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The city of Toledo sits on a hill above a gorge overlooking the Río Tajo. Originally Spain's capital, it was once known as the 'City of Three Cultures' with Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities living together peacefully. This is reflected in the city’s stunning architecture, with mosques, synagogues and one of the country’s most impressive Gothic cathedrals in the historic quarter. It was also home to painter and sculptor El Greco, and art lovers can see his works in museums and inside churches.
Hostels in Toledo often have rooftop terraces overlooking tiled roofs and white-washed buildings. If you’re looking for something more lively, a Toledo hostel with an on-site bar is a great way to mingle with locals or meet fellow travellers. You can choose between dorms with en-suites and private rooms with air con to stay cool on warm nights. Rural houses are also available for groups to rent, with a range of facilities including gardens, swimming pools and barbecues.
Toledo’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and still has the same layout that it had in the Middle Ages. Plaza de Zocodover, the main square to the east of the old town, was once the site of the old Arabian market and is now filled with restaurants, tapas bars and shops. West of the centre, The Jewish Quarter is where you’ll find the El Greco Museum and the Synagogue of El Tránsito. It's a striking example of Mudéjar art, a Spanish style influenced by Islamic culture.
The Alcázar fortress is built on the city’s highest point and has breathtaking views across Toledo. The Cathedral of Toledo is filled with artworks by Caravaggio, Titian, Rubens and El Greco and is considered one of the most beautiful in Spain. Cross the Puente de San Martín (San Martin Bridge) over the Tagus River for views over the historic town, particularly at sunset when the stone walls glow amber.
If you've done a lot of walking, you can take the remonte peatonal (escalators) to skip the steep climb up to the old town. The closest airport to Toledo is Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport – you can catch a bus to Atocha Cercanias train station in Madrid and then it's a 30-minute train journey to Toledo. The beautiful train station in Toledo, a 20-minute walk from the old town, dates back to 1920.