Visit Toledo and discover ‘The City of the three cultures'

Toledo is located about 70km south of Madrid. This excursion is especially interesting for history, art and gastronomy lovers. With your rented bus, you will reach the city in about 45 minutes. Plan your trip with the help of our online portal to find the best deal for your private transportation, including minibus and driver. Get ready for a serious and sometimes steep walk through Toledo, I recommend to wear comfortable shoes.

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Place of Departure:

Madrid, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Aranjuez

The capital of the autonomous region Castile-La Mancha was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Toledo offers a great opportunity to learn more about Spanish history and to get to know the down-to-earth gastronomy of the region. All of the touristic points of interest are in the old town which means you can easily reach them by foot and vist them all in a day. Nevertheless, prepare your group for some exercise as you have to walk up a hill to reach the city centre. For some of you it might be a bit exhausting but it is worth it. Once you are up on the hill you have a beautiful view over the valley and the river Tajo which curls around three sites of the city. Important note: Due to the fact that the historic city centre consists of many narrow alleys, you cannot enter that part of the town by car or bus.

In the Morning: Arrival and City Tour in Toledo

Before you reach your destination, tell your driver to let you off at Toledo’s oldest city gate, the Bib-al-Mardum, also known as Puerta de Balmardón. It is advisable to agree on a pick-up time and place with your group and driver before you all swarm out to discover the city. My recommendation is to meet in the late afternoon at the same city gate to make sure everybody knows how to get there.

 Puerta de Balmardón in Toledo

Discovery of the Three Cultures and Toledo’s Old Town

Right at the beginning of the tour you are going to see the Cristo de la Luz Mosque, the best-conserved islamic buidling in town (admission: 2,50€). In this context it is important to mention that Jews, Christians, and Muslims in “The City of Three Cultures” were living peacefully together up to the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Having this in mind, the Synagogue Del Tránsito is another essential place to visit in order to better grasp the city’s history. Simple from the outside, the interior of the synagogue is beautifully designed with spanish-jewish art, arabic and hebraic inscriptions, as well as other decorative elements. Opening hours are from tuesday to saturday from 9:30am to 6pm and sunday mornings from 10am to 2pm; admission is 3€.

 Synagogue Del Tránsito in Toledo

The Santa María de la Asunción de Toledo Cathedral

After you have visited the mosque and synagogue, the famous Toledo Cathedral in the middle of town  is another must-see. The construction of this gothic catedral with renaissance and baroque influences, started with the first stone in 1226 and was finished after almost 300 years. The skeletal structure consists of five naves and numerous chapels.

 Visit to the Toledo Cathedral

Opening hours and entrance fees  for the Cathedral Visit

You can visit the cathedral every day of the week (monay to saturday, 10am – 6:30pm & sunday/holidays, 2pm – 6:30pm)  and buy the ticket for 11€ directly at the entrance. The complete tour includes access to the temple, the museum, the kings’ chapel, the courtyard, the bell tower and the Bayeu paintings. Take your time to admire all the details the cathedral has to offer and learn more about the history.

Lunch in the El Ábside or in the Virgen de la Estrella

After a morning filled with cultural sightseeing it is time to recharge your batteries. Take a seat on one of the terraces or get a table in a nice restaurant. These are places I would recommend.

Restaurant El Ábside

First, there is the “El Ábside” in the Hotel María Cristina de Toledo outside of the city centre where you should definitely try the Toledo-style partridge.

Restaurant El Ábside in Toledo

Restarant Virgen de la Estrella

he second option might suit you better if you prefer to stay in the centre and are on a budget, it is called “Virgen de la Estrella”. As soon as you have found your place of choice, enjoy the best part of the day -  trying local delicacies!

Toledo-Style Food

Toledo’s gastronomy shows the region’s centuries long tradition of hunting and cattle breeding. Examples of typical dishes are filled partridge, cooked lamb, rabbit with stewed vegetables, or garlic soup. Of course, what you should not miss is a plate of queso manchego with a good regional vine, for instance a glass of Méntrida. As you can see, nobody will have to leave hungry, the problem is rather how to enjoy all these gastronomic specialties in only one day.

Afternoon: The museum Del Greco and the Santo Tomé Church

If you still feel a bit tired, I recommend ordering a cortado (espresso with a shot of milk) before you get back to your cultural tour through Toledo.

The El Greco Museum

As soon as you enter the Museum Del Greco  you will see that the artist’s work is presented in a historical and cultural context. You have the opportunity to learn more about the person El Greco himself and his artistic development. Apart from that, there are also paintings from other 16th and 17th century artists from Madrid and Sevilla. 

The Santo Tomé Church

Assuming you enjoyed El Greco’s art, I recommend to visit the Santo Tomé Church to finish the cultural walk through Toledo’s old town. In a chapel next-door to the main building, you will have the chance to admire El Greco’s famous painting “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz”. This oil painting has a dimension of 4.80m height and 3.60m width and does not only impress art lovers because of its size.

 Santo Tomé Church in Toledo

Opening Hours and Admission of de Santo Tome Church

The Santo Tomé Church opens from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 6pm and admission is 2,50€.

Souvenirs and Return Journey to Madrid 

Something that should not be missing after a great excursion? Correct – souvenirs! Whether it be a gift for friends and family or something for yourself to remember this trip, there are plenty of possibilities to find the right souvenir in Toledo’s small businesses. 

Marzipan and Quality Steel from Toledo

Toledo has been known for its steel and swords over many centuries. If you are looking for a special gift and do not fancy weapons, a letter opener in the design of a sword is a perfect solution. The city is also famous for its artisan marzipan, a dessert you need to try if you have a sweet tooth. Of course, it is also a great souvenir but I have my doubts you will be able to put it aside and not eat as soon as you are on the bus – good luck trying.

 Marzipan  from Toledo

Whatever you saw and bought today, the most important thing is that you had a blast in Toledo. Now it is time to go back to the meeting point you agreed on with your driver and relax while he takes care of safely bringing you back to Madrid in your own rented bus.

Return Journey from Toledo to Madrid

On your journey back to Madrid you will most likely get to know the famous rush hour traffic. As you might be taking a nap in your air conditioned bus, this should not bother you any further. Simply add about 30 to 60 minutes to your planned time of arrival at the hotel and make sure you do not have a tight schedule this evening. A positive side-effect of travelling back to Madrid in the early evening hours is the beautiful sunset over the city’s skyline. After your driver has let you off, I recommend to allow some time to relax in your rooms before you enter Madrid’s nightlife. Spaniards eat dinner quite late (at about 9pm) and the city never sleeps so you do not have to worry about missing the party. Enjoy your stay!

This tour was suggested by Autocares García Tejedor.

Easy comparisons for bus, coach and mini bus hires in the area of Toledo

If you liked this bus tour and plan to organize this or a similar tour in the area of Toledo Province than we advise you to view our list of mini bus and coach hire companies in Toledo . You can also start organizing your Toledo Province bus trip by directly requesting multiple Toledo coach hire quotes so you can compare bus rental options online before booking.

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