Toledo

Old Dec 5th, 2021, 06:10 AM
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Toledo

Hello again,
Thanks so much for all advice given for our proposed trip to Spain.
I need some advice on the last day and a half of my trip in Spain over Xmas and New Year. After spending the majority of our holiday in Andalucia (Seville mainly), our last 6 nights are allocated mainly for Madrid (which I love - always need to "do" those 3 art galleries!) but we have a night left over and we want to go to Toledo on the 3rd January with our plane flying out of Madrid Airport at 4-ish the following afternoon (so have to be at the airport about 2pm) - is this enough time for Toledo. If not, would 2 nights do and what is recommended to see?
Thanks again

Last edited by patriciatbrogan; Dec 5th, 2021 at 06:12 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old Dec 5th, 2021, 06:37 AM
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Definitely 2 nights if you can! There is SO much to see! I’m posting my section on Toledo from my 2015 trip report:

“After a quick and easy ride, we arrived in Toledo – really liked it immediately. The train station was a great introduction – a lovely structure built in the early 20th Century and designed in Mudejar style (that is, the Moorish style that was continued by craftsman who remained after the Christian reconquest).

We stayed at the Hotel Santa Isabel, right in the downtown area and only a few streets away from the Cathedral. Loved it! I read some critical comments about it on another trip report, but our experience of it was wonderful. It’s a modest hotel, but very comfortable, with a good selection of amenities on offer. The WiFi in our room (214, a large twin room with a view of the cathedral) was excellent. And it was very quiet – of course, we weren’t there during Semana Santa. There is also a small rooftop terrace that is a lovely place to sit. This was a Maribel recommendation and was terrific value. It’s not a boutique hotel, but we found a warm welcome and a good introduction to Spain.

It would be very easy to burn out in Toledo, given the number of sights that there are in such a small city. Over the course of the 1½ days we were there, we covered a lot!
The Toledo Cathedral, of course, is the star of the show (though there is a stellar cast in this town!). Of all the cathedrals we saw, this one remains, for both of us, the standout – and believe me, there are a lot of cathedrals and churches that we saw. Many separate components that are remarkable that add up to a rich experience. The gold altarpiece of the Capilla Mayor; El Transparente with the hole cut into the ceiling to let in light (so dramatic!); the Sacristy and all the art; but our favorite part was the Coro, or choir, with its carved wooden stalls. We spent some time there looking at the individual carvings, and there are some wonderful grotesque and bizarre scenes carved into the lower stalls.

And that was only the beginning!

We stopped into the convent of Santa Israel de Los Reyes, right next to our hotel, and enjoyed the quiet simplicity of the place. We wandered through the Juderia countless times, as many of the other sights are located there. We visited the Museum of the Visigoth Councils and Culture/Church of San Roman, a wonderful structure with Moorish/Christian/Visigoth layers of architecture. It’s not one of the primary sights on the quick tour of Toledo, but it’s well worth a stop. We then went on to the church of Santo Tome, where the El Greco painting, The Burial of Count Orgaz, is hung. It’s a fascinating painting and considered to be one of the artist’s masterpieces.

After that, we were off to the museum of el Greco. There is an excellent collection, and I do appreciate El Greco, though by the end of the visit, we were both feeling slightly “arted” out. But more art to see, more holy sights to enter!

We visited the Sinagoga del transit/Sephardic museum, which is another structure with layers of history. As many of you probably know, there are only 3 medieval synagogues left in Spain, and 2 of these structures are in Toledo. I did want to see them, but it’s hard to really feel the past in them, as they have been reconfigured as other structures (usually churches). This synagogue has some Hebrew lettering around the top and some attractive stucco decoration. The museum exhibition on Sephardic Jewry was a little too much for us to absorb, so we passed through it quickly.

We stopped into the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca, another former synagogue and clearly, by the name, a church! This was more aesthetically pleasing because of the Moorish arches (and, here you can see the layers and layers of history!).

We stopped in a few other churches along the way, but I had very much wanted to find the old mosque, the Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz, one of the oldest Moorish monuments in Spain. And we ended up walking and walking and walking up and up hills and all around the town looking for it. It’s quite a lovely structure, and another example of a building with multiple layers of history, but the walk to find it was more than we bargained for. Still, it took us into parts of the town that were not in the tourist center.

A highlight of our time there, especially after the serious touring we had done, was taking the Zocotren, or tourist train. Toledo is sited beautifully, and the train goes to the other side of the river, so there are great views of the city, and it’s a relaxing hour spent, especially after taking in so many of the sights this small city has to offer!

Meals:
Had a simple lunch of tapas at Gambrinus on the Calle de Santa Tome. It’s not a gourmet special, but we enjoyed it.
Dinner the first night was at La Abadia; we enjoyed the experience, but didn’t care that much for our choices. It was our first night in Spain, though, and probably didn’t choose the “right” things.
The second night, upon recommendation by our hotel, we ate at The Coleccion Catedral, a spartan-looking place with a cheap industrial feel, open kitchen and no-frills décor, but the restaurant aspires to more. We both had the menu del dia and thought it good; the firsts were excellent, the main dishes were nice, though not outstanding.

We really, really liked Toledo and were glad we had the 2 nights there. It’s a lovely city and we found it to be a great introduction to our trip. I would’ve been happy with another night there just to see the many sights and be able to absorb them more easily. But I was really glad we opted to stay there for the 2 nights; so thanks for the many of you who encouraged this decision!”

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Old Dec 5th, 2021, 01:11 PM
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patricia,
Just so you'll know, on Monday, January 3 the following Toledo museums will be closed, if that matters, since Monday is their weekly closure day:

Alcázar Army Museum
El Greco Museum
Sephardic Museum/Synagogue of the Transit

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Old Dec 5th, 2021, 02:28 PM
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Patricia - just a thought - could you go to Toledo directly from Andalucia and then finish your trip in Madrid? That would put you in the right place for your flight home with no worry about making it back from Toledo in time for your flight. I did this between Valencia and Madrid a couple of years ago and though I only had one night in Toledo I thought it utilised my time well. I stayed at the Hotel San Juan de los Reyes, Reyes Catolicos, which I can thoroughly recommend both as a hotel and restaurant and it was easy to get to see all the sights including one that Progol doesn't mention I think - the stunning monastery of the same name. It's also near the bridge which goes across the Tagus river which is very spectacular. Depending on what time you could get to Toledo [ I arrived at about 3pm from Valencia via Madrid and left after lunch the next day which was just about enough time but I could certainly have used more] one night might suffice but two would be preferable.

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Old Dec 5th, 2021, 03:43 PM
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I agree with annhig - rather than ending in Toledo, it makes much more sense to end in Madrid. While it’s doable to get to the airport from Toledo, it’s much easier to do so from Madrid.
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Old Dec 5th, 2021, 04:03 PM
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A third vote for ending in Madrid rather than Toledo-a great suggestion! (if possible to change your plans)

A museum “gem” in Toledo that some visitors miss because it isn’t located with the other famous monuments/museums in the Jewish Quarter:
the Hospital Museo de Santa Cruz, considered one of the finest provincial museums in Spain. It’s housed in a beautiful 16th century Renaissance hospital built by Cardenal Mendoza with a magnificent marble staircase and elaborate mudéjar and Renaissance coffered ceilings. It boasts a fine and vast collection from Neolithic, to Visigothic, to Roman mosaics to 16th century masterpieces (12 by El Greco), to Flemish tapestries, to the 20th century. On the first floor ceramics enthusiastic will find is one of Spain’s finest collection of ceramics from all regions of Spain and from Portugal. And it’s open on Mondays.

Unfortunately the Adolfo Colección Catedral has permanently closed. But I've had good lunches upstairs at Alfileritos 24, same ownership as La Abadía (and open on Mondays).
https://alfileritos24.com



Last edited by Maribel; Dec 5th, 2021 at 04:08 PM.
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