Best Things to Do in Segovia – Day trip from Madrid

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.

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.

  • In my opinion, Segovia is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and should be a must-see on your trip to Spain. And it’s the perfect destination for a day trip from Madrid!

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.

  • But Segovia is famous not only for its monuments but also for its excellent gastronomy. The roast suckling pig, the leg of lamb, and beans of La Granja are examples of this traditional cuisine.

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.

  • You can get Segovia by car, coach, and train, but in my opinion, the best option is to book a day tour to Segovia from Madrid with a bilingual guide in Spanish and English.

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.

Things to do in Segovia Day Trip from Madrid

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.

  • The Middle Ages saw the apogee of Segovia, as an important center of trade in textiles. Numerous Gothic and Romanesque constructions were built and its cloth industry grew, as well as the Jewish population.

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.

Visit the Aqueduct of Segovia is one of the best things to see in Segovia

Roman Aqueduct

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.

  • The highest point of the construction is 28 meters in the Plaza del Azoguejo, which usually is the starting point of the visit to Segovia, and where you can appreciate the excellent conservation of the arches and pillars. It is one of the best things to do in Segovia.

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 outer stretch where the water is collected and began its course to the city.
  • The urban stretch is the elevated channel, masonry, and arches for channeling and distributing water.
  • The final stretch continues beneath the streets of the historic quarter.

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.

  • Two niches can be found in the higher point, one on each side of the Aqueduct. One of them is known to have held the image of Hercules, who, according to legend, was the founder of the city. The Catholic Monarchs placed images of Saint Sebastian and the Holy Virgin.

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 of Segovia is one of the best landmarks in Spain

Cathedral

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.

  • The actual name is “Santa Iglesia Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción y de San Frutos” and it has a three-nave floor-plan with transept covered with a dome.

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 bell tower, one of the most notable elements due to its height (almost 90 meters), is a privileged sightseeing point to the city. Facing north, you will find the Door of San Frutos, built in honor of the patron of the city at the beginning of the 17th century.

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.

The Alcazar of Segovia is one of the most remarkable points of interest in Segovia

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.

  • The fortress became the Royal residence in the 13th century, and from whose tower, Alfonso X studied the firmament.

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.

  • I strongly recommend you to climb to the top of the tower due to the magnificent views of the city, the church of Vera Cruz and El Parral monastery. However, take into account that the 152 stairs are quite narrow.

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.

View of the Alcazar of Segovia from a green park, one of the best day trips from Madrid

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.

The Alcazar an the Walls of Segovia are some of the best points of interest in Segovia

Churches

These are, in my opinion, the best churches in Segovia. Don’t skip them if you visit Segovia:

  • Church of the Vera Cruz. This Templar church of 1208 has a twelve-sided floor-plan distributed around a central room. It is inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
  • Convent of the Corpus Christi (Former Main Synagogue): It has been a sacred place for both the Christian and Jewish religions, as it was used as the principal of the five synagogues in the city until 1410. Nowadays, it houses a convent of the Order of Saint Clara.
  • La Santisima Trinidad Church: Built in the mid-12th century, it is amazingly preserved. You will find on the inside a Gothic chapel and important artworks by Ambrosius Benson or Giacomo di Pontormo.
  • San Esteban Church: The arcade and the tower were declared National Monument in 1896. It stands out for its beautiful tower of 56 meters, the highest of this style in the Iberian Peninsula.
  • San Millán Church: One of the most important temples in Segovia, with a beautiful tower built in the 11th century. Inside, It is worth contemplating the Romanesque-style main altar.
  • San Juan de los Caballeros Church: This Romanesque-style church belongs to the late 11th century and currently it houses the museum of the Zuloaga family, with a collection of ceramic pieces and documents.
  • San Justo Church: Close to the Aqueduct we can find a hidden jewel of the Romanesque architecture. The collection of magnificent paintings in its apse is noteworthy.
  • San Martin Church: Famous for the Mudéjar tower and the arched gallery. On the inside, it exhibits a Flemish Gothic chapel.
Segovia tour from Madrid is one of the best one day trips from Madrid

Museums

These are the best museums in Segovia, main points of interest in your one-day visit:

  • Antonio Machado House. At number 5, Calle Desamparados, you will find the pension where the poet Antonio Machado stayed for 12 years. The house still preserves the same furniture and the room he occupied remains untouched.

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 Museum of Modern Art. The museum is housed in the palace of Henry IV dating from the mid-15th century and contains an exceptional collection of works by Esteban Vicente, who was sent into exile due to the Civil War.

Esteban Vicente is the only Spanish member of the first generation of the New York School of American Abstract Expressionism.

  • Museum of Segovia. The museum was created in 1842 and the collection contains around 1,500 exhibits on archaeology, ethnology and fine arts. It’s worth highlighting two Celtiberian statues, the Roman mosaics, and the collections of coins.
  • Royal Mint. The Royal Mint was founded by Philip II and built by Juan de Herrera between 1583 and 1586. It also holds the Aqueduct Interpretation Centre.

The Royal Mint still conserves its hydraulic infrastructure intact and is the oldest example of industrial architecture still existing in Spain.

Segovia Tours

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:

The Hot-Air Balloon Ride over Segovia is the best Segovia tour

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.

  • Many visitors have already enjoyed the hot-air balloon ride over Segovia. You will get back home with remarkable photographs and videos that immortalize these magical sights.

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.

  • After the hot-air balloon ride over Segovia, you will enjoy a typical Spanish brunch and glass of sparkling cava.

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.

The Toledo and Segovia tour is one of the best activities for your trip to Madrid

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.

  • You will enjoy the convenience of comfortable round-trip transportation and gain valuable insight into the history and culture of these historic cities from a professional guide speaking in English.

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.

The Segovia and Avila toor is one of the best things to do in your vacations in Madrid

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 cuisine is excellent in Segovia due to traditional cooking and the top quality of the local products. Tasting the local gastronomy is one of the best things to do 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.

  • The traditional sweets and desserts are a must, don’t skip the famous ponche Segoviano, a sugar-glazed cake.
Candido and Jose Maria are some of the best restaurants in Segovia

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:

  • Mesón de Cándido. in the shadow of the aqueduct, Mesón de Cándido is famous around the world for its roast suckling pig.

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.

  • Close to the Plaza Mayor, José María restaurant is, since 1982, one of the best places to eat traditional food in Segovia due to the great quality of the service and the raw materials.

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.

  • El Bernardino, in Calle Real, between the Aqueduct and the Cathedral, was founded in 1939, becoming one of the oldest restaurants in the city.

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.

  • Taberna López. Located in the San Lorenzo neighborhood, away from the most touristic areas.

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.

Keep on reading my Madrid travel guide and my list of featured day trips from Madrid to find other remarkable points of interest to visit on your trip to Spain.

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