Built on hills by the River Tagus, Toledo, a Unesco World Heritage site, is one of the most historically and culturally fascinating cities in Spain.
Strangely, it’s off the radar for most British tourists. And while it’s an easy day trip from Madrid (only 30 minutes by train), it’s well worth staying for two or three nights.
It’s a small place, with a population of only 83,000. But it was once the capital of mighty imperial Spain, until Philip II moved his court to Madrid in 1561. It was also home of the great Crete-born 16th-century artist El Greco for most of his life.
A major theme park celebrating Spanish history is opening nearby soon, but Toledo itself is a time capsule.
Every corner of the winding central streets takes you back into the country’s past — particularly the time when Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the city.
STAY IN TOWN
The central Eugenia de Montijo is an excellent boutique hotel with friendly service and a small spa. The restaurant, Federico, mixes local dishes with international cooking. Rooms start at £97 a night B&B.
Architecture is one of the city’s main draws, particularly Mudejar (Moorish, Islamic styles which continued under Christian rule).
Even the railway station is an intricately decorated homage to the Mudejar manner.