royal-palace2

The Best of Central Spain

Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The heart of Spain, which is considered the central part of the country, could be overlooked my many. What most travel enthusiasts looking to explore Spain do not realize is that some of the country’s jewels could be found in the heart of Spain.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Between the enchanting wonders of Segovia, the romantic UNESCO World Heritage Site of Toledo and the thriving and fun city of Madrid, there is so much to love about this area of Spain. AND trust me, YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE with the heart of Spain!

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

During May and June 2012, I participated in a study abroad program through my college James Madison University (JMU). I studied abroad in the university city of Salamanca in the Castilla y León region, which is located near the Portuguese border. I absolutely had a BLAST during my early summer semester in Salamanca and it in fact sparked my wanderlust! (You heard that right, prior to studying abroad in Spain, I had never stepped foot out of the United States!) After spending time in Western, Central and Northern Spain as well as Portugal, I officially fell in love with travel and it changed my life forever! (Click here to read my blog posts on Spain.)

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

In this blog post, I go over how you could experience authentic and historical Spain by discovering the best places to visit in the gorgeous cities of Segovia, Toledo and Madrid (also considered the heart of Spain).

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Getting to and Around the Heart of Spain:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

During my study abroad trip in Spain, I was with fellow students and professors the entire semester. It was so early into my travel life that the idea of traveling on my own didn’t even exist in my mindset. In that case, we always had organized coach buses take us everywhere.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you are traveling around the heart of Spain on your own or with friends and family, it is best to book your flights through Skyscanner to Madrid. From Madrid, you could rent a car and travel around the country or use GoEuro to book affordable train tickets. (I couldn’t recommend train travel more when you are gallivanting around Europe.)

Where to Stay:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

As you explore the beautiful treasures of the heart of Spain, I recommend staying in Madrid and doing separate day trips to both Segovia and Toledo. During my time in these areas, I did end up staying a night in Toledo, but I don’t think it is necessary.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

After completing the Camino de Santiago in July 2019, I had to fly back to Madrid before I flew home and I decided to spend the night in the city and explore some places I didn’t get to see during my study abroad trip. During this most recent trip to Madrid, I stayed at The Walt – a trendy boutique hotel located right off the Grand Via.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

What I loved about the rooms at The Walt was that the bed frames lit up as the Walt Disney World castle! As a Disney lover, I was OBSESSED! The bed was also very comfortable and the room also came with an en-suite bathroom. In addition to the cozy rooms, I also loved the buffet breakfast that was served in the morning! The Walt also has a speakeasy bar, a gym, an outdoor patio, laundry facilities, parking and more. The staff at The Walt also helped me find a local spa since I checked in the day after I completed the Camino de Santiago.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

In addition to The Walt, Madrid has so many wonderful hotels to suit all budgets. If you decide to stay a night in Segovia and/or Toledo, you could also find great hotels there as well. There are also a wide selection of hostels and Airbnbs.

Wandering through the Heart of Spain:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Segovia:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of my favorite places in the heart of Spain was the fairytale city of Segovia. Literally, this city feels like the birthplace of Walt Disney World (Maybe Spain should get a Disney park, right?) Filled with rich history, medieval walls, Romanesque churches and a Gothic cathedral, a beautiful castle, a Roman aqueduct and amazing food, you will sure fall in love with this city like I did!

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Located an hour northwest of Madrid, here are the top places to visit during your time in medieval Segovia:

Roman Aqueduct:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of Segovia’s most recognizable landmarks is the El Acueducto – the Roman Aqueduct. This grand structure is made up of 20,000 uneven granite blocks and features 163 arches. The aqueduct was originally part of a complex system of underground canals that brought water from the Guadarrama Mountains.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

What is also cool about the aqueduct is that it is located right in the middle of the city, so you definitely cannot miss it!

Alcázar of Segovia

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you were a Disney fanatic like myself, then all of your childhood fantasies will come to life with a visit to Segovia’s famous castle. A fun fact about this castle is that the design inspired Walt Disney’s vision of the Sleeping Beauty castle. It also reminded me of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany – the actual inspiration behind Walt Disney‘s castle.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

This impressive castle was fortified since the Roman days, but it was rebuilt in the 13th and 14th Centuries. Sadly, the fortress burned down in 1862, but was rebuilt as an over-the-top reconstruction of the original.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of my favorite parts of the castle is the overlook. Walking up the tower was a little scary (and tiring) since the spiral staircase was steep and it seemed never-ending. After every certain amount of steps, there would be a little window where you could look outside and see how far up from the ground you were. The climb to the top was definitely worth it in the end as you received the best 360-degree views of the city, mountains and countryside of the Segovia area.

Segovia Cathedral:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The iconic Gothic cathedral in Segovia was first under construction in 1525 and took almost 200 years to complete. During your visit to the cathedral, enjoy viewing the magnificent architecture and climb up the tower for amazing views of the city and nearby mountains.

Walls of Segovia:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

As you drive into Segovia, the first things you will notice are fortified walls that were once used to protect the city. It was probably one of the most breathtaking drives I’ve ever experienced. Not only did the walls make you feel like you were in a fairytale, the roads offered gorgeous views of the mountains, castle and all of the other beautiful landmarks and buildings this city offers.

Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Also known as the former home of King Felipe V, this outstanding palace is a replica of King Luis’ in Versailles, France. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get to Versailles when I went to Paris in June 2018, but this was definitely close enough.) Everything about this palace was absolutely stunning! One of my favorite parts of the palace was the beautiful gardens outside. It was unreal how massive the gardens were and they reminded me of the movie, The Secret Garden.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The grounds of the palace were superior! There were several hiking trails into beautiful forest and there was even a massive maze that reminded me of the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie.

Enjoy the Food!

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Segovia has many authentic and delicious restaurants and cafés where you could enjoy your favorite Spanish staples such as paella, tapas and of course, amazing wine and sangria! It was in Segovia where I discovered the amazing concoction of potatoes with jamón Ibérico, fried eggs with egg yolk on top. It is seriously amazing and if you could find this dish in the heart of Spain, definitely try it!

Toledo:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you are looking to go back in time to medieval Spain, then Toledo is the place to go! Located 45 minutes southwest of the capital of Madrid, Toledo’s historic center is nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This dreamy European city blends Roman Catholic, Jewish and Islamic cultures. You will notice this when you visit Toledo’s stunning landmarks. Between the beautiful art that the city features throughout and the lovely labyrinthine streets that are narrow and cozy, you will definitely see why Toledo is one of my favorite Spanish cities.

Here are the best things to see in Toledo:

Catedral Primada:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world is the Catedral Primada. Many experts will explain that this cathedral is the best example of High Gothic architecture in Europe. When you are in the cathedral, you will get some of the best views of the intricate details of elaborate gothic and Mudéjar (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan and Arabic) elements.

Puerta del Sol:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of the first things to see when you first enter Toledo is the northern gate that was built at the end of the 14th Century and showcases the Mudéjar design that you see throughout the entire city.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

This beautiful gate features hefty stone with interesting detail. On the south side of the gate, there was once a moon painted and on the north side, a sun. Throughout time, the art has faded away.

Puente de San Martín:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Driving into Toledo and entering on the San Martín Bridge made me feel like a princess with the beautiful medieval walls and arches. This bridge was first built in the 1200s, but took a lot of damage throughout the years. It was rebuilt in the 1300s and 1400s.

El Greco Museum:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Toledo is home to one of Spain’s most important artists. 16th Century artist El Greco painted outstanding views of the city that captured the world’s imagination. You can visit his museum in Toledo and view his popular paintings. They were truly spectacular!

Mirador del Valle:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you are looking for a good workout, a hike up to Carretera de Circunvalación to Mirador del Valle is totally worth it to catch views of the medieval city and all of its glory. This is a perfect place to catch a Spanish sunset or sunrise, depending on where you are looking. The best views of the city are shown at night when the main monuments are awash with orange light.

Alcázar of Toledo/Museo del Ejercito:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Toledo’s palace is at the highest point of the city. What is cool about this palace is that there has been a fortress on site for at least 2,000 years, but standing there now is a renaissance building from the mid-16th Century.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

When you go inside of the palace, there is a cool museum that features medieval and handcrafted knives, swords, medals, flags and uniforms.

Plaza de Zocodover:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Wandering through the city of Toledo was probably one of the coolest experiences of my life. Between the beautiful architecture, narrow and windy roads where you have to hide in little alcoves if a car came by, handcrafted boutiques and jewelry shops, delicious cafés and restaurants and the liveliness are what make this city so amazing. One of the places where you could experience life as a local in Toledo is in the Plaza de Zocodover. At night, the streets around the plaza light up with stringed lights. It is absolutely magical!

Madrid:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Madrid is a stunning city filled with beautiful architecture, the best art museums, royal palaces, amazing restaurants, stunning parks and friendly locals. Discover the best things to see and experience in Spain’s capital:

Museo del Prado:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The world-famous Prado museum is widely considered to have some of the world’s finest collections of European art. It is also one of the most visited museums globally. Located in the Prado are numerous works from artists like Goya, El Greco, Velázquez and Caravaggio to name a few.

During the time I visited the Prado, I was fascinated by all of the talent and history shown in these amazing pieces of art.

One of my favorite Spanish paintings that is shown in the Prado is Velázquez’s Las Meninas. This painting also holds a special place in my heart because there was an abstract version of this piece hung up in our apartment living room in Salamanca. The reason why I enjoy looking at this painting is because you can actually see the artist painting the picture since it was a mirror image.

Parque del Buen Retiro:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

“Park of the Pleasant Retreat” in English is the biggest park in Madrid. In the park, you could rent a small boat or canoe on a nice day and enjoy the sunshine. During the most recent time I was in Madrid, I enjoyed strolling through the park and admiring the beautiful sculptures, monuments, galleries and so much more!

Plaza de España:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Known as one of the most important squares in Spain’s capital (or in the heart of Spain itself), the Plaza de España lies at the intersection of some of Madrid’s busiest streets. I loved sitting at the cafés and enjoying a café con leche or sangria and indulging in delicious tapas.

Palacio Real:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you are looking to experience royalty in Spain, then the Royal Palace of Madrid is the place to go! I remember feeling more amazed in each room we went into. (The Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the most spectacular places I’ve seen in the world and it is supposed to be even more grandeur than Buckingham Palace in London.)

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The Royal Palace is Madrid’s largest building and also the grandest royal palace in Western Europe. It was built on the grounds of the old Alcázar, but a fire destroyed the Moorish castle in the 1700’s. The city walls around the area can still be seen from the palace’s grounds.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Filippo Juvarra initially designed this beautiful palace. Inside, it features beautiful furniture, tapestries, paintings and ceramics as well as gorgeous works of art. Unlike the Royal Family in England, the Spanish Royal Family does not live in the palace. It remains open to the public all year long except for when there is important ceremonies going on.

Experience Madrid’s Restaurant and Nightlife Scene:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

When it comes to food in Madrid, you will not have a hard time finding a great restaurant to savor local favorites. If you are looking to enjoy traditional paella, I couldn’t recommend Casa de Valencia more! A family who is originally from Valencia, where paella originated, owns Casa de Valencia (so I knew right away that it would be amazing). I enjoyed their amazing seafood paella with sangria and it hit the spot! (Those two items together were made in heaven!) This amazing restaurant is located near The Royal Palace.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

When it comes to nightlife in Madrid, you also won’t be disappointed. Whether you enjoy sipping a cocktail in a high-end hotel, casually pub-crawling with friends or dancing the night away at a nightclub, Madrid is the city where you will find it all.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

During the time I studied abroad, I definitely had more energy to go out at night and dance until the sun rises. One of my favorite nightclubs in Madrid is Teatro Kapital as it offers a few floors to enjoy the best of European dance music.

The Sorolla Museum:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Out of all the museums I visited in the heart of Spain, the Museo Sorolla was definitely my favorite! Joaquín Soralla is referred to as the “painter of light”. One of the many reasons why I love his work so much is because he perfectly paints stunning beach landscapes that remind me of the summers I’ve spent at the Jersey Shore throughout the years.

The museum is small and welcoming. All of the beautiful gardens and waterfalls outside of the building were serene and I even got to see some flowers I have never seen before. Even though the Sorolla Museum isn’t as popular as the Prado, I definitely recommend everyone visiting Madrid to see this wonderful museum!

BONUS: Get a Well-Needed Massage:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

During my most recent trip to Madrid, I was in need of a relaxing, full body massage. If you are heading to Madrid after doing the Camino de Santiago, or you just want to treat yourself to a wonderful spa treatment, I couldn’t recommend Wellness Boutique Experience more! I received the best and most relaxing massage of my life at this wonderful place. Plus the woman who did my massage did the Camino herself and knew just what I needed.


The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the best things to see and experience in the heart of Spain. If you have any questions about my time in Segovia, Toledo and Madrid or general questions about Spain, please email me at [email protected]

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Basic Facts of Spain:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Madrid

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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royal-palace2

The Best of Central Spain

Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The heart of Spain, which is considered the central part of the country, could be overlooked my many. What most travel enthusiasts looking to explore Spain do not realize is that some of the country’s jewels could be found in the heart of Spain.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Between the enchanting wonders of Segovia, the romantic UNESCO World Heritage Site of Toledo and the thriving and fun city of Madrid, there is so much to love about this area of Spain. AND trust me, YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE with the heart of Spain!

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

During May and June 2012, I participated in a study abroad program through my college James Madison University (JMU). I studied abroad in the university city of Salamanca in the Castilla y León region, which is located near the Portuguese border. I absolutely had a BLAST during my early summer semester in Salamanca and it in fact sparked my wanderlust! (You heard that right, prior to studying abroad in Spain, I had never stepped foot out of the United States!) After spending time in Western, Central and Northern Spain as well as Portugal, I officially fell in love with travel and it changed my life forever! (Click here to read my blog posts on Spain.)

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

In this blog post, I go over how you could experience authentic and historical Spain by discovering the best places to visit in the gorgeous cities of Segovia, Toledo and Madrid (also considered the heart of Spain).

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Getting to and Around the Heart of Spain:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

During my study abroad trip in Spain, I was with fellow students and professors the entire semester. It was so early into my travel life that the idea of traveling on my own didn’t even exist in my mindset. In that case, we always had organized coach buses take us everywhere.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you are traveling around the heart of Spain on your own or with friends and family, it is best to book your flights through Skyscanner to Madrid. From Madrid, you could rent a car and travel around the country or use GoEuro to book affordable train tickets. (I couldn’t recommend train travel more when you are gallivanting around Europe.)

Where to Stay:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

As you explore the beautiful treasures of the heart of Spain, I recommend staying in Madrid and doing separate day trips to both Segovia and Toledo. During my time in these areas, I did end up staying a night in Toledo, but I don’t think it is necessary.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

After completing the Camino de Santiago in July 2019, I had to fly back to Madrid before I flew home and I decided to spend the night in the city and explore some places I didn’t get to see during my study abroad trip. During this most recent trip to Madrid, I stayed at The Walt – a trendy boutique hotel located right off the Grand Via.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

What I loved about the rooms at The Walt was that the bed frames lit up as the Walt Disney World castle! As a Disney lover, I was OBSESSED! The bed was also very comfortable and the room also came with an en-suite bathroom. In addition to the cozy rooms, I also loved the buffet breakfast that was served in the morning! The Walt also has a speakeasy bar, a gym, an outdoor patio, laundry facilities, parking and more. The staff at The Walt also helped me find a local spa since I checked in the day after I completed the Camino de Santiago.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

In addition to The Walt, Madrid has so many wonderful hotels to suit all budgets. If you decide to stay a night in Segovia and/or Toledo, you could also find great hotels there as well. There are also a wide selection of hostels and Airbnbs.

Wandering through the Heart of Spain:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Segovia:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of my favorite places in the heart of Spain was the fairytale city of Segovia. Literally, this city feels like the birthplace of Walt Disney World (Maybe Spain should get a Disney park, right?) Filled with rich history, medieval walls, Romanesque churches and a Gothic cathedral, a beautiful castle, a Roman aqueduct and amazing food, you will sure fall in love with this city like I did!

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Located an hour northwest of Madrid, here are the top places to visit during your time in medieval Segovia:

Roman Aqueduct:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of Segovia’s most recognizable landmarks is the El Acueducto – the Roman Aqueduct. This grand structure is made up of 20,000 uneven granite blocks and features 163 arches. The aqueduct was originally part of a complex system of underground canals that brought water from the Guadarrama Mountains.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

What is also cool about the aqueduct is that it is located right in the middle of the city, so you definitely cannot miss it!

Alcázar of Segovia

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you were a Disney fanatic like myself, then all of your childhood fantasies will come to life with a visit to Segovia’s famous castle. A fun fact about this castle is that the design inspired Walt Disney’s vision of the Sleeping Beauty castle. It also reminded me of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany – the actual inspiration behind Walt Disney‘s castle.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

This impressive castle was fortified since the Roman days, but it was rebuilt in the 13th and 14th Centuries. Sadly, the fortress burned down in 1862, but was rebuilt as an over-the-top reconstruction of the original.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of my favorite parts of the castle is the overlook. Walking up the tower was a little scary (and tiring) since the spiral staircase was steep and it seemed never-ending. After every certain amount of steps, there would be a little window where you could look outside and see how far up from the ground you were. The climb to the top was definitely worth it in the end as you received the best 360-degree views of the city, mountains and countryside of the Segovia area.

Segovia Cathedral:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The iconic Gothic cathedral in Segovia was first under construction in 1525 and took almost 200 years to complete. During your visit to the cathedral, enjoy viewing the magnificent architecture and climb up the tower for amazing views of the city and nearby mountains.

Walls of Segovia:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

As you drive into Segovia, the first things you will notice are fortified walls that were once used to protect the city. It was probably one of the most breathtaking drives I’ve ever experienced. Not only did the walls make you feel like you were in a fairytale, the roads offered gorgeous views of the mountains, castle and all of the other beautiful landmarks and buildings this city offers.

Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Also known as the former home of King Felipe V, this outstanding palace is a replica of King Luis’ in Versailles, France. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get to Versailles when I went to Paris in June 2018, but this was definitely close enough.) Everything about this palace was absolutely stunning! One of my favorite parts of the palace was the beautiful gardens outside. It was unreal how massive the gardens were and they reminded me of the movie, The Secret Garden.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The grounds of the palace were superior! There were several hiking trails into beautiful forest and there was even a massive maze that reminded me of the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie.

Enjoy the Food!

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Segovia has many authentic and delicious restaurants and cafés where you could enjoy your favorite Spanish staples such as paella, tapas and of course, amazing wine and sangria! It was in Segovia where I discovered the amazing concoction of potatoes with jamón Ibérico, fried eggs with egg yolk on top. It is seriously amazing and if you could find this dish in the heart of Spain, definitely try it!

Toledo:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you are looking to go back in time to medieval Spain, then Toledo is the place to go! Located 45 minutes southwest of the capital of Madrid, Toledo’s historic center is nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This dreamy European city blends Roman Catholic, Jewish and Islamic cultures. You will notice this when you visit Toledo’s stunning landmarks. Between the beautiful art that the city features throughout and the lovely labyrinthine streets that are narrow and cozy, you will definitely see why Toledo is one of my favorite Spanish cities.

Here are the best things to see in Toledo:

Catedral Primada:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world is the Catedral Primada. Many experts will explain that this cathedral is the best example of High Gothic architecture in Europe. When you are in the cathedral, you will get some of the best views of the intricate details of elaborate gothic and Mudéjar (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan and Arabic) elements.

Puerta del Sol:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

One of the first things to see when you first enter Toledo is the northern gate that was built at the end of the 14th Century and showcases the Mudéjar design that you see throughout the entire city.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

This beautiful gate features hefty stone with interesting detail. On the south side of the gate, there was once a moon painted and on the north side, a sun. Throughout time, the art has faded away.

Puente de San Martín:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Driving into Toledo and entering on the San Martín Bridge made me feel like a princess with the beautiful medieval walls and arches. This bridge was first built in the 1200s, but took a lot of damage throughout the years. It was rebuilt in the 1300s and 1400s.

El Greco Museum:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Toledo is home to one of Spain’s most important artists. 16th Century artist El Greco painted outstanding views of the city that captured the world’s imagination. You can visit his museum in Toledo and view his popular paintings. They were truly spectacular!

Mirador del Valle:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you are looking for a good workout, a hike up to Carretera de Circunvalación to Mirador del Valle is totally worth it to catch views of the medieval city and all of its glory. This is a perfect place to catch a Spanish sunset or sunrise, depending on where you are looking. The best views of the city are shown at night when the main monuments are awash with orange light.

Alcázar of Toledo/Museo del Ejercito:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Toledo’s palace is at the highest point of the city. What is cool about this palace is that there has been a fortress on site for at least 2,000 years, but standing there now is a renaissance building from the mid-16th Century.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

When you go inside of the palace, there is a cool museum that features medieval and handcrafted knives, swords, medals, flags and uniforms.

Plaza de Zocodover:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Wandering through the city of Toledo was probably one of the coolest experiences of my life. Between the beautiful architecture, narrow and windy roads where you have to hide in little alcoves if a car came by, handcrafted boutiques and jewelry shops, delicious cafés and restaurants and the liveliness are what make this city so amazing. One of the places where you could experience life as a local in Toledo is in the Plaza de Zocodover. At night, the streets around the plaza light up with stringed lights. It is absolutely magical!

Madrid:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Madrid is a stunning city filled with beautiful architecture, the best art museums, royal palaces, amazing restaurants, stunning parks and friendly locals. Discover the best things to see and experience in Spain’s capital:

Museo del Prado:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The world-famous Prado museum is widely considered to have some of the world’s finest collections of European art. It is also one of the most visited museums globally. Located in the Prado are numerous works from artists like Goya, El Greco, Velázquez and Caravaggio to name a few.

During the time I visited the Prado, I was fascinated by all of the talent and history shown in these amazing pieces of art.

One of my favorite Spanish paintings that is shown in the Prado is Velázquez’s Las Meninas. This painting also holds a special place in my heart because there was an abstract version of this piece hung up in our apartment living room in Salamanca. The reason why I enjoy looking at this painting is because you can actually see the artist painting the picture since it was a mirror image.

Parque del Buen Retiro:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

“Park of the Pleasant Retreat” in English is the biggest park in Madrid. In the park, you could rent a small boat or canoe on a nice day and enjoy the sunshine. During the most recent time I was in Madrid, I enjoyed strolling through the park and admiring the beautiful sculptures, monuments, galleries and so much more!

Plaza de España:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Known as one of the most important squares in Spain’s capital (or in the heart of Spain itself), the Plaza de España lies at the intersection of some of Madrid’s busiest streets. I loved sitting at the cafés and enjoying a café con leche or sangria and indulging in delicious tapas.

Palacio Real:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

If you are looking to experience royalty in Spain, then the Royal Palace of Madrid is the place to go! I remember feeling more amazed in each room we went into. (The Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the most spectacular places I’ve seen in the world and it is supposed to be even more grandeur than Buckingham Palace in London.)

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

The Royal Palace is Madrid’s largest building and also the grandest royal palace in Western Europe. It was built on the grounds of the old Alcázar, but a fire destroyed the Moorish castle in the 1700’s. The city walls around the area can still be seen from the palace’s grounds.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Filippo Juvarra initially designed this beautiful palace. Inside, it features beautiful furniture, tapestries, paintings and ceramics as well as gorgeous works of art. Unlike the Royal Family in England, the Spanish Royal Family does not live in the palace. It remains open to the public all year long except for when there is important ceremonies going on.

Experience Madrid’s Restaurant and Nightlife Scene:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

When it comes to food in Madrid, you will not have a hard time finding a great restaurant to savor local favorites. If you are looking to enjoy traditional paella, I couldn’t recommend Casa de Valencia more! A family who is originally from Valencia, where paella originated, owns Casa de Valencia (so I knew right away that it would be amazing). I enjoyed their amazing seafood paella with sangria and it hit the spot! (Those two items together were made in heaven!) This amazing restaurant is located near The Royal Palace.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

When it comes to nightlife in Madrid, you also won’t be disappointed. Whether you enjoy sipping a cocktail in a high-end hotel, casually pub-crawling with friends or dancing the night away at a nightclub, Madrid is the city where you will find it all.

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

During the time I studied abroad, I definitely had more energy to go out at night and dance until the sun rises. One of my favorite nightclubs in Madrid is Teatro Kapital as it offers a few floors to enjoy the best of European dance music.

The Sorolla Museum:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Out of all the museums I visited in the heart of Spain, the Museo Sorolla was definitely my favorite! Joaquín Soralla is referred to as the “painter of light”. One of the many reasons why I love his work so much is because he perfectly paints stunning beach landscapes that remind me of the summers I’ve spent at the Jersey Shore throughout the years.

The museum is small and welcoming. All of the beautiful gardens and waterfalls outside of the building were serene and I even got to see some flowers I have never seen before. Even though the Sorolla Museum isn’t as popular as the Prado, I definitely recommend everyone visiting Madrid to see this wonderful museum!

BONUS: Get a Well-Needed Massage:

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

During my most recent trip to Madrid, I was in need of a relaxing, full body massage. If you are heading to Madrid after doing the Camino de Santiago, or you just want to treat yourself to a wonderful spa treatment, I couldn’t recommend Wellness Boutique Experience more! I received the best and most relaxing massage of my life at this wonderful place. Plus the woman who did my massage did the Camino herself and knew just what I needed.


The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the best things to see and experience in the heart of Spain. If you have any questions about my time in Segovia, Toledo and Madrid or general questions about Spain, please email me at [email protected]

The Heart of Spain – Segovia, Toledo and Madrid

Basic Facts of Spain:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Madrid

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