If you happen to be in the Capital of Spain and are a bit of an old-building junkie, then you 100% need to take a day trip to Segovia from Madrid. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Segovia has three major landmarks, first and foremost is the infamous El Aqueducto or the Aqueduct of Segovia, as well as the Alcazar of Segovia and Segovia Cathedral. Of course, the Aqueduct takes the glory, but there are a ton of other things to see and do in this ancient City.
There are several myths surrounding the creation of the Aqueduct. One says that it was formed by Hercules, the son of Zeus, another legend says it was built by the Devil himself!
The City of Segovia was given UNESCO status as a World Heritage site in 1985. It’s not just the three iconic landmarks that make a day trip to Segovia so worthwhile, the city also boasts an old Jewish quarter and a load of stately homes all with the beautiful backdrop of the rolling countryside.
Segovia gets really busy with tourists, often by the coach load, so to make the most of the city start reasonably early. If you’re after Instgrammable shots without the masses, then the earlier the better!
The Iconic Aqueduct of Segovia
Aqueduct of Segovia was built by the Romans between the 1st Century AD! it’s massive, so you really can’t miss it, but if you are unsure head to the Plaza del Azoguejo to see it. If you’re after a visitor information centre (Centro Recepción de Visitantes), this is also where you’ll find it.
Although having undergone some minor repairs and renovations over the years, particularly in the 1990s, the Aqueduct is still in full working condition and is still used today to deliver drinking water! I wonder how many modern builds will be around and still working in 2000 years’ time! The most-well preserved section of the Aqueduct is at the square, the other sections (particularly if you head out of the town and up the slope are a little less well presented, but impressive all the same.
The main section of the Aqueduct you see is part of a much larger network of other aqueducts and underground canals. They brought water from the mountains more than 15 km away.
Great places to take photos from are, naturally, under the arches, but to get a different perspective of the arches, take the Postigo steps up to the lookout point. The steps are to the side of the Information Centre on Plaza del Azoguejo. If you catch the sun in the early morning, or late afternoon the Aqueduct casts a fantastic shadow over the Plaza del Azoguejo.
It was also fun giving my sister a lesson in how to take a hair-swish selfie, which features in loads of my travel photos. Although a little apprehensive at first, with her saying that she felt like an idiot and that too many people were watching, she embraced the selfie and gave it a good shot. She did alright, didn’t she? Well done sis!
The Aqueduct is made up from approximately 25,000 granite blocks, each one weighing up to two tons, the scary thing is that there is no mortar to hold them together! It is over 813 metres long, which is made up of 4 straight sections, the highest point of the Aqueduct, at the square, reaches around 29metres. Although the information given differs somewhat, it has around 220 pillars and between 160-170 arches!
The Gothic Style Segovia Cathederal
The Plaza Mayor is the central hub of old Segovia, and as well as another Tourist Information centre is where you will find the 16th Century Segovia Cathedral. The Cathedral is covered in gargoyles, carvings and loads of intricate details and if you’re into your technicalities of historic buildings the style of this Cathedral is Basque-Castilian Gothic architecture. Whatever the technical name, it’s a stunning building.
Quintessential Fairytale Caslte of Segovia
Like all Fairytale castles, the Alcazar of Segovia is built high upon a rocky outcrop between two rivers, the River Erasma and the River Clamores. With two courtyards, Rapunzel style towers topped with witch-hat like roofs and a keep the castle. The name Alcazar comes from the Arabic word ‘al-qasr’
The castle was first documented in 1122, and over the centuries went through rebuilds until 1862 when the castle was destroyed in a fire. It was rebuilt.
Loads of castles name claim to this, that they were Walt Disney’s influence for Cinderella’s Castle and Alcazar of Segovia is one of them! Another contender to this claim is Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, you can see for yourself why they both claim their allegiance to the Walt Disney creation, click on the title below.
Admire the City Walls
Aside from the ‘big three’ that frequently take all the glory, the Walls of Segovia which surround the city are also something to marvel at too. At the time of completion, the Walls of Segovia stretched a perimeter of 3 kilometres, containing eight towers, along with five gates and a multitude of doors they are impressive!
Interesting fact – The blocks used to build the walls are mostly granite, but they also recycled parts from the old Roman Necropolis, and reused gravestones!
Try a Ponche Segoviano at Limón y Mente.
The Plaza Mayor is surrounded by a multitude of cafes, restaurants and bars, but one, in particular, stood out when we visited. Limón y Mente. They serve a local sweet treat called a ponche Segoviano. Essentially, it’s a sponge cake, with a sweet sticky filling inside and then covered in Marzipan before being dusted with icing sugar. Don’t fall for the eyes-bigger-than-belly feeling which we regrettably did by ordering one each. The cake is incredibly delicious but VERY sickly – I’m sure I could feel my teeth rotting as I ate it! They also serve ice cream, pastries, and good coffee.
Check out the panoraamics
The Alcazar is surrounded by swathes of countryside, so if the weather is fine it’s worth taking full advantage of this as well as getting some decent panoramic photos of the castle and the Walls of Segovia from a different perspective. This is walkable from the old town although it will involve a steep climb if you have to come back up to Segovia Old Town – just think of the leg workout you’re going to get.
From the Alcazar, take the signposted steps down and head out of the town. Cross over the bridge and towards Mirador de la Pradera de San Marcos. Keep walking out of the town, towards the pretty archway Puerta de Arevalo. Next to the archway, you will see a footpath which leads over a little bridge to a lookout point Mirador del Alcazar y los dos Valles and a little further along the trail, Mirador del Último Pino.
Getting to Segovia from Madrid
When we visited, we travelled to Segovia by car. The easy way is to Satnav it, but to get to Segovia from Madrid take the A6 motorway out of the city. Continue on the AP6 and then the AP61. You’ll see signs for Segovia. There are loads of car parks in Segovia (or if you visit on a Sunday, you’ll find free street parking- just remember to check the signs!) The journey takes about 1hour 20minutes.
If you are going by public transport, then there are numerous buses to get to Segovia from Madrid. Alternatively, take the train from Madrid Chamartín station to Segovia Guiomar it takes around 30 minutes, from Segovia Guiomar then catch the bus into the city centre.
Segovia from Madrid should certainly be on your to-do list while in Spain. It’s a stunning city with enough old stuff to keep any ‘ruin junkie’ like me happy for at least a day! I wish I had time to explore some of the other lesser, places of interest. I will most defiantly be back to this City soon!
I’d be interested to hear of other beautiful cities near to Madrid, so please comment below if there is somewhere you think I would like. If you enjoyed this post please like, share and pin.