Segovia is undoubtedly one of the most stunning cities in Spain. Perched on a rocky hilltop, this walled city soars high above desert-like plains in the historic region of Castile and León. Despite being located on an isolated hill, Segovia is surprisingly easy to get to.
Whether you’re planning a day trip to Segovia from Madrid
or want to spend a couple of days in this amazing city, here’s a quick guide to help you make the most of your visit.
If you’re based in Madrid, you can get to Segovia in just 30 minutes via the AVE high-speed train. The train station in Segovia is in the middle of nowhere, so you’ll need to get a bus to the city centre. The bus journey from Madrid to Segovia takes a bit longer – around an hour – and the fares are much cheaper.
Book your tickets in advance, especially if you’re travelling on a budget, just in case they’re pricey on the day you’re heading out. I booked mine on GoEuro
, where I could compare train tickets and bus fares on different days and plan my itinerary accordingly.
WHERE TO STAY
I highly recommend spending a full day in Segovia so that you get to see the city lit up at night and experience its romantic ambience. If you want to spend a night in Segovia, there are plenty of guesthouses in the old town. I stayed in Hostal Don Jaime
, a typical Castilian B&B located just around the corner from the aqueduct and the bus station.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN SEGOVIA
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Segovia is famed for its historic buildings, which include an ancient Roman aqueduct, a Disney-like castle and an impressive Gothic cathedral. The city’s old town is quite compact, making it possible for visitors to see the main attractions in just one day.
1. Wander around the picturesque Plaza Mayor and Plaza de Medina del Campo
You can easily explore Segovia’s main attractions without spending any money. If you’re a curious wanderer, start by talking a walk through the winding lanes of the old town, venturing into deserted side streets and the creepy church of San Martin. Make sure to stop in Plaza de Medina del Campo to admire the Plateresque facades of the buildings around the square.
Plaza Mayor, the city’s main square, is a great place for absorbing the local atmosphere. Lined by cafes and bars, Plaza Mayor is a hive of activity by day and night.
2. Visit the cathedral
Located in Plaza Mayor, this massive, 16th-century Gothic Cathedral is an architectural wonder. It is is the last of its kind to be built in Spain and stands on the same spot where Isabella was crowned Queen of Castile. You don’t need to go inside the Cathedral to admire its magnificence – in fact, the exterior is far more impressive than the interior.
The cathedral is home to various treasures, including rare manuscripts, 16th and 17th-century paintings and beautiful Flemish windows.
3. Explore the Jewish Quarter
If you want to get away from the crowds, go for a peaceful walk through the narrow medieval streets of the Jewish quarter. This historic district on the southern side of the city is often overlooked by visitors. The presence of Jews in the city of Segovia dates back to 1215 and lasted for 300 years, until Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492.
As you walk through the Jewish quarter you can see the remains of synagogues (many of which have been turned into churches) and a Jewish cemetery, as well as other buildings that evoke the city’s Jewish past.
4. Marvel at the massive Roman aqueduct
The elevated, well-preserved Roman aqueduct of Segovia is the reason thousands of tourists visit Segovia each year. Built around 112 AD, the aqueduct measures up to 28 metres and stretches for 728 metres, and remains largely intact. The best way to take in its grandeur is by going up the steps by the side of the structure, where you will also get breath-taking views of the city and the looming mountains of Sierra Guadarrama.
If you’re spending the night in Segovia, make sure you get to see the aqueduct all lit up in Plaza del Azoguejo. This is where locals like to hang out in the evening.
5. Step inside the Alcázar
Segovia’s stunning castle looks like it’s been conjured from the pages of a fairy tale. Originally built as a fortress by the Berber Almoravid dynasty during the Muslim era in Spain, the Alcázar has served as a royal palace, a state prison and a military academy.
Shaped like the bow of the ship, the fort still bears some of its Moorish features, despite having been renovated several times throughout the centuries. The castle’s interior is equally impressive, with many beautiful rooms and halls. Tickets to get into the Alcázar are just 5 EUR.
6. Go up the tower of Juan II for jaw-dropping views
If you pay an extra 2 EUR when visiting the Alcázar, you get access to the tower of Juan II, where you get a panoramic view of the entire city – if your survive the never-ending spiral staircase, that is. You’ll need a few moments to catch your breath once you get to the top of the tower, and be prepared to be blown away by the staggering vistas of the city and the surroundings.
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