You can spend the first part of the day visiting the city’s two most important monuments: the Cathedral and the Alcázar fortress. You'll be amazed by them.
A convent converted into a museum
Head towards the Santa Cruz Museum, located to one side of Plaza de Zocodover square. This site consists of the old Hospital de Santa Cruz and the Santa Fe Convent, which have been refurbished and converted into a cultural venue hosting major temporary exhibitions. Enter the convent building from Calle de Santa Fe.The first thing that attracts your attention is how contemporary elements and materials have been incorporated into the structure of the old convent building. In this last building there is a vast glass window offering views over the Paseo del Miradero avenue, the gardens of the new Conference Centre and the River Tagus. Exit the building onto Calle Santa Fe, and if you turn left, you will come to the Santa Cruz Hospital building. It is well worth a visit, if only to see the courtyard, the marble staircase of Covarrubias and the enormous arches in its interior.
Refreshments at the Alcázar fortress
This is a good time to stop for a cup of coffee or a snack. There are several cafés and outdoor terraces in this area, but as you are so close to the Alcázar fortress, make a stop at the café in the Castile-La Mancha library, located in one of the towers, and enjoy the panoramic view. There is spectacular aerial view of Toledo through the window.
The grandiose Cathedral
On leaving the Alcázar and after walking through the streets for about five minutes you will get to the Cathedral along Calle Cardenal Cisneros. This building is so imposing and has so much to see that you could spend hours there: the Monarch’s Chapel, the famous gold monstrance, the magnificent paintings in the sacristy, the choir stalls… You can learn about the curious tradition celebrated here every 15 August, on the feast day celebrations of the Virgin of Sagrario, when the custom is to drink from a variety of earthenware pots, jugs and glasses which are placed in the Cathedral and filled with water from the well in the cloister, as it is said to have miraculous properties. You’d better make a note for future visits.
A bird’s eye view of Toledo
Leave the Cathedral and head towards the Plaza del Ayuntamiento square, where you will find the two Renaissance buildings of the Episcopal Palace and the Town Hall. Along the street on the left, you’ll come to the alley of the Cuesta de la Ciudad (the city hill) which you can climb to reach the Jesuit church (also known as the church of San Ildefonso) in the Plaza Padre Juan de Mariana. It is located at the highest point of the city, so this is a perfect opportunity to catch one more view over the clustered rooftops of Toledo from its towers.
Looking towards the south, on the upper banks of the Tagus River, you can see the Cigarrales mansions, the old recreational estates of Toledo's bourgeoisie, many of which have been transformed into luxury accommodation.
Food in an old Toledo mansion house
It's now time for lunch, and you're right beside Calle Alfileritos, which is full of bars and restaurants where you can sit and have a relaxing meal. The atmosphere in many of them is warm and inviting, because they are usually located in old Toledo town houses or small palaces spread over several floors, which have been reformed to preserve the most characteristic decorative features. Suggestions from the menu include 'cocido' (meat and chickpea stew), 'carcamusas' (stewed pork with tomato), partridge, venison, or all number of game dishes. To accompany the meal, one of the region’s Denomination of Origin wines, naturally.On the way to Alfileritos, to the left you will see the building of the former San Pedro Mártir convent, which today forms part of the University of Castilla-La Mancha. The two interior cloisters are perfect for stopping and enjoying a moment of calm.