Toledo is a great day trip from Madrid. If you planning a trip to Madrid for a few days, you should add Toledo to your bucket list!
Toledo is a city in central Spain, about 70 km south of the capital Madrid. Toledo was the capital of Spain for 476 years, until 1561 when Madrid became the capital.
Toledo has retained its medieval form: the old city is surrounded by a wall and built of narrow alleys.
In 1986, Toledo gained the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the fact that it incorporates structures that testify to its glorious historical past.
The city excels in its ancient character, its walls, alleys and narrow and dark streets, ancient and magnificent buildings and buildings, and works of great artistic value.
The new city is built north of the old city and is separated from it by a wall from the 16th century, where several gates stand out for their beautiful decorations.
There is a train that leaves from Atocha station to Toledo.
The train is the fastest option to get to Toledo and the ticket cost is 13.90 euros one way.
For train schedule and costs click here.
Recommends booking tickets in advance on the official website or at the train station.
There is a bus company called ALSA that operates direct buses between Madrid and Toledo. Buses leave from Plaza Elíptica in Madrid.
It is not possible to reserve seats on the bus, they take up space in the order of arrival.
The cost of tickets is 12 euros round trip.
It is possible to rent a car and go on a day trip to Toledo.
The journey time from Madrid is about an hour.
There is a large and convenient car park near the train station. From there you can walk to the Old Town, use the tourist bus or public transport in the city.
On your trip to Madrid, you will find lots of options for companies that take day trips to Toledo.
Any hotel or hostel will be able to link you to a tour company.
There are tours in English, Spanish and other languages.
Although it is one of the most visited cities I have visited, I would recommend taking a guided tour of the city.
The history of the city is amazing and fascinating so it is not worth missing the information that only a guided tour can provide.
If you choose to go independently, the main square of the Old Town (Zocodover Square) and the Toledo train station have tourist offices, where you can get a map of the city and get an overview of the recommended sites to visit.
There are quite a few attractions worth visiting on a day trip in Toledo, especially for history lovers.
It is recommended to spend in the city between half a day - a full day.
Puente de Alcántara crosses the river on the eastern side of the city.
The river curves south and encircles almost the entire old quarter of Toledo.
This fact served as an excellent natural defense for the fortified city.
Immediately after crossing the bridge begins a rather steep climb up the stairs and a cobbled path.
Along with it, there are some good vantage points on the river, the bridge, and parts of the city.
Only when you arrive panting to the top of the hill can you start and enjoy the narrow alleys.
The first square that is encountered immediately after passing through the entrance gate to the city is a triangular square called Zocodover.
At its entrance stands a statue of Cervantes. Scenes from "Don Quixote" are painted on the stone benches scattered around the square. Next to the square are some of the best marzipan shops in town. It's better not to ignore them.
This detail may sound marginal and innocent but in Toledo, it has enormous significance. Marzipans are considered here to be the most prominent and significant local delicacy.
Each guide has a list of the best places to buy marzipan.
Catedral Primada de Toledo, whose construction began in the 13th century and ended in the late 15th century is the largest and most visited site in the city.
The cathedral is considered a model for the Spanish Gothic style and its vast space reduces visitors and minimizes them.
Not far away stands the most prominent site in Toledo - the Alcazar - the great fortress that dominates the city and the river.
The site has been closed for a long time due to renovations and is scheduled to reopen these days. Despite this, it is worth walking to the observation deck that overlooks the entire area east of the city.
There is a pleasant park here, a picnic area and especially a beautiful view of the mountains and the river.
In a relatively small area of several crowded streets are concentrated some of the most interesting sites in Toledo.
First, it is worth visiting the Franciscan convent of San Juan de Los Rice. The 600-year-old monastery is considered an interesting combination of Gothic, Moorish architecture, and Renaissance design.
The most interesting part is the cloister - a beautiful enclosed courtyard surrounded by arched balconies. In the center is an orange tree garden.
A few hundred meters from the convent stands the Santa Maria La Blanca Synagogue.
This is one of two synagogues left in the city out of ten that once stood in Khodria - the Jewish Quarter of Toledo.
This synagogue was built in the 13th century and served as the largest synagogue in the city.
He was then converted to a church and then given his current name. Its original shape has been preserved. It has 24 octagonal columns that support large horseshoe arches. Above these hang carved titles.
A short walk away is the Sinagoga del Tránsito, which is now used as a museum of the history of the Jews of Spain.
A resident of the city, Shmuel Halevi, who served as the finance minister of the cruel King Pedro, financed the construction in the 13th century.
After the expulsion, the building was converted into a church and in the 1960s the museum began to be developed here.
The Great Synagogue hall is still the most impressive part of the building. At the top are Hebrew verses engraved and as with any such visit the basic ability to read them gives us a sense of an ancient and somewhat mysterious tribe.
The exhibits that document the tradition of Spanish Jewry are interesting, but they seem to have been created precisely for tourists who are making their first acquaintance with any Jewish tradition here.
In the courtyard are tombstones with Hebrew inscriptions and next to them, engraved on a large stone a beautiful song by Ibn Ezra about the rest of the dead.
El Greco is the name given to the Greek painter, sculptor, and architect, Domḗnikos Theotokópoulos, who did most of his artistic work in Italy and Spain in the city of Toledo.
El Greco focused mainly on altar ornaments and portraits.
Many of his works are on display at the Prado Museum in Madrid.
You can visit the painter's house and a nearby museum that contains important works by the painter, including pictures of Jesus and the twelve apostles.
In the nearby church of Santo Tomé is displayed the famous painting of El Greco the burial of the Count of Orgas.
On Santo Tomé Street, where the church is located, stands the most famous marzipan store in town.
The same family has been making marzipans here since 1856.
Every year, several local festivals are held in Toledo, which attracts many tourists due to the colorfulness and joy that surround the city streets.
The most significant religious holiday in Toledo is Corpus Christi, which is celebrated in May / June every year.
During the holiday, the streets of the city are decorated with flags and colorful fabrics bearing symbols of nobility and processions take place, led by a procession of giant puppets.
The holiday atmosphere begins long weeks before, with cultural events, exhibitions, sports competitions, and music performances.
The Holy Week celebrations (Semana Santa), which take place before Easter (March / April), are characterized by colorful processions, in traditional dress, which takes place at night, by candlelight.
On August 15, the city's patron saint (Virgen del Sagrario de Toledo) is celebrated in Toledo, during which offerings are made to the statue of the Virgin and the masses sip holy water, which is believed to have been blessed.
The Toledano kitchen is first and foremost a kitchen of farmers.
Toledo is the capital of the province of La Mancha located in the heart of Spain, far from the sea, and characterized by an arid and desert climate.
Animals like deer, bull, pig, and partridge are an integral part of the daily menu. And also an abundance of root vegetables, wine, sheep's milk (which are abundant in the area), almonds, saffron, garlic.
Most of the dishes are meaty and deep stews. While this is a genre of dishes that is less photogenic, its followers will be able to see through the unflattering exterior the long cooking time that gives the dish its fun and smoothness.
The dishes in Toledo by and large did not gallop on the timeline of Spanish cuisine.
They remained simple, rustic, patriotic, and delicious.
Candy of ground almonds with sugar. And here I am asking you to stop everything. And I stand proudly behind the following sentence:
Anyone who has not tasted Toledani marzipan - has not tasted good marzipan since.
True, there is Sicily giving Fate to Toledo, but other than that you will forget about everything you have tasted so far.
You're probably asking - what could be significantly better when it comes to total almonds and sugar? The answer is the almonds.
The province of La Mancha is bursting with almonds on which grows an almond of a type unique to an area called Marcona.
Marcona is a rounder almond than the familiar almond and is full of concentrated flavor and aroma so it is the ideal almond for marzipan or anything with almonds (even in salty its stars, and snacking on it fried with salt is an addictive disaster).
Because marzipan made from other almonds has a weaker taste and suffers from a bit of anemia, it is customary to add alcoholic almond extracts, or rose water as is customary with the Persians. And this is what creates the alcoholic aftertaste that many shy away from.
In Toledo, as mentioned, marzipan is made exclusively of almonds and sugar, and sometimes a drop of honey is added.
Some say that the Jews in the city invented marzipan when they were looking for a sweet substitute for bread on Passover, which is why it is very common to make marzipan in the form of bread or challah.
Semi-hard sheep cheese is produced exclusively in the province of La Mancha. Just as Parmesan cheese is made only in the Italian city of Parma, and just as champagne is made exclusively in the Champagne region of France, so Manchego cheese is named after the province in which it is made.
It is a bit spicy (in terms of cheese) as a lot of sheep cheese, and its taste varies from one degree of age to another.
It is produced in 3 types of aging - from the softest which is aged for 3 months which is aged for almost two years.
The older the cheese, the stronger and stronger it tastes. It is customary to eat it in thick slices as it is, without cooking, or in a sandwich with ham or anchovies, with which the saltiness of each of the two goes well.
A stew of pork (shoulder) cubes, tomatoes, peas, onions, garlic, and white wine.
Some add to the dish other products that may return to an extra smoky taste, such as Hamon and chorizo.
This is the most rustic dish there is, coarsely and insanely delicious! Wipe all the sauce with white bread.
Long-cooked deer pieces with garlic, onions, extra root vegetables, and red wine (did anyone say Beef Wellington?).
It is true that this deer is a bit of an exotic animal, but at the end of the day the flavors of the stew feel very familiar, and overall it is a particularly successful roast flavor.
This is a hunter-gatherer, heavy, deep, and comforting. Siesta right after.
Chicken with a more pronounced taste of game meat and a darker color. Like all meat dishes in Toledo, the partridge is cooked for a long time together with root vegetables and white wine.
In this case, vinegar and rosemary are also added to the stew. The result is a simple, soft, and tender stew.
Halva Toasted Marcona almonds.
The texture is halva, and the taste is especially sweet and nutty.
The Turrón came with almonds and honey from Andalusia, and to this day it is a common snack in southern Spain.
In the province of La Mancha, where almonds are the best, you should not miss this wonderful candy.
Toledo is a city full of charm, every corner has a church and at noon the squares and restaurants are filled with tourists and cameras.
The houses are built of brownstone, the cathedral and the spires of the churches, and above them, all the immense Elxer fortress wins.
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