When you travel to Madrid, you will be faced with quite a selection of interesting places to visit. One landmark after the other, and you will soon discover what makes Madrid such an important tourist destination. You will soon realize the reasons why it is included in most lists of the best cities to visit in Europe. While discovering the wonders of the center of Madrid, you will admire impressive architecture and buildings housing apartments in the center of Madrid. You will get to enjoy the local cuisine, visit museums, have a walk in the park and take photos on famous squares. All those and plenty of other activities are available to you when visiting Madrid.
People often spend most of their time in the center, especially if they find an apartment to rent in the center of Madrid, but if you decide to explore the area a bit more, you will find some hidden gems that will take your breath away. One of those places is Segovia, a town you should visit while staying in Madrid.
Segovia is a town located 50 miles northwest from Madrid. This means that you can visit the city if you rent a car, or you can take a bus (a journey will take up to an hour) or a train (30 minutes if you take a high-speed train or two hours by the regular train). The most convenient way is to take a bus, because there are one or two buses between Segovia and Madrid every hour, with the return ticket being around 15 Euros. If you travel with small kids, renting a car might be great option to organize a trip or taking the high-speed train, as this greatly reduces the time spent traveling. On the other hand, a bus journey is the best one is terms of costs, plus the buses leave quite often, so you will always have an option to leave or return whenever you plan to.
This vicinity and convenient transport make Segovia a perfect destination for a day trip during your stay in Madrid. It is best to leave in the morning or some time before noon, in which case you will have the entire day to enjoy exploring Segovia. It is a nice opportunity to take a break from the busy streets of the central district, but it still is a landmark worth visiting.
Segovia is well-known for its Old Town and Aqueduct, so it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Aqueduct was built by the Romans in the 1st century AD. It was used for military supplies. The Old Town contains a lot of historic buildings and monuments, as well as religious sites. The number of buildings of Jewish origin is also notable, and one of the most important sites is the Jewish cemetery, El Pinarillo.
Other things you need to visit in Segovia include:
Aqueduct of Segovia
Located in the Plaza del Azoguejo, the Aqueduct is one of the most important things you should visit in Segovia. It is a leftover from the Roman times, and as such, it is a remnant of the centuries-old history of Spain. It is also considered an engineering accomplishment, an extraordinary endeavor made centuries ago which is still used to deliver drinking water. It is impressive the way the stone blocks are placed on top of each other, with no advanced technology used. No adhesive materials to keep the blocks together, no heavy machinery to drag and raise the stones to the position. And yet, the Aqueduct still serves its purpose, hundreds and hundreds years later. Not only is it a monument that has endured through all this time, it is also considered to have special architecture beauty which is typical for the Roman times.
Alcazar of Segovia
Alcazar is a royal palace between the rivers Eresma and Clamores. The first existence of the palace is documented in the 12th century, but the exact date when the palace was built is not confirmed because it is suspected that it had been there for much longer. Besides two towers and a keep, the construction also has two courtyards. Once popular residence among Spanish kings, this palace now houses the General Military de Segovia and the museum of the Royal School of Artillery.
Walls of Segovia
The area where the town of Segovia exists today was known battlefield in ancient times so it is believed that the Walls of Segovia originate before the time Alfonso VI of León and Castile retook the city from the Arabs in the late 11th century and the beginning of the 12th century. Its main purpose was to keep the boundaries and prevent people from taking over other territories. During the Alfonso’s reign, the Wall’s perimeter was enlarged to 3 kilometers. Today, the Wall encompasses an important historic quarter of the city with three gates: San Cebrián, Santiago, and San Andrés.
As you explore cities in Spain, you will soon discover that there are numerous cathedrals around the city, with strong a influence of Gothic style. What makes Segovia Cathedral unique is that it is believed that this is the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain. It has become a significant piece of Spanish architecture with 18 chapels and three doors. Recognizable Gothic style and adorned exterior, typical of the constructions style used for cathedrals in Spain, can also be seen on Segovia Cathedral.
Other things to visit in Segovia
Parks and gardens
Alcazar Gardens is the most famous garden in Segovia, built on the ruins of the Old Cathedral. It was created in the 18th century to host the marriage of Philip II. It was expanded in the beginning of the 19th century, only to be destroyed by fire a couple of decades later. Today, the garden is completely renovated and it is a place you definitely want to visit while in Segovia. Another garden you should consider is the Garden of la Merced which is considered to be the most beautiful garden in Segovia. The Paseo del Salon is one of the oldest gardens in the town of Segovia. If you happen to visit Jardinillos of San Roque Garden, you will see an amazing fountain inside the garden, as well as a pavilion dedicated to the Feria de Muestras. As you explore Segovia, you will discover even more small parks and gardens within the boundaries of the town.
Although the most remarkable Spanish museums are located in Madrid, with their extraordinary collection of masterpieces, Spain is known as a country with rich cultural and artistic heritage. This means that a lot of museums in other cities have collections of their own, with impressive pieces of cultural and historical value. There are a couple of museums you can visit while you are in Segovia:
- The Museum of Segovia
- The Gastronomic Museum of Segovia
- The Museum del Pasado
- The Museum of Witchcraft
- The Museum of Arms
- The Museum of the Contemporary Art Esteban Vicente
- The Museum of the Walls of Segovia
Festivals and other events
The word MUCES is an acronym that is used for the annual film festival organized in Segovia since 2006. It is usually organized in November and its purpose is to promote European film, especially those films that are not commercially screened.
· San Frutos
Hosted each October 25, the purpose of the festival is to celebrate the patron saint of Segovia. The day starts with the Carol of San Frutos being sung in the Cathedral, followed by numerous activities in the town including a proclamation, a concert by the band of the Segovia Musical Union, etc. Numerous activities are also organized in the days before the actual celebration, so the festival is actually taking place for a couple of weeks each October.
· Virgin of the Fuencisla
Segovia also celebrates its patroness. This celebration is taking place in September. The festivities take place over several days, but the biggest celebration day is organized during the last Sunday of the month. There is a traditional ritual that is followed during the September, starting with a novena, and ending with an impressive route from the Cathedral Shrine accompanied by the cadets of Artillery Academy and the Band.
· San Lorenzo
Organized at the beginning of the August, this celebration is devoted to one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city.
Squares and other buildings
Segovia also has a lot of interesting squares and streets, which you will come across as you walk around the town and explore these amazing landmarks. These are all the places that had some role in the history of the town, usually as places where people gathered with some common purpose. The most notable ones include:
- Plaza del Azoguejo
- Jewish Quarter
- Calle Cervantes
- Puerta de la Luna arch
- Church of San Martin
- Casa de Los Picos
- Plaza de la Merced
- Plaza Mayor
All of these places you will find in the central historic part of the town, which is where you will spend most of your time while in Segovia.
Other activities in Segovia
While historic places and cultural sites are what makes Segovia worth visiting, there are other activities to do on your day trip to Segovia. Start by trying the local cuisine. There are a lot of restaurants near the Plaza Mayor, as well as in the area near the Cathedral and the Plaza del Azoguejo. It is recommended that you try out traditional Spanish dishes. One of those is Cochinillo, a roasted suckling pig. Everyone raves about this dish, and you will see a lot of reviews online featuring Cochinillo as one of the things to do while in Segovia. Cordero, roasted lamb, salads with vegetables and cheese, judiones, a big bean stew, as well as tapas, are all dishes Segovia is known for. Wine is also popular, especially red wine, as well as whiskey, having in mind that the town also has DYC whiskey distillery. After all, eating and drinking is a perfect way to wrap up an exciting day of sightseeing before you have to head to the bus or train station and leave Segovia.
Once you get back to your apartment in the center of Madrid, you will be overwhelmed by the impressions of this town that will charm you with its beauty, historic and cultural value. Even though you will be interrupting your visit to Madrid to go an hour drive away from the center of the city, it is still worth the time. It is a town that has had such an immense importance in Spanish history, which has also influenced the life in Madrid over the centuries. Even though it seems secluded, it will actually feel like a part of Madrid’s charm is transferred to this town.