Toledo - a day trip from Madrid
Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site in 1986 by UNESCO because of its extensive cultural and monumental heritage and the historical co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures.
Toledo is approx 70 kms south of Madrid, Spain
Train is the fastest and most convenient option
The trip only takes 33 minutes by Avant, which is a short distance high speed train
Trains depart from Atocha station in Madrid, this is the one we will be arriving at from Ronda and is quite close to the apartment (6mins by public transport)
departs from Madrid at 8.50 or 9.20am and arrives in Toledo at 9.23 or 9.53am
departs from Toledo at 12.25 or 1.25pm and arrives in Madrid at 12.58 or 1.58pm - the next train is 2 hours later at 3.25pm
Return tickets cost €20.60 per person, and can be booked up to 90 days in advance
Toledo has a hop on/hop off bus
One of the stops is the train station, it departs from there every 30 minutes from 9.30am
The bus has one loop, and 9 stops, headphones with English commentary and is your standard open top double decker bus
Tickets cost €8.50 and you can use the bus as much as you want for the day
Total cost for the day: €29.10 per person
Interesting facts about Toledo:
In CE/AD 193 the settlement of Toledo became part of the Roman Empire.
Toledo was the Capital of Spain from the Gothic Era until 1560
Toledo steel, known historically as unusually hard, is from Toledo, Spain, which has been a traditional sword-making, steel-working centre since about 500 BC, and came to the attention of Rome when used by Hannibal in the Punic Wars. Soon, it became a standard source of weaponry for Roman legions. Toledo steel was famed for its very high quality alloy, whereas Damascus steel, a competitor from the Middle Ages onward, was famed for a specific metal-working technique.
Toledo was chosen as Spain's "Capital of Gastronomy" for 2016 due to its "creative combination of cultural and gastronomical heritage"
Marzipan is a speciality, as is partridge stew
Sightseeing in Toledo:
The ho-ho bus stops at the following locations:
1 - Alcázar
A stone fortification that is located at the highest part of Toledo, it was used as a Roman palace in the 3rd century and has been restored several times
2 - Puerta Bisagra
A city gate built in the 10th century, in the time of Moorish rule.
3 - Estación AVE (Train station) 4 - Remonte Safont
Outdoor elevator to the old town
5 - Mirador Valle
A viewpoint over the river Tagus and at the top of a valley
6 - Valle Cigarrales
7 - Puente San Martin
A medievial bridge accross the river Tagus
8 - Reconquista 9 - Tavera
From the City Sightseeing website:
Discover Toledo and its stunning view from a City Sightseeing open top bus
The start point of this tour is the Alcázar CSS bus stop. Here, the bus waits for 15 minutes and starts the tour surrounding this monument, located in the highest point of the city. While doing this, we can see San Servando castle on the other side of the Tajo river. Then, we arrive to Zocodover square, the most important one of the city and, therefore, the main meeting point.
Just going down the street, we arrive to our second bus stop: Bisagra Gate. (“Hinge”). Extended and rebuilt in 1550 by Alonso de Covarrubias. It was envisioned as a grand triumphal arch dedicated to Emperor Charles of Hapsburg. Impressive imperial shield of arms with the two-headed eagle, and the insignia of the order of Toisón de Oro knighthood or Golden Fleece.
After admiring this wonderful gate, we continue going down until arriving at the next stop: Remonte de Safont/Scalators and go on to the railway station/AVE station, where passengers can finish the tour to travel to Madrid or new passengers can join us. Our bus stops here for 15 minutes, always taking into the account the arrivals of the trains coming from Madrid.
We start again our tour towards the Valle/Valley, crossing a bridge next to the Alcántara one. Of Roman origen and rebuilt in Muslim and Christian times. It rests on two round archs, and supports the fortified gate tower which gives the access to the alficen (Al-Hizan). From this point we stop for panoramic views, and allow time to admire the city from a privileged point. The tour has the longest stop, for 5 minutes, to take some pictures and continues to the next one: Cigarrales. These are very big houses in the middle of smallholdings outside the city from where we can still seeing the old part of Toledo.
The next stop is at San Martin bridge. Raised above five arches, dating from the 14th century, was promoted by Archbishop Tenorio. Crossing this bridge we will arrive to the Jewish Quarter and the first monument we will find is San Juan de los Reyes Monastery. We continue until arriving at the new part of Toledo, to stop at Reconquista Avenue, next to Gate of Alfonso VI, also referred as the old Bisagra Gate it is of Muslim origin dating from the early 10th century.
Near from here and also from Bisagra Gate, we find the Hospital de Tavera. Founded in 1541 by Cardinal Juan Tavera. Many different works from famous painters are exhibited in the museum, such as El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Sánchez Coello, Caravaggio… The national Section Of Nobility Archive is curretly kept on the premises of the building. We finish our tour and return to the Alcazar, this time through Bisagra Gate.