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After our day in Porto, we woke up early the next morning and headed to the airport. We had an early morning flight to Madrid. I’ve heard that the Lisbon airport can be really busy but flying out of Porto (especially early in the morning) was a breeze. When we landed in Madrid, we took a cab to the train station and headed to Toledo.
It was a quick thirty-minute train ride from Madrid making Toledo a popular day trip for people visiting the capital city. We decided to get our first taste of the city by walking from the train station to our Airbnb in old-town Toledo. Our Airbnb was probably one of the nicest Airbnbs I have ever stayed in. It felt like a luxury hotel room in a historic building right in the middle of Toledo and was very reasonably priced (which is the biggest reason why we chose to spend more time in Toledo than Madrid). I don’t get anything for recommending this, but if you are planning on visiting Toledo, I highly recommend staying at Emer’s Place! One of our favorite things about Toledo was how it emptied out in the evening after the day visitors left (much like Mackinac Island).
Toledo is known as the City of Three Cultures because throughout its history it has been inhabited by Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Buildings in the city date back to the 11th Century and the architecture is unlike anything I had seen before. I have since seen pictures of Jerusalem and that is the best comparison I can make. Walking down these narrow, brick roads (where unbelievably cars are allowed), Toledo didn’t feel like a real place. The only connections I could make were to Disney World, either Pirates of the Caribbean or the Morocco pavilion in Epcot.
It quickly became clear to me that most of the visitors to Toledo are from Spain. The only English-speaking tour I could find that worked in our schedule (and didn’t involve transportation to/from Madrid) was one of those double-decker bus tours, so that was how we got our first overview of the city. It wasn’t the best tour I’ve ever taken, but we learned the history of the city and got to stop at some great viewpoints around the city for pictures (above).
After our tour, we decided to explore the most recommended attraction in Toledo, the historic cathedral. The cathedral was completed in the 14th century on the site of a former mosque. The detail in the building is breathtaking and there is so much to see. We decided to do the free audio tour with our visit of the cathedral and it added a lot of information about the history and symbolism, but at times it was a little too much information for a non-Catholic like myself. Many people choose to take guided tours of the cathedral and I think that would be a great way to see the space, but I would choose one that guarantees a small group. A lot of the groups in the cathedral that we saw were so big they barely all fit together in each area. Look for tours like this private tour with transportation from Madrid on Viator. All-in-all, you cannot miss the awe-inspiring cathedral when you visit Toledo!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by next week as I recount our day in Madrid! To read more about this trip, check out Cruising the Atlantic to Portugal and Spain trip report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.