I visited the Cathedral of Toledo on a day-trip to Toledo, as part of my 7 full-day visit to Madrid, and enjoyed it a bit - unfortunately, the cathedral has been transformed into a (well-organised but comparatively very expensive) tourist attraction which has drained it of charm.
The optional 'tower climb' that I also did was very unfulfilling and offered city 'skyline' nowhere near as good as what I enjoyed later in the day...
I have compiled extensive individual Trip Advisor 'Trip Lists' for both my day-trips to Toledo and visit to see the sights of Madrid, they are entitled respectively 'Toledo Day-Trip from Madrid Oct 2013' and 'Madrid Attractions (+ Toledo/Segovia Day Trips) : 7 Full-Day Visit Oct 2013'. Please feel free to access them via my TA Profile (by clicking my TA 'name' below the photo on the left of this review) and links in each TL. I hope that they are of interest and use to you and that all of my individual reviews/photos/videos get posted properly; don't forget that videos aren't posted with the review like photos are, so it's best to locate them via my TA profile....
Attracted by the often laudable reviews, I joined the many others visiting Toledo to make this my first destination as I hoped that it would make the perfect introduction to my visit; I'm sad to say that it didn't, and I actually left rather annoyed for a short period - until a series of other attractions that I then visited 'restored' my enjoyment.
Like most attractions in Toledo, it costs to visit the 'Cathedral of Toledo'; for my visit I bought the combination visit/tower climb ticket, which includes an informative audio guide.
On entering the cathedral I was struck at how devoid of charm it was, not helped by the throng of people walking around - often in large groups being bellowed at with 'stock' information by their tour guide.
Any feeling of this being a religious building has, in my opinion, long-disappeared and instead been replaced by an impression of it being a large, well-preserved, tourist attraction. Unfortunately, the behaviour of some reflected that situation, with not only loud tour guides but people happily standing in front of the often attractive decorative features, not looking at them or even posing for a photograph but gazing intently at the screen of their mobile phone....
As already mentioned, the interior is well-preserved with some interesting features - but I found nothing which marked it out and certainly not justifying the EU11 entrance fee (which included the tower climb). The arced roofs and centrepiece altar area are attractive and interesting, but if your view isn't blocked by a 'texter' it might be still hampered by steel bars - unfortunate 'protective measures' no doubt necessary for a popular tourist attraction, but out of keeping in a cathedral nonetheless ?
At least views of anything above ground-level are unhindered, so you can still enjoy completely the wooden ceilings and stained glass work for example.
The unappealing air I got on visiting continued with the tower climb, which was nothing more than 'accompanied' by someone who checked tickets/unlocked doors to gain access to the small viewing area, which WORSE STILL offers hampered outside views via small windows which are all covered in obtrusive metal bars etc - a complete rip-off; if you're still with me than read on to learn of a MUCH better option.
Flash-free photography is allowed, so I will add example photos to this review - but none from the rooftop as I didn't take any as the views were useless !
The ticket office area features a well-stocked gift shop with some very worthwhile/attractive items.
By all means visit Toledo cathedral, but DON'T do the optional tower 'climb'. Instead, visit the 'Iglesia de San Ildefonso (Jesuitas)' - as it is known in TA, also referred to as 'Iglesia de los Jesuitas' (see my review/photos /video). Firstly see the attractive interior and then enjoy the fantastic, largely unobstructed, long-distance views from the expansive open rooftop walkway - probably in peaceful solitude like it was for me....
I continue to be baffled by not only how much more 'popular' Toledo cathedral is than any other attraction in the city, but how well it has almost completely 'cornered' the market in attracting tourists to gain a city view from it's tower.- when in my opinion the entire (expensive !) 'experience' is managed rather shabbily AND the views from the top of the tower are poor/obstructed.
The cathedral is attractive from both inside and out, but it is not that special - certainly nothing to justify it getting more TA reviews than the next 12 or so Toledo attractions combined !
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