The historic area of Toledo Spain is located on top of a hill, and surrounded by defensive walls and the Tagus river. It’s not a large area, and you can basically walk from one side to the other in 30 minutes. But it is also jammed packed full of things to see too! With more than 2000 years of so many cultures (Roman, Visigoth, Muslim, Jewish, Christian) living in one location it can be hard to decide what to see if you only have a day to spend in the city.
If you are visiting Toledo and are looking for things to do in a short amount of time, I hope that you find this post helpful to plan your day in Toledo.
10 Things to See in Toledo in a Day are:
- Puerta de Bisagra Nueva
- Alcazar of Toledo
- Zocodover Plaza
- Catedral Primada
- Puerta del Sol
- Cristo de la Luz
- Iglesia de Santo Tome
- Santa Maria Synagogue
- Sephardic Museum of Toledo
- Mirador del Valle
Puerta de Bisagra Nueva
Puerta de Bisagra Nueva is without a doubt the most iconic of the city gates in Toledo.
This gate has been controlling access into the city of Toledo since the mid 16th century, when it was built as an extension of an older gate from the Al-Andulus era. Thus making it actually two seperate gates with a courtyard between them.
If you are looking for the wow factor when you visit Toledo, then you definitely want to enter through this gate before you continue uphill to the Casco Historico (historic area).
One of the lesser known facts about the Puerta de Bisagra Nueva is that the right tower (when you are facing the gate) has been rebuilt. After a long period of rain in April of 1946, the tower collapsed but was rebuilt back to its original form.
If you are interested in learning about the other city gates in Toledo, click here to read my article.
Address: C/ Real del Arrabal, 26, 45003, Toledo
Alcazar of Toledo
The Alcazar of Toledo (Alcázar de Toledo) is one of the major landmarks of Toledo and it dominates the skyline.
It is probably the first thing you will notice as you approach the Casco Historico (historic area). When you travel south from Madrid to Toledo, by train, bus, or by car, you know you are arriving in Toledo when you start to see Alcázar, the imposing fortification on the highest point of this ancient Spanish city.
In the past the Alcázar has served as a palace, a fortification, a military headquarters, among other things. It has survived multiple fires, bombings, nearly destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, and undergone several renovations during its lifetime.
Inside the Alcazar
Today the Alcazar is part of the Army Museum, and it also is home to the regional library Castilla-La Mancha. It used by the Infantry Academy as well.
There is also a gift shop, a restaurant and a cafeteria if you would like to grab a bite to eat inside a building with truly monumental history. (Note: the gift shop, restaurant, and cafeteria are only open during normal business hours)
The Army Museum
As mentioned above, the Alcázar is home to part of the Army Museum.
The Army Museum is actually spread across two buildings, the Alcázar and a newly constructed building that is attached to the Alcázar. In the Army Museum, you can view items from Spain’s military’s past and present – items such as original Toledo steel swords, uniforms, military lead miniatures, documents, and many other items.
If you are interested in learning more about the swords of Toledo, check out my article Guide to the World Famous Toledo Spain Swords here.
Address: C/ de la Union, s/n, 45001, Toledo
Official website: Museo del Ejército
Plaza de Zocodover
Zocodover Plaza (Plaza de Zocodover) is the heart and soul of Toledo.
The plaza originally served as an animal market during the time the Moors occupied Toledo, but the plaza now serves as an ideal place for you to kick off your adventure exploring Toledo.
The plaza serves as a public transportation hub for buses, and you can also buy tickets to ride on the tourist train and the Hop On Hop Off sightseeing bus in the plaza as well.
To learn more about using public transportation to get around Toledo, check out my helpful article here.
Zocodover Plaza is the main starting point for tourists visiting the city, being it is literally steps away from the Alcázar and the Museo de Santa Cruz, and minutes away from the Cathedral.
The buildings around the perimeter of the plaza are a mixture of stores, marzipan bakeries, restaurants, souvenir stands and government offices.
There are so many little side streets on all sides that lead away from the plaza, go exploring and get lost! You never know what exciting view, store or restaurant is hiding around the next corner!
Things to see near Zocodover Plaza
The Blood Arch (Arco de la Sangre) is located on the east side of Zocodover Plaza. Although it looks just like another arch, it actually has a very interesting history.
There used to be a chapel located above the arch. The chapel belonged to a religious brotherhood known as the “Cofradía de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo” or the Brotherhood of the Holy Blood of Christ. This brotherhood was placed in charge of burying the people who were condemned to the gallows, as well as the unclaimed dead bodies (those who drowned in the river, had no relatives, or were criminals for instance).
The Blood Arch makes an excellent place to frame a picture, and if you walk through the arch and down the stairs you will find a statue of Miguel de Cervantes, which is a very popular selfie spot in Toledo!
Address: Plaza de Zocodover, 45001, Toledo
Cathedral of Toledo
The Cathedral of Toledo (Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo) is Gothic masterpiece dating back to the 13th century and it is one of the most important symbols of Christianity in Spain.
Among the many churches in Toledo (there are at least 40), the Cathedral is by far the most impressive and it and the Alcazar are the number one destinations for all tourists who visit Toledo.
The Cathedral was built on the same site where a 7th-century Visigothic cathedral was once located, and it was even used as a mosque.
The cathedral is huge! It is 393 ft (120m) long by 196 feet (60m) wide and it consists of 5 naves, 88 columns, and 72 vaults.
The Toledo Cathedral bell tower
You should plan on taking at least one hour to visit the Cathedral.
Puerta del Sol
The Puerta del Sol was built in the late 14th century.
Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz
Constructed as a mosque in the year 999 during the time of al-Ándalus , and then converted into a church two centuries later, the Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz is the oldest monument in Toledo.
It’s not the largest monument in Toledo, but it is one of the most interesting for several reasons.
If you look closely at the architecture, you will notice Roman, Visigothic, and Mudéjar features and see how those cultures influenced each other in the city.
Another interesting thing to see here is the original Roman road leading up to the mosque.
Church of Santo Tome
If you are planning a trip to Toledo Spain, you will definitely across one name in particular, El Greco. The Church of Santo Tome in Toledo (Iglesia de Santo Tomé) is probably most famously known for being home to the most important artwork of El Greco, the painting The Burial of the Lord of Orgaz (1586-1588) It is a huge oil on canvas painting that measures almost 16 feet (5m).
Address: Plaza del Conde, 4, 45002 Toledo
Sinagoga Santa María la Blanca
Probably the detail that best defines the Santa María la Blanca Synagogue are its 32 pilasters, with each capital totally original and different from the other 31.
Its structure is basilical with five naves separated by large bows of influence of Mozarabic Christianity.
Sephardic Museum of Toledo
In the 11th century, Toledo was home to the largest Jewish population in Spain.
The Sephardic Museum of Toledo (Museo Sefardí de Toledo), which sits alongside the 14th century Synagogue, the Sinagoga del Tránsito, are both important parts of Sephardic Jewish history in Toledo. It was one of ten small synagogues that once served Toledo’s large Jewish population.
Built in 1356 during the reign of Peter I (Peter the Cruel) of Castile, the synagogue was later converted to a church in 1492, following the Alhambra decree that expelled all practicing Jews from Spain.
At first glance the synagogue looks really plain, but like the old saying goes don’t judge a book by it’s cover. The real beauty is found inside. If you like beautiful architectural features, then be sure to check it out! You will also get to see an impressive display of Jewish culture artifacts.
Museo Sefardí de Toledo is located next door to Museo del Greco and across the street from San Juan de los Reyes across the street to make a full morning.
Address: C/ Samuel Leví, s/n, 45002 Toledo
Mirador del Valle
Your visit to the capital of La Mancha can have no better end than to see it for the last time from the other side of the Tagus River. In the Mirador del Valle you can find the most spectacular view of the entire city.
You will have to go to the Ronda del Valle (ring road), taking the Paseo de la Rosa. From there you can enjoy the best views of Toledo.
Map of Toledo Spain
Click here to go to my map of Toledo Spain page and download your own pdf copy!