Toledo is a beautiful city whichever way you look at it, at any time of the day or time of the year. However, it is true that during Christmas, the City of the Three Cultures is more charming than ever.
If you go to the province at Christmas and do not know what are the best things to do in Toledo, read this proposal of Christmas plans that I leave you below.
1. Visit the nativity scenes of Toledo
As in all the cities of Spain, Toledo dresses up with nativity scenes during the Christmas season. You can find different cribs in different parts of the city, which vary from year to year. Normally, the City Council of Toledo organizes a nativity scene contest in which different institutions and companies participate and decorate their facades with beautiful nativity scenes.
One of the most typical is the one in the gardens of the headquarters of the Caja Rural, which is located on Avenida de la Reconquista. The curious thing about this Nativity Scene and what makes it so special is that it has live animals.
Usually, the City Council of Toledo itself publishes a route of Nativity Scenes, which can start from the Nativity Scene in the Plaza de Zocodover, considered the main square of Toledo and the nerve center of the people of Toledo. Other years, concerts and various activities have been organized in the same place during the Christmas season. Of course, the City Hall itself also has a Nativity Scene, which is usually one of the most beautiful.
Likewise, the different museums and cultural centers also join this initiative. As it could not be otherwise, the Catholic buildings also have their own nativity scenes. My recommendation is to take a private walking tour of the city.
2. Contemplate the Christmas illumination
Toledo is one of those cities that acquires a special magic during the Christmas season, largely thanks to the illumination of its streets. Normally, the City Hall schedules the lighting for November 26th, although it depends on the year. Undoubtedly, this is the ideal occasion to walk through the different streets of the old part of the city during the evening.
End these dates, large and important monuments of Toledo are illuminated with beautiful and colorful LED lights. My recommendation is that you take a route through the Christmas illumination. A good starting point is the Bisagra gate, which is one of the most important entrances to the city.
From here, you can walk to the Plaza de Zocodover, where you will find an illuminated arch. Continue your route along Comercio street, which is usually covered by awnings with LED lights. Then walk to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, where you will find the Christmas market.
3. Go to the Christmas market
Of course, you can't miss the Toledo Christmas market. This is held in the Town Hall Square from the end of November until the beginning of January. During these dates, the square is full of craft stalls, where you can buy from costume jewelry to clothing, through home decorations.
The Toledo Christmas market also has gastronomic stalls where you can taste typical local sweets and local products. Of course, there are also various entertainment activities for families, as well as children's workshops.
If you are looking for plans to do with children in Toledo, this is one of the best, as it also has a carousel where the little ones will have a great time.
Beyond the Christmas market, in the Town Hall Square you will also find the famous 'Heart of Christmas', a classic merry-go-round that always adorns the square at this time of the year.
4. Ice skating
If there is a typical winter plan for Christmas, it is ice skating. Every winter, the City Council of Toledo creates an ice rink for locals and tourists. This is usually located in the fairgrounds of La Peraleda, although there have been years in which it has been installed in the Town Hall Square, depending on the year.
At the rink you can rent skates, in case you do not have your own. In addition, the establishment also has a skating club that ensures the safety of visitors.
In addition to the ice rink at the City Hall, another of the most typical ice rinks in Toledo is the one in La Vega Park. La Vega Park is one of the two great green lungs of the city, along with the Park of the Three Cultures.
This park is located between the famous Puerta de Bisagra and the Hospital de Tavera and is an oasis of tranquility. The ice rink is usually open from eleven in the morning to two-thirty in the afternoon and from four in the afternoon to eight.
5. Celebrate the New Year in the Plaza de Zocodover
The Plaza de Zocodover is the meeting place for the people of Toledo. If you go sightseeing in Toledo, you will come across this square on more than one occasion without even wanting to, as it is the place where many important streets in the city meet.
Concerts, street markets, craft fairs and other events of the City of Three Cultures are held in this square. It is precisely in the Plaza de Zocodover where the New Year is celebrated.
Usually, a verbena is organized on December 31 to welcome the new year. Normally, this verbena has orchestras of typical musical groups of Toledo, as well as fireworks that are launched from the Alcazar.
6. Taste the marzipans of Toledo
If there's one thing that makes Christmas really taste like Christmas, it's Christmas sweets. In addition to the classic mantecados and the exquisite turrón, one of the most typical Christmas sweets in Spain is marzipan.
Although, nowadays, it is enjoyed in practically all the autonomous communities, the truth is that marzipan originated in Toledo. Legend has it that it was the nuns of the convent of San Clemente who, during a famine suffered by the population, devised a dish with the only ingredients they had in their possession: sugar and almonds.
Thus, if you go to Toledo at Christmas, you can't miss the province's marzipans. There are many places where you will find this sweet, although, as in everything, there are some better than others. First of all, all the convents in the city sell marzipan during this season, such as San Clemente, Comendadoras de Santiago or San Antonio de Padua.
In addition to the convents, there are also typical pastry shops and bakeries in the city famous for their marzipan. Among them are the Santo Tomé bakery, the pastry shop Mazapán San Telesforo and Mazapanes Conde.
7. Have fun in the cavalcade
One of the most fun plans for children and families is the Three Kings Parade. This tradition is celebrated in all the cities of Spain and has its origins in the 19th century in the Fargue neighborhood of Granada. As it could not be less, Toledo also has its own parade of the Three Wise Men.
As in the rest of the cities, it is celebrated on January 5 and begins in the afternoon. Every year, the kings leave from the Buenavista Civic Center, which is located a few minutes walk from the parish of Santa Teresa.
From here, the floats depart to Avenida de Portugal, advancing along Avenida de Barber. The itinerary continues on Avenida de la Reconquista, passing through the Puerta de Bisagra and ending at the Plaza de Zocodover.
In case you go with children to Toledo at Christmas, you can not miss the parade. Remember to bring appropriate shoes for the occasion and a bag to keep the candy.
8. Taste the Christmas migas
Migas is a typical dish made with stale bread, garlic and different meats and vegetables, such as bacon and peppers. They are typical of Extremadura, Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha and Aragon. In fact, it is said that it was in this last place where this recipe was born. Depending on the place, the dish varies slightly in the accompaniment with which it is served.
In the case of Toledo, migas navideñas are very typical. These are eaten in the morning and afternoon of December 24 and 31. In these days, many of the bars in the historic center and neighborhoods of Toledo elaborate their own recipe of migas, which the neighbors can take in the street with their friends.
In this way, the streets of Toledo are filled with people who gather to kick off Christmas with this delicious dish. Although this is done in most areas of the city, one of the most typical is the neighborhood of Santa Teresa.
9. Attend the Sweet Fair
During the month of December, Toledo organizes the Feria del Dulce (Sweets Fair). This tasty and fun event has been taking place in the city since 2017.
It takes place at the San Marcos Cultural Center, a 13th century building that, after the destruction suffered in the Spanish Civil War, was vacated. To give it a new use, today it is used as a space for exhibitions and events.
One of these is the Sweet Fair, where you can taste the most typical sweets of the city and the community of Castilla-La Mancha. During the fair, the San Marcos Cultural Center is filled with stalls in which 7 convents and 10 Toledo bakeries participate, offering for sale Christmas sweets made by themselves.
10. Live the San Silvestre Toledana
The San Silvestre race is an athletic race held by the residents of most cities in the world on December 31. The name of this sporting event is due to Pope Sylvester of the Catholic Church, who died on December 31, 335.
This race originated in Sao Paulo in 1925 and was the idea of the journalist and director of the newspaper La Gaceta, Cásper Líbero. That first race had a distance of 6.2 kilometers, although today the distance is 15 kilometers. This race is held during the early morning of January 1st and starts just before 12 midnight.
Toledo also celebrates San Silvestre. Every year, about 5,000 residents of the city set off from Cardenal Talavera Street, in front of the Bisagra Gate, to participate in this sporting event. The finish line is located in the same place, where family, friends and spectators wait to applaud the participants.