A day trip? Or stay the night? How long should I stay?
Toledo’s proximity to Madrid makes it an ideal day trip for most people. In fact more than 2 million people visit Toledo each year.
Most day trippers arrive by train or bus and follow a predetermined list of things they want to see, do, and eat in a short amount of time.
Most day trippers also arrive in Toledo, either by train or by bus, right during the peak time of day (10 AM to 5 PM) with thousands of other selfie stick wielding tourists, and try to see the 3-4 attractions they only have time to see.
And then complain that Toledo was “too touristy.”
To really experience a city such as Toledo, with its more than two thousand years of history and culture, you need time.
More time than a day trip will typically allow
Benefits of staying the night in Toledo
Toledo at night is romantically charming.
Once the bulk of tourists leave around 5 PM, the city center is once again reclaimed at nighttime by the local citizens of Toledo.
You can walk along the medieval cobblestone streets and explore the labyrinth of stone passageways that Toledo is famous for.
If you like photography, you will enjoy the way the lights and shadows play off the stone surfaces.
Explore the side streets. Some lead to other streets, some will twist and turn and lead to nowhere. But all lead to you discovering new and interesting things to see and experience.
Lose yourself in Toledo. You will not regret it.
A more peaceful shopping experience
Calle del Comercio is the main street of Toledo and also contains the majority of the commercial shops.
It is also the main thorofare from Plaza de Zocodover to the Cathedral, and therefore it gets a lot of foot traffic from tourists. Like salmon swimming upstream, where you always feel like you are going against the flow no matter which direction you are walking.
Much like every street in Toledo, this street is rich in history and architectural features. It can be difficult during the day to notice the details of the buildings on both sides of Calle del Comercio, and it can be even more difficult to take pictures.
Most shops are closed by 10 PM.
Live like a local
The following morning, start your day as many Spaniards do, by dropping into one of the small, quaint coffee shops for a cafe, cappuccino, and pastry before you begin your adventure. One of my favorite coffee and pastry shops in Toledo is Degustaciones Solé.
At this time of day it will be mostly locals sitting in the coffee shops, enjoying a cafe prior to heading into the office to work. Toledo is the capital of the Castilla la Mancha region, and is home to many of the government and administrative agencies.