Travel Tips for Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain

What to see and do in Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain another great day trip city and another UNESCO World Heritage Site! Spain is full of them!

Toledo is another city that can be seen in a day and is an easy day trip from Madrid. Before you had to take the bus from Madrid to Toledo but now there is a train that takes just 30 minutes!

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Toledo is known for its production of iron and swords so you could buy an exquisitely made sword, although how you would ever get it home through airport security and customs I have no idea. But there are signs assuring that you can.

If you are fan of marzipan, Toledo is the place for you as it is considered to have some of the finest marzipan. Personally I do not think, as a product, it is made for digestion, but I do enjoy seeing the marvelous creations that are made with marzipan and pastry shop windows in Toledo have entire cities, churches, and castles made in miniature with marzipan. You should see it during the holiday season!

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As for what to see in Toledo, Spain:

1 – Cross the Puente de Alcantara – You have to cross over the Tagus River and enter the city of Toledo through one of the old city gates – always fun to be able to do!

2 – The Museum of Santa Cruz – A pleasant museum with some beautiful artifacts and pottery and it also has a nice courtyard.

3 – Cathedral of Toledo – A Gothic cathedral of monumental proportions, the Cathedral of Toledo is stunning. There is a lot to see inside the Cathedral and I especially like the cloister built in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. It takes a while to absorb all of the artwork and details in the Cathedral so allow time to see everything.

4 – Iglesia y Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes – This is one of my favorite locations in Toledo because of the courtyard in the monastery which has interesting gargoyles. The Monastery and Church of San Juan de los Reyes is a 15th century structure.

5 – Museo de El Greco – El Greco lived and worked in Toledo until his death and the museum is a recreation of his house and a museum of some of his most important paintings.

6 – Santa Maria la Blanca – This is one of the oldest synagogues in Europe, built in 1180. Santa Maria la Blanca is really beautiful as the entire room has white columns and arches, tiled floors, and delicate detailed carving on the walls.

As always there is more to see but I think these are the main highlights of Toledo and at least the places I see on every visit. And as a side note, the winters are bitterly cold in Toledo so if you visit the city then be prepared for your hands and feet to be numb. Otherwise, enjoy Toledo and don’t forget to have café con churros.

** For photo prints of Toledo, Spain click here for The Monica Store.

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Helpful Info for traveling to Toledo, Spain:

1 – For train information visit Rail Europe for schedules and fares.

2 – For more information about the Cathedral of Toledo click here.

3 – For more information and history of Toledo, Spain click here.

Travel Tips for Sevilla, Spain

Sevilla, Spain

What to see and do in Sevilla, Spain

 Sevilla, or Seville, is most likely on your list of places to see in Spain. Sevilla is simply an incredible city that is more than 2,000 years old and consequently a mix of so many cultures. It’s no surprise that the historic city center is another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Travel to Sevilla by train – Spain’s train system is incredibly easy and affordable (sounds like the Spanish tourism office paid me to write that but it really is true!).

I have only been to Sevilla once, although I have every intention of going a few more times as there is a lot to see. On my trip I was pleasantly surprised to find the historic part of the city to be exactly as I pictured it with white buildings, decorative tiles everywhere, and fantastic little courtyards. There is a lot to see though so on to that list….

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What to see in Sevilla, Spain:

1 – Cathedral of Sevilla – built between 1401 and 1519. The Cathedral was built on the former site of the city’s mosque and the current bell tower was originally a minaret, named the Giralda. You can climb to the top of the bell tower for a view of the city. And actually you don’t have to climb stairs to get to the top of the tower; you walk up ramps – originally put in for worshipers to ride to the top on horseback! If you are one for classical music, there are often concerts held in the Cathedral at night.

2 – Alcazar of Sevilla or the Reales Alcazares – Originally a Moorish fort, the Alcazar of Sevilla is a royal palace. It must be seen on your visit to Sevilla and allow for a whole day as it is very extensive. Most of the palace can be seen by tourists but the upper levels are still used by the Spanish royal family as their Sevilla residence (not to shabby huh?). The most gorgeous section is the Patio de las Doncellas or the Courtyard of the Maidens which is similar to some of the rooms in the Alhambra. The gardens are also impressive, I especially like the wall that you can walk along which runs the entire length of the gardens.

3 – Plaza de Espana – This is also a must see location and it will not disappoint for it is honestly breathtaking! The Plaza de Espana was built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair and designed by Anibal Gonzalez. The plaza is an enormous half circle with a building running along the outer edge and bridges in the center crossing a small moat. It is a fantastical scene with beautiful decorative tiles and the building has alcoves with tiled illustrations of different provinces of Spain. To see more photographs of the Plaza de Espana and for detailed photos of the tiles click here to visit The Monica Store.

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There is more to see but these are the main sights that shouldn’t be missed. Of course I recommend my usual dose of wandering through the streets and seeing the local sites as well. And all year long there are events and festivals in the city, one of which is the famous Holy Week processions, which I am determined to see one day! But enjoy Sevilla and just make sure to see these top three places while their on your trip!

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Helpful Info for traveling to Sevilla, Spain:

1 – For train information visit Rail Europe for schedules and fares.

2- For more information about Sevilla, Spain click here.

3 – For more information about the Alcazar of Sevilla, Spain click here.