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Toledo at sunset — The Alcázar on the left and Cathedral on the right dominate the skyline


Coat of arms
Toledo is located in Spain
Coordinates: 39°51′24″N 4°1′28″W / 39.85667°N 4.02444°W / 39.85667; -4.02444
Country Spain Spain
Autonomous Community Castile-La Mancha Castilla La Mancha
Province Toledo
Comarca Toledo
Partido judicial Toledo
Settled ca. 7th Century B.C.
 - Mayor Emiliano García-Page Sánchez (PSOE)
 - Land 232.1 km2 (89.6 sq mi)
Elevation 529 m (1,736 ft)
Population (2008)INE
 - Total 80,810
 Density 348.17/km2 (901.8/sq mi)
Postcode 45001-45009
Area code(s) +34
Twin Cities
 - Toledo USA
 - Nara Japan
 - Agen France
 - Safed Israel
 - Veliko Tarnovo Bulgaria
 - Aachen Germany
 - Corpus Christi USA

Toledo (Latin: Toletum, Arabic 'طليطلة Ṭulayṭulah)) is a municipality located in central Spain, 70 km south of Madrid. It is the capital of the province of Toledo and of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage as one of the former capitals of the Spanish Empire and place of coexistence of Christian, Jewish and Moorish cultures. Many famous people and artists were born or lived in Toledo, including Al-Zarqali, Garcilaso de la Vega, Eleanor of Toledo, Alfonso X and El Greco. It was also the place of important historic events such as the Visigothic Councils of Toledo. As of 2007, the city has a population of 78,618 and an area of 232.1 km2 (89.59 square miles).



Puerta del Sol.

Having been populated since the Bronze Age, Toledo (Toletum in Latin) gained relevance during Roman times, being a main commercial and administrative center in the roman province of Tarraconensis. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Toledo served as the capital city of Visigothic Spain, beginning with Liuvigild (Leovigild), and was the capital of Spain until the Moors conquered Iberia in the 8th century.

Under the Caliphate of Cordoba, Toledo enjoyed a golden age. This extensive period is known as La Convivencia, i.e. the co-existence of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Under Arab rule, Toledo was called Tulaytulah (Arabic طليطلة, academically transliterated Ṭulayṭulah). After the fall of the Caliphate, Toledo was the capital city of one of the richest Taifa Muslim kingdoms of Al-Andalus, and, because of its central location in the Iberian Peninsula, Toledo took a central position in the struggles between the Muslim and Christian rulers of northern Spain.

Remains of Roman circus at Toledo.

On May 25, 1085 Alfonso VI of Castile took Toledo and established direct personal control over the Moorish city from which he had been exacting tribute, and ending the mediaeval Taifa's Kingdom of Toledo. This was the first concrete step taken by the combined kingdom of Leon-Castile in the Reconquista by Christian forces. After castilian conquest Toledo remained as a main cultural centre; its Arab libraries weren't savaged, and a tag-team translation centre was established, in which books in Arabic would be translated from Arabic or Hebrew to Spanish by Arab and Jewish scholars, and from Spanish to Latin by castilian scholars, thus letting the old-lost knowledge spread through Christian Europe again. For some time during the 16th century, Toledo served as the capital city of Castile, and the city flourished. However, soon enough the Spanish court was moved first to Valladolid and then to Madrid, thus letting the city's relevance dwindle until the late 20th century, when it was established as the capital city of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. Nevertheless, the economic decline of the city helped to preseve its cultural and architectural patrimony. Today, because of its rich heritage, Toledo is one of Spain's foremost cities, receiving thousands of visitors yearly.

Toledo's Alcázar (Arabicized Latin word for palace-castle) became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.


Demographic evolution of Toledo, Spain between 1991 and 2006
1991 1996 2001 2004 2006
59,000 66,006 68,382 73,485 77,601


The metal-working industry has historically been Toledo's economic base, with a great tradition in the manufacture of swords and knives and a significant production of razor blades, medical devices and electrical products. Soap and toothpaste manufacture, flour milling, glass and ceramics have also been important.[1]

According to the Statistical Institute of Castilla-La Mancha, in 2007 the distribution of employment by sectors of occupation was as follows: 86.5% of the population engaged in the services, 6.6% in construction, 5.4% in industry and 1.5% in agriculture and livestock.[2]

Puerta de Bisagra (10th century)
Historical swords and souvenirs of Toledo

The manufacture of swords in the city of Toledo goes back to Roman times, but it was under Moorish rule and during the Reconquista that Toledo and its guild of sword-makers played a key role. Between the 15th and 17th centuries the Toledo sword-making industry enjoyed a great boom, to the point where its products came to be regarded as the best in Europe. Swords and daggers were made by individual craftsmen, although the sword-makers guild oversaw their quality. In the late 17th and early 18th century production began to decline, prompting the creation of the Royal Arms Factory in 1761 by order of King Carlos III. The Royal Factory brought together all the sword-makers guilds of the city and it was located in the former mint. In 1777, recognizing the need to expand the space, Carlos III commissioned the architect Sabatini to construct a new building on the outskirts of the city. This was the beginning of several phases of expansion. Its importance was such that it eventually developed into a city within the city of Toledo.

In the 20th century, the production of knives and swords for the army was reduced to cavalry weapons only, and after the Spanish Civil War, to the supply of swords to the officers and NCOs of the various military units. Following the closure of the factory in the 1980s, the building was renovated to house the campus of the Technological University of Castilla-La Mancha in Toledo.[3]


In the last decade, unemployment in absolute terms has remained fairly stable in the city of Toledo, but in 2009 this figure increased significantly: nearly 62% compared to 2008, with the number of unemployed rising from 2,515 to 4,074 (figures at 31 March each year), according to the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha.[4] Of this 62%, one third of the increase took place in the first quarter of 2009, with 3,385 unemployed in December 2008 rising to 4,074 in March 2009.

By gender men are more affected (2,065 unemployed) than women (2,009), while the age group most affected is between 25 and 29 years of age, with 708 unemployed.

From the standpoint of the professional activity of the unemployed, the vast majority of registered unemployed in the city of Toledo, with 72% of the total, were in the services sector, corroborating the importance of the tertiary sector in the city's economy. Distribution of unemployed by sector (31 March 2009) Sector Agriculture and fisheries Industry Construction Services No previous job Unemployed 59 (1.45%) 352 (8.64%) 588 (14.43%) 2,937 (72.09%) 138 (3.39%)

According to other statistics from the same source, almost half the unemployed in the city of Toledo (1,970 persons) are among those in whose education does not go beyond the compulsory secondary level. However, there are groups whose level of studies is such that they have not been registered as unemployed, such as those who have completed class 1 professional training, or those with virtually non-existent unemployment rates (less than 0.1%), which is the case of unemployed with high school degrees or professional expertise.

The largest group amongst the unemployed is that of those who have no qualifications (27.27%).



Toledo reached its zenith in the era of Islamic Caliphate. Historian P. de Gayangos writes:

The Muslim scientists of this age were unrivaled in the world. Perhaps among their greatest feats were the famous waterlocks of Toledo.[5]

A vista de Toledo: the city of Toledo as depicted in the Codex Vigilanus in 976.

The old city is located on a mountaintop with a 150 degrees view, surrounded on three sides by a bend in the Tagus River, and contains many historical sites, including the Alcázar, the cathedral (the primate church of Spain), and the Zocodover, a central market place.

From the 4th century to the 16th century about thirty synods were held at Toledo. The earliest, directed against Priscillian, assembled in 400. At the synod of 589 the Visigothic King Reccared declared his conversion from Arianism; the synod of 633 decreed uniformity of liturgy throughout the Visigothic kingdom and took stringent measures against baptized Jews who had relapsed into their former faith. The council of 681 assured to the archbishop of Toledo the primacy of Spain. At Guadamur, very close to Toledo, was dug in 1858 the Treasure of Guarrazar, the best example of Visigothic art in Spain.

Vista de Toledo: the View of Toledo by resident El Greco c. 1608.

As nearly one hundred early canons of Toledo found a place in the Decretum Gratiani, they exerted an important influence on the development of ecclesiastical law. The synod of 1565–1566 concerned itself with the execution of the decrees of the Council of Trent; and the last council held at Toledo, 1582–1583, was guided in detail by Philip II.

Toledo was famed for religious tolerance and had large communities of Muslims and Jews until they were expelled from Spain in 1492 (Jews) and 1502 (Muslims). Today's city contains the religious monuments the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, the Synagogue of El Transito, Mosque of Cristo de la Luz and the church of San Sebastián dating from before the expulsion, still maintained in good condition. Among Ladino-speaking Sephardi Jews, in their various diasporas, the family name Toledano is still prevalent—indicating an ancestry traced back to this city (the name is also attested among non-Jews in various Spanish-speaking countries).

In the 13th century, Toledo was a major cultural center under the guidance of Alfonso X, called "El Sabio" ("the Wise") for his love of learning. The program of translations, begun under Archbishop Raymond of Toledo, continued to bring vast stores of knowledge to Europe by rendering great academic and philosophical works in Arabic into Latin. The Palacio de Galiana, built in the Mudéjar style, is one of the monuments that remain from that period.

The Cathedral of Toledo (Catedral de Toledo) was built between 1226–1493 and modeled after the Bourges Cathedral, though it also combines some characteristics of the Mudejar style. It is remarkable for its incorporation of light and features the Baroque altar called El Transparente, several stories high, with fantastic figures of stucco, paintings, bronze castings, and multiple colors of marble, a masterpiece of medieval mixed media by Narciso Tomé topped by the daily effect for just a few minutes of a shaft of light from which this feature of the cathedral derives its name. Two notable bridges secured access to Toledo across the Tajo, the Puente de Alcántara and the later built Puente de San Martín.

The Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes is a Franciscan monastery, built 1477-1504, in a remarkable combination of Gothic-Spanish-Flemish style with Mudéjar ornamentation.

Toledo was home to El Greco for the latter part of his life, and is the subject of some of his most famous paintings, including The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, exhibited in the Church of Santo Tomé.

Toledo was famed for its production of iron and especially of swords and the city is still a center for the manufacture of knives and other steel implements.

When Philip II moved the royal court from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the old city went into a slow decline from which it never recovered.


The marzipan of Toledo is considered one of its finest food products.

"Bomba Toledana", typical tapa from Toledo.
A restaurant in the streets of Toledo.

Toledo's cuisine is the cuisine Castilla-rooted in its traditions and is closely linked to hunting and grazing. A good number of recipes is the result of the combination of Moorish and Christian influences.

Among his specialties include the lamb roast or stew, as cuchifrito, and beans with partridge or stewed partridge, the carcamusas, the crumbs, the porridge Mancha and the tortilla to the lean. Two of the foods that have brought fame to the city of Toledo are the Manchego cheese and marzipan, which has a denomination of origin itself, the marzipan of Toledo. [40] [41]


  • Virgen del Valle: This pilgrimage is celebrated on May 1 at the Ermita de la Virgen del Valle, with a concentration popular holiday in that place.
  • Easter: Declared of National Tourist Interest, is held in spring with various processions, highlighting those that take place on Good Friday, and religious and cultural events. Since the Civil War, most of the steps were burned or destroyed, so it had to create new steps or using images from other churches and convents Toledo. Being a city Toledo Castile, Holy Week is characterized as austere and introspective, as well as beauty, due in part to the beautiful framework in which it takes place: Toledo. Many people take advantage of the Easter break to visit the monastery churches that are only open to the general public at this time of year. [42]
  • Corpus Christi: Feast declared International Tourist Interest. Its origins lie in the thirteenth century and is probably the most beautiful Corpus Christi there. The processional cortege travels around two kilometers of streets and richly decorated awnings. In recent years, following the transfer of the traditional holiday Thursday present Sunday, was chosen to conduct two processions, one each of these days, with certain differences in members and protocol between them. [43]
  • Virgen del Sagrario: On August 15 they celebrate the festival in honor of the Virgen del Sagrario. Procession is held inside the Cathedral and drinking water of the Virgin in jars.

Apart from these festivals should be noted that patterns of Toledo are:

  • San Ildefonso, Toledo Visigoth bishop whose feast day is January 23.
  • Santa Leocadia, virgin and martyr of Roman Hispania, which falls on December 9.

Monuments and places of interest

Historic City of Toledo*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Old city of Toledo
State Party  Spain
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii, iv
Reference 379
Region** Europe
Inscription history
Inscription 1986  (10th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

The city of Toledo was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1940, UNESCO later given the title of World Heritage in 1987.

  • Castillo de San Servando. Medieval castle near the banks of the Tagus river and the Infantry Academy.
  • Cathedral. Style Gothic, dates from the thirteenth century. Inside there is the Clear from Narciso Tome, baroque.
  • Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes. Style Elizabethan Gothic, dates from the fifteenth century.
  • Museo-Hospital de Santa Cruz. Style Renaissance, dating from the sixteenth century.
  • Museo de El Greco. House-museum designed as a recreation of the artist's home, which was lost centuries ago. It houses several important paintings.
  • Santa Maria la Blanca. it is the oldest synagogue building in Europe that is still standing, now owned by the Catholic Church.
  • Transito Synagogue. Located in the neighborhood Jew, contains the Sephardic Museum.
  • Hospital de Tavera Museum Duque de Lerma. Renaissance style, dates from the sixteenth century. Influenced the layout of El Escorial.
  • Church of Santiago del Arrabal. Mudejar style.
  • Iglesia de Santo Tome. Mudejar style, the fourteenth century, houses the famous Burial of Count Orgaz, by El Greco.
  • El Cristo de la Luz, a small mosque, oratory made in the year 999, later extended with Mudejar apse for conversion into a church.
  • Galiana Palace dates from the thirteenth century Mudejar style.
  • Tornerías Mosque, the eleventh century.
  • Alcazar is a fortified rocks, located in the highest part of town, overlooking the city. It is the sixteenth-century. From 2009 will house the collection of the Army Museum.
  • Puerta del Sol. Mudejar style and built by the Knights Hospitallers in the fourteenth century.
  • New Gate of Hinge. Of Alonso de Covarrubias, the sixteenth century, based on Arabic.
  • Old door hinge or Puerta de Alfonso VI.
  • Puerta del Cambron. Of Muslim and the sixteenth century.
  • San Román (Museum of the Councils and Visigoth culture).
  • Ermita del Cristo de la Vega. Mudejar style and the eleventh century.
  • Puente de Alcantara.

To mark the fourth centenary of the publication of the first part of Don Quixote (The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha), the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha designed a series of routes through the region crossing the various points in the novel are cited. Is known as the Route of Don Quixote and two of pathways designed, sections 1 and 8, are based in Toledo: those linking the city with La Mancha Castile and Montes de Toledo exploiting the natural route which passes through the Cigarrales and heads to Cobisa, Nambroca Burguillos of Toledo where he takes the Camino Real from Sevilla to suddenly turn towards Mascaraque Almonacid de Toledo, deep into their surroundings, near Mora, in La Mancha.

This stretch Mascaraque-Toledo of the Route of Don Quixote has recently been included in an official way on the Camino de Santiago in Levantine branch with origins in Cartagena, Alicante and Valencia, as both routes share declared European Cultural Route route on this stretch .


Toledo has since long been obligatory step in the center of the peninsula. The roads leading to historic Toledo are still used and in many cases have provided the basis to existing roads leading into the city.


From Toledo part of N-400, which links this city with Cuenca by Ocaña and Tarancón. It is currently in the process of transformation in the future A-40 motorway Castilla La Mancha, which will link Maqueda (where it joins the motorway Extremadura), Toledo, Ocaña (where it attaches to the Motorway of Andalusia), Tarancón (where connects with the motorway Levante), Cuenca and Teruel.

The old National Road 401 Madrid-Toledo-Ciudad Real was transformed in the late 80s in the current A-42 as a result of splitting and deleting the path that the various crossings counted (Illescas, Yuncos, etc.. ).

The split path can take 7 km south of Toledo, in effect Ciudad Real, where it continues as conventional road. At this point, the A-42 connects with the Highway of the Vineyard that reaches Tomelloso. It is planned to extend the A-42, by a toll road, to Ciudad Real and Jaén.

In the early twenty-first century was built, in order to decongest the access of Madrid, the toll motorway AP-41.

Another way of State Highway Network that Toledo is part of the N-403, Toledo-Maqueda - Ávila - Adanero. Part of the route of this road will be replaced by that of the aforementioned Highway of Castilla La Mancha.

In addition to these roads, from Toledo depart several regional and provincial-level linking the capital with the regions of Montes de Toledo, La Jara and La Mancha.


In the mid-nineteenth century Toledo was one of the first Spanish cities that had rail, being attached to Madrid Aranjuez line and being opened by Elizabeth II on June 12 of 1858. The current station style neomudéjar, was inaugurated on April 24 of 1919 and is a remarkably beautiful building, especially the paneling in the main hall of the same.

With several ups and downs in terms of technical equipment and services this is the line that served until the early twenty-first century: on July 2 of 2003 the last train runs between the two capitals conventional and begin work on the link high-speed, Madrid - Toledo, entering service on November 16 of 2005, thanks to which the travel time to Madrid has been reduced to just under 30 minutes.


Hospital of Tavera (built between 1541 - 1603).

In the early 60s of the twentieth century began the construction of the Residence Health Social Security "Virgen de la Salud". The original building still remains in use, although successive extensions were added (maternity, outpatient clinics, operating rooms, etc.). Into the existing complex. The complex was also extended to move the clinic to a new nearby building, now converted into Specialty Center San Ildefonso.

On October 6 of 1974 inaugurated the National Hospital of Paraplegics who becomes the center of reference, both nationally and internationally, in the treatment of these lesions. Also carries out a major work of social integration of their patients.

The transfer of powers from the state health at the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha will give new impetus to the health infrastructure, manifested in 2007 with the commencement of construction of the new General Hospital of Toledo in the Santa Mary Benquerencia. Also have been provided to the different parts of the relevant health centers.

In the Toledo Hospital Complex [36] is also integrated Geriatric Hospital Virgen del Valle, a result of reform and modernization of old tuberculosis hospital built in the mid twentieth century. The center is located outside the city, near the Parador Nacional de Turismo Conde de Orgaz.

With regard to private health, at present the city of Toledo has several centers: Hospital de las Tres Culturas, Clínica Nuestra Señora del Rosario, and so on.


The city of Toledo suffered from a shortage of sports facilities. Much of this problem was resolved when the Central School of Physical Education of Army moved its headquarters to the premises of the Academy of Infantry. In the 90s, the city council took over the old facilities (39 ° 52'10 "N 4 ° 1'42" W / 39.86944, -4.02833) of the military center, which include in Today: an athletics track, Olympic swimming pool and an indoor sports hall, from the former military installations, and numerous outdoor courts built in the area of the former runway of application, having been demolished and the old gym complex pools (indoor and outdoor).

Besides these facilities, the city of Toledo has covered sports pavilion in the districts of Santa Maria de Benquerencia, Santa Barbara, San Anton (Complejo Deportivo "Leaping Horse"); outdoor pools in sugar, Palomarejos, Santa Maria de Benquerencia, Santa Barbara, Santa Teresa and indoor swimming pools in the gardens of the Alcazar (old town), St. Mary of Benquerencia and St. Anton.

Toledo has a soccer team, the Club Deportivo Toledo, which returns in 2009-2010 to the Second Division B, after 7 Third season. The club plays its matches in the municipal field Leaping Horse, opened in 1973. The team he played for 7 seasons in second division and reached the promotion play with Real Valladolid for promotion to First Division in 1993/94, but was defeated on aggregate 4-1. They have been part of the player and Abel Resino, Luis Garcia, Rufete or Casquero.

Toledo also has teams of handball. The Toledo Handball, after 5 years in the Division de Honor B, start the 2009-2010 season as ASOBAL new club for the first time in its history. A refurbished town hall "Javier Lozano Cid ', with capacity for around 1,500 spectators, is its new headquarters. Moreover, the city has two other Division II team in the National, the Toledo Handball Lábaro-B and Club Deportivo Amibal. [37]

Toledo has two basketball teams: the CIS Toledo, with a long history that has gone through ups and downs in both regional and in national leagues (EBA) and has just promoted to 1st Autonomic, and CB polygon [38], in Currently the most representative, whose team has promoted male, 7 years after leaving, to EBA League to start the 09/10 season. This club based in the Santa Maria de Benquerencua has one of the largest quarries of Castilla-La Mancha.

Another sport representative of the Imperial City is athletics. This striking sport has since 2 April 1979 with the Toledo Athletic Club, [39] that is characterized by its actions, mainly in cross-country, where he managed a large number of medals in the championships team Spain's specialty, in addition to their combined male and female military in the late 90s in the 1st division league national track. Among the athletes who have passed through its lanes are great athletes as Julio Rey, Roberto Parra, Chema Martinez and Julia Lobato.

Cycling, meanwhile, after the mythical victory in the Tour de France in 1959 by Federico Bahamontes, 'The Eagle of Toledo', has been one of the sports with more followers in the city, although, at present, no school despite having a velodrome in the Santa Maria de Benquerencia. Other leading professional cyclists in the city have been Nemesio Jiménez (Mexico Olympic 68) and Angel de las Heras.

The FS and Volleyball Toledo Toledo Association Toledo complete representation in the National League of First and Second Division, after a brief journey in Fantasy-, respectively, while the Toledo Rugby Club, with many noisy fans, is immersed in the League Madrid's Primera Liga.

At the individual level, the swimmer Javier Noriega and Julio Rey marathon athletes are more representative of the city, both in Athens Olympics 2004 and Beijing 2008, in recent years. Rey, Spanish current marathon record holder, with 2h.06: 52, announced his retirement in October 2009.

Toledo Other sports are famous footballers Roberto Fresnedoso, Miguel Angel Ruiz, Luis Laguna, Pedro Pablo Braojos (now coach) and Luis Garcia, the latter serving goalkeeper on the CD Tenerife, and the indoor football players international Javier Lorente-champion Antonio Adeva Europe and World champion, not forgetting the former Spain coach Javier Lozano Cid world champion.

In handball, highlighted in the goalkeepers 09.10 ASOBAL Fermin Ballesteros (Toledo Handball Lábaro) and Gonzalo Perez-Vargas (FC Barcelona).


In the city are published various local and provincial newspapers. In addition, national newspapers such as the ABC daily published an extensive local branch. Among the highlights local newspaper La Tribuna de Toledo, Toledo Day and free Global Castilla la Mancha and Toledo News. Weekly magazines are published for general information Echoes and here.

There are also local media in television, radio and Internet. In Toledo is the headquarters of regional public television, Castilla-La Mancha TV, plus there are six local television stations in addition to domestic routes: Localia, Diocesan Channel TV-Popular, Teletoledo, Regional Channel News and Tribune Television.

For radio stations, is the dean Radio Toledo (Onda Cero), the COPE, the Cadena SER, RNE, RCM and Radio here, other radios are the neighborhood Onda Polygon and the diocesan Radio Santa Maria. Within the digital and social media, Wave Toledo, Toledo Magic, Toledo Digital, La Cerca.


International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Toledo is twinned with:[6]

See also



External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Taken from the Parador de Toledo looking North to the town. To the right of the picture the Rio Tagus can be seen.
Taken from the Parador de Toledo looking North to the town. To the right of the picture the Rio Tagus can be seen.

Toledo is in Castilla La Mancha.


An often overlooked gem, Toledo sits majestically above the the Tagus River. The history of Toledo dates back to Roman occupation (Toletum) circa 192BC. The ruins of the Roman circus are still visible just outside the walls of the city. Roman occupation was followed by Visagothic rule, Muslim rule and finally the Reconquest of Toledo in 1085AD. Toledo was the capital of the Spanish empire until the mid 1500's when the royal court moved to Madrid. The winding, cobbled streets of the old town are often crowded with locals and tourists, as well as a surprisingly large number of cars and vans. Don't miss the 13th century cathedral or the Alcázar which sits atop the town and dates back to Roman times.

Denoted a UNESCO heritage site in 1986, Toledo represents a very worthwhile day-trip from Madrid. Arm yourself with a map to avoid getting completely lost!

Get in

By car

From Madrid, Toledo is about 70 km southwest on the A-42 freeway, which is marked "Toledo" on all road signs. This used to be labelled the N-401, and old maps or signs may still refer to that, although almost all road signage appears to have been updated. There is often spot congestion during peak hours, sometimes as far out as Parla (25 km).

By bus

Buses run between Toledo and Madrid's Plaza Elíptica bus station (on the grey Circular metro line) every half hour until 21:30. The company is Alsa (old Continental-Auto). The trip takes about one hour and a return ticket costs €8.42. From the Toledo bus terminal it is a steep but picturesque 20 minute walk up to the old town. A local bus service is also available.

By train

The AVE high-speed train takes 30 minutes from Madrid's Atocha station to Toledo and costs €15 for a same day round trip. Be sure to arrive on time, at least 1 hour before scheduled departure time in Atocha. Boarding starts 30 minutes prior to departure and the gate will close 5 minutes before schedule. Procedures are less strict upon returning from Toledo however keeping a 30 minute margin here is recommended.

From Toledo station, urban bus number 22 (departs from the train station door) will take you to the centre.

  • The Cathedral is the centrepiece of Toledo. It sits on top of the hill and is deceptively large. When you enter you will be confronted by sparkling gold reliefs, huge oil paintings and portraits of all of the Toledo Cardinals going back at least 500 years. The baroque Transparente, behind the main altar, is like nothing you have ever seen. The Cathedral also has a great art gallery with works by Raphael, Rubens, Goya, Titian, and one of El Greco's major works, The Disrobing of Christ.
  • The Alcazar is a large square building on the outskirts of the old city. It looks across the river at Franco's old military barracks. The origin of the building dates back to the presence of a Roman camp in the IIIrd century. The Muslims built there a keep transformed later by Alfonso VI and Alfonso X, which was the first Alcazar.[1]
  • The Military barracks.
  • San Juan de Los Reyes, another beautiful church near the Jewish quarter.
  • Jesuits Church offers great views of Toledo and the surrounding region from its twin spires. It is set in the highest location in the city.

Toledo was one of the most important centers of the large jewish comunity of Spain, two of the ten synagogues that served the comunity are among the jewels of Toledo: 1. "Sinagoga El Transito", which hosts the Sefardi Museum, 2. "Santa Maria la Blanca."

  • One of El Greco's most famous and recognized works "El Entierro del Senor de Orgaz" is housed in Iglesia de Santo Tome.


The gold and black enamel work by local artisans is known throughout Spain. Many shops in Toledo sell decorated plates, shields, spoons and key rings.

Sword - Toledo is well known for its swords, so be sure to look for a conquistador sword, which should set you back around US $300. As you can't bring it on a plane, you'll need to send it. Fortunately, many shops will ship it for you for a reasonable price.

Ceramics - Talavera de la Reina (outside of Toledo) has a centuries-old tradition of glazed ceramics. Toledo is filled with handpainted ceramics of varying degrees of quality (upscale shops and boutiques are pricier, but generally carry higher-quality pieces).

Damascene - Another famous handicraft of Toledo is damascene, from the ancient Moorish art of interlacing gold on iron or steel, then firing it so the underlying material oxidizes and becomes black, with the gold in sharp relief. Every shop in Toledo will carry some form of damascene work, most frequently as small decorative plates and jewellery. Damascene also tends to be on the expensive side, so be sure to comparison shop around Toledo. The traditional manufacturing process consists of several steps, as it is shown in [2].

The region around Toledo and southward in Castilla La Mancha produces typical almond sweets known as Mazapán, which is not to be confused with the tough, white icing used on wedding cakes that we call "marzipan". Mazapán is glazed, and sometimes decorated with pine nuts (piñones).


Avoid paella. Toledo is definitely NOT a seaside town! Try Bar La Boveda, just off Plaza Zocodover, for great, cheap sangria (6€ jarra) and good sandwiches. Enebro in Plaza San Justo serves a plate of free tapas ranging from french fries to croquettes to mini pizzas with every beer or glass of wine -- check it out on Real Madrid game nights, where the place fills up with loyal fans. Meson de la Orza great food, great service, not so cheap, but it is worthy


Another good Italian place is Mille Grazie, just off Zocodover. Lots of charm with exposed brick walls. Great pasta and pizza, and a very attentive staff. Fills up pretty quickly at dinner. Closed Mondays.


Try Picaro or Circulo de Arte for a hip night scene, Circulo de Arte is in a renovated church and plays good dance music. It also has some of the best batidos (milkshakes) in town! O´Brian's serves good tap beer, and boasts a strong tourist and student crowd most nights.

  • Casona de la Reina (***)
  • Hotel Imperio, Cadenas 7 - situated conveniently close to Plaza Zocodover. (**)
  • Parador de Toledo, [3]. This hotel offers the best views of the town.
  • Oasis Talavera, Avenida Toledo, Talavera de la Reina, 45600, Toledo, +925 839 990 (, fax: +925 823 625). [4]. Very central modern hotel with 103 rooms.  edit


Due to the location of Toledo upon the top of a hill, the city is exposed to quite a bit of sunshine in comparison to Madrid. Therefore the average temperature you sense may be considerably higher than what you would expect from the forecast. Temperatures can be in the high 30´s (100F) as late as nine in the evening. Be sure to bring plenty of water or get some refreshments in Toledo to support the local shopkeepers. Do not forget to put on sufficient sunblock on a hot summer day or try to stay in the shades of buildings and trees.

The historic center of Toledo is rather steep and hilly and most streets are cobblestone, so sensible shoes are a must.

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