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Visiting Toledo, Spain a Fabulous World Heritage Site

Updated on September 2, 2017
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Panorama of the Toledo Skyline in Spain at sunrise. On the left Alcázar of Toledo and on the right Cathedral of Toledo.
Panorama of the Toledo Skyline in Spain at sunrise. On the left Alcázar of Toledo and on the right Cathedral of Toledo. | Source

Historic and Beautiful Toledo

In July of 1992 my husband and I decided to take a one day tour of Toledo out of Madrid, Spain where we were vacationing.

Toledo, Spain is a World Heritage Site.

Having a guide is always helpful when visiting a new location and all I can say is that if you ever get the chance put Toledo high up on your list of places to visit.

One day gave us a distinctive flavor of the historic significance of Toledo but it would have been wonderful to have had more time to explore more of its many endless wonders and experience more of its history by delving into its spirited past.

An interesting past Toledo has definitely had!

Images of Toledo, Spain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Walking through the cobblestoned streets of Toledo following our guide.The streets are labeled on the corners of buildings/The streets are narrow and twist and turn in every direction.People and vehicles share these narrow streets.We catch a glimpse of the Cathedral.
Walking through the cobblestoned streets of Toledo following our guide.
Walking through the cobblestoned streets of Toledo following our guide. | Source
The streets are labeled on the corners of buildings/
The streets are labeled on the corners of buildings/ | Source
The streets are narrow and twist and turn in every direction.
The streets are narrow and twist and turn in every direction. | Source
People and vehicles share these narrow streets.
People and vehicles share these narrow streets. | Source
We catch a glimpse of the Cathedral.
We catch a glimpse of the Cathedral. | Source

Toledo Day Tour from Madrid

After traveling through the countryside of Spain by bus we approached Toledo which is located just 70 kilometers south of Madrid.

Toledo is surrounded on almost three sides by the Tagus River which forms a natural moat.

 Panorama of Toledo from the south.
Panorama of Toledo from the south. | Source

Dating back many centuries Toledo is an historic and walled city and has gone through many occupations of conquerors. Not only is its history redolent with tales of various occupiers but its architecture speaks to those many influences which can enjoyed as well.

Tiled rooftops in Toledo, Spain.
Tiled rooftops in Toledo, Spain. | Source

Christian, Jewish and Moorish designs have all had their impact and often buildings changed hands and were continued to be built upon with many of the past influences left in place.

Oleanders in full bloom
Oleanders in full bloom | Source

Like the city of Rome, Toledo was built on 7 hills. It was the first capital of Spain.

The land mass inside the walls is only 89.59 square miles or 232.1 kilometers. Most all of the historic buildings which included places of worship (of which there are many) and the royal residence, etc. were inside the walls.

The Ayuntamiento or City Hall was built in the 16th century. The Ayuntamiento or City Hall was built in the 16th century in Toledo, Spain.
The Ayuntamiento or City Hall was built in the 16th century. The Ayuntamiento or City Hall was built in the 16th century in Toledo, Spain. | Source

Outside of the walls were many private gardens and summer residences and today the suburbs can continue to spread in that fashion.

In 1986 UNESCO declared Toledo to be a World Heritage Site.

Part of the reason is that for many years the three cultures shared their lives and lived peaceably with each other overcoming racial differences and working together for the common good of everyone concerned.

Through the centuries there were fires destroying some of the buildings but most were rebuilt and refurbished.

Today the newer buildings are built to blend in with the old and maintain a certain character of the ancient Toledo.

Panorama of the Tagus River in Toledo, Spain
Panorama of the Tagus River in Toledo, Spain | Source

Tourism is a big part of their industry as one might imagine.

Few places like this exist in the world. By visiting places like this we can get a glimpse into the past.

Cathedral of Toledo
Cathedral of Toledo | Source

Toledo Cathedral

The Cathedral is one of the towering edifices in Toledo and is definitely a tourist attraction worth visiting for anyone visiting that area.

Originally an old Visigoth church was on that site and built on top of that was the largest Moorish mosque in Toledo. In the year 1086 it was converted into a Christian church.

A short look inside the cavernous Cathedral of Toledo

Taking two and a half centuries to build, one can realize the different artistic expressions that were manifested during that long time construction process.

The church was built in increments and two unequal sized towers are the result. It is difficult to see the full majesty of the structure from any one vantage point.

Toledo Cathedral Indoor
Toledo Cathedral Indoor | Source

The Catholic Church

The greatest majority of monuments in Toledo attracting tourists from far and wide are religious in nature. The Catholic Church has played a significant role in making Toledo a Holy City only second to the influence of The Vatican in Rome.

Concentrated wealth in bygone eras helped create this proliferation of churches, monasteries, religious schools, convents, chapels and other buildings.

St. John of the King's Cloister in Toledo
St. John of the King's Cloister in Toledo | Source

Even after the capitol of Spain was moved from Toledo to Madrid, ecclesiastical power remained in Toledo for a long time.

Artists like El Greco and others were attracted to living and working in these environs. There are a huge number of El Greco's paintings that still reside in Toledo today.

Rick Steves talking about the artist El Greco

In fact the entire city of Toledo is like a gigantic museum. Art, architectural wonders and medieval influences like the cobblestones, walls and gates of this city could keep one engaged in discoveries for a good while.

Museum of Taverna in Toledo, Spain. Used to be a hospital. Ancient records are kept in beautifully hand written centuries old books. Wonderful collection of paintings. One wing is still utilized as a school run by nuns.
Museum of Taverna in Toledo, Spain. Used to be a hospital. Ancient records are kept in beautifully hand written centuries old books. Wonderful collection of paintings. One wing is still utilized as a school run by nuns. | Source

Toledo by Rick Steves

Toledo, Spain

A one day tour such as we had was a wonderful introduction to this most interesting of ancient cities. I envied the people that stayed there a little longer to roam the twisting streets and make additional discoveries while they soaked up the atmosphere. But alas we had other plans and more ventures to undertake in Spain some of which is shared in other posts.

Hope this gives you a snapshot of what there is to see and do while in Toledo, Spain. We merely scratched the surface!

Images of Toledo, Spain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Walking the cobblestoned streets of ToledoThe Alcazar viewed from a distance.  Renaissance styling.  Destroyed and rebuilt many times it has served many purposes throughout the years...from royal palace to prison to military academy to museum and library.Another view of the Tagus River forming a natural barrier around Toledo.My husband with Toledo in the background.
Walking the cobblestoned streets of Toledo
Walking the cobblestoned streets of Toledo | Source
The Alcazar viewed from a distance.  Renaissance styling.  Destroyed and rebuilt many times it has served many purposes throughout the years...from royal palace to prison to military academy to museum and library.
The Alcazar viewed from a distance. Renaissance styling. Destroyed and rebuilt many times it has served many purposes throughout the years...from royal palace to prison to military academy to museum and library. | Source
Another view of the Tagus River forming a natural barrier around Toledo.
Another view of the Tagus River forming a natural barrier around Toledo. | Source
My husband with Toledo in the background.
My husband with Toledo in the background. | Source
Rick Steves Snapshot Madrid & Toledo
Rick Steves Snapshot Madrid & Toledo

I am so glad that we took one day when in Madrid to go tour Toledo. I would heartily recommend it!

 
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One couple's slideshow of visiting Toledo

Have you ever visited the UNESCO site of Toledo in Spain?

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© 2009 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      I would have loved getting to spend more time in Toledo as you got to do. It is so historic and lovely! Thanks for your comment.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Peggy. I am enjoying following your trip. We were in Toledo for several days and enjoyed the history even driving around some of the small villages.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi thedigger,

      Yes, travel is fun and educational as well. Thanks for commenting on this Toledo, Spain hub. Have you visited there or is it on your wish list?

    • thedigger profile image

      thedigger 5 years ago from New Delhi

      Beautiful pictures. I love travel and don't want to miss any destination. You commented on my hub so I returned back to check whether any interesting thing for me in your profile or not and found lots of travel related hubs.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Vinaya,

      Nice to know from your comment that you enjoyed this virtual tour of the historic city of Toledo, Spain. Thanks!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      Thanks for this comprehensive introduction to Toledo.

      I enjoyed the virtual tour.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi alocsin,

      It would be wonderful to be able to spend a few days in Toledo, Spain getting to see all of the historic buildings, art, etc. and just taking the time to soak up the ambiance as one strolls through those ancient streets. Glad you liked this. Thanks for your comment.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks for bringing back the memories. There's so much to see in Toledo that I ended up staying the night. Having the map is helpful for orientation. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello hafeezrm,

      Like you, what we got to see of Spain just made us want to see more. Glad that I could introduce you to Toledo with these pictures. Any World Heritage Site is always worth a visit! Thanks for your comment.

    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 7 years ago from Pakistan

      Last year, I went to Spain and toured many cities like Barcelona, Madrid, Quruba and Granda. After reading you hub, I realize what I have missed. Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mrs. J.B.,

      We did have a fabulous time while touring the World Heritage site of Toledo, Spain. Glad that you liked the pictures. Hope you get to go and see it in person someday! Thanks for the comment.

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 7 years ago from Southern California

      The pictures are beautiful. I would love to go there one day. It sounds like you had a fabulous time.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Tony,

      So happy that you got a sense of what visiting Toledo, Spain would be like from these pictures and words. Any World Heritage Site is always worth a visit! There are so many beautiful places in the world and since we cannot personally visit all of them in person, it is wonderful to be able to view and see them from other people's experiences. I love seeing your part of the world through your eyes and experiences!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      I really enjoyed this "virtual" tour of Toledo, a place I would love to visit in "reality"! Since that is not likely to happen anytime soon this Hub has given me all the pleasure of a visit!

      Thanks so much for sharing all the information and your lovely pix!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello leyzaa,

      I hope you get to visit Toledo, Spain someday also. It is an amazing place! Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • leyzaa profile image

      leyzaa 7 years ago

      Amazing, I hope sometimes go to Toledo

    • leyzaa profile image

      leyzaa 7 years ago

      Amazing, I hope sometimes go to Toledo

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello katrinasui,

      Thanks for this virtual visit to Toledo in Spain. Glad you liked the pictures. Anything designated as a World Heritage Site is always worth a visit! Appreciated the comment.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 7 years ago

      Great hub! pictures are beautiful as usual.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Billy,

      One of the very few private duty patients that I ever took care of went on a 3 month journey to Europe with her daughter as a graduation present to the daughter. They had 2 weeks remaining and were tired and almost skipped Spain, but went ahead and stayed. She told me that Spain was their favorite part of the entire trip! That always stuck in my mind for some reason. All I can say is that what we saw of Spain in the 12 days of our trip...we loved. Toledo is certainly a historic town and I only wish we could have spent more time there. Guess that is always a good sign...wanting to spend more time in a place.

      It will be great to have your boys with you who speak the language! I spoke only a few elementary words of Spanish, but it saved the day once enabling us to catch the airplane in time from Barcelona to Mallorca!

      Thanks for the comment.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      I have never been to this part of the world and look forward to visiting it one day - you have many hubs on Spain that make the trip easier to plan. Both my sons are learning spanish so when they are older they can take their parents :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Trish,

      You lucky soul! Sounds great! Will look forward to your hub about the Costa Brava and one later on (when you visit) Toledo. Summer is coming up soon. Enjoy!

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 8 years ago from The English Midlands

      Definitely!

      But I think that it will be the Costa Brava this summer :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi again Trish_M,

      If you visit Toledo, Spain in the future, please come back and let me know your thoughts. Thanks! Perhaps write your own hub about it?

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 8 years ago from The English Midlands

      Based on this hub and the great photos, I'm sure that you are right :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Trish_M,

      You must know that being a World Heritage Site, Toledo, Spain is well worth a visit. As a history buff, you will love it! Of that I am certain. Thanks for the visit.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 8 years ago from The English Midlands

      I've never been to Toledo. That is now on my list of places I want to see! Lovely photos!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi again Suki,

      We were on a one day bus tour from Madrid and the restaurant they chose for us (where we had a meal prior to the tour of Toledo) left something to be desired. Heavy on the grease is our main memory. Guess we cannot aptly judge the food in the Toledo area from your Chinese restaurant and our experience on the tour.

      If there are any folks reading this from the Toledo area...or people who have visited there...please chime in and let us know the BEST places to dine. Thanks! Am sure there are many.

    • Suki C profile image

      Barbara C 8 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

      Well - thanks to your lovely photos I was able to see what we missed!!! It's something to look forward to next time.

      One thing I do recall - we had the worst EVER Chinese meal in Toledo - but, of course, that's no reflection on the city itself :))

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Suki C,

      So happy that you liked my Toledo, Spain hub and especially since you have already visited there. Like you, I wish that my husband and I had more time to have enjoyed more of it. Since you now live in Spain, you will have a greater opportunity to enjoy more of Toledo someday. Perhaps you can even write about your experiences?

      I loved reading about where you now live on the Costa del Sol.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Suki C profile image

      Barbara C 8 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

      I loved this! My husband and discovered Toledo by happy accident last year on our annual trip back to the UK from our home in southern Spain. We wanted to avoid the nightmare of negotiating the motorway around Madrid so took a detour that ended up with us spending the night there.

      We wish we could have stayed longer but we had to make Bilbao the next day to catch the ferry!

      We will definitely return one day.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings prashant nikam,

      I am very pleased that you found this hub with pictures about Toledo, Spain to be of so much interest. Hope you get to visit there someday and see it for yourself. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      prashant nikam 8 years ago

      ps.nikam@rediffmail.com

      this is my mail id Toledo i loving it

    • profile image

      prashant 8 years ago

      i m from india,

      i live @ maharashtra, nasik422101

      I M SEACH A PLACE 4 VISITING

      Toledo IS VERY nice place

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel, We loved what we had seen of Spain and would like to go back someday. Would also like to visit Portugal next time. If Seville looks like Toledo, I know we would like it. Thanks.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Have only visited Spain a couple of times, for days out, when in Portugal. Toledo seems to be a lot like Seville which we loved.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Curious Traveller, Yes......do make the time to see Toledo. We spent 3 days in Madrid just getting an overview. Loved it. If you like art, the Prado Museum is fantastic. We spent a few hours on 2 different days seeing parts of it. We were on sensory overload! One would have to go many times and spend countless hours to even see it all.

      Sometime will share some photos of Madrid, Barcelona and Maijorca. Thanks for your comment.

    • Curious Traveller profile image

      Curious Traveller 9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi, Peggy. Madrid is actually quite high on our "to visit" list and after viewing this fantastic Hub, it looks as though we should make the time to visit Toledo while we are there.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Celesta. The flowerboxes and so much more was beautiful in Toledo.

    • profile image

      Celesta 9 years ago

      Beautiful photos. I liked the flowerboxes on the balconies.

      Nice Hub!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thank you so much, Elynjo for the compliment and thanks for your comment.

    • Elynjo profile image

      Elynjo 9 years ago from Sin City

      Peggy! You did it again! The pictures and the hub are fantastic! I felt like I was touring with you :-)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello laringo,

      It was quite an experience especially because it was our first trip to Europe. This was just one day out of many that would be seared into our memories. Happy to have shared these photos with you. Thanks for commenting.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi G-Ma, So happy that this reminded you of a great time with your daughter in Switzerland. Does she live there?

      We have a few cobblestoned streets in parts of America, but nothing like the old cities in Europe, not to mention the old buildings. Our country is too young to have these gorgeous buildings built over centuries of time.

      What we have in comparison are the wide open spaces and a park system that is spectacular. That's why we go over there to visit and see ancient things, and they come over here to see all of our natural beauty.

      This world of ours has so much beauty!!!

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Beautiful pictures. I can only imagine how you felt when surrounded by ancient buildings and landscape. Thanks for sharing these vacation pictures.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Wonderfully presented my dear and it reminds me of when I went to Switzerland (to visit my daughter)...the cobblestone walkways, the fountains in the towns and the Cathedral's were spectaculiar...I was in such AWWW in them,, way too beautiful...and the aire seemed so good...Loved the shops and the way they set things up,,,was the time of my life...well one of them...Thanks G-Ma :O) Hugs & Peace

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Sally, What an impression that must have made waking up to that view at dawn! Thank you for sharing that memory.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      It's been a long time since I've seen Toledo, but I remember the first time vividly. My traveling companion and I had driven during the night from Barcelona toward Toledo, and we were too tired to go on to our destination. We pulled the car over, wrapped ourselves in blankets, and fell asleep, sitting up in the car. When we awoke at daybreak, we saw the view in your first photo, gleaming in the morning sun against a crystal blue sky. We were freezing for the chill in the air, but we were also mesmerized. Thank you so much for the gorgeous pictures.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Dottie, I know what you mean. Often the albums sit there for years without being enjoyed. Go pull yours out and ENJOY! Thanks for the comment.

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

      I really enjoyed the view of Toledo from your wonderful snapshots. I have been to Spain years and years ago and this makes me want to go pull out some old photos.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      That is is, Kelley. Thanks for the comment. By the way, I have sent your hub regarding curing cancer to many people.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Teresa,

      Ah.......so you are one of those people I envy! (Smile) Having seen it I wish we could have spent more time there. Glad that this brought back some good memories for you, and thanks for commenting.

    • Kelley Eidem profile image

      Kelley Eidem 9 years ago from Panama City, FL

      Absolutely georgeous!

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      I love Toledo -- have spent several happy days there, soaking in the atmosphere (and walking up and down those steep hills!) This is a lovely hub -- thank you so much for reminding me of the beauty and grandeur of the little town.

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