Best Things to Do in Segovia – Day trip from Madrid
Looking for the best things to do in Segovia on a day trip from Madrid? Here you have my Segovia Travel Guide for the best trip ever.
Table of contents
- 1 Segovia, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
- 2 How to get to Segovia
- 3 A brief history of Segovia
- 4 Things to do in Segovia
- 5 Segovia Tours
- 6 Tradition and food
Segovia, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
It´s not a coincidence that thousands of local and foreign tourists visit this city every day. There are plenty of things to do in Segovia in one day.
There are many things to see in Segovia. Few cities brag about such a similar artistic and monumental richness and the remarkable variety of cultural attractions.
Full of charm and history, Segovia is a World Heritage City since 1985, with unique landmarks like the Roman aqueduct, amazingly preserved through its more than two-thousand-year-old history, the Cathedral, and the Alcazar.
The city can be explored on foot. You can easily walk to the main monuments and other points of interest. This official tourist map will help you in your visit to Segovia.
Have you already decided to visit Segovia? Keep on reading my travel guide to discover what to do in Segovia.
How to get to Segovia
Segovia is located less than 60 miles (96 kilometers) away from Madrid, so a Madrid to Segovia day trip is mandatory for most of the tourists visiting the capital of Spain.
It’s much more convenient for the visitors as you don’t have to plan anything or worry about how to get to Segovia and how to return from Segovia to Madrid.
The agency will take care of transportation, and you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel. Besides, the detailed explanations of the guide will make the experience much more rewarding.
Book the Madrid to Segovia day trip here to get the best price. Don’t worry if you cannot finally make the trip, as you will get a full refund if you cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
A brief history of Segovia
Segovia is situated on a promontory which allowed for easy defense.
It is believed that, although Segovia’s roots are Celtiberian, the splendor of these lands came with the Roman Empire during the second century B.C.
The main purpose of the construction of the Segovia Roman aqueduct was to carry water from the mountains to the city.
Following the crisis of the Roman Empire in the 2nd Century, the Romans started to enclose their imperial possessions with walls. It is thought this was the origin of the Segovia Wall.
The city was abandoned during the Islamic invasion of Spain centuries later, until the Christian Reconquest, which was carried out by Alfonso VI in 1088.
Segovia became home to the Royal Court when Alfonso X The Wise established the Alcazar of Segovia as his residence. Besides, Isabella I la Catolica was crowned Queen of Castile in the church of San Miguel on December 13th, 1474.
The old city of Segovia and its Aqueduct were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1985.
Things to do in Segovia
Segovia has some of the best landmarks and monuments in Spain, unique in the world. Its cultural and monumental richness and the closeness to Madrid makes it perfect for a one-day visit from the capital of Spain.
Unique and magnificent, the Roman Aqueduct is the foremost symbol of Segovia. You cannot miss one of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts in the world, an extraordinary masterpiece.
There are many other things to see in Segovia apart from the Aqueduct though.
You will be astonished by the Segovia Cathedral, one of the last Gothic cathedrals built in Europe in the mid-16th century, and the amazing Alcazar, which inspired some of the most famous Walt Disney films.
The Aqueduct is the symbol of Segovia and one of the most spectacular legacies of the Roman Empire in Spain. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
It has been amazingly preserved through the more than two-thousand-year-old history of the monument. It’s 9 miles (15 kilometers) long from La Acebeda to the Alcazar, of which 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) is made up of 167 arches.
Although the date of construction cannot be definitively determined, it is believed that the aqueduct was built during the Flavian dynasty, from the second half of the first century to the early second century under Emperors like Domitian, Nerva, Vespasian and Trajan in order to carry the water to the city.
The Aqueduct is the most important architectural point of interest in Segovia, preserved in excellent condition.
This masterpiece of hydraulic engineering can be divided into three main stretches:
The Aqueduct is wider at the lower part, becoming narrower as it gains height. This solution allows the Aqueduct to support its own weight.
The about 25,000 granite blocks used in the construction of the monument were held together without any mortar. They were raised using ropes and the blocks were bound together due to the ingenious equilibrium of forces.
It has barely suffered any modification through the ages. The first reconstruction of the aqueduct took place during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. A total of 36 arches were rebuilt, with great care taken not to change any of the original work or style.
There is an Aqueduct Interpretation Centre in the Royal Segovia Mint, a modern interactive space with multimedia content, subsidized by the Town Hall of Segovia and the European Economic Area.
The cathedral is located in the Plaza Mayor of Segovia and is one of the last Gothic cathedrals built in Europe.
It is considered an architectural masterpiece and is known as “The Lady of Cathedrals” due to its grandeur and harmony on dimensions.
The construction of the church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, started in the mid-16th century during the reign of Carlos V. It was built after the fire in the old Romanesque cathedral, which was in front of the Alcazar, in the year 1520.
It is 105 meters long, 50 meters wide and 33 meters high and marks the boundaries between the Plaza Mayor and the Jewish Quarter.
Inside, the numerous stained glass windows and the Altarpiece, designed by Sabatini, made of marble, jasper, and bronze, and dedicated to the Virgin of the Peace, are particularly remarkable.
The choir, which preserves the Gothic set of chairs of the old cathedral, is surrounded by two baroque organs.
You will find 18 chapels on the inside, decorated with important paintings and sculptures, especially the Chapels of El Santisimo Sacramento and San Andres.
On the outside, facing west, you will find the main façade.
The Museum of the Cathedral has notable works by Pedro Berruguete, Sánchez Coello, and Van Orley, and the Cathedral archives preserve the first book printed in Spain, the Sinodal de Aguilafuente.
The visit to the Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Segovia. Check the official website for actual information on hours and rates.
Alcazar of Segovia
The Alcazar is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful castles in Spain.
The first documented record of the fortress dates back to the year 1120, around 32 years after the city of Segovia returned to Christian hands, although it may have existed earlier.
It was built on top of a rock due to its original military status and was the residence of Alfonso VIII.
It was restored and expanded numerous times from Alfonso X to Philip II reign in the 16th century when it took its current appearance, unique among Spanish castles. The construction was one of the favorite residences of the monarchs of Castile and a key fortress in the defense of the Kingdom.
The Alcazar was originally built as a fortress but has also served as a Royal Palace, a prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy.
The design of this prototypical fairy-tale castle inspired Walt Disney’s vision of the famous Snow White’s castle.
The Alcazar is one of the best landmarks in Segovia. Check the official website for actual information on hours and rates.
Segovia City Wall
A substantial part of the Wall that surrounded Segovia in medieval times, starting at the Alcazar fortress, still stands and retain 3 of their 5 original gates, San Andres, San Cebrian, and Santiago.
Interestingly, it was built mainly of granite blocks but gravestones from the old Roman necropolis were also used in their construction.
The wall is one of the best points of interest in Segovia.
With more than 2 miles (3 kilometers) long, it was built using traditional techniques. Most of the Wall, towers, and turrets are made with limestone stones. Alfonso VI increased the perimeter of the Walls when he retook the city from the Arabs.
The Door of San Andres was the most robust and fortified of all the 5 original gates and communicated within the walls with the Jewish quarter.
You can also go up to the parapets, where there are magnificent views of the Jewish quarter, the city’s medieval military architecture, and the Jewish necropolis.
The Jewish Quarter
The first records of the Jewish population in Segovia date back to the 13th Century, when there was a peaceful cohabitation with the other communities.
Although the Jews in Segovia did not suffer the same persecution as in other cities in 1391, the situation changed in the 15th Century.
The Jews of Segovia were accused of trying to desecrate a sacred form inside the Sinagoga Mayor and the Jews were forced to live in a specific part of the city, the first Jewish Quarter, until the expulsion decree dictated by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492.
The Jewish Quarter in Segovia is perfectly preserved, and a stroll along these charming streets is a must-see in your Madrid to Segovia day trip.
These are, in my opinion, the best churches in Segovia. Don’t skip them if you visit Segovia:
These are the best museums in Segovia, main points of interest in your one-day visit:
It houses an exhibition on his professional career, as well as a copy of the bust of the poet by Emiliano Barral can be found in the garden.
Esteban Vicente is the only Spanish member of the first generation of the New York School of American Abstract Expressionism.
The Royal Mint still conserves its hydraulic infrastructure intact and is the oldest example of industrial architecture still existing in Spain.
There is not a better way of discovering Segovia than on a guided tour. These are the best Segovia tours for a one-day visit from Madrid:
Hot-Air Balloon Ride over Segovia
Are you searching for unique experiences on your trip to Segovia from Madrid?
You can enjoy birds-eye views of the best landmarks in Segovia, like the Aqueduct, the Cathedral, and the Alcazar. The captivating explanations of the guide will make the experience even more rewarding.
The experience is perfect for a one-day trip from Madrid, as you can choose the option of round-trip transportation in an air-conditioned minivan from your hotel in the capital of Spain.
You will love every stage of the trip. You will feel the adrenaline while your brightly colored hot-air balloon is inflated, when you climb into the balloon’s basket, and you start to ascend into the air while hearing the roar of the gas flame.
The one-hour ride over one of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts in the world, and the rest of the historic constructions is one of the best things to do in Segovia, and it will allow you to capture exclusive panoramic photographs.
To finish the trip, you will receive as souvenirs the tour video in HD, photo and a flight certificate, and you will be taken to your hotel if you have chosen this option.
Book the trip now to guarantee the availability and get the best price. Don’t worry about the unexpected, you will get a full refund if you cancel at least 24 hours in advance, and in case of poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
Segovia and Toledo Full day trip
This full-day tour visits two UNESCO World Heritage-listed cities in one day, Segovia and Toledo departing from Madrid.
Visitors will discover the most remarkable landmarks of Segovia, previously mentioned in this post, and Toledo, like the Cathedral and sacred Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.
You will love the guided walking tour through the medieval city of Toledo and the amazing landmarks of Segovia.
At the end of the day, return to your vehicle, and relax during the journey back to Madrid, where the Toledo and Segovia tour concludes.
Segovia and Avila Full day trip
Discover both cities Ávila and Segovia on this full-day tour from Madrid.
Visitors will be able to explore these sensational cities on a guided walking tour in English around Segovia and Avila, a beautifully preserved medieval city which was the birthplace of the Spanish mystic Saint Teresa, in the 16th century.
Stroll through the ancient streets of Segovia and Ávila, where you will visit the Basilica de San Vicente, the 12th-century cathedral and the stunning 11th-century walls surrounding the city.
In this one-day tour from Madrid, you will discover the best things to do in Segovia and Avila.
At the end of the day, return to Madrid where your Avila and Segovia tour concludes at the start point.
Tradition and food
You should be quite hungry after all this sightseeing, and you cannot finish your trip to Segovia without tasting some of the gastronomic specialties.
There are plenty of restaurants all around the city, especially in Plaza del Azoguejo and close to the Plaza Mayor, where you can taste the local gastronomy in a terrace while enjoying the good weather in Segovia.
The suckling roast pork in the Meson de Candido and José María restaurants is famous around the world. It´s a tradition to carve the crunchy skin of the pork with the side of a plate in front of the customers as it came out of the oven. If you don´t know where to eat in Segovia, both restaurants of Segovia are excellent choices.
The popular Segovian recipe of suckling roast pork mainly relies on the product itself, with just the added condiments of salt and pepper. This highlights the top quality of the raw materials used in the elaboration of the recipes.
While roast suckling pig is the most famous gastronomic attraction of Segovia, the suckling lamb and the giant white beans of La Granja are excellent choices too.
Best restaurants in Segovia
There is a wide range of restaurants in Segovia where you can eat all the local specialties as well as other typical Spanish dishes.
As your visit to Segovia will probably be of just one day, I recommend you to taste the traditional cuisine of the province. I personally love the suckling lamb but the suckling roast pork is considered the icon of the local cuisine. The beans are an excellent alternative too.
If you don’t know where to eat in Segovia, these are my recommendations for the best restaurants in Segovia:
From his Inn of Azoguejo, Cándido provided his hospitality for over half a century.
As he presented the piglets he had cooked, he proceeded to carve them with the edge of a plate. This ritual, which currently has become a tradition, served to promote the business and contributed to making it famous worldwide.
Currently, Alberto Cándido, his son, preserves this legacy and continues with the family business. Mesón de Cándido is one of the best restaurants in Segovia.
Experts in gastronomy consider the restaurant to be a classic of the cuisine of Segovia which combines a traditional atmosphere with a creative and modern touch.
Hundreds of tourists, as well as locals and visitors from other parts of Spain, enjoy its food every day.
To get the best suckling pig in Spain, José María created his own breeding farm with raw materials of exceptional quality. Vegetarian options are also available in the menu.
The restaurant brings together the traditional cooking of Segovia with modern cuisine, always using the outstanding local products. In El Bernardino, the tradition of the suckling pig in Segovia is preserved.
The 15 minutes walking from the Aqueduct are worthy due to excellent traditional and homemade cuisine and the high quality of the service.
Will you try any of the best restaurants in Segovia?
I hope you have enjoyed this post with the main things to do in Segovia. You can do the trip on your own, but I strongly recommend you to book a tour to Segovia from Madrid with hotel pickup and drop-off.
Forget about planning and unexpected. You will be picked up at your hotel, a professional guide will give you all detailed explanations of the landmarks in English, you will receive sensational souvenirs to always remember the experience, and at the end of the day, you will be taken from Segovia to Madrid and be dropped off in your hotel.
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