Walking Tour: A Stroll through History

  • Start Plaza de Zocodover
  • End Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes
  • Length 2km, 1½–2½ hours

Start off in central Plaza de Zocodover, for centuries the city's marketplace and scene for bullfights and Inquisition-led burnings at the stake, then pass through the Arco de la Sangre on the eastern side of the square to admire the facade of the Museo de Santa Cruz. Up the hill to the south is Toledo's signature Alcázar, beyond which there are some fine views over the Río Tajo; follow Cuesta de Carlos V along the west wall of the Alcázar and then turn left to walk down Calle de General Moscardó. As the Alcázar's commanding position and sweeping views attest, Toledo was perfectly sited for medieval defences.

Follow the spires down the hill to the west, passing the remnants of a the Mezquita de las Tornerías before reaching the Catedral de Toledo, the spiritual home of Catholic Spain. Twist your way northwest to the Centro Cultural San Marcos. Housed in the 17th-century San Marcos church, its original domed roof, complete with ceiling frescoes, creates an evocative gallery space for temporary art exhibitions.

Down the hill you enter the heart of Toledo's old Jewish quarter. Admire the swords in the shops along Calle de San Juan de Dios and head past the Sinagoga del Tránsito to admire further cliff-top views over the river. The synagogue takes on a special poignancy if you continue along Calle de los Reyes Católicos to the splendid Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes. Spain's Catholic rulers hoped this church would represent the ultimate triumph of their religion over others. This is a fine spot to end your walk, but you could drop down from here to the riverside pathway that will take you on a half-circuit of the old town back to near your starting point (an additional 2km).