Another idea for an excursion near Madrid! Toledo is around 70km to the south of Madrid. It was the capital of Spain before Madrid and has a very rich history. In the Middle Ages it was an important centre for Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and influences from these three religions can still be seen today. The city played an important role during the Spanish inquisition. Toledo boasts a very impressive gothic cathedral with a very elaborate series of stained glass windows; an old fortress or alcazar on the hill which gives the city its dramatic skyline; many ancient synagogues (such as the Santa María de la Blanca or the Transito) and churches like the El Cristo de la Luz which was originally a mosque. It also has a very attractive main square known as the Zocodover. Much of the city's architecture shows influences from Spain's islamic period in a style known as mudéjar which later was often mixed with more modern European styles. The city was also the home of Spanish renaissance painter El Greco and there is a museum dedicated to his life and works, although his house is long gone.Toledo has always been famous for metallurgy and you'll find no shortage of shops selling modern replicas of armoury, swords and shields. You should also make sure you try some manchego cheese, the most famous cheese in Spain which comes from the Castilla la Mancha region of which Toledo is the capital.
To make the most of your visit to Toledo, we recommend purchasing a Toledo Card, which includes free entry to many of the city's museums and attractions as well as a guided cathedral tour. Some packages also include return train fares from Madrid, rides on the tourist bus and restaurant meals. See the Toledo Card website for details.
Getting there: Buses leave half hourly from Plaza Eliptica bus station. You'll need to take metro line 6 to get here, which if you are staying in the centre will be a bit of a trek and you'll probably have to change lines. The journey costs around 6€ each way and takes an hour. From the bus station in Toledo, it's a ten minute walk uphill to the heart of the historic centre. By train from Atocha, it's a little more expensive around 10€ each way and the trains aren't so frequent (every 1-2 hours). However the journey only takes thirty minutes and for those staying in the centre, it's probably easier to get to Atocha Station for the train.
Here are a few more pics of Toledo: