World Heritage City Toledo
was once the capital city of Spain, and it still retains the atmosphere and aura
which are characteristic of so many European capital cities. Toledo is a magic
place, probably one of the most spectacular cities in the world. The buildings
and winding streets contained within the old city walls hold hundreds of years
of history, and the River Tajo which runs alongside the city walls adds to its
charm and beauty. A day trip to Toledo is included in the itinerary of
most holidaymakers in Madrid, so inevitably the streets and monuments are often
packed with national and international tourists. If you want to avoid the crowds,
try visiting Toledo mid-week during the low-season months. The city has a long
tradition of catering for tourists and has an ample selection of hotels and restaurants,
as well as the inevitable gift and souvineer shops spilling out onto the streets.
The province of Toledo offers the visitor
a wide choice of possibilities. Very cold in the Winter months and very hot in
the Summer, the local economy mainly relies on tourism, wine-making and farming.
Some areas of Toledo province are famous for producing high-quality pottery and
others still make high-quality furniture. Other characteristic Toledan products
include swords and other weapons and lace and embroidered materials.
City of Toledo
During the 13th century Toledo became one of the few places in Spain where Moors, Christians and Jews managed to live together and tolerate eachother more or less peacefully (although not as idyllicly as some history accounts would have us believe), and the singular combination of styles and cultures which resulted from this period in Toeldo's history is one of the city's unique characteristics. Visitors can still admire the remains of churches, mosques and sinagogues built during this time.
Toledo became a fortified
city under Roman occupation - its location and the River Tajo made it an ideal
fortress, and from that moment on the city became one of Spain's most important
political, economic and cultural centres. The Visigods named Toledo their capital,
and it retained its importance under Arab occupation. When the Spanish armies
regained control of the city, it became the official residence to the Spanish
Kings and Queens until the 16th Century.
What to do and see in the City
The best way to start a visit to Toledo is to park outside the city walls (there are plenty of carparks), get a map in the tourist information center just opposite the Puerta de Bisagra, and enter the old city through this majestic stone gate. It is possible to visit all the main attractions within the walled city on foot and even though you can't do them justice in such a short time, it is perfectly feasible to get round them all in one day. If you have more than a day, use the first few hours to walk around, get a feeling of the place, enjoy the winding streets seeped in history and culture, and get familiar with the names of places and monuments before actually entering inside.
Historical Monuments in Toledo
Museums in Toledo
Fiestas in Toledo: The Corpus Christi celebrations held in Toledo are famous all over Spain. As in most of Castilla la Mancha, Toledo also takes its Easter Week processions very seriously indeed. And the local fiestas are held form 15th to 20th August.
to buy in Toledo: There are lots of souvenir shops in Toledo, and they all
seem to have the same stock on offer: swords (for centuries Toledo has been renowned
for the steel blades made for knives and swords), walking sticks, models of Don
Quijote, painted tiles, copies of El Greco paintings, local wines and liquors
and pieces of lace and embroidered cloths and other local crafts. If you want
to buy local produce, try Toledan marzipan, excellent local cheeses (different
versions of the popular Manchego cheese are made throughout the Province of Toledo)
Where to stay in Toledo: Click on hotels
in Toledo for a description of the best hotels in Toledo.
What to see and do in the Province of Toledo
Toledo is a very diverse province with flat plains, tall mountains and sierras, rivers, hunting reserves and some lovely small towns and villages.
Oropesa: Beautiful Medieval village which retains all its rural and historical charm. The Parador of Oropesa was one of the first parador hotels to open in Spain, and is a lovely renovated 16th century house. With just over 2000 inhabitants, and several 16th and 17th century buildings of interest, it is possible to walk around the village in a couple of hours.
Lagartera: This curious village just 2 km from Oropesa is famous for its women who produce vast amounts of embroidered cloths, aprons, sheets, curtains, tablecloths..... On fine days you can see groups of women sitting together and embroidering as they chat in patios or even on the street.
Talavera de la Reina: 76km from Toledo set on the banks of the River Tajo, Talavera is the largest city in the province in terms of population. Famous for its pottery and tiles. Some interesting monuments and churches, and an amazing 15th century bridge, Puente de Santa Catalina, with 35 arches.
Tembleque: 55 km. from Toledo, this beautiful village has two amazing squares, Plaza Mayor and Plaza de la Orden which are joined by an arch and have beautiful galleries.
Villacañas: Small town 80km from Toledo with curious underground houses called silos. Impressive 16th century gothic church - Iglesa Parroquial de la Asunción.
Los Yébenes: 42 km. from Toledo and set in the Sierra de Los Yébenes. Interesting castle - Castillo de Guadalerzas - built in the 12th century during the reign of Alfonso VII and last restored in the 18th century. 86km from Los Yebenes on the road towards Ciudad Real lies the Cabañeros National Park (Pueblo Nuevo de Bullaque). Guided visits must be booked in advance.
Illescas: 35km from Toledo, this small town owes its historical importance to its strategic location between Castilla de la Mancha and Castilla de Leon. The Castilian royals sometimes stayed here, and Francisco I of France was imprisoned here. Some remains of the old wall can still be seen. The main attraction today for most visitors is El Bohío, considered by experts to be the best restaurant in the province of Toledo and one of the best in Spain.
|Travelling to Toledo? The following links may also be useful|
|Guides provinces bordering with Toledo and beautiful places in Spain nearby|
|Travel guides to Spain|
|Guide to Alicante||Guide to Almeria|
|Guide to Avila||Guide to Barcelona|
|Guide to Caceres||Guide to Castellon|
|Guide to Cuenca||Guide to Girona|
|Guide to Guipuzcoa||Guide to Lerida|
|Guide to Murcia||Guide to Tarragona|
|Guide to Valencia||Guide to Zamora|