An ancient city dating back to before the Roman times, Segovia is a beautiful place sitting between two rivers, less than 100 km from Madrid. It is considered to be one of the richest cities in Spain in terms of monuments and is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage City.
Segovia is not a big city , however it’s still a must-see sight to visit in the Iberian Peninsula. It’s situated in central Spain’s region of Castile and León . Different civilizations have called Segovia home over the centuries; and the locals, known as segovianos, welcome the visitors with a variety of cultural and culinary traditions.
I assure you there are many things to do and places to explore in Segovia, but if you’re short on time & planned a day trip, then you need to prioritize.
1. Walk around and under the Aqueduct
This impressive construction is the most iconic landmark in Segovia. It’s made the Castilian city world-known and is even the main motif of the town crest.
The Aqueduct was built by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago to carry water from the River Acebeda to the city along 16km (almost 10 miles).
It’s one of the most well-preserved constructions of its kind in Europe, which is impressive if you think how it was built. The 20,400 blocks stay in their place due balance of forces without any mortar or cement between them.
The best place to appreciate this marvel is the Azoguejo Square or Plaza del Azoguejo, where the Aqueduct reaches 28m (92 feet) height. A walk between one of the 120 pillars will make you feel tiny in comparison.
2. Visit Plaza Mayor and the Cathedral
Like any other Spanish town or city, Segovia has its own Plaza Mayor. Situated in the heart of the walled city, this main square hosts the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain. Located in the main square, the Segovia Cathedral is equally magnificent, with spires rising into the sky.
The construction of the church took almost 200 years and it has three doorways: the Puerta del Perdón; the entrance of Juan Guas and the San Geroteo; and the San Frutos Doors at the southern face.
San Miguel Church is just opposite the cathedral and was built in 1558 to replace the previous building that tumbled down years before. Isabella l of Castile was proclaimed Queen in this temple when Spain was just about to start leading as a world power.
But Plaza Mayor isn’t just about churches, there are loads of pubs to sit outside and have a caña (draught beer) and tapas while contemplating the arcades and cute coloured houses around the square.
3. Visit the Alcázar
It’s said that two different castles inspired the design of Walt Disney’s fairy tale Cinderella palace: Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany and the Alcázar of Segovia in Spain.
Take one look at its blue-gray turrets, protruding fortress, and rocky cliff foundation, and you’ll have castles from Cindrella, Alladin, Tangled and Beauty & the beast score pop right into your head It has a history far preceding the world of Disney, however – dating all the way back to the early 12th century – first as an Arab fort, then as a palace, housing many a king, then eventually a prison, and finally a military academy. Today it is a museum and archive open for the public to enjoy
Situated at the west side of Segovia, the Alcázar is best admired from the distance; and one of the best places to do that is the viewpoint at Pradera de San Marcos. If you decide to go inside and learn about its history, you can get a ticket that gives you access to the living quarters, the Artillery Museum, and a Tower that boasts impressive views of the city of Segovia.
4. The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso This magnificent palace lies 11 kilometers from Segovia in the little town of San Ildefonso, nestled in the Sierra de Guadarrama. The town is a popular weekend retreat for the people of Madrid because of its gorgeous natural setting. In the early 18th century, Philip V chose San Ildefonso as the site for his palace modeled on Louis XIV’s Château de Versailles. Built between 1721 and 1739, the palace beautifully imitates the Baroque style of the famous French palace.
Visitors can see the Throne Room and other apartments decorated with superb Flemish, French, and Spanish tapestries. The palace has an exquisite church that contains a red marble tomb of Philip V and his wife Isabella Farnese. Surrounding the palace are extensive formal French gardens with beautiful fountains.