It took just one photo that I saw by chance to make me want to visit Toledo! Luckily my usual travel buddy was up for it. And we were certainly not disappointed!
Toledo has a lot going for it. It is steep in history with well preserved medieval streets, interesting period buildings and museums. The Historic centre with its beautiful Cathedral and impressive Alcazar is a UNESCO heritage site (since 1986).
Day trip from Madrid to Toledo
I had looked into going to Toledo by train from our base in Madrid. It certainly seemed feasible: it would take about 30 minutes by AVE high-speed train and the round trip cost €19.10. The drawback was that the train station is 2 km from Plaza de Zocodover, the heart of the city; so it would be necessary to take a bus or walk! In the summer heat? Perhaps not!!
So we opted to join a day trip organised by Express Toledo for only £21.03 per person (I booked online beforehand). The drive took about an hour. We were given a tourist map and the “bus assistant” went through each of the points of interest with us.
Mirador del Valle
The bus took us first to Mirador del Valle for the iconic panoramic view of Toledo!! There was no way that we could have made our way there easily had we gone by train!!
Afterwards the bus dropped us off at Plaza Granadal. We were guided to Plaza de Zocodover via a series of escalators and had 6 hours to explore Toledo at our own pace.
As it was a blisteringly hot afternoon (up to 37C), Frequent stops for a drink in the shade took up a lot of the 6 hours. We were contented to see what we could rather than to rush around checking all the “must-see places” off a list!
Plaza de Zocodover
Plaza de Zocodover is the main square and heart of the city, surrounded by cafes, fast food restaurants, souvenir shops etc. It’s where tour groups congregate and disperse, where hop-on hop-off buses, tourist train and many transit buses terminate.
Arco de la Sangre
Arco de la Sangre is just off Zocodover Square. At the bottom of the steps through the arch stands the statue of Miguel de Cervantes of Don Quixote fame. It’s a magnet for tourists posing for photos or resting on the steps. So I could not believe my luck that hardly anyone was around when I took this photo!
Alcázar de Toledo
The Alcázar is just a few metres from the Zocodover Square. It houses the army museum. Although I had no particular interest in the subject, I was really taken by the stylish ticket office building!
At the side of the Fortress is the entrance to the library. On the top floor there’s a café which affords a fantastic view of the city! It’s a great place to stop for a drink, too!
Views from the top of The Alcázar
Castillo de San Servando
We saw this imposing castle as we walked around the Alcázar in the scorching sun. We were contented to admire its silhouette from afar!
The charming medieval streets in Toledo
Plaza del ayuntamiento de Toledo
There are 3 exquisite buildings on this square. In front of Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo (Toledo Cathedral) there’s the Bishop’s Palace. On the other side it’s Ayuntamiento de Toledo (Toledo Town Hall)
Museo de Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz Museum)
It’s originally an old hospital – Hospital de Santa Cruz. The museum houses exhibits of Archeology, Fine Arts and Decorative Arts.
This café across the road from Santa Cruz Museum was a real haven from the sizzling sun!!
I got the fridge maget, took lots of photos, had delicious tapas for lunch – what a great day!!
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