Must-See Sites in Toledo, Spain

Must See Sites in Toledo, Spain.

 

Must see sites in Toledo, Spain. From cathedrals to synagogues, to the famous Alcazar and El Greco Museum, here's what you shouldn't miss in Toledo. Experience a historical city like no other.

Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, really transports you back in time. Just a 30-minute train ride from Spain´s vibrant capital city, Madrid, (if visiting Madrid you will also want to check out this post) this historical city with spectacular remnants of the Jewish, medieval Arab, and Christian culture is bound to dazzle your senses. Take a look at what you CANNOT miss in Toledo or in other words, here are the must-see sites in Toledo, Spain.

But before starting here´s something you should know: WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. You will be doing a lot of walking in Toledo, so be sure to pack comfy shoes and this way you can really stroll joyously through this city. (Hint: Toledo´s streets have lots of ups and downs, you´ll get a proper dose of exercise here). Ok, now we can start.

Alcázar de Toledo

In the highest part of Toledo, with 1,798 ft., is this stone fortification It now houses the Castilla-La Mancha Regional Library (Biblioteca Autonómica) and the Army Museum (Museo del Ejército). After its last renovation, it also houses a few offices occupied by the Army.

It is impossible not to see this fortification (unless you sometimes live on another planet in your head, kinda like me, lol) once you start entering Toledo.

Must see sites in Toledo, Spain. From cathedrals to synagogues, to the famous Alcazar and El Greco Museum, here's what you shouldn't miss in Toledo. Experience a historical city like no other.
Alcázar de Toledo

Santa María La Blanca (Saint Mary the White)

The moment you step foot in it this breathtaking synagogue, you will be in complete awe. The focal point of the synagogue is the clam-shell topped arch at the center of the building. This was the location of the Torah Ark. The synagogue is now owned and preserved by the Catholic Church.

This ancient synagogue, erected in 1180, is arguably considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing. It is considered unique as it was constructed under the Christian Kingdom of Castile by Islamic architects for Jewish use. It is considered a symbol of the cooperation that existed among the three cultures that populated the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. [“Santa María La Blanca”.Wikipedia. 25 Apr.2017.Web]

Must see sites in Toledo, Spain. From cathedrals to synagogues, to the famous Alcazar and El Greco Museum, here's what you shouldn't miss in Toledo. Experience a historical city like no other.
Sinagoga Santa María La Blanca (St. Mary the White synagogue)
Must see sites in Toledo, Spain. From cathedrals to synagogues, to the famous Alcazar and El Greco Museum, here's what you shouldn't miss in Toledo. Experience a historical city like no other.
Clam-shell topped arch at Sinagoga Santa María La Blanca – St. Mary the White synagogue

A little history lesson from Wikipedia on this synagogue:

In 1405, Vincent Ferrer, a Dominican priest, came to Toledo to preach a series of sermons against the Jews. One particular sermon allegedly drove his listeners to run out of the church, gathering a mob as they ran through the streets, and burst into the synagogue. They dragged out all the Jews they could find, slit their throats, and threw them over a nearby parapet onto the rocks below. The synagogue was not surprisingly turned into a church shortly thereafter, then converted for use as a monastery, and later as an armory and warehouse. The building was eventually declared a national memorial site and restored in 1856, but there were numerous changes and evolutions which the building went through during this period. The building was, at first used for prayer services, and believed to be used by recent converts from Judaism to Catholicism. In 1550 the building and its courtyard became the property of an order of monks who sought to purify the building of its Jewish past. They named the building Santa Maria La Blanca, meaning St. Mary the White, in an effort to drive out the perceived “darkness” of the building’s Jewish past. [“Santa María La Blanca”.Wikipedia. 25 Apr.2017.Web]

In 2013, a request was made by the Jewish community of Toledo to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toledo Braulio Rodríguez Plaza for the Church to transfer the ownership and custodianship of the synagogue. As of late 2016, the Church had still failed to respond. [“Santa María La Blanca”.Wikipedia. 25 Apr.2017.Web]

I’m tellin’ ya, YOU MUST SEE THIS HISTORICAL SYNAGOGUE! (Please note the capital letters don’t stand for me yelling at you, it’s just to note my enormous excitement for this place). The entrance fee is €2,50.

Catedral de Toledo (Toledo Cathedral)

With its Gothic architecture, this is another MUST-SEE site in Toledo. This Roman Catholic cathedral is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain. It is built with white limestone from the quarries of Olihuelas, near Toledo. The spectacular incorporation of light and the structural achievements of the ambulatory vaults are some of its more remarkable aspects. [“Toledo Cathedral”. Wikipedia. 20 Mar. 2017. Web]

The main façade has three portals, known as Puerta del Perdón (Portal of Forgiveness, in the center), Puerta del Juicio Final (Portal of the Last Judgment, to the right) and Puerta del Infierno (Portal of Hell, to the left). The Portal of Forgiveness belongs to the 15th century—it was begun under the direction of Alvar Matinez in 1418. It is so called because indulgences were granted to penitents who entered through it. These days it is always closed and is used only on special occasions and upon the investiture of new archbishops of the primate cathedral. [“Toledo Cathedral”. Wikipedia. 20 Mar. 2017. Web]

Note there is an entrance fee of €11. Make sure you plan ahead your visit to the Cathedral as it is not always open.

Must see sites in Toledo, Spain. From cathedrals to synagogues, to the famous Alcazar and El Greco Museum, here's what you shouldn't miss in Toledo. Experience a historical city like no other.
Puerta del Perdón (Portal of Forgiveness) at Toledo Cathedral

 

Must see sites in Toledo, Spain. From cathedrals to synagogues, to the famous Alcazar and El Greco Museum, here's what you shouldn't miss in Toledo. Experience a historical city like no other.
Tower of the Cathedral

The Hop-On Train

Normally, you would find the hop on-hop off bus (which you can find in Toledo) but you can also find the hop on train (pic below). This” train” gives you a tour of Toledo but you cannot get off and tour as you please. I recommend you take this “train” and then decide what else you want to see in this historical city. The tour takes about 30 minutes.  There is A LOT to see and believe me, 24 hours isn’t enough to see all that you want. But by taking this tour it will give you a better idea of the things/sites you would like to take more time visiting.

Must see sites in Toledo, Spain. From cathedrals to synagogues, to the famous Alcazar and El Greco Museum, here's what you shouldn't miss in Toledo. Experience a historical city like no other.
Hop On ¨Train¨

A Few Extras

Like I stated above, there is A LOT to see in Toledo. But if you find the time, I recommend you also visit these three sites:

Ancient Instruments of Torture: Yeah, it sounds creepy and it is. Still, it’s worth a visit and allows a closer glance at what medieval torture was. If you’re into unusual exhibits, then this is for you.

El Greco Museum: It consists of two buildings, a 16th-century house with a courtyard and an early 20th- century building forming the museum, together with a garden. The house recreates the home of El Greco, which no longer exists. This museum celebrates the mannerist painter El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos, 1541–1614), who spent much of his life in Toledo, having been born in Fodele, Crete. [“El Greco Museum Toledo”. Wikipedia. 20 Mar. 2017. Web]

If you happen to be as much into art as I am, then this museum is a definitely must. If you wish to know more about where to go in Toledo, please click here.

As always, I’d love to know your comments. And tell me, if you’ve ever been to Toledo, what was your favorite part?

Until next time! Cheers y’all! 🙂

23 Comment

  1. Oh these photos are amazing! You are making em want to visit 🙂

    1. Spain awaits for you, then! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Spain is on my running list of places I want to visit — I’ve also heard great things about Portugal.

    1. Spain is absolutely wonderful! Portugal is on my bucket list! Hopefully, I´ll go there this year 🙂

  3. Wow these are beautiful places! Definitely adding these to our travel boards! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. certifiedpastryaficionado says: Reply

    My cousins live in Madrid, so we’ve visited Toledo a few times since it’s just a quick drive away. I’ve been to a few of the spots you mentioned but there were a few that I still need to see. Adding it to the list for the next time that we visit!

    1. I´m so glad to found this post useful! Your cousins live in a fantastic city! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  5. Those places are so pretty! I’d love to visit Spain someday!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

    1. Spain is a beautiful country! You will love it! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  6. bitesofflavor says: Reply

    Wow, these pictures are amazing! I’ve never been to Europe and Spain is the first country I plan to go to. Great read!!

  7. Looks amazing. Spain is definitely on my travel list. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Spain is a beautiful country! Totally worth a visit (or several) 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  8. julieannhoag says: Reply

    Spain looks so gorgeous! Would love to bring my famly there!! Thanks:)

    1. You will have a blast in Spain with your family! Highly recommend it! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  9. I’d love to see Spain someday! These photos are so stunning!

  10. I love Spain. Eating delicious food is beautiful towns like this… you can’t beat it!

    1. Absolutely agree with you on this! Their food is so delicious! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  11. Momma To Go says: Reply

    I cant believe I have never been to spain! It seems like there are such various areas to visit and influences of different cultures!

    1. Spain is amazing! I’m pretty sure you’ll end up going quite soon! 🙂

  12. thehealthfulideas says: Reply

    I really need to start saving up so I can travel the world. With everyone on youtube and instagram always sharing pictures and videos of them traveling, I just wanna get out and travel 24/7

    1. Lol! I feel the same way! I love to travel and all the exciting experiences that come with traveling. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  13. Wow! I love the architecture! I will have to visit soon!!

    1. Toledo´s architecture is amazing! You can find the best of 3 cultures all in one place! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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