Hi there! We are planning a trip to Toledo from Madrid.. All the tour offerings are mind boggling with so many mixed reviews. Should we take a tour or do on our own? Recommendations are appreciate.
Being one who likes to move along at my pace rather than a guide’s, I’d opt to see Toledo on my own. With a little research you can find out about all the main sights and choose the ones you care to visit and skip those you’re not interested in. The bridge of San Martin is very nice and has a legend tied to it. The Pozo Amargo (bitter well) is near the cathedral, only takes a couple minutes to visit, and also has a legend tied to it. Reading the legends will enhance visiting those two sights.
On a day trip, I think you'd be fine with a good guide book and walking yourself around town. The town is easy to navigate on your own. However, when we arrived at the train station in Toledo we were asked by a taxi cab driver if we wanted a tour for 15 euros. We were just planning to take a ride up to the cathedral on a very hot day, but with his offer he drove us to some of the famous spots overlooking the town from across the river, we picked up what we could about the area with our poor Spanish skills, and then he dropped us off near the cathedral. It had the virtue of being quick and cheap, leaving us the vast majority of our day to explore on our own and at our own pace which was our preference. That was money well spent.
I'd be driven nuts by a tour to Toledo because I like to set my own pace and do a lot of wandering. I spent multiple days there in 2016 (there's lots to see), and I took advantage of the bracelet deal marketed by the tourist office. I was unable to find an official website in English, but this one will provide basic information: https://pulseraturisticatoledo.sacatuentrada.es/en/productos/descripcion/la-pulsera-turistica-de-toledo
There are seven secondary but lovely sites included. At the time of my visit there were bilingual tours offered at a bunch of them, usually twice a day (so you had to pay attention to the timing). I think they may handle it differently now; the Spanish website I found seemed to indicate that you can take a tour of four of them (presumably being escorted from place to place, which is helpful in maze-like Toledo) and then see the rest on your own. It appears that the tour costs a bit more than just buying the bracelet (which is only 10 euros--quite a value), but the tour would be worth it to me, assuming that English explanations are included.
You wouldn't need to make any purchase in advance; just stop at the tourist office when you get to Toledo to check out the deal.
You'd want to visit the Cathedral, and it's not included in the bracelet. Nor is the El Greco Museum.
Someone pointed out in an earlier thread that there's at least one big advantage to buying a ticket for the little tourist (pseudo-)train. It makes a loop outside the historic area and stops at a great viewpoint that provides a wonderful photo opportunity. I didn't do that myself.
Many Thanks for your recommendations! You have cleared the muddy waters. I believe we will be on our own schedule in Toledo and do our own thing with our trusty RS guidebook in our hands. THANK YOU!