How to get from Madrid to Toledo and what to see in one day
If during your visit to Madrid you want to get to know one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, full of history and close to the Spanish capital, this is undoubtedly Toledo, the capital of the region of Castilla-La Mancha. But what can you see in Toledo in one day? How can you get to Toledo from Madrid? Don’t worry, here we will tell you what to see in Toledo in one day and how to get there from Madrid.
How to get to Toledo from Madrid
To get to Toledo from Madrid there are several ways: by bus, train, car or with an organized tour.
How to get from Madrid to Toledo by train
The trains that connect the Spanish capital to the city of Toledo are high-speed trains (AVE) and are operated by the Spanish railway company Renfe. These trains connect the two cities in just 33 minutes and, although the price is higher than the bus, it is worth it for those who have very limited time for their visit.
The price of the ticket for one way is € 13.90 if you buy the round trip separately, but if you are sure of the return time to Madrid, it is worth buying the return together at the cost of € 11.10 for each way.
The AVE is also a very convenient option as the trains leave from Atocha Central Station (Puerta de Atocha on metro line 1) and arrive at Toledo Station, which is around 15-20 minutes walk from the city center. There are also buses to reach the city center (lines 5, 6 and 22).
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Renfe website
How to get from Madrid to Toledo by bus
The bus is another way to travel from Madrid to Toledo in a comfortable, fast and cheaper way. The journey between the two cities takes about one hour and is managed by the Alsa bus company. This is a very good option if you are not in a hurry and you don’t have a lot of money. The ticket price is € 5.50 per trip, therefore almost half the price of the train. All buses leave and arrive in Madrid at the terminal of Plaza Eliptica (metro lines 6 and 11). Every half hour they leave in the direction of Toledo and, as we said before, in just one hour or one hour and a half (depending on the route) they arrive at Toledo bus station which is about 15 minutes walk from the Old Town. There is also the possibility of going by city bus to the center from the station (lines L5D, L12, L61 and L62). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Alsa website.
How to get from Madrid to Toledo by car
Getting to Toledo from Madrid by car is very simple and also very fast. In about 50 minutes the distance between the two cities is covered.
To reach Toledo take the A-42 highway following the signs for Getafe, Toledo, R-5, Badajoz.
After 65 km on the A-42 highway, take exit 68B towards Toledo / city center, which will take you to the center of Toledo. Remember that only residents can move in the center of Toledo, therefore it is advisable to leave the car outside the city walls and reach the center on foot or by public transport. Most of the car parks are located on the outskirts of the walled city, very close to the train and bus station.
Toledo day tour
If you have a limited time for your visit, the best option is to arrive in Toledo with an organized tour, which includes transportation from Madrid to Toledo and a guided tour of the capital of Castilla – La Mancha.
Distance between Madrid and Toledo
Toledo is located southwest of Madrid, at a distance of 73 km from the Spanish capital, so it is a good option for a day trip from Madrid.
This short distance between the two cities will allow you to travel to Toledo and return to Madrid in one day simply and quickly both by public transport and by car.
Below we explain how to get to Toledo from Madrid and vice versa.
WHAT TO SEE IN TOLEDO IN ONE DAY
Toledo has been declared World Heritage Site by Unesco, and it is one of the most beautiful cities of all Spain.
It is known as the “city of three cultures” because it has hosted for centuries Christians, Muslims and Jews. Indeed, its streets show the passage of all these cultures that has settled here since ancient times.
Despite being a small city, Toledo has many tourist attractions and, although one day it will never be enough to get to know it, it is still enough to get an idea and enjoy this incredible place.
One of the tips we always give when visiting a city is to get lost in its streets and this is especially true for a city like Toledo, which center is crossed by plenty of narrow streets. In any case, do not forget to visit the great attractions of the city.
If you want to take a walking private tour with a licensed guide click HERE
It is one of the main squares in the city, the arrival point of escalators and the starting point for almost all routes. City buses that leave from the stations and some car parks arrive at Plaza Zocodover, the perfect starting point for your visit to Toledo.
This was, for centuries, the crucial center of the city and was considered the Plaza Mayor of Toledo. It was built by Juan de Herrera, architect of King Felipe II, and also author of the Escorial.
El Alcazar of Toledo is very close to Plaza Zocodover.
The free tours of Toledo leave from Zocodover square: if you are interested in these free tours click HERE for more information.
THE ALCAZAR OF TOLEDO
The Alcazar of Toledo is undoubtedly one of the most symbolic buildings in the city. Its name derives from the Arabic “Al Qasar”, which means “fortress”. It is an massive fortification that can be seen from any point of the city. It was built on the rocks in the upper part of Toledo to have control over the surrounding area and prevent attacks on the city.
Today it houses the army museum and, although the museum does not attract the attention of the general public, it is worth at least a visit to appreciate the majesty of the fortification.
MONASTERY OF SAN JUAN DE LOS REYES
It is a convent belonging to the Franciscan order. It was built in 1476 by Juan Guas by order of Queen Isabella I of Castile, thus creating a mausoleum for the kings and it is for sure one of the most significative buildings in the Hispano-Flemish Gothic style (the so called Elizabethan Gothic) and one of the most important buildings commissioned by the Catholics monarchs.
We strongly recommend this visit on your day in Toledo. Visiting hours are from 10.00 to 18.45 from March to October and the rest of the year until 17.45.
The cathedral of the capital of La Mancha, also known as the Cathedral of Santa María, is a Catholic Gothic temple.
The beginning of its construction dates back to 1226 by order of King Ferdinand III, but the building was remodeled in the Gothic style in the fifteenth century by the will of the Catholic kings Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.
The original core of the building was a Visigothic cathedral which was later transformed into a Muslim mosque, known as “The Great Mosque”.
The dimensions of the cathedral are 120 meters long and 59 meters wide, with a height, at the highest point, of 44.50 meters. It consists of 72 vaults supported by 88 columns and 750 windows built in the XIV, XV and XVI centuries. These numbers to let you imagine how impressive this building is!
The main facade is located in the town hall square, where you can also appreciate the Archbishop’s Palace.
MEZQUITA OF THE CRISTO DE LA LUZ (Christ of the light)
The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz or Bab al-Mardum is the best preserved mosque of the ten that the city owned.
It was built in the year 999 and it is located next to one of the access of the city. It is undoubtedly one of the most important monuments of Hispano-Muslim architecture in Spain and the most important Islamic work in Toledo.
Two centuries after its construction, with the Christian Reconquest of the city, the addition of an apse converted the mosque into a Christian hermitage and made it a clear example of Mudejar art.
The visiting hours are from 10.00 to 18.45 from March to October and from 10.00 to 17.45 the rest of the year.
THE CURCH OF SAINT TOME AND THE BURIALS OF LORD OF ORGAZ
Certainly, the Church of Saint Tomé is worldwide known for the great painting of El Greco, “The burial of Lord of Orgaz”.
This church, formerly a mosque, was founded by King Alfonso IV of Leon after the Christian Reconquest of the city, but was rebuilt in its present shape in the 14th century by Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, Lord of Orgaz, who transformed the former minaret of the mosque into a bell tower in Mudejar style, creating one of the most characteristic parts of the church.
In honor of Lord of Orgaz, after his death, the famous baroque artist El Greco created the painting with the representation of the burial of Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, which is located in the back of the church. The work is an oil on canvas of 4.80 by 3.60 meters and today it is considered one of the best and most admired works of El Greco.
The opening hours are from 10.00 to 18.45 from March to mid-October and from 10.00 to 17.45 from October to February.
EL BARRIO DE LA JUDERÍA (JEWISH QUARTER)
As we said earlier, Toledo is known as the “city of three cultures”. One of these is the Jewish one, as it is evident in the beautiful Hebraic neighborhood in the heart of the old city. Considered a city within the city itself, divided in several districts, the ghetto of Toledo occupies the 10 percent of the city. Made by narrow streets that go up and down, the Jewish area really looks like a maze, so without a doubt the best option to get to know it is to get lost in its alleys. Inside the neighborhood there are 6 synagogues; we recommend a visit to the synagogues of Santa María la Blanca and the one of Tránsito, as we explain in the following lines.
SINAGOGUE OF SANTA MARIA LA BLANCA
The Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca was built in 1180 and used for religious ceremonies for 200 years, until the 14th century when it was expropriated and transformed into a church.
Nowadays it is no longer a place of worship, but it is open to the public as a museum.
It is characterized by high walls and 32 completely white columns which substain horseshoe arches, a testimony of its Arab past, as well as the splendid ceiling decorations.
SINAGOGUE OF TRANSITO AND SEFARDI MUSEUM
The Transito Synagogue, also known as “Samuel ha-Levi synagogue”, was built in the 14th century under the command of Samuel ha-Levi during the time of Peter I.
It is in Mudejar style, with an unsurprising exterior but a truly splendid interior: stucco decorations on the walls, carved wood and ivory on the ceiling cover the entire surface of the synagogue.
The building also houses the Sephardic museum, dedicated to the history of the Jewish community in Spain.
MIRADOR DEL VALLE
The perfect conclusion of a visit to Toledo is to cross the Tajo river and enjoy the splendid view of the city and admire from afar the different buildings described above. To get to the Mirador del Valle, the most convenient way is by car, even if the parking lot fills up quickly. Another option is to take the tourist bus which, in addition to a stop at the Mirador del Valle (Los Cigarrales), makes other stops in the most emblematic places of the city. There is also the tourist train that leaves from Plaza Zocodover, and of course you can also walk among the bridges, a wonderful walk.
Tourist bracelet to visit the monuments of Toledo
If you are interested in visiting many of the monuments mentioned above and others, we advise you to buy the “tourist bracelet”. It is a bracelet that allows you to visit 7 of the most famous places in Toledo for only 10 euros, a good saving if you consider that the individual entrance for each monument is around 3 or 4 euros. This tourist bracelet can be purchased in any of the monuments included in the offer. The places that can be visited are: San Juan de los Reyes, Saint Tomé and the work of El Greco, the mosque of Santa Maria la Blanca, the Royal College of Noble Maidens, the Jesuit Church, the ancient mosque of Christ de la Luz and the Church of the Savior.
WHAT TO EAT IN TOLEDO
In Toledo, as in many Spanish cities, it is possible to find a variety of typical dishes of the regional cuisine.
Being a very touristic city, the offer in terms of bars and restaurants is very high.
Some of the most typical dishes of the area and most recommended to appreciate the flavors of La Mancha:
- Gazpacho manchego (cold tomato soup)
- Pisto manchego (vegetable stew with egg)
- Perdiz estofada o en escabeche (stewed or marinated partridge)
- Conejo al ajillo (rabbit with garlic)
- Carcamusas (pork stew with tomato and vegetables)
- Cochifrito (fried pork)
- Arroz a la toledana (saffron risotto with vegetables, mushrooms, chicken and squid)
- Mazapán (marzipan)
SLEEPING IN TOLEDO
If you have decided to stay in Toledo to enjoy the city and its surroundings for another day and you need to find a hotel, check the different options to book your hotel.
If you sleep in Toledo, take a morning hot-air balloon ride over the city with a typical Spanish breakfast