It Rains In Spain

Toledo City Guide

Toledo      Cuenca      Siguenza      Almagro

toledo city guide spain

Toledo City Guide – Introduction

Toledo is the capital of the autonomous community of Castilla La Mancha and is a must-see if you’re in Central Spain. History abounds in this spectacularly positioned city which for centuries has seen conquest, excellence and academia float around it’s majestically atmospheric streets. Muslims, Jews and Christians have throughout the years lived both in harmony and conflict here, it was a major Roman, Visigothic and Muslim city and gives the visitor an insight into the tumultous cultural history of Spain.

The first impression of Toledo for any visitor is awe-inspiring, positioned on the Rio Tajo (Tagus River) impenetrably sitting astride a hill which for centuries has been both it’s defence and it’s major attraction to would-be invaders. Once inside the city the visitor is met with an array of churches, gates and emblematic buildings telling the tale of the mix of cultures that have inhabited this Iberian city. The streets wind and dip through alleys and blind corners, centuries-old doors looming at every turn, in most cases guarding a stunning patio behind it’s sombre facade.

The Romans brought Toletum to the fore, mainly for it’s positional influence in the centre of the peninsula and there followed centuries of tussle to control this most advantageous of locations. The Muslims ruled much of the centre of the peninsula from here and turned the city into a hotspot of academia, learning and culture. With the Christian retaking of the city in the late 11th Century, coexistence remained relatively steadfast. Yet as the Muslim presence was finally expelled in the late 15th Century, religious intolerance became the norm under the Catholic Kings and forced conversion to Christianity forced many to flee and others to live in fear. It is said that some Jewish families still, to this day, keep the keys to their ancestors houses in Toledo as a memory of the purge.

Today, Toledo is a UNESCO heritage site and attracts an exhausting number of tourists all year round. The old town somewhat groans under the weight of so many visitors and there is often the feeling that as a visitor, you are simply touring around a great outdoor museum, with few locals actually living in the town itself. The city does not exude community, that long ago moved to the newer suburbs in Toledo, but what it does have is a majestic history and an enthralling story. Not to miss.


Toledo City Guide – What to Do, in a Nutshell.

  1. Head to the centre of the old town (Plaza Zocodover is a good place to start) and simply wander the streets, taking in the history, blind alleys and undoubted atmosphere of the historic quarter.
  2. Enter the impressive and dominant Cathedral, once a Mosque, taking in the little chapels and stained glass windows.
  3. Go to the Jewish quarter and visit the elaborately decorated Sinagoga del Transito before popping into the Museo Sefardi to escape the crowds and learn a little about the history of the Jewish faith on the Iberian peninsula.
  4. Visit the Mueso de El Greco and see the works of one of Toledo’s most famous sons – he also has a smattering of works around town including the spectacular and well-known Entierro del Conde de Orgaz in the Iglesia de Santo Tome.
  5. Wander around the city walls taking in the wonderfully elaborate and impressive Puertas (city gates) and head up to gaze at the imposing Alcazar (fortress) site of power and destruction throughout the ages.

Toledo City Guide – What to Look for on the Menu

We know how tough it can be in a bar or restaurant when you’re visiting a foreign country. Here’s our guide of what local specialities to look for on the menu in Toledo.

Arroz a la Toledana – Rice dish with chicken, squid and mushrooms

Truchas a la Toledana – Trout cooked with vinegar, garlic and spices.

Carcamusas – Slow cooked pork with tomatoes and peas in a zingy sauce.

Perdiz Estofada – Partridge stew – tender and delicious.

Queso Manchego – You can’t come to Castilla la Mancha and not have the local Manchego cheese.

Mazapán – Toeldo is famous for its Marzipan so get stuck into anything that bears it’s name.


Toledo City Guide – Where to Stay

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Reader’s Tips

This section is specifically designed for our readers to share their top tips with other would-be travellers. If you visited a particularly wonderful restaurant, or stayed in a fantastic hotel, or even ate a tremendous local dish, please let us know here! Any tip whatsoever will be greatly appreciated by our Spain loving community of travellers.

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