Toledo is the perfect place to discover Spain’s complex history. Its walled old town tells the story of the country’s art, culture, architecture, politics, and religion across the ages. But if you only have one day, you need a well-planned itinerary to get the best out of your trip. Our local expert has planned the perfect one for you. Read on to find out how to see Toledo in a day.
Pro Tip: It’s easier to organize your trip when you have all your resources in one place. Bookmark this article along with our exciting Toledo tours from Madrid and the top things to see in Toledo.
The Perfect Toledo In a Day Itinerary
If you only have one day in Spain, go to Toledo. Those are the sentiments of art historian Cossio, according to David Gilmour in his book “Cities of Spain.” And I completely understand why.
The city is full of mythology and romance. You’ll sense its historical importance. It has played a central role in Spain’s history ever since the Visigoths declared it their Urbs Regia (Royal City) in the seventh century, as recounted by Gilmour.
Unravelling the history of Toledo in a day is a challenge. But with the right guide, you’ll get a sense of the city’s rich history and leave with lasting memories. So, for those with just 24 hours to spare, let me be your guide on how to see the best of Toledo in a day.
There are hundreds of landmarks, so I’ve selected a handful to represent the different cultures that have left their mark on this city. I’ll also show you where to eat and recommend a couple of stops where you’ll get a glimpse of today’s Toledo.
The whole tour is walkable, so there’s no need to worry about transport throughout the day. Are you ready to see Toledo in a day? Vamos!
Not ready to book a tour yet? Explore our Madrid Guide.
Arrive in Toledo
Toledo lies just south of Madrid and has easy transport connections by car, bus, or train. The train from the Puerta de Atocha station in Madrid takes just 30 minutes. A bus ride or car journey via the A-42, however, will take about an hour. Train tickets are available in advance from the Renfe website, and you can get bus tickets from ALSA.
The best times of the year to visit Toledo are in spring or fall. The summer temperatures often exceed 40 degrees celsius and many businesses close for a few weeks in August. On the other extreme, the winters in Castile-La Mancha are notorious for their icy winds.
I recommend arriving around 9 am to make the most of your day. There’s a lot to pack in and you don’t want to rush! With that in mind, let’s head to our first stop for some breakfast fuel.
Address: Toledo Train Station
Eat Breakfast Like a Local at Qantara
7-minute walk from Toledo Train Station
The short walk from Toledo train station to the city takes you past Café Bar Qantara. From here, you’ll get your first glimpse of the river and the old town. It’s also the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast like a local.
Try toast topped with crushed tomatoes, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. This, along with churros, is the most Spanish way to start the day! The toast, together with a coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice comes in at just €4 and will make sure you are all set for the day ahead.
Address: Paseo de la Rosa, 6
Cross the Puente Alcantara Into the Old Town
4-minute walk from Qantara
A few paces around the corner you’ll encounter the Alcantara bridge. Most historians agree the bridge was Roman in origin. But its use was first documented under Islamic rule when it was one of the main defense points for the city.
The bridge suffered natural and human-inflicted damage before Muslim and Christian rulers repaired and adapted it over centuries, according to academic researcher Graciela Padilla Castillo (et al.).
Today, the bridge offers a striking access point for visitors approaching on foot. As you walk through the tower and archway, you feel like you are stepping back in time. It is a great spot to take photos and get you in the mood for the day ahead.
Address: Puente de Alcantara
Not ready to book a tour? Discover the top things to do in Toledo.
Discover the Secrets of Ermita “Mezquita” del Cristo de la Luz
11-minute walk from Puente Alcantara
Our next stop takes us to one of the city’s most important Islamic buildings. Travel writer Medina Tenour Whiteman tells us the Mezquita de Cristo de la Luz dates to 999. This was the time of the Caliphate’s peak.
It’s a small building but it contains some captivating detail across nine distinct spaces. Each space features a vaulted ceiling with different geometric features. Outside, the red and white arches are reminiscent of those in the Mezquita of Córdoba, built over a century earlier. The ongoing restoration work has revealed many secrets, which you can discover on your visit.
Address: C. Cristo de la Luz, 22
Feel the Power of the Alcázar de Toledo
11-minute walk from the Mosque
The Alcázar of Toledo is the most prominent monument in the city. It sits on top of the highest point and is visible as you approach the city walls at the Alcantara Bridge.
The building was originally a third-century Roman palace, according to historians H. Micheal Tarver and Emily Slape. The Alcázar also served as a fortress for the Moors.
In the 16th century, Charles I of Spain restored the stone monument and it was later used as a military academy. Further restoration work was carried out after the siege of the Alcázar during the Spanish Civil War.
As we only have a day, you can enjoy the building and the views from the top floor in under an hour. Those with more time can also visit the onsite military museum.
Address: C. de la Union | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm (Closed Wednesdays) | Admission: From €5
Have a Pit-Stop at Museo del Queso Manchego Toledo
6-minute walk from the Alcázar
Take a break from admiring monuments and visit the cheese museum. You’ll pass it on the way to the cathedral, so there’s no detour needed. There, you’ll find a museum and exhibition room dedicated to the history and production of Manchego Cheese.
But don’t worry, there’s also a tasting room where you can try the cheeses accompanied by the best wines from La Mancha. Before you leave, go to a deli-style store where you buy cheese and other local products.
Address: C. de Sixto Ramón Parro, 7 | Hours: Vary between 10:30 am – 9 pm Wednesday to Sunday | Admission: Free
Take In the Awe-Inspiring Cathedral of Toledo
1-minute walk from the cheese museum
Fernando III laid the first stone of Toledo’s cathedral around the time of the feast of the assumption in August 1226, according to architectural historian Tom Nickson. Yet, this majestic monument was not completed until nearly three centuries later in 1493.
Today, the cathedral remains a showpiece of 13th-century Spanish Gothic architecture. But you’ll also see Mudejar features while exploring its cloister and chapels.
There are various museums as well as the Royal Chapel and Bell Tower, so you could easily spend an afternoon here. But I recommend prioritizing the Primate Temple, Royal Chapel, and the Cloister to keep your day trip on track.
Address: Calle Cardenal Cisneros, 1 | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm | Admission: From €10
Not ready to book a tour? Read more in our Toledo Guide.
Enjoy Lunch at Taberna El Botero
1-minute walk from the Cathedral
The Spanish eat lunch between 2 pm and 4 pm, so aim to exit the cathedral during these hours. Then head to our next stop just a minute’s walk away. El Botero is a cool local tavern that’s perfect for lunch.
The menu is a real crowd-pleaser with some of the city’s most creative food. It even has a tasting menu of croquettes you should definitely try. If not, there are Spanish, Asian, Peruvian, Cuban, and Mexican-influenced dishes. And if you’re brave enough to drink a cocktail in the afternoon, they mix their own!
Address: Calle Ciudad, 5
See the Masterpiece in Iglesia de Santo Tomé
5-minute walk from the El Botero
This 14th-century church and bell tower is notable for housing The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, a painting by celebrated artist El Greco. In 1586, the priest of San Tomé, Andres Nuñez de Madrid commissioned the painting.
According to art historian Michael Scholz-Hänsel, the painting was a reminder that the citizens of Orgaz had reneged on an agreement by the Count of Orgaz to make an annual donation to Santo Tomé.
The painting is huge and attracts large crowds during peak hours. There’s a €3 entry fee, but it’s worth it for art lovers to get a close look at a genuine masterpiece by one of Toledo’s best-known adopted sons.
Address: Pl. del Conde, 4 | Hours: 10 am – 6:45 pm (closes an hour earlier in winter) | Admission: €3
Discover More of the Artist’s Work at Museo Del Greco
3-minute walk from the Santo Tomé
Now you’ve had a glimpse of the work of Doménikos Theotokópoulos “El Greco,” why not continue? The Museo Del Greco is just a couple of hundred metres away from Santo Tomé. It honors the artist with exhibits of his work from the 16th and 17th centuries.
The museum is in a traditional house with cellars and a garden. The decor is exquisite in its own right and designed to resemble a typical house from the artist’s era. Likewise, the collection of artwork is stunning and gives you a real sense of the artist and the Toledo of days gone by. It may be small but it’s one of the prettiest museums in Spain. And it only costs €3 to enter.
Address: C. Cronista Lecea, 11 | Hours: 9:30 am – 6 pm (closed Mondays) | Admission: €3
Not ready to book a tour? Read more in our Toledo Guide.
Explore the Peaceful Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes
7-minute walk from Museo Del Greco
Set in a quieter corner of town, this Gothic monastery dates to the 15th century and is run by Franciscan monks. It also serves as the church of the local parish. The building has two floors and is rather large but it’s a joy to explore.
The cloister and central garden area are genuinely breathtaking. The gardens, in particular, are a haven for photography. And the peaceful atmosphere brings a welcome respite from the day’s activity. The tour is self-guided but there’s an audio app included and it only costs €3 to enter.
Address: C. de los Reyes Católicos, 17 | Hours: 10 am – 6:45 pm (closes an hour earlier in winter) | Admission: €3
Take a Romantic Evening Selfie at San Martin’s Bridge
5-minute walk from Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes
As evening approaches, head to Puente San Martín (San Martin’s Bridge). This 14th-century pedestrian bridge offers unforgettable views of the city and the Tagus River, making it a popular spot for romantic holiday photos.
There’s a viewing point on Paseo Recaredo that gives you a full view of the bridge and the river before you head down to the bridge itself.
The monument dates to 1203 and, according to Fodor’s guide, was one of the longest bridges in the world at the time of construction, measuring 40 meters (131 feet). The bridge features in many works of art including a 1906 painting by Valencian artist Joaquín Sorolla Bastida.
Address: San Martin’s Bridge Viewpoint | San Martin’s Bridge
Dine In The Former Home Of Flamenco Royalty
10-minute walk from San Martin’s Bridge
By now, you’ll be ready for an evening meal! So, from the bridge, make the short walk to the north of the old town where our next stop is located. The route takes you near the Palacio de la Cava and Puerta del Cambrón monuments, which are both photo-worthy. So, be sure to pay them a visit on the way.
In Spain, people eat dinner later than you might be used to. If you’re spending the night in Toledo, you’ll have time to head back to your hotel to freshen up for dinner if you want. Entre Dos Fuegos restaurant opens at 9 pm and has limited seats, so you’ll need to book in advance.
You’ll enjoy a bespoke meal cooked in front of you by the chef. What’s more, you’ll also be eating in the former home of legendary flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia who lived in the city at the turn of the century.
If you’re looking to eat a little earlier than 9 pm, try some North African cuisine at Restaurante Marrakech. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the San Martin Bridge back toward the Toledo Cathedral. They’re open Thursdays to Mondays from 8 pm. For even more options, see the best restaurants in Toledo.
Address: Entre Dos Fuegos | Restaurante Marrakech
Dance Until Dawn Under the Stars At Terraza Summerland
10-minute taxi ride from Entre Dos Fuegos
If you still have energy to spare and want to party into the night like the locals, head to Terraza Summerland. This unique outdoor space offers food, drink, live concerts, and DJs until 6 am in the morning (Thursday through Sunday).
The venue prides itself on offering a safe and responsible space, so you can relax and party into the night. There are three bars, so you rarely have to queue for a drink. And the open-air environment avoids the stuffy feel of traditional nightclubs and sets Summerland apart. It’s a 40-minute walk from Entre Dos Fuegos restaurant, but a taxi takes just 10 minutes.
Address: Carr. de la Peraleda, 3D | Hours: 8 pm – 6 am (Thursday – Saturday), 8 pm – 2:30 am (Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) | Admission: €8 including a drink
Not ready to book a tour? Discover the top things to do in Toledo.
Where To Stay in Toledo
Toledo is a must-visit city brimming with history just outside Spain’s capital. With this guide, you’ll easily find the best hotels and neighborhoods for your stay in Toledo.
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