Toledo in 4 hours: what to see and eat
Toledo by far is one of my most memorable short stops on our road trip through Spain, only because of the near heart attack I got here. Toledo was our first stop after picking up our car so we had our luggages and passports packed into it. We parked our rental on a hill near a sightseeing spot alongside other cars. We looked around and returned an hour and a half later to.....nothing. A car-shaped hole in the spot where our rental had been.
After our initial paralysis (once our hearts jumped up into our mouths our legs glued themselves to the floor and our eyes to the car-shaped hole for about 10 mins) died down, and then the panic ebbed, we started asking locals and shops around the area. Turns out that location was a tow zone but we really hadn't noticed any signs at all! We ended up paying a few hundred wasted dollars on getting our car back which left us and our wallet feeling a little defeated. This was one of those times where we were thankful for all the things you take for granted on a trip: insurance, 4G, a little spare cash, help from the locals. This was also the last time we walked around without our passports when we were on the road.
All that aside, Toledo is beautiful. Like much of Spain's old towns it has an undeniable exotic charm. It's great if you plan to spend 24 hours here, there's more than enough to do and see, but we stopped for about 4 hours and packed in a bit of the sights, food and souvenirs (not the towing ticket). My tip for anyone planning a road trip: don't put Toledo as a drive by. Take a proper day trip from Madrid which is 30 minutes away. Either that or plan to stay a night here. If you love a bit of architecture and history there's plenty to enjoy, but we'd already committed to driving down our route towards Malaga for the night.
It's hard not to fall in love with the gothic churches, medieval castles, the sun drenched park benches and cobbled streets. We squeezed in only 2 of the following attractions because of our car drama.
Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo - A must see primary attraction here.
Alcazar - A fortress and military museum.
Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes - Gorgeous sixteenth century architecture.
Iglesia de San Ildefonso - Climb the towers for a panoramic view of the town.
Victorio Macho Museum - Museum dedicated to the local sculptor.
Saint Martin's Bridge - Built in the 13th century, this links Toledo to the West.
Mirador del Valle - For absolutely breath-taking shots of Toledo. This is the furthest attraction so you would have to skip a few others to do this.
Fly Toledo - Europe's longest urban zip line. I would go back to Toledo just for this!
Toledo is famous for its decorative steel knives and pottery, so there's plenty of nice souvenirs to pick. Shop at Calle Comercio, their main shopping street.
We refuelled at Cerveceria El Trebol, a delightful little gastropub with a modern tavern feel. LOVED the ambience here with our beers (needed it!) and the food was genuinely delicious. Eat the carcamusa, which is a hearty meat stew with potatoes Toledo is known for.
A famous dessert in Toledo is the marzipan, or mazapán, which means "march bread". It was supposedly invented by nuns after a battle using the only ingredients the city had in the absence of wheat: sugar and almonds. It's available everywhere and you can find plenty of bakeries selling this. There's plenty of pastries in Toledo to try if you have a sweet tooth, and you can bag with you for the road as a snack.
Toledo has an amazing history and architecture which I'd stay longer for next time. Have you spent more than 24 hours here? Be part of NineTwoBySix's motto for meaningful work and purposeful travel- Pin this and share the love for Toledo!