Spain Guide


Toledo Nightlife

Toledo isn't renowned for its rollicking nightlife but you'll find plenty going on after the sun goes down. There are some wonderful tapas bars and restaurants specialising in regional cuisine, traditional fiestas take place throughout the year in the city and surrounding villages and a handful of late night dance spots cater for serious partygoers.

Good places to start an evening's tapas bar crawling are Plaza de Cuba, in the new part of the city near the Circo Romano amphitheatre, or Plaza de Zocodover in the historic old town. Try a tapa of Manchego, a mature cheese made from ewe's milk produced in La Mancha and famed throughout the whole of Spain.

One of the most popular meeting places in the old town is La Abadia, a music bar in Plaza San Nicolas renowned for its range of delicious baguettes. Bar Ludeña in Plaza de la Magdalena is one of the best places for tapas including slices of jamon serrano (cured ham), local cheeses and roasted red peppers. Tapa literally means "cover" and refers to the slice of bread traditionally placed over a glass of wine to ward off flies. The custom of placing a small morsel of food on the bread developed over time and in many bars you'll still receive a free tapa each time you order a drink.

Toledo is a popular tourist destination so you'll find a good range of restaurants offering everything from international cuisine and fast food to specialties of La Mancha. Local recipes are strongly influenced by the region's long tradition of hunting and cattle breeding and you'll also find the Moors, who held away here for three centuries, have left their mark on regional cuisine. Quail and partridge figure strongly on the menus of traditional restaurants in the city which is also famed for its marzipan (a legacy of the Arab invaders). Try the "marquesas", marzipan cakes dusted with sugar, or the Toledan "ponche", a shortcake filled with quince jam and coated with almonds.

Toledo's best known restaurant is to be found at Hostal del Cardenal in Paseo Recaredo (owned by the same people who run Madrid's world famous restaurant Sobrino de Botin). Roast suckling pig and partridge casserole are among its regional specialties. Restaurante Queimada in Paseo del Circo Romano is the best place for seafood; here you can enjoy the finest and freshest fish dishes from the Spanish seafood capital of Galicia.

If, fully sated, you're still game for a dance, head for Terraza Monterrey near El Cigarral de las Mercedes on the outskirts of the city. Nearby Venta del Alma is a converted 15th century inn which has a dancing area but for hardened partygoers the best place to be is Sythons near the Alcazar fortress where you can dance till sun up.

The Teatro de Rojas, in the Plaza Mayor near the cathedral, is the only theatre in town but it's one of the most charming in Spain and offers a good range of drama and musical events including several film festivals.

Check with the local tourist information office to see whether any local fiestas are taking place during your visit. Toledo's most famous festival is the Corpus Christi procession when the priceless 16th century monstrance (the vessel used by Roman Catholics to display the sacred host) is taken from the cathedral and paraded through the streets.

The Fiesta del Olivo (Fiesta of the Olive Tree) in the village of Mora to the south east of the city is one of the most interesting in the region, taking place each year on the last Sunday of April. The Fiesta de San Isidro in Talavera, to the north west of Toledo, is also worth a visit; it takes places from May 15th 18th and involves processions, local dances and much merrymaking in the streets.