Known as the “City of Three Cultures”, Toledo in Central Spain is a perfect reminder of peaceful co-existence of various cultures and religions – Jewish, Christian and Muslim. This historic city is a popular day trip destination from Madrid, but Toledo is so much more than that. With our 3-day suggested itinerary, you would have a real taste of this charming city and you will be introduced to its best attractions. You can absolutely make any changes you like, to adapt the tour to your preferences.
Things to know before traveling to Spain:
Language – Spanish is the official language of Spain. Also called Castilian, it is the first language of over 72% of the population in the country. Other languages are also spoken in certain areas such as Catalan in Catalonia, Galician in Galicia, Basque in the Basque Country and Valencian in Valencia. Speaking at least some Spanish phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals. Some helpful phrases are as follows:
Buenos días = Good morning
Buenos trades = Good afternoon
Buenas noches = Good evening
Habla inglés? = Do you speak English?
Por favor = Please
Gracias = Thank you
Cómo está? = How are you?
Cuánto cuesta? = How much does it cost?
Currency exchange – The official currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR), the same currency now used by most Western European countries with the exception of the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Norway. Exchanging money in Spain is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Europe. The best way to get local currency (Euros) is to use the ATM and withdraw in Euros to get the best rate. You may also transact with Banks and Bureaux de change.
Social life and etiquette – Spanish people usually have breakfast at around 10:00 am, while lunch (la comida), the biggest meal of the day is normally from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Dinner is no earlier than 8:00 pm and often start as late as 10:00 pm, and it is a very light meal followed by a leisurely stroll (paseo). Tipping is a common practice in Spain, although not always expected. People in Spain tend to be always on time, so it is important to get used to the time zone.
Getting around – 3 days provides barely enough time to see the best of Toledo so basic knowledge of how to get around is recommended. The center of the city is a fairly compact area, which can be explored on foot or on a bicycle.
Where to stay – There’s a great variety of accommodation in Spain, ranging from small family-run pensions to five-star luxury hotels. In almost any town, there’s something for every level of comfort and budget. In Toledo, it is recommended to stay near The Cathedral to get easy access to the city’s famous attractions and get plenty of dining options.
Hotels to consider in Toledo:
Eurostars Palacio Buenavista (Calle Concilios de Toledo 1, 45005 Toledo)
Hotel Santa Isabel (Calle Santa Isabel 24, 45002 Toledo)
Parador de Toledo (Plaza Cerro de Las Melojas s/n, 45002 Toledo)
Hotel San Juan de los Reyes (Calle Reyes Catolicos 5, 45002 Toledo)
Carlos V Hotel (Plaza Magdalena No 4, 45001 Toledo)
Day by Day Itinerary: Discover Toledo, Spain in 3 Days
If you are coming directly from Madrid, then you can travel to Toledo by train or by bus. Trains are the most preferred way to travel because it takes only 30 minutes to get to Toledo. For time table and ticket information, visit National Rail’s official website. From the train station, take a local bus or a taxi to get to your chosen accommodation. Rest and settle in before you start the walking tour.
There’s no better way to get to know a city than visiting some of its significant historical attractions. Come to grips with Toledo’s history by visiting The Cathedral (Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo). This is probably the most famous attraction in Toledo that is why many visitors come here. Then, make your way to Alcázar de Toledo, the highest point in the city. Grab some Marzipan, a famous Spanish sweet confection, from Santo Tome Bakery.
In the evening, it’s time to get spooky! Toledo is an ancient city and it is completely different at night after the tour buses departed. With its history that dates back centuries, it provides the perfect settings for ghost stories, local legends and mysteries. If you are up for adventure, join one of the night tours offered by several tour companies in the city.
Start off your day with breakfast at one of the breakfast and brunch spots in Toledo. After breakfast, make your way to the House and Museum of El Greco (Museo del Greco), situated in the Jewish Quarter. Then, head to the Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca and appreciate its aesthetics and history. Before lunch time, visit the Bisagra Gate at Calle de Alfonso VI.
In the afternoon, make a quick stop at Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes. With time remaining, go for a stroll through Mirador del Valle and marvel at the stunning panoramic views of the city. In the evening, do not miss to try the traditional tapa bars and stand at the bar while eating tapas and drinking lager beer. Visitors will surely appreciate Toledo’s unpretentious bar scene and vibrant nightlife.
You can dedicate Day 3 in the Old Town of Toledo. Biking around Toledo is a great option which allows you to enjoy the area at your own pace. Check out its cafes, restaurants, tapa-bars and art galleries that you might have missed. Squeeze in some souvenir shopping at Cuerho or Jacinta & Maria Chocolates or Santo Tome before you head back to your hotel and prepare for your departure. Or, you can choose to stay in Toledo longer and travel to other parts of Spain. The decision is all yours!
This is the end of our 3-day itinerary. Remember, this is just a guide for planning and is in no way, shape or form, the only way to travel the city. There are several alternative routes of travel within Toledo and it will depend on your intended length of stay. Happy travels!
Have you been to Toledo or anywhere else in Spain? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.