8 hours in Toledo » What do you do?

Some of our links are affiliated, we will earn a commission when you buy a service or product. This will have no extra cost for you. For further info please refer to our Privacy Policy

Woman with sunglasses in front of a construction in Toledo, Spain.
Feeling like a princess!

The almond smell, historical buildings and a trip to the past. You can have it all in a one day trip to Toledo, Spain.

It was a Monday morning, we got up early, grabbed a coffee and went to the bus station. In our bag, there was some water, biscuits, a camera and excitement.


Destination: Toledo, the old Spanish capital

We got a metro to Plaza Elíptica (a station for intercity buses). To get there each of us spent €1,80 for the metro fare plus €9,96 for the return ticket to Toledo. The buses run every half hour until 9:30 pm, and you can buy the tickets in the machines inside the station. Super easy, cheap and fast. The ride took just one hour and 15 minutes. Another option is to go by train, there is a fast line (AVE) that runs from Madrid to Toledo. The train is faster than the bus, but you will spend a few more Euros.


1st tip: Go by bus!

Buses around Spain are comfortable and reliable. If you have time, go by bus and save some money, then you can spend more on other stuff. And by the end of the day (after 8 hours of sightseeing) you can take a little nap on the bus. One hour of sleep and you are ready to enjoy the night at night in Madrid!

I was super anxious to arrive in Toledo. Everything that I read about the city made my expectations grow a lot. For us, Brazilians, medieval towns are not common. Our country was “discovered” 500 years ago, so our architecture and history are pretty new. To visit cities like Toledo it’s a trip to the past, is like getting inside a history book.

The bus station in Toledo is on the bottom of the city. We got out of the station and walked towards the walls and gates that we saw above the hill. It was a 20 minutes walk, but a really pleasant one. As soon as we arrived at the top I had a jaw-dropping view. The Puerta Nova de Bisagra was there welcoming us.

The Puerta Nova de Bisagra in Toledo.
La Puerta de Bisagra.

You get into the city by this beautiful gate and in a few minutes, you are already lost. That’s true, we got lost in such a small town. After the big gate, we followed the street on the left side, crossed the Puerta del Sol, and 5 minutes later we had no clue where we were.

Toledo is one of the must-see cities in Spain, so we thought that there would be a tourism information office right in the entrance of the city, or in the center of the town. Turned out it didn’t. We walked a lot and we couldn’t find it. At least we were not alone, there were many people like us trying to find their way around the city.

The problem was that we didn’t have a map and we didn’t want to wander all day long guessing where the places were. To try to get some information we entered in an art gallery and ask where the tourism office was. The guy didn’t have a clue where it was, although he handed us a city map. Thank you very much, unknown man, you saved our day trip!


2nd tip: Have a map and find yourself

Be smart and print a map, or at least save the map off-line on your mobile before traveling. It will make your life easier and you will save money: in some cities, they charge up to 5€ for a simple city plan. We were really fools to believe that Google Maps would be working on my mobile. When we arrived there we couldn’t connect with 3G or GPS, so we had to find an old-fashioned but useful paper map.

With the map in hand, we started exploring the ancient Spanish capital. The amazing historical buildings, narrow streets that ended in nowhere, and the sweet smell of almonds that makes you feel hungry all the time. If you never heard or read about Toledo, here is a short, really short resume about the history of this amazing city. Just for you to understand why it is an unmissable destination in Europe.

There isn’t a right way to explore the city. We started by the Jesuits Church that we found in our way.


3rd tip: Get a touristic pass

When we got there we bought the tourist wristband pass, it is a save money option to visit six of the major attractions. We paid €8 per person instead of paying €13,80 if we got single tickets in each place. Here are the temples we visited:

Inside of Iglesia de San Ildefonso in Toledo.
Iglesia de San Ildefonso.

Iglesia de San Ildefonso

After the Cathedral, it is the most beautiful church in the city, and it has an amazing view of Toledo from the bell tower.


Where’s Wally – castle version!

 Iglesia de Santo Tomé

It is famous for the El Greco painting “The burial of the Count of Orgaz”. Believe it or not, we didn’t take a picture of it. Fail!! 🙁

Don’t forget to buy your Travel Insurance!

We use and recommend World Nomads and SafetyWing, click on the name of the company and book your insurance now. If you need more information read our Travel Insurance Guide here.


Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo.
Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.

– Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes

Beautiful architecture, the two big cloisters around the garden are awesome. By the small entrance door, you can not imagine the beauty that is hidden inside.


Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca in Toledo.
Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca.

– Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca

The oldest Synagogue in Toledo, dated from the 12th century and was turned into a catholic church in the 15th century.


Iglesia del Salvador in Toledo.
The Mezquita-Iglesia de El Salvador.

– Iglesia del Salvador

It was a mosque from the 9th century and turned into a church in 1159. Now they are doing some excavation in the underground and restoring the back of the church.


Mosque of Cristo de la Luz in Toledo.
The (former) Mosque of Cristo de la Luz.

– Mosque of Cristo de la Luz

A really ancient place, with a nice garden on the side. Walk through the garden until you reach the walls. Great view from the city and Puerta del Sol.

While visiting these places be aware of the opening and closing time, some of the churches closed for lunchtime. We were lucky, the attendant that received us in the Jesuits church was really helpful. He explained about the wristband, prices, timetables, locations, everything in fluent English.

Walking from one church to another you will find beautiful houses, tiny streets, and cute shops. Go slowly and give time to yourself to absorb all the information. That’s the right way to enjoy Toledo! Stop for a coffee and try the famous Marzipan, a sweet little cake made of sugar, almonds and honey. Delicious! Two or three are enough to give you some energy to keep discovering the city.


Other unmissable places in Toledo

Alcázar de Toledo.
Alcázar de Toledo.

– Alcázar

Was first used by the Romans as a palace in the 3rd century. The castle was destroyed by wars and had to be rebuilt by the Spanish Kings. When we were there it was closed for renovations, so we didn’t have the chance to visit inside.


Puente de Alcantara in Toledo.
Puente de Alcantara.

– Puente de Alcantara

It was built during the roman empire and after numerous wars, it is still perfect. Its name comes from the Muslin influence during medieval times.


San Martin's Bridge in Toledo.
St Martin’s Bridge.

– San Martin’s Bridge

Another beautiful example of medieval architecture. The view you have while crossing it is amazing.

And we save the best for the last. Our favorite site in this magnificent city is the Cathedral! Please reserve at least one hour to spend there.


Holy Cathedral of Toledo.
Holy and majestic!

– Holy Cathedral of Toledo

To get in you have to pay 8€ per person, the price includes the audio guide. You buy the ticket in the official shop beside the Cathedral. At the first moment, I thought it was expensive, and the audio guide unnecessary, but as soon as I opened the door I realized the massive importance of this church and how beautiful it is. The money spent was totally worth.

I do recommend following the audio guide and go chapel by chapel, discovering the sacristy, the treasures and the cloister. The altars are amazing, full of frescos and details that tell us about God, Jesus and human history. Mind-blowing sculptures and paintings with strong and powerful meanings. I am not a religious person, but I got truly touched by the energy of this place.

Holy Cathedral of Toledo.
Holy Cathedral of Toledo.

There are many important paintings and sculptures inside the church, names as Caravaggio, El Greco, Tiziano and Goya. Apart from the beauty of the building you also have an art museum to visit. Pay attention to the guide and learn a bit of Spanish art too.

Holy Cathedral of Toledo.
With the audio guide you can learn and behold the art away from the crowd.

These are the main sites of Toledo and we recommend a visit to them. There are other museums and churches that can be visited, but probably you will need more than one day in town. Toledo is a city to be explored, you have to walk around the streets and discover things. The day we were there was magical, the sunlight brought to the city a golden color. I don’t have words to describe it.

We were so involved by the city that we gave up having lunch in a restaurant to stay in the Cathedral Square eating a sandwich. That wasn’t an option to save money, we did it because we wanted to contemplate this fairytale place.

Do you know you can rent a house, a boat, a castle or a room on Airbnb? Curious? Sign up here and get a discount on your first booking!

Do you like to visit historic cities? Have you visited Toledo, Spain?

Spain Travel Tips: read our guides, inspiring stories and travel recommendations for Spain here!

15 thoughts on “8 hours in Toledo » What do you do?”

  1. Toledo is so beautiful. We went there 4 years ago. We were visiting Madrid and did a day trip to Toledo and we loved it. Since then, to everyone that visits Madrid, I also advise checking Toledo.

    On the side note, love for travel has also made me recently start a small travel blog. Hope you’ll find good tips as well.

  2. What a beautiful explanation of toledo. How many hours do u think we will need to cover everything. ? Need to buy my return tickets to Madrid

  3. Did you find that any of the stores/shops were closed on Mondays? I know some attractions are closed too, I’m trying to decide whether to take a day trip on Monday or a different day. Thanks 🙂


Leave a Comment