Fun Things to Do in Toledo Spain: Spain Road Trip – Spain Travel Blog

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When looking for things to do in Toledo Spain, the narrow cobblestone streets of Toledo feel like being transported to another world. That comes with stairs and hills, as well. But it’s worth it. We visited this UNESCO Heritage site as part of a summer-long Spanish road trip, and we’d recommend the city as an excellent day trip.

There are some really interesting things to do in Toledo Spain, and exploring Toldeo with kids can be a great day out. Read on for our tips of where to go, what to see, and finding things to do in Toledo Spain.
Spain Road Trip: Fun & Interesting Things to Do in Toledo Spain

Things to Do in Toledo Spain

The Medieval city of Toledo is a short drive outside Madrid and a fascinating place to visit. The UNESCO Heritage site is rich in history. From the Roman Empire to the Spanish Civil War, you can find it in Toldeo.

We will be recommending many things to do in Toledo Spain from a family traveler perspective, but to be honest, all of them are just as interesting for solo travelers and everyone else.
Our first visit to Toledo after a year living in Valencia. As much as we’ve embraced Valencia’s festivals and various forms of culture shock, we had been anxiously awaiting the end of the school year so we could explore more of the country. Toledo was the first stop on an epic summer driving across Northern Spain, and it set the tone for an incredible journey to come.

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Spain Road Trip: Fun & Interesting Things to Do in Toledo Spain PIN 1 Alcazar

Toledo Spain Weather

The hot season runs from June to September, with little rainfall and average temps between 85ºF/28ºC to 94ºF/34ºC. Winters are dry, cold and often overcast. They never get below freezing but wind can make them feel colder.

We rolled into town around 3 pm on a July afternoon and it was 44ºC/111ºF (!). In medieval cities like this, with the narrow cobblestone streets feel like a rock maze, heat gets trapped low and it can feel even hotter than it actually it. Bring plenty of water and shade.

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Driving in Toledo Spain

Keiko and I hadn’t prepared for driving in Toledo. There were a few tense moments as we navigated a tight squeeze getting to our first accommodation, which was smack in the middle of the old town.
Driving in Toledo can be a challenge. It’s similar to San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico (a Spanish colonial city, in fact). Like San Miguel, Toledo looks like it was plucked out of a storybook.
You don’t want to drive in this storybook.
Narrow cobblestone streets wind this way and that, often making sharp turns at steep inclines or descents. If you arrive by car like we did, then remember that driving and parking in a UNESCO heritage site is not a task you want to have. Instead, we found a free lot just outside the city and then walked back in.

What to Do in Toledo Spain

We had limited time in the city, so we wanted to pack in as many things to do in Toledo as we could, That said, one of my favorite things to do in Toledo Spain was simply to wander around.

The narrow streets and illogical routing give much of Toledo the look of a maze made of worn stone. The dominating composition here is vertical, as your eyes are forced to move up and down, just as your legs are forced to walk up and down through this city on a hilltop.

Stroller-pushers beware: stairs are everywhere, and many of the streets are at a considerable angle. All this walking up and down will make young legs tired (and yours too). If you visit Toledo in summer, make sure to factor in more stops to rest and drink than you might otherwise.

Bring an umbrella, a floppy hat or some other ways to protect yourself from the sun, as well. There is limited shade around town, that is unless you take shelter in the occasional gelato shop (recommended).

Food Tours & Cooking Classes: Things to Do in Toledo Spain

Paella Spanish cooking class Food tour Spain Road Trip: Fun & Interesting Things to Do in Toledo Spain

Like most cities in Spain, Toledo is full of culinary delights. With that in mind, taking a cooking class or booking a food tour can be one of the most interesting things to do in Toledo Spain.

If you’ve read this blog before, then you know that we love Spanish food and think you will too. Besides, learning about a country’s food is learning about their culture as well.

There are lots of great opportunities to explore the gastronomic side of Spain here. But don’t forget to review the typical Spanish meal times if you’re not familiar! They might surprise you…

The Alcazar: Things to Do in Toledo Spain

For most travelers looking for things to do in Toledo Spain, this is definitely worth a stop. This massive building has been many things over the centuries: including a Roman castle in the 3rd century and a major (but controversial) symbol of the Spanish civil war. Now it contains a massive military museum, among many other things.

You could spend an entire day in here. Maybe more. But did we do that? Nope. Instead, we went straight for the suits of armor. Don’t forget the swords! Depending on your child’s interest level in these things, you could give Alcazar three hours or 30 minutes. But make sure to locate the Medieval battle supplies!

We also stopped by a dozen display cases of muskets and firearms of all shapes and sizes. As I mentioned in my recent Vietnam mega-post, I’m not a war buff. But I am a fan of craftsmanship and mechanics. When visiting Toledo with kids, places like the Alcazar are a great opportunity to show one way humans have utilized their skills to create powerful things. We all marveled at the ornamental beauty we saw in decorative sword hilts, opal-inlay rifles, and filigree-filled cock hammers.

Swords and Swordmakers: Things to Do in Toledo Spain

Swords and Sword makers. Spain Road Trip: Fun & Interesting Things to Do in Toledo Spain

That’s right: swords are still being made today, although the number of craftsmen making them continues to diminish. This city is famous for its swords, so one of the most interesting things to do in Toledo Spain is to witness the sword-making process.

You can buy swords, too, of course, but they are rather pricey, and getting them home (don’t try putting them in your carry-on) would require some extra shipping.

We love working with metal. Whether it’s silver in a class in Bali or plasma cutting grinding steel in a metal arts studio in San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico. Our kids like to work with tools and there’s just something powerful about seeing molten metal pounded and ground into shape.

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The Cathedral: Things to Do in Toledo Spain

Toledo cathedral. Spain Road Trip: Fun & Interesting Things to Do in Toledo Spain

Some kids like visiting temples, basilicas and cathedrals. Some don’t. My kids are somewhere in the middle. They can enjoy the ornamental elements or jaw-droppers like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, as long as we don’t stay for hours.

If you’re in Spain and visiting Toledo with kids, this cathedral is worth your time. The second biggest and most important in the country, it is a marvel of history and detail. Every chair and wall panel is intricately carved and depicting some facet of national or biblical history.
Toledo Cathedral Belltoledo . Spain Road Trip: Fun & Interesting Things to Do in Toledo Spain

Our kids appreciate the beauty of places like this only so much, so we added on a visit to the top of the tower. This gave us all a spot of exercise and kept the kids’ attention for longer.

The climb is around 200 steps to the top, and many of those steps are in a very cramped spiral staircase. With that in mind, claustrophobics and big & tall people: you’ve been warned.

The view from the top wasn’t what I expected. In fact, I was looking forward to shooting a panoramic image of the old city from this height, but a thin wire fence prevented me from getting that shot. Instead of the view, it’s the church bells that take center stage here.

There are five of them, and the center one is the largest in Spain, and third largest in the world.

Fly Toledo: Things to Do in Toledo Spain

 Fly Toledo zipline. Spain Road Trip: Fun & Interesting Things to Do in Toledo Spain
If you’re in Toledo with kids and someone needs a dose of adrenaline, here’s a suggestion. Our kids can visit only so many museums and cathedrals before they crack. Fly Toledo was exactly the kind of jolt they wanted.

After another stroll through the maze of cobblestone, we walked to the southwest corner of town. In the old Jewish quarter there is a zip line over the river. The kids love these kinds of things. This wasn’t their first zip line (or their last), and they had tolerated my aimless meandering in the heat. In reward, Keiko and I rewarded them this half-hour of action. More information at their website.

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Do You Have Tips for Things to Do in Toledo Spain?

Have you been to Toledo with kids? What did you do as a family? What did your kids enjoy? Please share your tips for things to do in Toledo in the comments!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a room using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help your travel. We hope this helps you discover the best things to do in Toledo Spain with kids…or without! Have you been to Toledo Spain? Tell us about it!

Comments

  1. I’d love to wander around those cobblestone streets Jason. SO much fun. I could do it for hours on end. This is what draws me to Europe in general; that old world feel to the place that you can not re-create anywhere else on earth. Toledo definitely looks like it has *it*. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Ryan

  2. Great to know there are places with ac (:
    Thanx !
    Wish us luck ☀️

  3. Thanx Jason!
    We are actually planning exactly the same trip like u: Airb&b, rented car and on the first 2 weeks in July,
    with our 2 daughters,
    quite concerned about the heat
    your tips about parking lot and all the rest are very helpful since i had no idea what to expect!
    Any tips maybe for the kids in Granada and Cordoba??

    • Yup, the heat in Toledo is pretty intense. Just make sure to duck into an air-conditioned museum or gelato shop on occasion and you’ll be fine. We plan to spend more time in Granada & Cordoba next time around and will be happy to fill you in then!

  4. Toledo at night is simply magical. It is my favorite place in Spain and we’ve covered almost the whole country except the norther coast (which we’ll do this summer). do not just go for a daytrip. you will miss the best part of the trip. if you are able, walk the mirador route. don’t miss the cathedral. I studied art history in Italy, have been to countless cathedrals in Spain and this place takes my breath away. I can’t wait to go again.

    • Great tips, Danielle. Thank you! And you’re going to the northern coast this summer? Awesome. We LOVED it there: from Galicia to the Basque Country. The Asturias region especially. More than a few posts about it here 🙂

  5. Toledo is a day trip and nothing more. I live close enough to have visited a few times and the biggest mistake was thinking there was enough to do for 2 days. It’s a quaint city with lots of history but unfortunately “tourist factor” far outweighs anything else. All the shops selling “tat”, stupidly long queues for ALL the interesting buildings. My recommendation would be to arrive at 10am and plan to leave by 4pm.

    • Thanks for your comment, Chris. I think that I could have made two days of it (there were a few temporary exhibits I wouldn’t have minded visiting), but we booked two nights of accommodation for a reason. As for lines, we must have been lucky, because we didn’t really have them. We saw one long line for the cathedral the first afternoon, so decided to wait till the next morning to visit, and there was no line then. Thanks!

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