Toledo is an ancient city, set just southwest of Madrid and near one of the country’s largest wine regions—La Mancha. Getting to the city is fairly easy. It’s well-connected with highways, train routes, and frequent bus services.

The closest major city to Toledo is Madrid. And with 30-minute trains departing every hour, it’s easy to travel between the two. Rental cars, private transfers, and bus routes are also available and take just one hour to reach Toledo.

If you’re coming from Barcelona, you’ll most likely make a connection in Madrid. It’s fastest to fly, although trains and buses also make the journey. Then you can continue to Toledo via car, bus, or train. If you prefer to drive the entire distance, there are two options. One route also passes through Madrid, while the other follows the coast down to Valencia before turning west towards Toledo. Both routes take about 6.5 hours.

If you’re looking for some interesting ways to enjoy both Barcelona and Madrid, this 5-day tour explores some alternative tourist spots.

From Madrid

Duration: 30 minutes - 1 hour

Spain’s capital is the closest major city to Toledo, making it an excellent day trip from Madrid. The fastest way to travel between the two is by train, which departs hourly and arrives in Toledo just 30 minutes later. The highways leaving Madrid tend to get fairly congested, especially in the afternoons and on Fridays and Sundays. So if you want a quick route with less stress, the train is your best bet.

Rental cars and transfers are also available. Regardless of which route you choose when leaving Madrid, the drive only takes about one hour. The fastest way to reach Toledo, however, is to stick to highway A-42 for the entire route. The regional bus follows a similar path and also takes one hour. Departures are frequent—at least a few each hour—and leave from Madrid’s Plaza Eliptica station. 

Once in Toledo, the city is best explored by foot. With its twisting cobblestone streets, it can be difficult to navigate by car. You can join walking tours or discover the city at your own pace. There are also city buses and sightseeing tours that take you around and through the center.

Learn more about traveling from Madrid to Toledo

From Barcelona

Duration: 2 - 7.5 hours

Barcelona is quite a distance from Toledo (430 miles), so traveling between the two cities tends to take more time. Almost all routes must first connect in Madrid, so the fastest option is to fly. Flights are operated by two Spanish airlines (Iberia and Vueling Airlines) so there are numerous direct options each day. You’ll arrive in Madrid in about 1.5 hours.

Trains and buses are other options that make a connection in Madrid. High-speed routes connect Barcelona and Madrid in just 2.5-3 hours. The bus departs Barcelona hourly and arriving in Madrid in about 7.5 hours. For more information on travel between Madrid and Toledo, see the previous option.

You can also drive from Barcelona to Toledo, either by rental car or private transfer. There are two common routes, the first heading east from Barcelona and passing through Zaragoza and Madrid. The other option is to travel south along the scenic Costa del Azahar via the cities of Tarragona and Valencia.