The magnificent hilltop city of Toledo is about 43 miles southwest of Madrid. In the 90 minutes it takes to arrive there by train, you'll feel as if you have left not only Madrid, but the last three centuries behind. The rock on which Toledo Spain sits is bounded on three sides by the Rio Tajo. The city of Toledo was inhabited in prehistoric times, and there already existed an important Iberian settlement when the Romans arrived around 200 BC. When the Moors ruled Spain they practiced unusual religious tolerance in Toledo; both Christianity and Judaism were tolerated, with the result being that today Toledo is one of the few cities in the world in which it is possible to view Renaissance Cathedrals, Synagogues and Mosques.
"Old Toledo" is encircled on three sides by the Tagus River. This old city retains its medieval road plan. Toledo is one of the most important centers of European medieval history. If at all possible, spend at least one night in Toledo, you really can not see all the sights in one day, particularly if you choose to explore on your own. It was capital of Spain from the Gothic epoch until 1560, fact that explains Toledo's really impressive medieval architecture. Walking through its streets one feels like having stepped back into the Middle-Ages, but in the best sense of it, and perhaps you will search your pockets for a coin or two in order to buy some of Toledo's fine handmade artistry or just to enjoy of its highly recommendable cuisine.
Having been declared National Monument by the Spanish state, it'll seem to you that you are in one large museum. Hardly another town is so well conserved in its historical style. The best way to explore Toledo is to have a long walk through it and look at the buildings of various epochs.
More than religious architecture, Toledo is known for the imposing Alcazar fortress. During your tour in Toledo, Alcazar is a must-visit for every traveler. Head to the Plaza de Zocodover and enter the Alcazar off Calle Cuesta del Alcazar. To truly see Toledo Alcazar offers the best views, and its upper windows are level with the top of the nearby cathedral spire, making for an awe inspiring image and picture-taking opportunity. During the Moorish dominance the Christians had developed an architectonic style of their own, though clearly influenced by Arabian aesthetics. In this so-called Mudejar-style they built several churches in Toledo that are well worth a visit: Santiago del Arrabal, Cristo de la Vega, San Vicente, San Miguel, San Ramon and Santo Tome. The two synagogues conserved in Toledo, Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca and Sinagoga de El Transito, are in Mudejar style as well.
Toledo Cathedral, built between 1226 and 1492, with massive lines and decorations in Mudejar style is certainly the most interesting gothic building in town. You may visit its fantastic collection of paintings, including works of El Greco, Goya and Van Dyck in its vestry, and the treasury with the famous 16th century monstrance of Juan de Arfe, which is part and parcel of the Corpus Christi procession.
Toledo's attractions and Main Street are packed with tourists, but it is easy to escape into one of the enchanting side streets which wind up and down the hillside.