Destination: Toledo, Spain

View of Toledo, Spain

Your comprehensive but concise guide to spend a day trip, or longer, in historic Toledo, Spain

Take a trip to Toledo, a UNESCO world heritage city only thirty minutes from Madrid, renowned for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage. Admire the impressive gothic Catedral Primada, explore the many beautiful churches nestled among the winding narrow streets, see masterpieces by the famous artist El Greco and enjoy the architectural influences of three cultures; Christian, Jewish and Arab. This city was the capital of Spain until the 16th century, when Madrid became the capital. Toledo is an easy 30 minute train ride away from Madrid, so make this stunning fortified city a stop on your next trip to Madrid- whether for a day trip, 24 hours, 48 hours or longer!

Basic Toledo facts

  • The capital of Spain until 1560, when the population outgrew the geographic limits of Toledo and the King re-designated the capital to Madrid.
  • A fortified town, protected by towers, walls and the River Tagus
  • Has been governed by three different cultures (Jewish, Arab, Christian) which led to its unique mixed architectural styles
  • Is situated in the region of Castilla-La Mancha (the location of the famous Spanish novel, Don Quixote)

When to take a day trip

  • Avoid the peak summer and peak winter for the most comfortable travel. You’ll be walking a lot so we don’t recommend visiting on a blazing hot or wet and windy day.
  • We recommend avoiding Sunday or Monday as some attractions are closed or have limited opening hours.
  • We also recommend checking your intended date in case it is a religious or public holiday as this also impacts opening hours.

How to get to Toledo

  • Book a return train trip (c. € 20) on the RENFE website. The train only takes half an hour.
  • Book your train a few days in advance to ensure you get the train times you want. It’s a popular train and waiting until the day before to book is not a good idea!
  • For a day trip, take the 9:20am from Atocha then plan to leave after 6pm, depending on whether you want to eat dinner in Madrid or Toledo.

General tips for a Toledo day trip

  • If you are not familiar with the Atocha station, plan to arrive at least twenty minutes before your train departure so you can find the correct section of the large station and have time for security, where jackets and bags must be screened.
  • Download Google maps before you go and map out your intended route. The streets are winding and easy to make a wrong turn!
  • You can’t pre-book tickets so build time into your itinerary to wait in lines – another good reason to visit outside of peak season!
  • One day only? Start your day the cathedral, get into a restaurant for lunch early, then buy the seven-monument tourist wristband and spend your afternoon visiting the sites that interest you most.
  • True art or history lovers should plan more than a day trip to Toledo, as you will leave feeling you’ve barely scratched the surface.

The Tourist Wristband

  • Gives access to seven major monuments, each which have identical opening times, from 10:00 to 17:45 on the off-season and 18:45 in peak-season.
  • Buy it at any of the monuments (no need to buy online) for 10 euro. Access to any individual site is 3 euro.
  • Once you have bought it, as you enter other monuments, say “tengo la pulsera” (I have the wristband) and show it to them to gain entrance.
  • The wristband is like a festival one (coated plastic/paper type) and is showerproof. If you’re in Toledo for longer than a day trip, you can use it over multiple days, and can re-enter monuments, as long as the wristband remains attached to your wrist.
  • For more, check the official website

Itinerary for One Day in Toledo

9:00 Arrive at Atocha Station (no later). Find the relevant security line, then board your pre-booked train. We recommend taking a picnic breakfast and eating it on the train.

9:20 Train departs

9:50 Train arrives in Toledo. Spend ten minutes enjoying the unique beauty of the train station.

10:00 Walk along to cross the Alcántara Bridge (good selfie spot) and continue up to Plaza Zocodover (to take the escalators up the hill, turn right when you arrive at the stairs and wind around the hill until you reach the parking lot/escalators).

10:20 If you want to take a tourist train ride today, book your train ride in now, we recommend a 1pm departure time. Plaza Zocodover is also a spot to buy Santo Tomé’s mazapán.

10:30 Head over to the Catedral Primada. Plan plenty of time to enjoy the giant gothic cathedral and its masterpieces in the gallery.

13:00 Tourist Train to Mirador de Valle. See the Puerta de Bisagra, the San Martín bridge, enjoy a panoramic view of the whole of Toledo on the ride (there’s a 5 minute stop for photos) and take a break from standing.

13:45 Have an early (by Spanish standards) lunch at Restaurante Alfileritos 24.

14:30 Continue your visit by selecting either monuments or art for your afternoon.

Monuments: visit as many of the seven monuments you’d like to visit/have time to visit. Walking time between each monument is between 5 to 10 minutes so it’s easy to see a few monuments. Recommended for most visitors as you get city views and a range of architecture, churches and artwork for a good introduction to Toledo’s history.

Artlovers: visit the El Greco Museum, the Santa Cruz Museum and the Iglesia de Santo Tomé.

18:50 Walk back down to the station

19:20 Train departs Toledo

19:55 Train arrives at Atocha, get ready for a night out in Madrid!

Tight on time? Take a taxi instead of the tourist train to see the view of Toledo or skip it altogether if you don’t want to see it.

Want a fun snack stop? The Museo del Queso Manchego (cheese museum) is very close to the cathedral and offers tastings of wine and cheese for € 4.

The first sight on your day trip to Toledo
Walking up from the train station towards the Alcántara Bridge

The Main Attractions of Toledo

Catedral Primada

  • 🙋 Why visit? This is a must-visit on a Toledo day trip. Super Spanish and Gothic cathedral with impressive gold altar, stained glass and a collection of art by the masters (incl Caravaggio, Goya, Velazquez and several pieces by El Greco). Excellent audio guide included with ticket price.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 Mon-Sat (14:00-18:00 Sun)
  • Average visit time: 2 hours
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 10
  • 📍 Address: Calle Cardenal Cisneros, 1 Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: Catedral website
  • 🧐 Good to know:
    • An additional € 2.50 gives access to the Bell Tower
    • Use the toilets in the gift shop!
    • The website says photography is banned, but you actually can take photos!

Alcázar

The Alcazar, viewed from the road leading to the Mirador del Valle on a day trip to Toledo
The Alcázar sitting on the hilltop of Toledo
  • 🙋 Why visit? Beautiful big fortress to admire from the exterior. We would only recommend going inside if you have a passion for the military and its artefacts.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 10:00-17:00 Tues-Sun (closed Mondays)
  • Average visit time: 10 mins if just looking from the exterior
  • 💰 Cost (per person): Free to look at or € 5 for the museum (free on Sundays)
  • 📍 Address: Calle Unión, Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: Museum website
  • 🧐 Good to know: If you elect to take the tourist train while in Toledo, the drop off/pick up point is outside the Alcázar on Cuesta Carlos V!

Tourist Train to Mirador de Valle

  • 🙋 Why visit? A basic tourist train. You do this trip for the ride out to Mirador del Valle. You’ll also see La Puerta de Bisagra and cross over the Puente de San Martín.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: Every fifteen minutes, every day starting from 10:00
  • Average visit time: 45 minutes
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 7
  • 📍 Address: Book at the umbrella at Zocodover Plaza, the train leaves from opposite the Alcazar on Cuesta Carlos V
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: Trainvision website
  • 🧐 Good to know: Make sure to sit on the right side of the train (and in a row where the window is open) for great views.

Iglesia de Santo Tomé

  • 🙋 Why visit? View El Greco’s revered painting, The burial of the Lord of Orgaz.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 10:00-18:45 (winter) and 10:00-17:45 (summer)
  • Average visit time: 10-20 minutes
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 3 or wristband
  • 📍 Address: Plaza del Conde, 4, 45002 Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: Toledo Monumental
  • 🧐 Good to know: This site is extremely busy and no photography is allowed. You will need to declare your country of residence when you enter for their records.

Iglesia de los Jesuitas (San Ildefonso)

  • 🙋 Why visit? Fantastic views over the city from the tower and a lovely church with sculptures.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 10:00-18:45 (winter) and 10:00-17:45 (summer)
  • Average visit time: 30 minutes
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 3 or wristband
  • 📍 Address: Plaza Padre Juan de Mariana, 1, 45002 Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: Toledo Monumental
  • 🧐 Good to know: It’s an easy climb to the top of the towers. As you enter the church, walk down the left side of the church to access the staircases.

Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes

  • 🙋 Why visit? A tranquil monastery, with elaborate two-storey cloister and WiFi accessible audio guide.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 10:00-18:45 (winter) and 10:00-17:45 (summer)
  • Average visit time: 45 minutes
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 3 or wristband
  • 📍 Address: Reyes Catolicos 17, Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: Toledo Monumental
  • 🧐 Good to know: Very close to the synagogue

Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca

  • 🙋 Why visit? The oldest synagogue in Toledo, reflecting its Jewish cultural roots, with Nasrid design influences.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 10:00-18:45 (winter) and 10:00-17:45 (summer)
  • Average visit time: 20-30 minutes
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 3 or wristband
  • 📍 Address: Reyes Catolicos 4, Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: Toledo Monumental
  • 🧐 Good to know: Very close to the monastery

Eating in Toledo

A day trip only gives you limited time in Toledo, so if you rather skip eating for sightseeing, bring some snacks with you from Madrid. Otherwise, here are a few quick-eats recommendations:

Museo del Queso Manchego Toledo

  • 🙋 Why visit? Tasting room with wine and cheese. Museum with 2000 year history of manchego. Shop with wines/cheese/other deli items.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: Every day has different times, so check the day you’re traveling. The core hours are 11:00-20:00 (Sunday and Monday are more restricted)
  • Average visit time: 30-60 minutes
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 4 for a tasting (museum is free)
  • 📍 Address: Calle Sixto Ramon Parro 7, 45001 Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: website
  • 🧐 Good to know: Very close to the Catedral Primada, so it’s perfectly positioned for some post-sightseeing refreshment.

Restaurant Alfileritos 24

  • 🙋 Why visit? Eat tasty tapas in a cute cave-like tavern
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 9:00-17:00 and 20:00-0:00
  • Average visit time: 60-90 minutes
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 15 approx. each for a glass of wine and a few tapas to share
  • 📍 Address: Calle Alfileritos 24, 45003 Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: restaurant website
  • 🧐 Good to know: The tapas menu has some gluten free and vegetarian options. Recommend two salads and a plate of Iberico ham for a meal for two.

Santo Tomé

  • 🙋 Why visit? Eat marzipan (mazapán)
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 9:00-22:00
  • Average visit time: 10 minutes
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 1.50 approx. per mazapán
  • 📍 Address: Plaza Zocodover, 7, 45001 Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: website
  • 🧐 Good to know: The mazapán is not gluten free (“sin gluten”)

Got more time?

If you are in Toledo for longer than one day, make the most of the extra options available to you.

Visit all seven monuments!

The three that aren’t on our list above are still absolutely worth visiting – it’s a matter of taste what your priorities are. Check out three extra sites: Mezquita Cristo de la Luz, Iglesia del Salvador and Real Colegio de Doncellas Nobles.

Medina Mudejar Baths

  • 🙋 Why visit? Treat yourself to an authentic Arab Bath experience, hopping between the frigidarium/cold water pool, the tepidarium/temperate pool and the caldarium/hot pool.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 10:00-22:00 (23:00 on Saturdays and 20:00 on Sundays)
  • Average visit time: 2 hours
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 30 for bathing, with packages for massage etc. available
  • 📍 Address: Plaza Sta. Eulalia, 1, 45002 Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: website
  • 🧐 Good to know:
    • You should reserve in advance. Reservations require a credit card deposit.
    • You must wear a swimsuit and long hair must be tied up.

Museo del Greco

  • 🙋 Why visit? Learn all about El Greco, the Greek master painter who made Toledo his home.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: Summer: 9:30- 19:30 Winter: 9:30-18:00 Sundays: 10:00-15:00
  • Average visit time: 2 hours
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 3 or free from 2pm on Saturdays and all day on Sundays
  • 📍 Address: Paseo del Tránsito, Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: museum website
  • 🧐 Good to know: CLOSED on Mondays

Museo de Santa Cruz

  • 🙋 Why visit? A pretty museum that used to be orphanage and hospital. The gallery includes the famous Assumption of Mary by El Greco.
  • 🕙 Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 except Sundays (9:00-15:00)
  • Average visit time: 2 hours
  • 💰 Cost (per person): € 4 or free from 4pm on Wednesdays and all day on Sundays
  • 📍 Address: Calle Miguel de Cervantes, 3, 45001 Toledo
  • 🔗 Links for extra info: museum website
  • 🧐 Good to know: If you are tossing up between a quick visit here or to the monastery, pick here, as the museum is designed with a cloister (the outdoor double-storey courtyard with gardens) that is just as beautiful as the monastery’s one, plus you get to see incredible art.

Have a picnic overlooking Toledo

Gather some local treats, such as cheese, mazapán, bread and wine and head out the Bisagra gate. Walk about 20 minutes towards Mirador del Valle to the picnic area at the edge of the river, which looks out over Toledo. Try going at sunset and grab a taxi back once night falls.

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