1 day tour to Toledo from Madrid - highlights
We have prepared this post to include some of the highlights of the city portion the Toledo tour we run from Madrid everyday. You will find information about the Medieval City of Toledo. The full tour also includes a visit to the amazing windmills of Don Quixote in La Mancha and also a stop at a traditional winery.
You can check out the full tour highlights here:
* DISCLAIMER: This is a typical itinerary for our tour but the stops may vary due to the season, schedule, etc. to see the exact itinerary check the product description or just get in touch.
Arriving at Toledo
Only an hour away by car from Madrid we arrive at Toledo. As the highway turns and the Medieval city comes into view it is hard not to be immediately impressed. An image straight out of Game of Thrones, the walled city sits atop a rocky mountain carved out of its surroundings by a river that creates a natural moat.
Even from a distance the age and history of Toledo is palpable, and even more so once you cross through the original entrance (Puerta de la Bisagra) and begin winding your way through the small cobbled stone streets.
The first stop is the Alcazar, a fortress built at the highest point in the city. It has been an important strategic location since the 3rd century AC, when the Romans built a fortress in the same location. Since then, whoever conquered the city built their fortress at the same site. The latest update of the fortification was made in in the 15th century.
It currently is an important government building and contains the war museum of Toledo.
From the Alcazar we head west towards the old Jewish Quarter of the city. On the way, you will get to admire one of Toledo’s main attractions: the metal work. Toledo was famous in medieval times for its blacksmiths, especially for the quality of the armor and swords it produced. Nowadays there is store after store showcasing swords, shields, and other medieval paraphernalia that can be purchased as souvenirs.
But Toledo is also known for a much more delicate form of metalworking. Thanks to the Arab influence on the city, there are many artisans that are experts in “damasquinado”, the art of inlaying gold into burnt steel, a technique originated in Damascus. You will get to visit a traditional workshop and see how these beautiful works of art are created.
Sinagoga Santa María la Blanca
As impressive as Toledo is, it was once one of the most important cities in the world. Under Charles the V, Toledo became the capital of Spain, but even before that, Alfonso the X used Toledo as a cultural hub where he brought together the 3 most important cultures in Spain at the time: Jews, Arabs and Christians. This was done as a way to share knowledge, translate each other works and advance the culture.
This is the reason there are 3 distinct neighbourhoods in Toledo. In the Jewish part of town is one of the most important sites in all of Toledo: The synagogue of Santa María la Blanca. Built in 1180 it served as a synagogue for over 200 years and like most historical buildings in Toledo it has been repurposed many times over the years (even as a munitions silo during the Spanish civil war) but it is still a stunningly beautiful relic of the Jewish culture that was once such an important component of the city.
Mazapan. Where to find the best marzipan in Toledo?
There is another sweet and delicious speciality to enjoy in Toledo. Toledo is known for a number of desserts and confections but none as famous as “mazapan” or marzipan, made the traditional way. There are still cloistered nuns that hand make these treats which are particularly delicious when enjoyed sitting at a “terraza” on a beautiful day with a nice cup of coffee.
Cathedral of Toledo
The cathedral of Toledo is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain and is considered, by some to be the most important of the Gothic style in Spain. Construction began in 1226 under the rule of Ferdinand III and the last Gothic contributions were made in the 15th century. It was modeled after the Bourges Cathedral in France, although its five naves plan is a consequence of the constructors' intention to cover all of the sacred space of the former city mosque with the cathedral, and of the former sahn with the cloister. It also combines some characteristics of the Mudéjar style, with the use of multifoiled arches. The spectacular incorporation of light and the structural achievements of the ambulatory vaults are some of its more remarkable aspects.
Sights of the City
Once you leave Toledo there is one last treat to be enjoyed. There are several vantage points that are worth driving to take in the breath-taking views of Toledo from the surrounding mountains. Particularly at night, when the city is lit up, driving to one of these points and enjoying a glass of wine is the perfect way to wrap up your visit to Toledo.
In case you are planning a visit to Toledo and you are wondering about the weather there we recommend you have a look at our on weather in Toledo.