La Mancha. This town used to be the capital of Spain until 1561 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1989 due to its influential cultural heritage.
A day trip to Toledo, Spain is the perfect getaway from the bustling capital. This town has plenty of things to keep you entertained. The old walled city is full of charm, history, and architecture.
All this, only a 30 min train ride from Madrid.
How to get to Puerta de Atocha Station
The first step in your journey to Toledo is getting to Puerta de Atocha railway station. There are two transportation methods I would recommend to make your life easier:
Another great option is taking Linea 1- Madrid Metro. The metro system in the capital is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s quick, efficient, and relatively inexpensive. If staying for a few days, I recommend buying a Madrid Tourist Travel Pass.
Where to purchase train tickets to Toledo, Spain?
If you know for sure when you want to go, you can purchase the tickets ahead of time on the Renfe website. For those who prefer not having a concrete schedule when traveling, you can purchase the tickets at Puerta de Atocha railway station. The round-trip ticket from Madrid to Toledo ranges from €20-€30. I found it to be a little bit cheaper if you purchase it at the station.
Puerta de Atocha station is the largest railway station in Madrid. It has all the amenities you would expect to find in a top-notch European railway station. Do not worry if you did not have time to get breakfast and coffee; you will have options here.
I recommend getting to the station at least 1 hour early. The trains are very punctual; they are good at sticking to their schedule. The trains are clean, have a/c, and are super comfortable. Make sure you stay awake during the trip, the landscape along the way is very nice.
How to get to the Old City from Toledo Train Station
Once you get to the Toledo Railway Station, walk or take a taxi to the Old Walled City. It is only a 10-minute walk to get there. However, the city is located on a hill. It might be smart to take a taxi if you do not like climbing stairs or have a disability.
Where to eat in Toledo, Spain
You will probably be hungry when you get to the Old City. If that’s the case, I would recommend making a quick stop at La Cuesta de Toledo. They have a great selection of delicious local breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. In addition, a good variety of wine and beer. It is located only a few steps from the Zocodover Historic Plaza.
If you are craving some dessert later in the day, make sure you make a stop at Chocolate Experience Toledo. They have delicious ice cream, churros, and hot chocolate. Your Spain trip does not count until you try the local churros with hot chocolate.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Toledo, Spain
Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo
A Roman Catholic cathedral in the center of Toledo, Spain. The cathedral is considered to be one of the most important Gothic-style cathedrals in the country. One of the most iconic buildings in the city, and one that you cannot afford to miss.
Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes
An Isabelline Gothic-Style monastery built by the catholic monarchs in the 15th century to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Toro. In its main facade design, you can spot statues, blind arches, pinnacles, and balls. Also, you will notice that there are chains on the wall. These are supposed to represent the chains of captive Christians, who were later freed by Fernando II “The Catholic”.
Alcazar de Toledo
Fortress located at the highest peak of Toledo, Spain. It is an important symbol of Spanish Nationalism due to its key role during the Spanish Civil War. It is now the home of Castilla-La Mancha Regional Library and the Army Museum.
Museo del Queso Manchego
The best place to learn the history of the famous Manchego cheese. The establishment has a nice little setup that will teach you the history and the elaboration process of the cheese. They also have a cheese tasting area and store. Make sure you pair the delicious Manchego Cheese with some good wine produced in Castilla-La Mancha.
Puente de San Martin
If you got to Toledo on the Renfe, you probably entered the city from the east side (Puente de Alcantara). Puente de San Martin is another similar bridge but, on the west side of town. In my opinion, Puente San Martin has a slightly better view. Go there for a nice Instagram picture of the old city.
Bonus: Mirador del Valle
For the absolute best view of the old city, you need to go to Mirador del Valle. It will take you around 30 minutes if you decide to walk. If you do not feel like walking, it is just a 5-minute taxi ride to get up there. This is the best place in town to watch an amazing sunset.
Toledo, Spain is a cool day trip from Madrid. It is a nice change in scene for those who want a break from the bustling capital.
Toledo has a laid-back vibe, but it’s packed with history, delicious cuisine, and many iconic buildings. The city has a lot more to offer than what was covered in this article. This guide was created to give you the main attractions to cover in a day. If you are staying in the country long-term, I would recommend spending at least a few days here to fully explore what the city has to offer.
More to come on Spain; Stay tuned.