The city of Toluca is the capital of the State of Mexico and while the city itself is not particularly exciting, the historical center is. Dubbed “Toluca la bella” (Toluca The Beauty”) in the past by its inhabitants, the city is center showcases a Colonial grandeur that will simply mesmerize you.
The main plaza, the Plaza de los Mártires (“Square of the Martyrs”) is highlighted by the main cathedral – a splendorous one which you can enter and wander about freely. Located on the square are also the government palace and the Justice Palace. Parallel to the main cathedral is a smaller church coloured in yellow called “Iglesia del Carmen“.
Walk a bit to the left of the main cathedral and you’ll find yourself in Los Portales, (“the portals”), composed of sets of arches where many stores and restaurants are located, including “La Vaquita Negra Del Portal“, a classic torta place where you can delight your taste buds.
El Templo de la Merced is a well-preserved ancient convent which shows architectural styles from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries such as baroque and Neoclassical.
Also in the center is the Cosmovitral, an enclosed botanical garden built in a Art Nouveau and Neoclassical style. It showcases over 400 species of plants from around the world. But that’s not it – the building features stained glass windows (the largest in the world) featuring different figures that symbolize the human search for light, the good and the wisdom in order to elevate the spirit.
Close to Toluca is one of Mexico’s largest volcanoes, the Nevado de Toluca.
If you happen to be in Mexico in late October, make sure to visit Toluca to the Feria del Alfeñique, a weeks-long Day of the Dead Festival held inside Los Portales. Here, you will find authentic Day of the Dead goodies.
Buses to Toluca can be taken from Mexico City at bus stations such as "Central Norte" and "Observatorio" for roughly $60 pesos.