Every year Ale and I have gone away for the puente (4 day weekend) in December. Our first trip together was to beautiful Ronda and the second ended up being a weekend in Cadiz due to strikes but we later went to Marseille, our original destination.
This year we didn’t have the funds for anything big. But we’ve both been working hard and barely going out. I was dying to do something– especially since all of my private class students had canceled on me! Luckily, there is plenty to see around Madrid. We debated between recommendations such as Ávila, Segovia, Alcalá de Henares, and other quaint sounding, nearby towns. Finally, we decided on the mountaintop city (and UNESCO World Heritage Site)Toledo.
GETTING TO TOLEDO: YOUR TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
Toledo is the number one recommended day trip from Madrid so we figured it would be easy to get to. We were right; there are frequent buses and trains to and from the city (even on holidays!).
Train Option: The train leaves from Atocha every one or two hours starting around 7:00 am on weekdays and 9:00 on weekends and holidays. Its last trip back leaves Toledo between 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm (depending on the day).
The train costs 10,60€ for a one way ticket and 19,10€ for a roundtrip.
Bus Option: The bus schedule was difficult to find on Alsa’s website, but we saw that there should be a bus every half an hour or so. The buses leave from the Plaza Eliptica Station which is easy reached by Madrid’s Grey Line (Line 6). We got to Plaza Eliptica and waited in a long line for a ticket (there were, however, ticket machines and online purchase options too). The tickets we bought didn’t have a certain time, but the bus was already there waiting and as soon as it was full we left for Toledo. It’s important to try to take the direct bus, which only takes about 45 minutes. I’ve heard that the other makes many stops and can take double the time!
The bus costs 4,95€ for a one way ticket and 8,88€ for a roundtrip.
We decided on the bus because of our budget, but would probably try the train in the future to save some time. That being said, the bus was comfortable too!
Spent so far: 9,00€ per person (11,00 is you include metro to Plaza Eliptica)
WHAT TO EAT
Toledo is known for its hearty food. Venison, boar, game birds, stuffed peppers, sausage and eggs…it is the perfect cuisine for a cold winter day! We needed a place where we could try some of Toledo’s typical cuisine but not spend a fortune. Luckily, we stumbled upon the perfect place.
Café Bar Toledo Cervecería C/Armas 15
Nervous to eat in a restaurant with the name Bar Toledo (we were afraid it was a tourist trap) we quickly googled it for reviews. But the only thing that came up for that address was a Bar Zorba so we weren’t sure if it had changed names or owners… and decided to just risk it. It turned out to be a good idea. The restaurant is comfortable and quaint and the food is typical and a good value.
Tostada con carne de cerdo, brie, y balsamico: A toast with ground pork, melted brie, and balsamic reduction.
Huevos Rotos con Chistorra: A fried egg on top of fried potatoes with some fried Spanish sausage (hearty indeed!)
Venado con Salsa de Champiñones: Venison in a mushroom sauce.
Carcamusa: A very typical dish in Toledo! Stewed pork with tomato, peas, and a slightly spicy sauce (Spanish “spicy”)
Ale had two beers and I had a glass of crisp white wine. We left stuffed and satisfied. Our food wasn’t life changing, but it warmed us up on a very cold afternoon and the service was friendly.
Lunch cost: 19,50€ (We left 20,00€)
Spent so far: 20,00€ per person
A great restaurant guide (in Spanish) by the Toledo tourism board is found here!
SIGHTS TO SEE
Toledo is full of historic monuments (enough for another blog post) but here are some must see places in Toledo!
LA PUERTA DEL SOL
LA CATEDRAL PRIMADA
EL RÍO TAJO
Spent so far: Still 20,00€ per person since we didn’t pay to enter in any of the monuments. We loved just exploring the streets and taking some pictures!