Day Trips from Madrid: All You Need to Know About Toledo

May 13, 2019
parador toledo spain cafeteria views vantage point
Toledo is one of Spain’s most popular cities. In 1987 it was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations because of its wide variety of historical monuments, most of which are religious and show the city’s cultural diversity over the centuries. Being only one hour away from Madrid, Toledo is an essential day trip from the capital of Spain.

We took advantage of the recent Bank Holiday to revisit breathtaking Toledo and on this post I'm telling you all about it. This is the ultimate travel guide to visiting Toledo. Here you'll find all you need to know about this Spanish city to plan a day trip. It includes a brief history of Toledo, things to do and see, a review of the luxurious Parador hotel, tips on the best gifts to buy and advice on getting there.
parador toledo spain cafeteria views vantage point travel outfit europe
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TOLEDO
Toledo is one of the most important cities in the history of Spain. It's often referred to as the City of Three Cultures: Islamic, Jewish and Christian. In this melting pot these different cultures left their footprint in various ways. One of the most famous examples of cooperation was the creation of the School of Translators in the 12th century, which helped to preserve a significant amount of knowledge.

The origins of Toledo can be traced back to Roman times. In the 6th century the city converted to Catholicism and became the capital of Hispania (Spain). In the year 712 AD, Toledo was conquered by the Moors. That is the same year when Jewish people are believed to have arrived. In the year 1085, Toledo was retaken by Christians but many people from the other cultures chose to stay. All three cultures lived in harmony until 1492 when the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, expelled the Jews from Toledo. Moorish legacy began to fade in the 15th century as well.

In 1519, under the rule of Charles V, Toledo became the most important city in the world, known as the Imperial Capital. This period was brief but very beneficial for the city in terms of heritage. Finally, in 1561 King Philip II decided to move the court permanently to Madrid.
church basilica religious heritage toledo spain landmark history travel guide tourism day trip itinerary
architecture mudejar moorish islamic toledo spain landmark history travel guide tourism day trip itinerary
EL GRECO
Doménikos Theotokópoulos a.k.a. El Greco (The Greek) is one of the most important painters in Spain. He moved from Greece to Spain in the 16th century and in Toledo he produced his most famous paintings. He was ahead of his time and gave a personal and unique touch to Rennaisance style.

In Toledo you can visit El Greco Museum and see his best-known work, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, in Santo Tome's church.

EL PARADOR HOTEL AND VANTAGE POINT
If you follow the blog, you know about our passion for luxury hotel chain Paradores. They are much more than hotels, they are landmarks and in Toledo's case, also a vantage point.
parador toledo spain cafeteria views vantage point travel outfit europe
Parador de Toledo is far from the Old Town which allows it to have the best views of this beautiful city from its cafeteria. We started our day in Toledo by having a snack there before having a wonderful meal at the restaurant.
parador toledo spain hotel luxury restaurant vantage point
Paradores never disappoint. We loved the restaurant with its private social club vibe and nature inspired decor. The food was delicious too and the staff couldn't be kinder and more professional.
parador toledo spain hotel luxury restaurant vantage point
parador toledo spain hotel luxury restaurant vantage point restaurant
parador toledo spain hotel luxury restaurant vantage point restaurant food menu
parador toledo spain hotel luxury restaurant vantage point restaurant food menu
parador toledo spain hotel luxury restaurant vantage point restaurant food menu
parador toledo spain hotel luxury restaurant vantage point restaurant food menu
parador toledo spain hotel luxury restaurant vantage point restaurant food menu
parador toledo spain hotel luxury restaurant vantage point restaurant food menu
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN TOLEDO
Toledo’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with heritage from all three cultures: Jewish, Islamic and Christian.

These are the best things to do in Toledo:
  • Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes: commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs, this monastery houses the most beautiful cloister I've seen so far. 
monastery cloister san juan reyes toledo spain landmark history travel guide tourism day trip itinerary
monastery cloister san juan reyes toledo spain landmark history travel guide tourism day trip itinerary
  • Iglesia de Santo Tome: the architecture of this church has both Islamic and Christina influence while being located in the Jewish Quarter. Here's where you can see the Burial of the Count of Orgaz painting by El Greco.
  • The Cathedral: this example of Gothic cathedral was built on what used to be a mosque, like many other Christian churches across the country.
cathedral toledo spain landmark history travel guide tourism day trip itinerary
fortress palace alcazar toledo spain landmark history travel guide tourism day trip itinerary
  • Plaza de Zocodover: Toledo's lively main square.
  • Alcazar of Toledo: alcazar is an Islamic word that means palace or fortress of Moorish origin. The one in Toledo is the highest point in the city and it was meant as a royal residence for Charles V. Nowadays it houses a public library and the army museum.
  • Visit El Greco Museum
  • Don't forget those jaw-dropping views from El Parador!
WHAT TO BUY
Toledo has been known for sword-making and steel-working for century. One of the most popular things to buy in Toledo are swords and steel figures.

If you are not a GOT fan, but have a sweet tooth, you should know that marzipan from Toledo is very famous in Spain. We usually eat it during Christmas but here you can find it all year long.

Our favorite place to buy sweets are convents and in Toledo we fixed our cravings thanks to Convento de San Antonio de Padua.
shop antiques sword steel toledo spain landmark history travel guide tourism day trip itinerary
shop sword steel toledo spain landmark history travel guide tourism day trip itinerary
GETTING THERE
There are buses and trains going from Madrid (see Google Maps), however the fastest option is by car. The problem is parking, as usual. The best thing to do is to use one of the parking lots outside of the Old Town. There's a free one opposite the bus station called Safont but gets full quickly on weekends and holidays so go there as early as possible. There's a car-park attendant at the gate and you are expected to give him a few coins but you don't have to pay anything else.

GET THE LOOK
You can find my shorts here and me sneakers here.

I hope you enjoyed this guide with all you need to know about Toledo. If you liked this post, spread the love by pinning and sharing it!
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23 comments

  1. Enriched with history, magnificent architectures and delectable foods, Toledo sounds like the place to be! Love your easy and chic printed shorts! This outfit is perfect for sightseeing and just being out and about.

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com

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  2. Your travel outfit is perfection and the food looked so good for the day trip! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  3. I just love all those architectural details! It's so rare to find buildings that look anything like that here.

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  4. Beautiful pictures! I am counting down the days till our trip: 13! And I am glad to see you wearing shorts: the weather seems cooler than here so far in Spain and France so I am hoping it warms up in the next couple of weeks.
    www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

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  5. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comMay 15, 2019 at 5:15 AM

    Such amazing buildings! And I love your cute shorts.

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  6. A wonderful Post again... I enjoyed the description of Toledo. I wished we could travel to Spain!

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  7. holy! this place looks gorgeous <3 The food looks amazing as well. Thank you for sharing your experience w us!

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  8. I've never been to Spain but now it's on my bucket list! Beautiful photos!

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  9. That's some fabulous architecture! What a lovely place.

    Thanks for joining 'My Corner of the World' this week!

    My Corner of the World

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  10. Scarlett RoitmanMay 16, 2019 at 4:48 PM

    You had me at El Greco! I love staying in the paradores, give you a real flavour of the country. #farwayflies

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  11. Such beautiful architecture! And the food looks amazing as well.

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  12. I've wanted to visit Toledo for a while now but you're really persuading me it needs to be sooner rather than later. I'd certainly want to make a stay of it and sleep in the paradore too. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

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  13. Oh...how lovely. I so want to visit Spain!!

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  14. love the architecture seen in your photos, I think I'd enjoy Toledo very much #farawayfiles

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  15. Lovely place - hope you enjoyed your journey~


    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/05/home-made-salami.html

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  16. Such a charming place! You always have the loveliest travel photos dear.
    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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  17. Toledo is a lovely place!
    Have a great day dear! xx

    La ilusión de Nina - http://lailusiondenina.blogspot.com/

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  18. Toledo looks like an interesting place to visit and the convent very beautiful. Lovely photographs. #farawayfiles

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  19. That's what I love about Europe, the heritage, because they don't make buildings like these anymore.

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  20. You've got to tell me all about your trip!

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