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After three days in Madrid, we decided to leave the big city and spend one day in Toledo Spain. A Toledo Spain day trip allows you to see the ancient city located just a 30-minute train ride from Madrid, and there are plenty of things to do in Toledo! A day trip to Toledo is one of the easy day trips from Madrid, since you take a direct high speed train from Madrid to Toledo without transfers.
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If you’re looking for things to do in Toledo Spain, you can either book a Toledo tour or DIY a Toledo day trip from Madrid! When I book day tours, I always use Viator since I find their communication to be extremely clear and they have competitive pricing for day trips. If you’d like to book a day trip from Madrid to Toledo, here are a few different options to consider:
From the Atocha train station in Madrid, you can easily travel to Toledo, Spain.
I’d highly advise booking train tickets from Madrid to Toledo online in advance which will allow you your choice of departure times. Tickets are about $25 per person round trip.
Usually I am hyper organized and book transport in advance. But we decided to “be relaxed” and “go with the flow” of the morning and hop on the 10:20am Madrid to Toledo train. Well, when we got to the Atocha station, the lines were huge to buy tickets. I went to the ticket machine, which had a shorter line. The 10:20am train was sold out by the time I tried to buy the ticket around 9:50am! So much for being “chill.” We were able to book the 11:20am train and grabbed breakfast while we waited.
Pro tip: to use the RENFE ticket machines for your Madrid to Toledo train tickets, you need a contactless credit card. You can’t swipe or insert a credit card to the machine. You have to have one where you just tap it to the machine and it processes. I didn’t have one, but Ken did, so we were able to purchase at the machine and avoid the long lines.
The train from Madrid to Toledo takes about 30 minutes and drops you off at the base of the town.
Madrid to Toledo Train for a Toledo day trip
Once you get off the train from Madrid to Toledo for your day trip, grab a €5 taxi to take you to the city center, the Plaza de Zocodover. Otherwise, the walk would probably be 20-30 minutes across a bridge and uphill. If you’re looking for a healthy workout, go for it! We took a taxi to Plaza de Zocodover because it just did not look that appealing to walk uphill for so long.
Toledo Spain is a very old and historic city that dates back to at least 200 BCE and has strong influences of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cultures. It used to be the capital of the ancient Visigoth kingdom before it was captured by Arab rulers in the 8th century. The city has always been a religious and literary center throughout its history.
It was re-captured in 1085 by Alfonso VI of Castile and became the capital city of Castile. But in 1561 the capital of Spain became Madrid, and Toledo’s importance in the world of politics dwindled. However, it has since become a historical location, especially for tourism. Since it is so close, it makes for a perfect and easy day trip from Madrid. We saw tons of school tours and group tours wandering the streets of central Toledo.
If you are in Toledo on a Tuesday, there is a large outdoor market in the Paseo de la Vega Park, just across from the Bisgara Gate (Puerto de Bisgara). Here you can find some food trucks, and vendors selling clothing and shoes to locals. It’s worth a stroll around the park to take in the local culture and weekly custom.
After you explore the Paseo de la Vega Park, walk through the old city walls and into the center of Toledo. Wander around the charming passageways and feel like you’re back in Medieval times. This feeling is cemented by the many stores selling real swords and knives.
Wander through the winding cobble-stone streets and feel like you’re transported to another time. The blooming flower boxes in windows and laundry drying from apartment windows makes you feel like you’re in old world Spain.
We then purchased tickets to enter the glorious Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo. The ticket counter and entrance is located along the side of the Primada Cathedral near the Puerta del Perdón. Entry comes with an audio guide, which was extremely helpful in learning about this 13th-15th century Gothic masterpiece.
One of the most intersecting aspects of this church is that it was originally built in the 6th century by the Visigoths before it was torn down and rebuilt into a mosque. The structure that stands now was built directly over the mosque to cover it up in the 11th century when the Christians took over the city of Toledo.
The Toledo Cathedral is truly stunning and worth a visit for an hour or so. The chapels are richly decorated with sculptures and artwork. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo has especially gorgeous stained glass windows from the medieval time period.
After exploring the winding streets and admiring the Cathedral, stop for lunch at one of the many cafes along the bustling main street Calle Comercio. We veered off to Restaurante Pizzeria Comes for their daily menu of pulled pork pizza and fruit before picking up some cookies and caramels at La Cure Gourmande.
Pass back through Plaza de Zocodover and walk through the city door and down a few steps to see the statue of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of “Don Quixote.”
As you wrap up your day trip to Toledo from Madrid, wind back down the cobblestone streets (much easier going down than up). Head towards the Roman bridge of Toledo for one of your final things to do in Toledo Spain.
The Puente de Alcántara Roman bridge sits over the Tagus River and was built by the Romans after they founded Toledo. This is a perfect spot to take a few panoramic photos of Toledo to remember your Toledo Spain day trip!
From here, wander back down towards the Toledo Spain train station to return to Madrid on the Toledo Madrid train line after a full Toledo Spain day trip.
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