Segovia, Spain – a World Heritage Site – is located in the region of Castile and León and is home to the Aqueduct of Segovia and Segovia Cathedral. Just a short train ride north-west of Madrid, (€20 round trip on the high speed train from Chamartin Station) this quaint little city on the other side of the Guadarrama Mountains makes for the perfect day-trip destination.
A €1 bus ride (bus #11) will take you from the train station in Segovia and drop you off right in the shadow of the great Roman aqueduct – a very impressive introduction to the city. Not only does the aqueduct function as the symbol of Segovia, it also serves to remind us just how vast and powerful the Roman Empire truly was. The granite blocks that make up the structure of the aqueduct were placed together without the aid of mortar – a reminder of the Roman’s innovative engineering skills.
Cathedral of Segovia:
“The Lady of Cathedrals” is just a short walk from the aqueduct and is located right on Segovia’s Plaza Mayor. This cathedral is truly an impressive show of Gothic (Basque-Castilian) architecture and is free to visit on Sundays (a list of confession and mass times is posted outside its doors).
Before the Spanish Royal Court settled itself in Madrid, the Alcázar of Segovia was a real palace where Queen Isabella the Catholic resided and where the wedding of King Philip II and Anna of Austria was held. The rooms of this palace turned state prison are beautiful and ornate (I don’t think I have taken so many pictures of ceilings in my life) and the windows boast lovely views of the Segovian landscape as well as the distant Guadarrama Mountains. It costs €4.50 to tour the palace and the Royal Artillery School Museum (€2 extra to climb the tower of John II of Castile).
While wandering through the streets of Segovia away from Plaza Mayor we stumbled upon the Museo Palacio Episcopal. Just €3 entrance, this museum houses some great ceramic works by Daniel Zuloaga Boneta and a meander through the sprawling rooms is a great way to escape the chilly winds of the city (if you’re visiting Segovia in the fall/winter be sure to bundle up!).
After exploring the city it was time for some tapas and wine! Our first stop was Restaurante Duque for some inexpensive cañas (small beers) and free tapas. The bar downstairs was packed full but the complimentary tapas were well worth the fight for a table (great portion sizes). Late afternoon found us once again out of the wind but this time nursing steaming cups of hot chocolate accompanied by crispy churros. After that it was off to buy some postcards and trinkets before stopping in at La Tasquina for a few rounds of wine and tapas before it was time to head back to the bus that would take us to the train.
Remember Segovia is a smaller city and most major enterprises remain closed on Sundays!