The province of Toledo is home to a collection of extraordinary castles that transport visitors back to the medieval era.
There are so many castles in Toledo that it can be challenging for visitors to identify the best ones. That is why in this post I have only included the crème de la crème, the 10 best-preserved fortresses that are seriously worth your time.
The 10 Best Castles in Toledo
These castles, in my opinion, hold a special charm and are exceptionally well-preserved. However, I invite you to share your recommendations in the comments section at the end of the post. If there’s another castle in the province of Toledo that you believe deserves a spot on this list, I would love to hear about it.
1. Alcázar of Toledo
I must start my list of the best castles in Toledo with the famous Alcázar which reigns supreme atop a hill, commanding attention with its regal presence. This iconic fortress, with its imposing towers and fortified walls, holds centuries of history within its storied halls. From royal residences to military strongholds, the Alcázar has witnessed it all.
Located within the Alcázar, the coffee shop of the library offers a hidden gem of a viewpoint. Access to this viewpoint is free, allowing you to enjoy panoramic views of Toledo while sipping a cup of coffee.
2. Castle of Oropesa
This splendid castle stands as a testament to medieval defensive architecture. This mighty fortress, with its massive walls and commanding towers, transports visitors to a time of knights and battles.
The castle was built on a construction of Roman origin in the late 12th century. The main tower is the most outstanding element of this architectural complex and stands out for its 5-floor height. The wall and the rest of the towers are also interesting.
You will actually find 2 castles, the old castle and the fortress of the Palace of the Álvarez de Toledo. The new castle is now occupied by a National Inn; in fact, it was the first monumental building that became an Inn. Consequently, this is one of the most popular castles in Toledo.
3. Castle of San Servando
Perched on the banks of the Tagus River, the Castle of San Servando stands as a legendary stronghold. This medieval fortress, with its stone walls and watchtowers, offers a glimpse into Toledo’s military past.
The Castle of San Servando is one of the best works of Mudejar military architecture in Spain. It was used to defend the confluence of roads leading to the bridge and as a fortress for the military defense of the city.
Built with masonry and red brick, it has a square floor plan with crenelated walls, cylindrical towers in three of its corners, and cubes on the south and east facades. The north tower is surrounded by medallions, horseshoe arches, and protruding barbicans.
This is one of my favorite castles in Toledo as it also offers a panoramic view of the city of Toledo and the Tagus, the river that borders it.
4. Castle of Malpica de Tajo
Nestled amidst picturesque landscapes, the Castle of Malpica exudes rustic charm and tranquility. This well-preserved castle, with its stately towers and scenic surroundings, provides a serene escape from the bustling city.
This excellent example of a castle is the best preserved of all the privately owned castles in Toledo. The Castle of Malpica de Tajo is located on the left bank of the Tagus River, which serves as a natural moat on one side, with a barbican or complete crenelated wall. It has a moat on three of its sides and the fourth is the river reinforced with counter walls.
5. Castle of Guadamur
Just a short distance from Toledo, the Castle of Guadamur showcases the splendor of Renaissance architecture. This elegant fortress, with its symmetrical design and ornate details, captivates visitors with its beauty.
Built in 1468, it is considered one of the most beautiful castles in Toledo. It consists of the castle, main tower, barrier, and moat. Both the castle and the wall are flanked by circular watchtowers. A wide dry moat opens at its feet. Inside, for the moment only the first floor can be visited.
The Guadamur Castle in Toledo hosted illustrious characters of the time as Juana la Loca and Felipe el Hermoso, the emperor Carlos V or Cardinal Cisneros. It is also one of my favorite castles near Madrid.
6. Castle of Consuegra
With more than eight hundred years old, the castle of La Muela in Consuegra is a fortress of great singularity and attractiveness. It is one of the most popular castles in Toledo as it is also very close to the famous windmills.
Although the origins of the Consuegra Castle date back to a Muslim fortress, the current appearance is due to the impressive work of military architecture by knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
The castle consists of a square central body with a large cylindrical tower on each of its sides. The enclosure is surrounded by a barrier, and t was necessary to break 7 doors to access the central part of the fortress. If you add its strategic position, the castle had an impregnable appearance. In its interior, you will find the priory prison, the chapel, the archives room, and the chapter house.
7. Mascaraque Castle
The Castle of Mascaraque is a 14th-century construction of Islamic origin, next to the parish church of Mascaraque. It is a curious building of mixed structure between a palace and a fortress. It consists of a main tower, the keep in the northwest corner, part of the north wall, and three round towers at the corners. The castle had two drawbridges, nowadays disappeared.
As a curiosity to say that in the Tower of Homage there are sculpted signs called the Seals or Pentacles of Solomon in the windows and doors. These symbols consist of five-pointed stars and were used as protective amulets.
If you are searching for the best castles in Toledo, include Mascaraque on your bucket list.
8. The Castle of Orgaz
The Castle of Orgaz in Toledo is a captivating landmark that beckons visitors with its rich history and architectural splendor.
You will find a fortified enclosure erected during the Middle Ages next to the western access gate of the town of Orgaz. It was a key element in the defensive and surveillance functions of the settlement.
The building has a rectangular floor plan, articulated around a central courtyard with masonry walls and ashlars in the corners. The main tower, in the south, and a semicircular watchtower, in the east, break the regular structure of the plan. Next to the tower, you will find the door of access to the interior, paved with a semicircular arch.
9. Maqueda Castle
Maqueda Castle, also known as La Vela Castle, is an imposing fortress in Toledo. It dates back to at least the 10th century and was originally a Roman lookout post that over time, in the Muslim period, became a castle.
The plan of the castle is rectangular and occupies two different levels of land. Its walls are protected by moats on two sides and circular towers in the corners. Queen Isabella the Catholic also lived in this castle.
Although access to the interior is limited, visitors can enjoy a walk around the fortress, appreciating its magnificence and capturing impressive images of one of the best castles in Toledo.
10. Castle of Manzaneque
The Castle of Manzaneque is a hidden gem that exudes historical charm. This enchanting castle in Toledo, although modest in size, captivates visitors with its unique architecture and intriguing past. With its stone walls and distinctive tower, the Castle of Manzaneque stands as a testament to the region’s medieval heritage.
Its construction dates from the 15th century, it has a square floor plan with two tubes of considerable height on both sides of the entrance door and has a tower and an access door in the form of a pointed arch.
It had a moat and a fence with four round towers at its corners, now disappeared. The building is of the type “castle-residence”, located in plain, in the interior of the town.
As you wander through the castles in Toledo, you will be captivated by their majestic presence and the tales they tell. Each castle is a window into Spain’s rich history, offering a glimpse into its architectural splendor. And due to its proximity to Madrid, visiting these 10 castles in Toledo is a great day trip from Madrid.
Exploring these castles in Toledo not only allows you to witness their historical significance but also grants you the opportunity to discover marvelous and historic sites throughout the region. As you venture through the province, you will encounter a multitude of tourist attractions that provide a deeper understanding of the country.
From ancient Roman ruins to magnificent cathedrals, from charming medieval towns to vibrant markets, Toledo offers a tapestry of experiences that enrich your journey. So, immerse yourself in the local culture, indulge in traditional cuisine, and make your castle exploration a gateway to a truly unforgettable travel experience.