Top 5 Best Things to See and Do in Toledo, Spain

Part of the Don Quixote route runs through Toledo, hence the many statues - copyright IvanWalsh.com, Creative Commons

 

 

Once the capital of Spain, nowadays Toledo is a World Heritage Site because of its culture, history and being a place where Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths now co-exist so well.

Toledo is a top holiday destination in Spain for visitors from all over the world. Full of churches, museums, galleries, a Gothic cathedral, Roman ruins, mosques, palaces and more — there’s so much to see in Toledo, you really need weeks.

On a short trip to the city though, if you only have time for a few things, make sure these top five best things to see and do in Toledo are at the top of your list.

Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo (Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo) – One of only three 13th century high Gothic cathedrals in Spain, the Cathedral in Toledo is considered to be one of the best examples of the style in Europe.

Check out, and photograph, the exterior with its enormous buttresses, then head inside to see the main altar, the Capilla Mayor, with its intricately designed Gothic art, the 20 chapels, the stunning carved choir stalls and, of course, the Treasury with its gold and silver treasures. Don’t miss the paintings of El Greco and Goya too.

The Alcazar – Right at the top of the town on a hill overlooking the city, you’ll find Toledo’s Alcazar.  Built before the 3rd century, it’s one of the oldest buildings in the city, and has been a fortress, a palace and, now, holds the magnificent Army Museum.

Museum of El Greco – Of course, you cannot visit Toledo without going to the El Greco Museum.  One of Spain’s most famous painters, El Greco was born in Toledo, so you’ll find much about him here.

The museum is housed in what used to be El Greco’s home.  There are rooms set up in the style when El Greco lived here, as well as an excellent collection of his paintings.

Puerta Bisagra and the Old City – Puerta Bisagra is the main gateway to Toledo’s Old City.  The incredible enormous stone gateway is actually two gateways — one built around the 3rd century A.D. and the other added in the 16th century. It’s a wonderfully impressive piece of masonry to see.

The Puerta Bisagra is also the entrance to the Old City, where you can wander for hours shopping at craft stores, visiting little galleries, enjoying a cafe con leche in a cute coffee shop or eating tapas at one of the area’s tapas bars.

Souvenir Shopping – No visit to Toledo is complete without shopping for, and buying, some of the city’s beautiful handicrafts.

Look for cheese and ham in the food department, buy one of Toledo’s world-famous swords, pick up a copy of an El Greco painting or some souvenir pottery or jewelry.  Toledo is also one of the best cities to buy a piece of hand-made Spanish lace. Look for tablecloths, lace-edged handkerchiefs and even teeny tiny Christening jackets for baby.

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