A Day Trip From Madrid
Toledo is a beautiful historic city just 30 minutes by train from Madrid. Visiting Toledo is the perfect day trip from Madrid! Toledo has a rich history. It used to be the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom from 542-711 and after that it was a fortress in the Emirate of Cordoba from 756-929. The historic city of Toledo is a World Heritage Site since 1986. This long history makes it a very interesting place to visit with lots of things to see and do. If you’re visiting Toledo on a day trip from Madrid, we’d recommend going early in the morning.
Please note that some of the places mentioned in this blog are currently closed because of the pandemic. We don’t advise anyone to travel when it’s not safe. Use the information in this blog to plan future trips.
Walking from the train station to the historic city, the first landmark you’ll reach is the Alcantara Bridge (or Puente de Alcantara). The Alcantara Bridge is a Roman arch bridge crossing the Tagus River. Alcantara means bridge in Arabic, so it’s actually the Bridge Bridge. Before crossing, you can find stairs on your right that lead you all the way down to the river. It’s a beautiful bridge and the perfect photo spot!
After crossing the Bridge and taking a left turn onto Cuesta los Cantos Doce, you’ll find a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the bridge you just crossed, an ancient castle (Albergue Castillo San Servando), the Infantry Academy and the countryside. It’s a beautiful spot and perfect for some Instagram photos.
Mirador del Azor
Walking a bit further along Cuesta los Cantos Doce, you’ll find stairs leading into a park on your right hand. These stairs lead to Mirador del Azor, which is another beautiful viewpoint with a good view of the Infantry Academy and the surrounding countryside.
Paseo del Miradero
If you, after crossing the Alcantara Bridge, take a right turn instead onto Calle Gerardo Lobo, you’ll find another viewpoint called Paseo del Miradero. Take the stairs or escalator(!) up the hill to reach the it. This viewpoint offers a beautiful view over the Alcantara Bridge and the nearby countryside. It’s worth stopping by this spot when you’re making your way into (or out of) town.
Alcázar of Toledo
The Alcázar de Toledo is a historic fort and is absolutely worth a visit. The fort used to be a Roman palace in the 3rd century and was of importance during the Spanish Civil War. The Alcázar is now an Army Museum. Inside, you can do a thematic tour which consists of thirteen halls with different military collections. There’s also a historical tour about the military history of Spain. Besides the permanent thematic and historical exhibitions, there are also temporary exhibitions.
The museum is pretty big and it’ll take you some time to cover everything. We didn’t visit the Alcázar for the exhibitions but for the building itself. There’s a small outside courtyard in the middle of the fort which is a very nice photo spot. We loved the contrast of the black and white tiles on the balconies of the courtyard, so make sure to check these out too. The fort’s rooftop offers a stunning view over the orange roofs of the historic city. It’s a perfect photo spot with a beautiful view as backdrop.
General admission: €5
Every Sunday, admission to the museum is free.
Mirador del Valle
Mirador del Valle is a pretty view just outside of the historic center. There are multiple tourist buses that will take you to this spot but you can also go by foot, which is what we did. It takes around 30 minutes to get to the view point, but the view along the way is amazing as well which makes it really worth the walk. We enjoyed this afternoon hike a lot.
From Mirador del Valle, you’ll have an unobstructed view over the historic city of Toledo and of course the Alcázar. It can get quite crowded at the viewpoint when a bus full of tourists arrives, but you’ll soon have the place to yourself again when everyone’s back in the bus. For the best view of Toledo, you have to get to Mirador del Valle!
The Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo (or Catedral Primada Santa Maria de Toledo) is a 13th century High Gothic Cathedral. The construction of the Cathedral started in 1226 and lasted until 1493. It’s a beautiful cathedral and worth checking out, at least from the outside. It’s also possible to visit the cathedral, but we didn’t do that.
Iglesia de Santo Tomé
Another church worth mentioning in Toledo is Iglesia de Santo Tomé. The church was constructed in the 12th century, but completely rebuilt in the 14th century as it was in a ruinous state. Inside Iglesia de Santo Tomé you can admire the painting “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” by El Greco.
Plaza Virgen de Garcia
Plaza Virgen de Garcia is a square located at the other side of the historic city of Toledo and offers a beautiful view over the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes and the surrounding countryside. The Monastery was built between 1477 and 1504 to commemorate the birth of King Ferdinand II his son and the victory at the Battle of Toro in 1476. It’s also possible to visit the Monastery, but we only admired it from the Plaza.
Wandering the streets of Toledo
The historic center of Toledo is lovely to walk around in and we’d absolutely encourage you to do so. You’ll stumble upon pretty streets and alleyways and an occasional cat or two. It really feels like going back in time. Everything in the city is within walking distance, which makes it easy to get around. The best way to explore Toledo is on foot!
Marzipan of Toledo
Marzipan is a famous delicacy from Toledo. In most places in Europe, marzipan is part of a Christmas tradition, but in Toledo, marzipan is eaten all year round. Marzipan in Toledo was invented by nuns in 1212 due to the limited food and lack of wheat to make bread. As there was enough sugar and almonds, the nuns made a pasta with it and thus created the first marzipans of Toledo. There are many places in Toledo where you can buy the city’s famous marzipan. We got our stash at Confiteria Santo Tome at Plaza Zocodover. It’s a delicious treat and also a perfect souvenir to bring back for family and friends!
How to get to Toledo
There’s a good railway connection between Madrid and Toledo, which makes it perfect for a day trip from Madrid. You can easily spend an entire day in Toledo. We took a train early in the morning and went back to Madrid after sunset. The train departs every hour from Atocha Station in Madrid. The trip takes around 30 minutes. You don’t need to buy tickets in advance, as you can buy them at the ticket counter at the station on the day itself. We used Google Maps for train timetables, which was accurate.
When you’re making your way out of the historic city of Toledo at the end of the day, make sure to stop one more time at the Alcantara Bridge. You might be lucky and catch a beautiful sunset sky, just like we did.
We hope we’ve inspired you to visit Toledo. If you’re staying a few days in Madrid, it’s the perfect day trip and we can absolutely recommend going there!
Have you to visit Toledo on a day trip from Madrid? Let us know in the comments below!
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