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Toledo Spain Private Guide

Tarzana
3 posts
2 reviews
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Toledo Spain Private Guide

First, if you are planning to go to Madrid, you should include at least 1 full day in Toledo, an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, preserved ancient city with layers of civilizations going back to pre-Roman times, as well as a vibrant center recently voted #1 gastronomic capital in Spain, with lots of great shops and neighborhoods to explore.

If you do go, we highly recommend our private tour guide, Diego. His breadth and depth of knowledge of general history, and specifically that of Toledo, his passion for his beloved city, his personal ties to the city (he was constantly bumping into friends and acquaintances; we even met his mother outside a cafe!) not to mention Diego's familial ties to its history which date back to medieval times, his specialized knowledge as a professor of archaeology including his work on current excavations, and his entertaining, enthralling, enthusiastic style of presentation make him unique, and, in our opinion, incomparable.

After taking a 1/2 hour train to Toledo from Madrid's central Atocha station, we met Diego at the Toledo station at 10 am. We jumped into a taxi and he gave us a panorama tour of the city's dramatic vistas, then descended into the city itself for a walking tour which covered the main sites: the cathedral, churches, synagogues, market places, neighborhoods, as well as easily missed markers of the vibrant culture of the middle ages, Enlightenment and more recent history.

Diego emphasized how 3 divergent, yet related cultures were fully integrated, while retaining their own unique personalities and practices. Jews, Christians and Muslims lived, studied and worked together in relative harmony for centuries, defending and protecting each other when threatened, even by the Inquisition. Muslims designed and built synagogues, Christians used Hebrew in the cathedral itself, Jewish scholars worked side-by-side translating ancient texts with Christians and Muslims. During its prime, Toledo was the center of intellectual, religious, civic and cultural life for Spain. A lesson for today, for sure.

We were particularly interested in Jewish culture and history. We visited 2 synagogues, the Sephardic museum, and even ancient mikvahs (ritual baths) not usually open to the public, dating back to Roman times. Diego possessed a profound knowledge of Judaism, its history, traditions, religion, ritual and culture which enriched our experience of the Jewish sites.

There were many surprises, secrets and sites which Diego dramatically brought vividly to life with his stories, historical anecdotes, humor and highlights which we won't give away. Suffice it to say, we came away with admiration for this beautiful ancient city, a still-thriving, vital community, and it's historical importance. Despite the intense heat that day, we loved walking up and down the maze of old cobble-stoned alleyways, discovering new views and vistas at each turn. We were enthralled from the beginning to the end of our visit. Diego is the best ambassador Toledo could possibly have. Don't even think about who to use in Toledo; Diego is your man!

Here is the contact info to Diego's travel agency:

VisiToledo

Rodrigo de la Torre

www.visitoledo.es

info@visitoledo.es

(+34) 655 88 02 77

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1. Re: Toledo Spain Private Guide

Can you tell me more about the tour? I looked at the website and it looks like you have to design your own tour. What did you pay for your tour with Diego? Did he determine the itinerary?

Tarzana
3 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: Toledo Spain Private Guide

It was a very detailed tour. Diego not only mastered the history, but was able to present it in a very interesting and entertaining manner. He and his family is so well-connected in Toledo for generations.

If you let him know of any special interests, he will certainly incorporate them into the tour, and I did mention a few things we wanted to cover, but he basically has a well-designed tour which I'm sure he uses as a template, then adjusts to the particular needs of his clients. We preferred to do and see as much as possible which involved a lot of walking on cobblestones up and down hills. We stopped at a casual, but very good cafe where he knew everyone, but if you're a foodie, Toledo is considered the gastronomic capital of Spain, so you can spend a couple hours just dining. We were only there for the day and wanted to experience as much as possible. BTW, see if he'll unlock the small mikveh for you to see in addition to the one he's excavating.

The tour was from 9 am until he dropped us off at the train station around 4 pm.

I don't remember what he charged; it wasn't the least expensive, but you're paying for his vast knowledge, his entertaining presentation, his passion and connection to Toledo and its rich history, and his professional skill. We also tipped him well at the end because he was worth every penny. If you're only going to do this once, and especially if you have an interest in Jewish history, he's your man.

Hope this helps.

Malaga, Spain
Destination Expert
for Malaga, Andalucia, Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Seville
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3. Re: Toledo Spain Private Guide

This post interested me because Diego's tour seemed to be very good. So I called the VisiToledo travel agency to find out details.

The English tour given by Diego goes to three places:

1. San Ramon Church

2. El Transito Synagogue

3. The Cathedral

The price is 180 euros. The tour takes about 3 hours. Trip Advisor gives this tour high marks.

London, United...
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for Costa de la Luz
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4. Re: Toledo Spain Private Guide

It seems that the cost for 3 hours is quite high. I think I paid €15 to join a mainly Spanish speaking tour covering more places including those 3 listed above such as the El Greco sights and the guide was brilliant over the course of just over 3 hours.

Of course some people will be happy to be guided to those 3 places and have an intimate session however I am seriously wondering why Diego's tour is that limited and question the information just posted as it does seem that this local guide can offer flexible tours.

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