If you want to know what Spain is all about, look no further than Toledo. This impressive fortified city on a hill is a fascinating example of medieval urban planning and a World Heritage Site. Some of the most significant historic sites in the country are hidden behind its intimidating medieval walls in a maze of twisting pedestrian lanes.
The history of the past is spoken in the calm of the cobblestone streets and magnificent ancient stone structures. In this “city of three cultures,” Christians, Jews, and Muslims coexisted peacefully for centuries, resulting in the construction of countless religious buildings, including cathedrals, monasteries, castles, fortifications, synagogues, and mosques. If you’re going to Toledo, these are some of the attractions you really must see.
The city of Toledo also has a rich history of handicrafts, such as damascene metalwork, swords with an ancient feel, and marzipan (sweet almond candies). To be sure, El Greco’s masterpieces may be seen all throughout Toledo’s churches and convents, as well as at the city’s El Greco Museum.
Top 12 tourist attractions in Toledo, Spain
Only a half-hour train ride away from Madrid, the city of Toledo is a favorite destination for tourists. Even so, there is a wealth of attractions in the city that make a longer stay worthwhile. See what there is to do and see by checking our list of top attractions in Toledo.
- Catedral de Toledo (Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo)
- Casco Histórico de Toledo (Old Town)
- Alcázar de Toledo
- Mirador del Valle
- Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes
- Museo de Santa Cruz
- La Puerta de Bisagra
- Puente de Alcántara
- Las Murallas
- Ermita “Mezquita” del Cristo de la Luz
- Termas Romanas
- Museo del Greco
Catedral de Toledo (Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo)
The cathedral of Toledo, one of the most well-known Christian sites in Spain, is known for its high tower and magnificent Gothic architecture. Next to La Judera, it was constructed in the 13th century on the former site of a Muslim mosque.
The entrance is through the Puerta de Mollete. The densely packed buildings around the church disguise its appearance, yet the cathedral’s magnificent sanctuary stands out.
There are 120 meters of internal space. Beautiful stained-glass windows from the 14th to the 16th century and a group of 88 ornately adorned columns create a remarkable first impression. All of these fascinating features have made this cathedral one of the best attractions in Toledo.
- Address: Calle Cardenal Cisneros, 1, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
- Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
- Sundays from 2 PM to 6 PM.
Casco Histórico de Toledo (Old Town)
You can’t possibly talk about the best attractions in Toledo and not mention Casco Histórico! The historic district of Casco Histórico (Old Town) in Toledo is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its unique architecture and ambiance. Casco Histórico is an intriguing maze of pedestrian lanes, quiet courtyards, and hidden passageways lined with artisan stores.
A large number of palaces, cathedrals, convents, synagogues, and mosques may be found in the region. Christians, Jews, and Muslims all coexisted in Toledo for hundreds of years. There was peace and understanding among the many groups of people.
La Judera (the Jewish Quarter) was a prosperous area until the Inquisition. The history of the city may be followed by strolling the distinctly cobbled cobblestone streets and visiting two medieval synagogues, one of which, El Tránsito, includes a Sephardic museum that sheds light on the thriving Jewish community in Toledo prior to the Inquisition.
Alcázar de Toledo
The Alcázar was constructed on the highest point of the city for military and strategic purposes, and today it serves as a cultural center and tourist attraction with breathtaking vistas. It was once a Roman palace that was built in the third century.
The Moors, who exerted considerable influence in the city in the 10th century, built the citadel, and later several members of the Spanish royal family lived there. Now, it serves as a museum showcasing displays of the history of military technology and tactics. Make sure you visit this amazing structure on your trip to the city, as it is one of Toledo’s top attractions.
- Address: C. de la Union, s/n, 45001 Toledo, Spain.
- Thursday to Tuesday from 11 AM to 5 PM.
- Closed on Wednesdays.
Mirador del Valle
The Bridge de San Martn isn’t the only place in the city with great views; the Mirador del Valle is also impressive. Views of the river, the towering Alcázar, the narrow, twisting lanes, and the cathedral are all breathtaking from this point of view.
The route to the Mirador is also worth seeing since it passes through several historical landmarks on the way there, such as the Museum of Santa Cruz, the San Roman Church, and the city walls. So, it’s no wonder that this place is considered one of the best attractions in Toledo.
- Address: Ctra. Circunvalación, s/n, 45004 Toledo, Spain.
Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes
The Franciscan Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes was established in 1476 and is located to the north-northwest of the Judera and the cathedral. Church construction began in 1553. This historical site is one of Toledo’s best attractions.
The shackles that formerly held Christians in Moorish captivity have been displayed on the building’s façade. Stunning vaulting and a single nave make this chapel in the monastery stand out. The transepts house some of the church’s most impressive artwork, including a retablo by Felipe Vigarny and Francisco de Comontes and friezes depicting the coats of arms of the Catholic Monarchs.
The cloister, built in the 16th century, is widely regarded as among Spain’s greatest examples of Late Gothic design. The cloister’s tranquil atmosphere is ideal for religious contemplation since it looks out upon tranquil gardens. The artesonado ceiling up in the cloister’s top gallery is stunning.
- Address: C. de los Reyes Católicos, 17, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
- Timings: every day from 10 am to 5:45 pm.
Museo de Santa Cruz
The Hospital de Santa Cruz, a Plateresque architecture constructed in the 16th century and now housing a remarkable museum, is a gorgeous place and one of Toledo’s top attractions. Fine art, decorative art, and archaeological artifacts may all be found in the Santa Cruz Museum’s extensive collection, making it one of the best attractions in Toledo.
The primary draws of the Fine Arts collection are the paintings of the School of Toledo from the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly those by El Greco and his follower Luis Tristán. El Greco’s Assumption of the Madonna, a monumental work of art, should not be missed.
The Crucifixion by Goya and Christ in Chains by Morales are two more noteworthy works. There is also the Virgin-themed retablo by Alonso Berruguete, which is rather pricey.
- Address: C. Miguel de Cervantes, 3, 45001 Toledo, Spain.
- Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
- Sundays from 9 AM to 3 PM.
La Puerta de Bisagra
The Puerta de Bisagra is a wonderful structure that was first built by the Moors and was later renovated in the 16th century. Meaning “the door that goes to the field,” the name is derived from the Arabic Bab-Shagra. The building’s facade has a triumphal arch, two symmetrical towers, and the city’s imperial coat of arms. Make sure you visit this amazing structure on your trip to the city, as it is one of the best tourist attractions in Toledo.
- Address: C. Real del Arrabal, 26, 45003 Toledo, Spain.
Puente de Alcántara
The Bridge de Alcántara spans the Tagus River’s stunning canyon just below the Hospital de Santa Cruz. The Moors totally reconstructed the bridge in 866, although its origins may be traced back to antiquity. The majority of the current bridge was built during the 13th and 14th centuries. The tower of the Puerta de Alcántara gate was constructed in 1484, while the Baroque doorway was constructed in 1721. This ancient bridge is one of Toledo’s top attractions.
For a great photo backdrop and perspective of the bridge and river canyon, head to Toledo’s Plaza de Victorio Macho. If you take the time to stroll down to the bridge, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas of the Alcázar and the city as they rise sharply above the river below.
The city walls of Toledo remain remarkably preserved, despite having been built by the Romans, renovated by the Visigoths, expanded by the Moors, and again rebuilt following the Christian reconquest. This structure is one of Toledo’s top attractions to visit.
You may take a stroll through the massive stone walls and pause to see the three remaining entrance gates (Puerta Vieja de Bisagra, Puerta del Cambrón, Puerta del Sol) that lead into the old town. Toledo’s massive fortifications are reminiscent of a citadel around a medina, a layout characteristic of medieval Hispanic-Muslim urbanism.
The Puerta Vieja de Bisagra, a 9th-century entry gate, is all that’s left of the Moorish town walls. The arches of the gate are horseshoe-shaped, as is common in Muslim construction; one serves as the entry, while the other two are decorative blind arches. Alfonso VI, King of Castile and León, entered Toledo through this gate in 1085; therefore, the monument is also known as the Porta Vieja de Alfonso VI.
Ermita “Mezquita” del Cristo de la Luz
This little chapel, which was once a Visigothic church but was converted into an Arab mosque in the year 999, is a remarkable landmark that symbolizes Toledo’s varied background. Alfonso VI and El Cid unearthed a priceless figure of Christ from the church hidden in a brick wall.
The arcaded facade and vaulted horseshoe arches in the sanctuary are remnants of the ancient Moorish construction, which was inspired by the Grand Mosque in Cordoba.
There are columns inside the building that date back to the Visigothic era. The mosque was transformed into a Christian church in the 12th century when the Romanesque transept and murals were added. The blind arches of the apse are characteristic of Mudéjar architecture, which was heavily inspired by Islam. This mix-and-match type of architecture makes this building even more special and one of Toledo’s top attractions.
- Address: C. Cristo de la Luz, 22, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
While in Toledo’s old town, don’t miss the Roman Baths, which are located beneath the city (Termas Romanas). The baths were built in the late 1st or early 2nd century and were used until the early 6th century. Only in 1986 did they make their appearance and begin to be dug.
The well-excavated baths may be explored on foot along a route equipped with metal bridges and glass floors, and the multilingual staff is there to answer any questions you may have.
A free attraction, it may be found down two flights of stairs and below a building near Plaza Amador de los Rios. Even if it’s tiny, you should definitely check it out, as it is one of the best tourist attractions in Toledo.
- Address: Pl. Amador de los Ríos, 3, 45001 Toledo, Spain.
- Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM.
- Sundays from 10 AM to 2 PM.
- Closed on Mondays.
Museo del Greco
One of the most significant artists of the Spanish Renaissance, and a subject of an exhibit at the Museo del Greco, is considered to be El Greco. Its purpose is to present El Greco to a wider audience, not just as a painter, but as a person, by delving into the enormous impact he had on the development of 17th-century Toledo.
Other artists’ paintings, sculptures, and furniture are also on show in the Jewish quarter’s rebuilt old building. Museo del Greco is sure one of the best tourist attractions in Toledo.
- Address: P.º del Tránsito, s/n, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
- Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 AM to 6 PM.
- Sundays from 10 AM to 2:45 PM.
- Closed on Mondays.