Toledo is one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval cities in Europe. It is nicknamed 'the city of the three cultures' because of that century-old coexistence between Christians, Jews and Arabs, a great monumental wealth emerged that every year attracts thousands of tourists from all corners.
This historical artistic legacy to see in Toledo turns the ancient capital of Spain into an open-air museum, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Join us on this journey back in time to discover what to see in one of the most charming cities in southern Europe.
Table of Contents
The Cathedral of Santa Maria
It is a masterpiece of Spanish Gothic and one of the essential places to visit in Toledo. Its exterior is spectacular and is characterized by having three facades: the main one (profusely decorated where a 92-meter high tower stands out), the Puerta del Reloj (the oldest façade) and the Puerta de los Leones (the last to be built) .
To see the interior it is necessary to purchase a ticket. The most advisable thing is to buy the complete one since it allows you to visit the cloister and climb the tower, from where there are fantastic views of the city. To all this we must add that you will be able to see the beautiful altarpiece, the chapter house, the stained glass windows, the Mozarabic chapel, the treasure, the museum area with the sacristy and in the New Kings Chapel where the remains of several kings of the city rest. Trastamara dynasty.
Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes
The monastery of San Juan de los Reyes was erected at the request of the Catholic Monarchs in 1476 and is considered the best example of the Elizabethan Gothic style. The north facade is beautiful but the best is inside: its two-story cloister full of sculptures and ornamental elements that combines Gothic and Mudejar styles. On the upper floor, special mention deserves the beautiful coffered ceiling and already inside the church the imposing altarpiece of the Holy Cross.
Alcazar of Toledo
In the highest part of the city, a building stands out in any panoramic view of Toledo: its Alcázar. It is believed that in this location there were different kinds of fortresses since Roman times given the good visibility of the terrain from this place.
Later, Emperor Carlos V and his son Felipe II restored it in the 1540s. In fact, the conqueror Hernán Cortés was received by Carlos I at the Alcázar after defeating the Aztec empire. Centuries later, during the Spanish Civil War, the Alcázar of Toledo was completely destroyed and had to be built again. At present it is the headquarters of the Army Museum so to see its interior you have to buy a ticket.
However, entering the Library of Castilla-La Mancha, on the top floor of the Alcázar of Toledo, is free and has amazing views of the city.
Saint Mary the White
In the old Jewish quarter of Toledo is what was a synagogue converted into a church with the name of Santa María la Blanca. It is a Mudejar building erected in 1180 for Jewish worship that stands out for its austere exterior compared to the beautiful interior of horseshoe arches, octagonal pillars and white walls.
Another synagogue that is worth visiting is the XNUMXth-century Tránsito synagogue, which houses the Sephardic museum inside and has an impressive wooden coffered ceiling worth seeing.
Bridge of Alcantara
The most common way to access the walled city of Toledo if you arrive by bus or train is to cross the Roman bridge of Alcántara. It was built on the Tagus River in 98 AD and is almost 200 meters long and 58 meters high. Its central arch is dedicated to the emperor Trajan and the surrounding peoples who cooperated in its construction.
If you like bridges in Toledo, you should also know the San Martín bridge from medieval times, which also crosses the Tagus River but is located on the other side of the city.
Plaza de Zocodover, the nerve center and main square for many centuries, is one of the places with the most atmosphere to see in Toledo. It is a porticoed square surrounded by buildings of Castilian architecture where in the past markets, bullfights, parades were held ... Today many people from Toledo go to the historic center to take a pleasant walk through the square or to have a drink on one of its terraces . In addition, here are some of the shops that sell the best marzipan in Castilla-La Mancha. You can't leave without trying it!
Church of Santo Tomé
In this church is one of El Greco's most popular works: "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz." To see it you have to pay a ticket in order to access the interior. This painting was made in honor of this nobleman who was an important benefactor in Toledo and stood out for his acts of charity, contributing to the reconstruction of parish churches like this one.