Toledo Spain is one of the most highly visited destinations on the Iberian Peninsula, and it's not hard to understand why upon closer examination of the city. Set atop a hill and bounded on three sides by the Tagus River, this UNESCO World Heritage Site majestically overlooks the plains of central Spain. A stunning Cathedral and the attractive Alcazar dominate the skyline, much as they have for centuries, and other historic structures only add to the Old World appeal. The Puerta de Bisagra is not to be overlooked if you are wondering what to see in Toledo Spain. This city gate was built back in the tenth century is one of the top Toledo landmarks.
Once you enter the city realms, there is a feeling that you've been transported back to the 1500s, and should you stick around until the evening hours, the illuminated buildings take on an almost mystical appeal. Found just 42 miles from Madrid, Toledo serves as a popular day trip destination, but since there are some good Toledo hotels to choose from, staying overnight is worth considering.
The history of Toledo Spain is as rich as any other city in Europe, and it essentially starts with the arrival of the Romans in and around the second century BC. After the Romans came the Visigoths. The Visigoth kingdom fell into decline relatively quickly due to its feuding nobles, and in the early 700s, the Muslims moved in and assumed control. Toledo flourished during the Muslim era, as some of the greatest Muslim, Christian, and Jewish minds of the time congregated there in good number. Even after the Christian forces assumed control of Toledo Spain in 1085, Muslims and Jews coexisted peacefully with Christians for a relatively long period. This all changed in and around 1492, however, after the Catholic Monarchs conquered Granada, effectively ending the Muslim era in Spain. As far as historic facts about Toledo Spain are concerned, it bears noting that the city served as the Spanish capital for a period during the 1500s.
When it comes to what to see in Toledo Spain, there are numerous attractions that relate to the city's rich history. Two of the top Toledo Spain sites are the Alcazar and the Cathedral. Originally built in the tenth century, the Alcazar is a Muslim-era fortress that was eventually altered by the Christians. The Alcazar had to be rebuilt after a famous siege led to it being largely destroyed in the 1930s. This siege related to the Spanish Civil War. After being rebuilt, the Alcazar in Toledo was converted into an army museum, and those who are interested in the military history of Spain, this museum is not to be missed. As for the Cathedral, it is arguably the best of the Toledo Spain sites. Considered a Gothic masterpiece, the Toledo Cathedral actually features a few different architectural styles. Toledo Spain has long been the Catholic center of the country, and the city's Cathedral, which was built between 1226 and 1493, reflects this in impressive fashion.
There are many Toledo Spain sites, and no visit to the city would be complete without exploring the Jewish Quarter. While most of the synagogues that once stood in the Jewish Quarter were destroyed over time, two remain and are worth adding to the itinerary. These synagogues include the Sinagoga del Transito and the Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca. The former was built in 1355 and now houses the excellent Museo Sefardi (Sephardic Museum), while the latter was erected in the late 1100s and is noted for its graceful arches and ornamental accents. Graceful historic buildings dominate the scene in Toledo, as they do in other regional cities such as Avila and Segovia, so you won't want to forget your camera when touring the narrow streets.
If you are wondering what to see in Toledo Spain, there are at least a few museums that warrant a look. The famed artist El Greco (1541-1614) called Toledo home during the latter part of his life, and art enthusiasts who wish to view some of his works are encouraged to visit the El Greco Museum. You can also view some El Greco works at the Museum of Santa Cruz. The Museum of Santa Cruz is arguably the best museum in Toledo, thanks largely in part to the structure that it is housed in. The building that houses the museum was built in the 1500s and boasts a stunningly beautiful façade. Inside, the exhibits are quite eclectic and include some El Greco and Goya paintings, as well as various religious items and archaeological artifacts. The various museums in Toledo Spain can be ideal complements to the many fine Madrid museums, especially for cultural enthusiasts.
These are just some of the options when it comes to what to see in Toledo Spain. Should you need some help arranging a tour or you just want to get some quick info on the top attractions, you can drop by the tourist office after you get off the bus or park your rental car. The tourist office can be found at the Puerta de Bisagra and is open daily starting at 9 a.m.