Day Trip to Toledo, Spain
Toledo is only 30 minutes from bustling Madrid but feels worlds apart. Its rich history was a blend of three cultures and religions with the Jews, Muslims and Christians co-existing here for centuries. This UNESCO World Heritage site was Spain’s former capital. The walled city has been well-preserved and made for a fascinating day trip from Madrid with kids.
6 Fun Things to do in Toledo, Spain with Kids
1. Take a tour
We recommend going on the double decker bus tour that starts at the Toledo train station. We’re usually not the tour types, but since we had limited time here, this was a great orientation. The tour included prerecorded information about some of the attractions we passed. It took us within the city walls and to a lookout near Puente del Alcantara. The panoramic view of Toledo was stunning here. The bus dropped us off at the historic center to wander on our own afterwards.
2. Walk everywhere
Strolling through the city’s meandering and charming cobblestone streets was the best way to see Toledo. We felt like we had stepped into a medieval ages time warp. Toledo is a small city, and its distinct religions and architecture offered something interesting at every turn.
3. Visit places of worship
Synagogues, mosques and churches may not be the most kid-friendly attractions, but they offer a lesson in diversity and tolerance, especially for older kids. Many of these religious structures, as well as convents and monasteries, were open for visits.
The Gothic Toledo Cathedral is worth visiting regardless of your religious affiliation. My kids enjoyed exploring this massive and amazing cathedral that took over 250 years to build. We loved seeing the glass cabinets filled with relics and jewels lining the walls of the treasury. There were over 700 stained glass windows to entertain the kids with history, art and an I Spy game here. Don’t miss visiting the cloister and climbing the bell tower.
4. Explore Museums
Despite its compact size, Toledo has a fantastic collection of museums and art galleries. We visited the Army Museum that was housed inside the former Alcazar fortress. It was interesting to see part of the old castle walls inside. My husband and son really liked the weapons exhibit here, which included various swords and weapons used by the Spanish Army through the years.
Another popular attraction is Museo del Greco. One of Toledo’s most famous residents was the artist, El Greco. This museum in his honor displays some of his masterpieces and work, as well as what life looked like inside a traditional Toledo house during the 17th century. The museum also offer educational workshops for various ages.
5. Ride the train
The Toledo Train Vision Zocotren is sure to entertain the kids. Catch it at the city center’s Plaza Zocodover for a 45-minute tour of the city along some of its attractions with a stop at the lookout. An audio guide is available in multiple languages. It’s a great value for less than 7 Euros. The train is quite popular so book early.
6. Watch a sword maker
For the budding knights in your family, Toledo offers plenty of armors and swords, from toys to intimidating weapons in many sizes. The city was once known worldwide for its high quality and well-made weapons and swords. If you’re lucky, you may get the chance to see the sword smiths and craftsmen who still make some of these swords at Toledo Sword Shop or Mariano Zamorano Swords.
Where to Eat in Toledo, Spain
Toledo cuisine is mainly made up of small game meat including quail, rabbit and partridge. Try the carcamusas (braised pork and potato stew in tomato sauce). It was delicious! Spanish staples like tapas, jamon (ham), paella and suckling pig were also available. We recommend La Malquerida de la Trinidad by the cathedral for their varied and great value menu.
Toledo is also famous for its marzipan: confections made of almond paste, sugar and honey. They were mouthwatering, addicting, and sold at many places. Some convents sold them too but were closed during our visit. Confiteria Santo Tome has been family-operated since 1856 and was the best we tried. These were great snacks as we strolled around the city. Bring some home!
Tips for Taking a Toledo, Spain Day Trip
- Renfe trains run every hour from Madrid’s Atocha station. Tickets can be purchased up to 15 minutes before departure. We didn’t make any reservations and went to the train station during the day of our visit.
- There is a Toledo Visitor’s Center at the Atocha Station in Madrid where we received maps, brochures and wonderful recommendations.
- Many museums and monuments offer FREE admission on Sundays. Keep in mind that the cathedral also gets very crowded on this day.
- Our tour bus included admission to the cathedral, which bypassed the lines and the opportunity to climb the Bisagra gate tower. The tours started outside the train station.
- Look into the Toledo Card. It’s a tourist card that offers various packages with discounts to museums, monuments and tours.
Have you visited Toledo and have some other tips and attractions to add?
You may also enjoy:
- A Tasty Tapas Tour in Madrid
- Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art
- 10 Memorable Experiences in Madrid
- Flamenco in Madrid – Experience the Soul of Spain
- Looking for a place to stay in Madrid? Consider Hilton Madrid Airport.
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