Set on a hill, almost completely surrounded by the Rio Tajo, Toledo is a majestic sight in the middle of Castilla La Mancha. Atop the highest point, robust Alcazar palace dominates, while all around church spires jostle for attention among the historic buildings and ancient gateways dot the edge of the walled city.
Just an hour south of Madrid, Toledo is known as the City of Three Cultures as it has at various points throughout its history been home to Muslims, Christians and Jews - something that is reflected in its varied architecture. The fortress city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its unique layout and design, which includes a grand Catholic cathedral, an ancient synagogue and Arabic keyhole-shaped doorways into the Casco Viejo.
The history of this grand city dates back to Roman occupation around 129BC, when it was known as Toletum. After Spain reconquered the city form the Moors in 1085, it also became the capital of the Spanish empire until the mid 1500s, when the royal court was moved to Valladolid and onto Madrid.
Toledo's importance in Spanish history explains the quantity of truly spectacular sights in the city. The imposing 13th century cathedral in Plaza Zocodover used to be one of the most important in the whole of Spain, its soaring vaults are supported by 88 pillars and the intricate frescoes are so tall they dwarf visitors. Other popular stop-offs include the iconic Alcazar, which is now home to Spain's National Army Museum and the Hospital y Museu de Santa Cruz is where some of El Greco's most dramatic works hang for all to see.
One of the pleasures of this compact maze of cobbled streets is the ease with which tourists can find a cafe or restaurant ready to serve up some tapas and a glass of wine, or even a dish including the local speciality, pheasant.
Anyone looking for a souvenir will easily find something to take home in the many shops selling swords and other armour, reflecting the city's traditional metalwork industry.