How to Plan a Trip to Toledo from Madrid

  • 01 of 03

    How to Get to Toledo from Madrid

    See Toledo cathedral on a day trip from Madrid
    ••• See Toledo cathedral on a day trip from Madrid. Son of Groucho/Creative Commons

    Best Way to Get to Toledo from Madrid

    The high-speed train from Toledo to Madrid takes about 30 minutes and costs about 10 euros. If you are staying near Atocha train station, this is the best way to get to Toledo.

    However, there is now a bus service that will pick you up from your hotel and take you straight to Toledo. This is the easiest, cheapest and probably the quickest way to get to Toledo unless your hotel is right next to Atocha. 

    But check out the guided tours below as they often add great value to your day in the city.

    There is more information about each travel type below (including more guided tours).

    Taking the Train to Toledo

    The high-speed train from Madrid to Toledo depart from Atocha, Madrid's main train station. Trains depart ever hour or half hour in the mornings, with trains at 8.50am, 9.20am, 10.20am and 11.20am. The journey takes half an...MORE hour and costs around 14€ each way.

    It's around a 10-minute walk from the station to the city walls.  

    The return train in the evening departs at 5.25pm, 6.25pm, 7.20pm and 8.25pm.

    Train times are subject to change. Check the latest train times at Rail Europe.

    This is a good option if you are staying close to the train station. But check out the guided tours below as they often add great value to your day in the city.

    The address of the train station is Paseo de la Rosa, s/n, 45006 Toledo

    Toledo by Bus

    The bus is cheaper than the train - it costs just 5 euros each way - but takes an hour and a half. Buses leave ever half an hour and depart from Plaza Eliptica, to the south of Madrid. It is unlikely you'll have a hotel near here, so this is an inconvenient, though cheap, way of getting to Toledo.

    The address of the bus station is Avenida de Castilla La Mancha s/n, 45003 Toledo (Castile-La Mancha)

    Toledo Bus with Hotel Pick-Up

    Perhaps the best way to get to Toledo is the aforementioned tourist bus that picks you up from your hotel. There is only one morning departure time - 9am. Note that they only pick up from selected hotels, but there will probably be a pick-up close to you.

    This bus service is cheaper than the train. Book Bus to Toledo with Hotel Pick-Up

    Whether you take the bus or the train should depend on whether you are close to the train station or one of the hotel pick-ups.

    Toledo Guided Tours

    Probably the most popular guided tours from Madrid are those to Toledo (though, personally, I prefer Segovia). It's the best way to get the most out of a single day in the city. There are lots of different tours on offer, depending on your budget and interests. 

    Budget Toledo Day Trip If you're planning just a day in Toledo, a guided tour can be a good way to ensure you get the most out of it. These tours are usually cheaper than you'd expect: Guided Tour of Toledo from Madrid.

    Luxury Toledo Day Trip Explore Toledo in a small group, visit a winery and learn about local wine production and see the famous La Mancha windmills, as featured in Cervantes' Don Quijote: Toledo, Wine and Windmills

    Hot Air Balloon Flight There is also a Scenic Hot-Air Balloon Flight Over Toledo that includes transport from Madrid.

    Combined Day Trips

    See Toledo along with another nearby site. I particularly recommend the first of these two tours:

    Toledo by Car

    Take the R-5 and AP-41 to travel from Madrid to Toledo. The 89km journey takes one hour. Note that AP roads in Spain are toll roads. Compare Car Rental Rates in Spain

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    • 02 of 03

      What to Do in Toledo on a Day Trip

      Santa Maria Blanca Synogogue
      ••• Dennis Walton/Getty Images

      Arriving from the bus station or train station, you will have short walk up to the city walls. Entering the city by the Puerta Nueva de Bisagra, your main reference point for your day in Toledo will be Plaza Zocodover, not far from the Bisagra but no amount of complicated directions on this page will get you through the winding streets! Take a map or ask a local.

      Once in the Plaza, in front of you is Spain's most expensive cup of cafeteria coffee and the rudest service in Europe. If you really want a coffee there, check the prices on the wall and consider sitting inside - it is a lot cheaper there than outside. To the left is an archway, through which is a statue of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quijote. Cervantes wrote a part of his most famous book in the vicinity of this statue, although there is nothing else worthy of note here than the statue.

      South from Zocodover is the Alcázar. Turn left from here and you will approach the cathedral, once one of the most important in all of...MORE Spain. Walk around it and veer off to the left to get to the old Jewish quarter. Also nearby is the Iglesia de Santo Tomé (see above).

      On your way out of the city, don't forget to stop off at the Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz, not far from Bisagra, which was where you entered the city. 

      Things to See in Toledo

      • The Cathedral This 13th-century high-gothic design is one of Spain's most famous churches. Its religious art is some of the best in the country.  
      • City Walls and Gates. The Gate of Bisagra is the most impressive.
      • The Alcazar Stone fortress that dates back to Roman times.
      • Take a Walking Tour
      • Jewish Sinagoga del Tránsito and the Sephardic Museum
      • The Cristo de la Luz Mosque Explore Toledo's Moorish ancestry.
      • The Iglesia de Santo Tomé, where El Greco's masterpiece, El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz is kept, before going on to discover more of artwork of El Greco throughout the city. There is also the Museo de El Greco
      • Buy a Toledo sword! Toledo is famous for its steel and a sword from Toledo (or letter opener if weaponry isn't your thing) is in my Ten Best Souvenirs from Spain.
      • Take a Balloon Ride Over the City 
      • Mirador del Valle Fantastic views of the local landscape from this look-out point.

      For some things you can't do in a day, see the next page.

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    • 03 of 03

      Staying in Toledo and Visiting as Part of a Longer Itinerary

      Windmills of La Mancha, Spain
      ••• Jon Bower at Apexphotos/Getty Images

      Just because most visitors to Toledo only visit for the day, doesn't mean it's not a great place to stay.

      See also: The Ten Best Hotels in Toledo

      Why Stay in Toledo?

      Apart from allowing you to take your time and see everything you want without feeling rushed, there are also some day trips to take from Toledo, the best one being to see the windmills of Consuegra, similar to the ones made famous by the novel Don Quijote.

      There are regular buses from Toledo to Consuegra, leaving every hour or two. The journey takes 90 minutes and goes through some lovely little La Mancha villages.

      There are also buses to Cuenca, Aranjuez and, sometimes, to Granada. However, check with bus operators because not all of them, especially the Granada route, will run year round.

      • Toledo to Aranjuez An alternative to going straight back to Madrid (or straight to Toledo from Madrid). Three times a day - service run by Aisa (not ALSA)
      • Toledo to Consuegra Several per day - run by Samar.
      • Toledo to Cuenca One per day...MORE (evening) - run by Aisa
      • Toledo to Granada Once day per week each way - run by ALSA.
      • Toledo to Madrid But the train is much better and only slightly more expensive.

      There are also some great wineries in the Toledo area. Visit a Winery from Toledo

      See also:

      Where to Next?

      Unfortunately, public transport from Toledo to the south of Spain is limited - you will usually need to go back to Madrid.

      However, if you have your own car, it is east to go south from Toledo to Cordoba, perhaps stopping by in Consuegra on the way to see the windmills. (You could further break up the journey with this stay at a Ciudad Real winery.)

      Alternatively, you could take a guided tour of southern Spain from Madrid or Barcelona.

      Tours of Toledo and Andalusia from Madrid

      See the best of southern Spain with these tours departing from Madrid. All of them cover the basic four cities of Toledo, Cordoba, Seville and Granada.

      Tours of Toledo From Barcelona

      An extension of two of the above tours, departing from Barcelona. Note that you don't get much time in Madrid on these tours.

      From Malaga

      If flying into Malaga, this tour is a good option, though you don't get anywhere near enough time in Madrid.

      From Lisbon

      Portugal is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in Europe - it makes so much sense to visit both Iberian countries on the same trip. These trips from Lisbon allow you to do exactly that.