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Each Spanish city has its own vibrant character and allure. The Iberian peninsula is so different from place to place but is very much united by themes of history and political rule. Toledo is a welcome destination which somehow we’ve always managed to fit in to every Spanish excursion. The proximity to Madrid helps, the city’s attractive culture, shops, cuisine and panoramic views make it just breathtaking and nostalgic.
The best ways to get to Toledo are either by renting a car and taking the direct highway leaving Madrid. The road is excellent and easily navigable. Spanish drivers are courteous and calm overall, especially on such good open roads. If you are taking a day trip or hopping around Spain the bus system is ideal. City connections are excellent with buses leaving around once an hour, especially from Madrid. Once while having lunch in Toledo, I had to rush back to Madrid at a moment’s notice. I found a bus and availability within minutes at the handy terminal just outside the city gates.
What does a typical day trip or overnight look like for me in Toledo? Basically a leisurely walk around the city looking at the various neighborhoods. As this was the capital of Spain there are grand and rich palaces which today are museums or monuments. The churches are majestic, especially the main cathedral whose art collection and reliquary show just how ornate and posh the Mozarabic rite of medieval Catholic Spain was. Works of El Greco can be found in churches as well. The governance, learning and flourishing of this city are evident in the Moorish and Jewish quarters of the city which even today are well preserved and marked.
Toledo is a city of metalworks, so buying a souvenir sword, armor or many other handcrafted artifacts is easy to do in the many shops. The restaurants and bars serve delectable meats, cheeses, olives, wine and chocolates. Around christmas and eastertide you can definitely see the finest foods on display.
Toledo is living nostalgia, it is everything glorious of Spain’s most flourishing historic moments and a living presentation of the storied past. I make a point never to miss it and would recommend you put it in your itinerary too. It is never crowded, always fascinating and soul stirring.