Walking Tour of Toledo, Spain
Toledo is one of the gems of Spain. It is a regal and old city, with much Moorish architecture and one of the finest cathedrals in all of Europe. One of the town’s most famous residents was the painter, El Greco, and there are a number of attractions in the city which pertain to him. It is also a great walking city.
This walk begins at Toledo’s Cathedral, on Calle Cardenal Cisneros, the most important tourist sight in the city. It is one of Spain’s largest and dates to the 13th century. Particularly significant sections include the Reredos of the High Altar, which displays scenes from the life of Christ, the carvings in the wooden Choir, and the incredible Transparante, which took a skylight to finally allow people to appreciate it.
Leave the Cathedral area by turning right on Calle Cardenal Cisneros, then left on Calle de Sixto Ramon Parro, through Plaza Mayor and straight on Calle de las Tornerias. When you reach the Mezquita de las Tornerias, turn right, then continue straight to the Cuesta de Carlos V. Turn right to visit Toledo’s Alcazar (Castle). It was almost destroyed in 1936, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War (there are many references to this siege as you explore the interior). Now it is a miltary museum.
When you leave, retrace your steps back down Cuesta de Carlos V which leads to Toledo’s main square, Plaza de Zocodover. After checking out all the shops, etc, leave the square on Calle Venanci Gonzalez. Just before you reach the first gate (Puerta de los Alarcones), take a short detour on the Paseo del Miradero for great views of the countryside. Return to Calle Gonzalez and pass through the gate, then proceed on Calle Carretas to the Puerta del Sol, one of the most spectacular in the city. It dates to the 13th century.
Passing through this gate, the road becomes Calle Real del Arrabal. Just before you reach yet another gate, the Church of Santiago del Arrabal, known as the Mudejar Cathedral, is on your left. Notice its minaret-like tower. Now pass through the Bisagra Gate, the main gate of the city, and look at its impressive form from beyond the flower-bedecked traffic circle.
Go back through the gate and back up Calle Real del Arrabal, then right onto Calle del Cristo de la Luz. Pass through the 10th century Puerta de Valmardon to the Mezquita Cristo de la Luz, an excellent example of Toledo’s Islamic art. If it happens to be open, take a look inside.
Continue to the end of Calle del Cristo de la Luz and turn right on Calle Los Alfileritos to the Plaza de San Vicente. As you cross the square, note the Palacio de Lorenzana on your right. Leave the square on Alfonso X el Sabio to Plaza Juan de Mariana. Here, check out the Baroque Church of San Ildefonso, then exit on Calle San Roman. The Church of San Roman is on your left.
Continue to the Plaza de Padilla, then out on Calle de la Vega to the Plaza de Santo Domingo el Antiguo. The Santo Domingo el Antiguo Monastery, oldest in the city, contains the burial Crypt of El Greco, Toledo’s most important citizen.
Leave this square by turning right on Calle de la Vega and left on Cuesta Santa Leocadia which leads to the Plaza de las Carmelitas. From here, turn left to the Puerta del Cambron. Now head south to the Plaza de San Juan de los Reyes, then take the Calle de los Reyes Catolicos, passing a large monastery on your left and into the Juderia, Toledo’s Jewish Quarter.
Ahead on the left is the Sinagoga del Transito which, despite its nondescript exterior, has very elaborate Mudejar architecture inside. Just past the synagogue, turn left onto Calle San Levi to reach the El Greco House-Museum. After your visit, continue to Calle San Juan de Dios and turn right. Up ahead is the Iglesia de Santo Tome’, famous because it contains one of El Greco’s masterpieces, The Burial of the Count of Orgasz. Also note the church’s Mudejar tower.
Turn right on Calle Santo Tome’, then bear left on Calle de la Trinidad, then right on Calle Area de Palacio. The Cathedral where the walk began is on your left and in the square ahead, Plaza del Ayuntamento, is the Archbishop’s Palace and the Town Hall (Ayuntamento).