Day trip to Toledo and Aranjuez
In just one day, visit two places full of history and art. In the morning, discover Toledo, the city of three cultures, capital of Spain until 1561, and considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In the afternoon, get to know the Palace of Aranjuez, one of the Spanish monarchy’s most glamorous palaces. Save money by doing both of these excursions in a single day.
Morning tour to Toledo
The location of Toledo, just 70 km from Madrid, and the route of the tour will allow us to get to know the most important landmarks of this ancient Spanish city in just half a day.
Discover on this trip to Toledo from Madrid the most emblematic places of this historic city, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
We will begin our guided tour through Toledo at the Lookout of the Valley, a privileged viewpoint from which we will be able to see the entire city surrounded by the Tajo river. From this place you will also have your first point of contact with some of its grand monuments, like the Alcazar or the Cathedral of Santa María.
Once our visit to Toledo approaches the historic centre, we will feel that this is a special place, where it sometimes feels like time has stopped in this labyrinth-like framework of cobbled, steep and narrow streets.
In reality, we will enter a city that is conserved practically as it was in the 16th century, when it was the capital of the Kingdom. And so, in the nicest way our steps will take us to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, where the Town Hall, Episcopal Palace and Cathedral are located.
Of them all, the gothic architecture of the Cathedral de Santa María powerfully commands attention. We will have the opportunity to admire it from the outside.
From there we will head toward one of the most-visited places in Toledo, the Church of Santo Tome, in order to view El Greco’s masterpiece: “The Burial of Count Orgaz.”
That temple forms part of the old Jewish district where we will also discover the old synagogue Santa María la Blanca. This temple seems like a mosque since it was built by the Moors in the 12th century, although actually it is a Christian church. This is a magnificent example of the coexistence of the Three Cultures.
We will continue our excursion through Toledo in the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, declared an Historic-Artistic Monument of National Interest. The monastery was ordered to be built by Queen Isabel the Catholic in 1477 as thanks to God for victory in the Battle of Toro, decisive for her coronation in the War of Castilian Succession. In fact, we will see numerous representations of the Crown of Castile in the facade and in its interior.
Within the monastery, walking through the cloister is unforgettable, considering it is an exception example of the transition between gothic and renaissance art.
In addition, its church is in the highest demand by the inhabitants of Toledo for wedding celebrations, given the beauty of its interior, where its High Altar is highlights and the coats of arms of the Catholic Kings are displayed in relief on the walls.
In order to finish this guided excursion to Toledo from Madrid, we will have the opportunity to enter a damasque workshop and gift store. Damasque is the art of laying gold filigree into Steel objects. In the shop you will be able to buy other traditional products of Toledo, such as replicas of its prestigious swords and ancient armour.
In short, it is a good place to buy souvenirs of this intense visit to Toledo, where in just half a day you will be able to discover why this city is one of the most-visited destinations by travellers who come to Spain from any part of the world.
Upon returning to Madrid from Toledo, we will have free time until 15:00, when the excursion to Aranjuez begins. We will visit its lovely Royal Palace, one of the most elegant and historic of the Spanish monarchy.
Tour to the Royal Palace of Aranjuez in the afternoon
In order to arrive in Aranjuez, we only have to travel the 46 kilometres that separate this monumental complex from the centre of Madrid. In other words, it’s a short journey that is actually a grand trip to another time and to highly aristocratic and elegant atmosphere.
Awaiting us there are the Royal Site and the Villa de Aranjuez, where this monumental complex and gardens, with construction from various time periods, are both located. It began in the times of Carlos I and continued until the 18th century with the reign of Felipe V, passing through the second half of the 16th century, when Felipe II ordered the construction of much of the work that we will enjoy today on this guided visit to the Royal Palace of Aranjuez.
Our first point of contact with the palace allows us to appreciate the beauty of its gardens, which are divided into three areas. In one of them, known as the Gardens of the Island, you can see a spectacular complex of vegetation, statues and art practically surrounded on three of its sides by the Tajo River, while to the north is the Royal Palace.
The other two garden zones are called the Garden of Parterre and the Garden of Isabel II. Both are more recent, since the first was created in the 18th century and the second was designed in the first half of the 19th century. Therefore, our guided visit through the Gardens of Aranjuez is a true walk through the history of Spanish landscaping.
In addition to touring the gardens, we will obviously take advantage of the excursion to Aranjuez in order to enter the rooms of the Royal Palace. Awaiting us there are endless rooms of great variety, both for their uses and for their decorations. We will see, for example, the China Room, which is ornamented in an oriental character and has the Cabinet of Porcelain, where an important collection of this ceramic material is kept.
We will also pass through the different formal halls and salons, which dazzle from their carpets to their historic lamps, passing by the paintings that hang from their walls or the period furniture that has stood the test of time.
The itinerary through the Palace is quite varied and interesting, and there are places that catch the attention of all visitors, such as the spectacular Throne Room where the kings officially receive their guests.
Not to mention the delicate Arab cabinet, a room created in 1850 with Moorish accents in its vault and which is known as the smoking lounge.
In addition to showing you the secrets and treasures of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez that date back centuries, we will also have time for much more recent episodes, such as going to the room where the outfits from the latest royal weddings are displayed. There you will be able to see the wedding dresses of the queens Sofia and Letizia, and of the infants Elena and Cristina.
In short, our guided visit to the Royal Palace of Aranjuez combines history, art, nature, luxury, curiosities and other elements that you simply cannot miss.
Note: excursion is not suitable for people with limited mobility.
Important: Excursion not recommended for people with reduced mobility