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Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 | 70 comments

Segovia: Aqueduct, Cathedral and Alcazar

We spent several days on Madrid because of multiple reasons.

First, we wanted to absorb the capital’s atmosphere and get a good taste of it.

Second, I had the desire to accommodate two day trips from the city.

A good handful of beautiful and historical towns lie within close distance of Madrid.  Thanks to the high speed trains, some of these towns can be reached in less than an hour.

I started my days venturing outside Madrid by choosing Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage city famous for its breathtaking monuments.

However, travel can be synonymous of adventure.  When you are up for an adventure, well, a lot of things can happen.

Turns out we decided to visit Segovia on October 12.  As many of you know, in the New World, that is when the Discovery of America is observed.  The surprising thing, and I say surprising because I wasn’t aware, is that that day is a holiday in Spain too.  They celebrate the Spain’s National Fiesta. Go figure!

Well, because of the celebration, a lot of the trains making the Madrid – Segovia route were full.  We weren’t presented with many options and ended up choosing a schedule that gave us only 5 hours in the city (including transportation form the bus station to the city center and viceversa).

And that’s not it! Thunder storms were forecasted for the day.  Plus, have you seen all those photos I have posted about Madrid’s culinary scene?  Let’s say that didn’t settle very well in my stomach.

___

All my worries disappeared when the bus stopped at the Plaza de la Artilleria.  Segovia welcomes you with its majestic Aqueduct.  This engineering work dates from the first and second centuries.  Scholars estimate 25,000 granite blocks, held together without mortar, make up the structure.

Aqueduct, Segovia, Spain

I was so stunned by the Aqueduct.  I couldn’t believe I was right below a structure that I have seen so many times in pictures.

Aqueduct, Segovia, Spain

As much as I wanted to contemplate the Aqueduct for hours, we had to keep moving.  We got a map of the city on the tourist center and started to move towards the Alcazar, located on the other side of town.

Aqueduct, Segovia, Spain

The narrow streets of Segovia are so charming.  The color palette is on the warmth side but brightness still shines through.

IMG_7038

There are many interesting architectural features on the Jewish part of town.

There are also several viewpoints from where you can observe the tiled roofs and the open spaces surrounding the city.

Old Town, Segovia, Spain

At a given moment, the cupolas of the Cathedral start to peek through the slender alleys.

Old Town, Segovia, Spain

The streets open up to accommodate the Plaza Mayor.  The views in here are dominated by the massive Cathedral.  This Gothic masterpiece, consecrated in 1768, had 18 chapels and has three doors.

Cathedral, Segovia, Spain

The structure is so big that you have to walk around to see the tower.

Cathedral, Segovia, Spain

Cathedral, Segovia, Spain

Even though the Cathedral deserves a lot of attention, I think it is advisable to take a look at the other buildings surrounding the plaza.

Cathedral, Segovia, Spain

Old Town, Segovia, Spain

Old Town, Segovia, Spain

The slim streets take over again once the Playa Mayor is left behind.  After a slight incline, I was happy to see the entrance to the Alcazar.

Many years ago I bought a book titled “Castles of the World.”  The Alcazar of Segovia was one of the first structures listed in the book.  I think this is when I annotated the Alcazar on my mental bucket list.

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Once I was standing in front of the structure, the moment felt surreal.

The Alcazar is a royal palace built on a stone peninsula between the rivers Eresma and Clamores. It is documented for the first time in 1122, although it may have existed earlier and it is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape – like the bow of a ship.

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Unfortunately, when walking from the city, you see the Alcazar from behind.  In order to see the structure in its entire splendor, you have to see it from outside the city.

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

After buying our tickets, we proceeded to enter.  If the exterior left me breathless, the interior left me speechless.  The intricate work on the ceilings was beyond impressive.  The tile details were remarkable too.  We entered rooms with names such the Hall of Ajimeces, the Hall of the Throne, the Hall of Kings and the Belt Room.

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

There is an opportunity to get outside and stand on the front of the structure.  Towers, gardens and views can be admired from several points.  Everything looked so wonderful from up there.

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

In addition, we bought tickets to go to the top of the John II Tower.  The entire city (and the walls) can be admired from this viewpoint.  Notice the Cathedral Tower.

Views from the Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Once we were done with the Alcazar, we walked towards our starting point using a different route.  We still had time to go to the top of the Aqueduct.

I loved everything about Segovia but I believe the last views were the most impressive ones.  The next photo shows how the Aqueduct looks when you are getting ready to ascend.

Aqueduct, Segovia, Spain

Once at the top, this is how the structure looks.  Those are some amazing views!

Aqueduct, Segovia, Spain

Aqueduct, Segovia, Spain

Aqueduct, Segovia, Spain

Sadly, the time to depart to the train station arrived.  I am glad to report I was able to see all the places I wanted and we didn’t see a drop of rain during the entire day.  Yes, I felt pretty bad the entire day and a homeless guy asked me to take care of his dog while he go away to bed for money (no kidding!).

Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

This is by no means a comprehensive compilation of the many wonders contained within Segovia’s Wall. It is impossible to condense years of history in one write-up.  However,  I hope you consider a visit to the city if you are in the area.  I think you will not regret it.

Details

  • Trains to Segovia depart from the Chamartin Station in Madrid.
  • You can reach the Chamartin Station by Metro (there is a stop with that name).  Follow the Renfe signs to reach the ticket booth.
  • It is advisable to reserve your tickets during high season.  There shouldn’t be a problem getting tickets the same day during shoulder and low season.
  • The ride on the high speed train takes about half an hour.
  • The train station in Segovia is located on the middle of nowhere.  You need to take a bus or taxi to get to the center of town.  When in doubt, follow the other people.
  • The bus will leave you in Plaza Artilleria (in front of the Aqueduct).  Make sure to check the bus timetable.  You want to take a bus back to the station at least an hour before the return train leaves.  You can leave half an hour before if you take a taxi.
  • Try to spend as much time as possible in Segovia.  There is a lot to see and do!
  • Make plans to have lunch in the city and try the area specialties.
  • The visitor center is located right behind the aqueduct.  Go there to get a map and find about guided excursions.
  • One of the best (and free) guides to Segovia (city and province) can be found on Maribel’s Guides site.

Views from the Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Have you been to Segovia?

Pin it for later?

 

Segovia: UNESCO city famous for its Aqueduct, Alcazar and Cathedral. Things to do and places to go if you only have one day in the city.

70 Comments

    • Thank you! Love the photos that capture the aqueduct from the top.

    • You are right! It is truly spectacular.

  1. Mesmerizing scenes. So well framed.
    I was there a few months back and your pics revived my memories! 🙂
    Happy OWT!
    Indrani recently posted..Jeronimos Monastery, LisbonMy Profile

    • The city is very pretty and interesting. Would have liked to spend more time there. Plus, I have read about other great places to visit in the province.

    • That is great! I will like to do a road trip on my next trip to Spain.

  2. Great photos! I had heard of these places, but I don’t think I’d seen many pictures so I enjoyed learning more about them. Alcazar looks particularly beautiful.
    Karen recently posted..Food and Fortunes in AsakusaMy Profile

    • The Alcazar is a gem. So glad I had the opportunity to visit.

    • Yes, I think it is worth to stay overnight. There are several guided tours offered by the tourism office and they have a very reasonable cost (I thing it is like 20 Euros, which is very affordable when compared to guided tours in general). The cuisine of the province is unique and there is a royal palace located nearby (La Granja).

    • Thanks Lyndall! I was in a complete state of awe when I was in the city.

    • Hello! Glad to know you have enjoyed the post.

    • I know it may look like a kid put some rocks together but it has been up for 2,000 years. The Romans were master builders and engineers and they knew about the strength of arches.

    • Thanks Camila! I am glad I had time to do everything I wanted. I would have liked to explore more of the old city.

  3. Amazing views and an awesome place to visit. Great series of photos. Thanks for sharing your trip! Have a happy week!
    eileen recently posted..La Push, WashingtonMy Profile

    • Eileen, it great to share photos of the trip. Spain has so many awesome places and it is difficult to narrow down which ones to visit.

    • I know! I still want to take a look at certain places in the province.

    • Thanks Jackie! Segovia is a very photogenic city.

  4. Hi Ruth. We did the same thing – did two day trips from Madrid. I really wanted to do three but couldn’t fit in Salamanca. The other was Toledo. Luckily we had an easy time with transport although it did rain whilst in Segovia. We ran out of the rain into a small restaurant which was nice. We loved the castle and it’s views. I didn’t realize it looked so lovely from outside the city. I was surprised by the longish or was it slow, bus trip from the train station. We went to Segovia to see the aqueduct and I’m glad we did it is as your shots show spectacular!
    budget jan recently posted..Trinity Beach and Beyond in Tropical North QueenslandMy Profile

    • Jan,we went to Toledo too! I also wanted to visit El Escorial and Avila. After returning home, I found out that it is possible to do day trips to Cuenca and Salamanca. You can go crazy doing all these excursions. Each of these towns is unique.

  5. WOW! I feel like an idiot, but I’ve never heard of this amazing city until I came across this fantastic post! It’s the latest addition to my travel bucket list, thanks to you! I’ll need at least a few days there…maybe even at least week!

    THANKS! 😀
    Trekking with Becky recently posted..The Biggest 500 Year-Old KitchensMy Profile

    • Hello Becky, I am happy Segovia has gotten your attention thanks to this post. It is a great place full of history and incredible monuments. You can spend days there and keep discovering new angles and details.

  6. My goodness, Ruth, Segovia is an absolutely beautiful city! I hope to visit Spain one day and I’ll definitely try to visit this city to the places I wish to see. Amazing architecture and history.

  7. Wow! These are stunning pics – all of them! Love the ones of the aqueduct from the top, but they’re all great, and I went back to look through them again several times.
    Ruth Daly recently posted..The Cyprus DiariesMy Profile

    • Thanks Ruth. There was so much to photograph in the city. Then, the different areas kept getting my attention under the changing light conditions. Glad I pushed and was able to visit.

  8. I LOVE Segovia! It’s one of my favorite day trips from Madrid [there are so many to choose from]. I love your pictures of the aqueduct! That’s my favorite! Such an incredible structure and I can’t believe it’s still there!
    Lauren recently posted..Lauren on Location’s getting a MakeoverMy Profile

    • Lauren, I do not know how you can go wrong by choosing Segovia as a day trip. You really feel like in a fairy tale when in there.

  9. Stunning photos Ruth, the architecture is simply breathtaking! – Tasha
    Natasha recently posted..Thankful ThingsMy Profile

    • Thanks Tasha. So nice you liked the different structures scattered around the city.

  10. Ruth these are incredible photos! All of it – just amazing. I love that you share so much with us – it really gives us an opportunity to get a feel for a place.

    Thank you for sharing with us at Photo Friday!
    Jen recently posted..Photo Friday – Small Craft HarborMy Profile

    • Jen, thanks to you for stopping by week after week. Blogging is a good place to organize all my travel photos and relieve the trip itself. Then, it is an opportunity to exchange with others impressions about different parts of the world.

    • It will be great if you can make it there. I do believe it is a nice place to spend a spring break.

  11. I did visit Segovia when I was in Madrid, and love the Aquaduct. I was in Spain during what must have their coldest winter in many years. The day I was in Segovia it was brutally cold. I think I spent more time trying to get warm than actually seeing the sights! I definitely do want to return. In spite of the cold, I was charmed by the town.
    Nancie recently posted..Prague and Budapest MemoriesMy Profile

    • For what I discussed with many Madrid residents, the temperatures in the city and surrounding areas can get below freezing. For some reason, I can’t picture as a very cold place but it actually can be brutal.

  12. You did a lot in 5 hours, Ruth! I’m blown away by the aqueduct and the Alcazar.
    I’m not sure how / why we didn’t do Segovia when we were in Madrid. Thanks for giving me another reason to return to spectacular Spain!
    Marcia recently posted..Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, Pt IIMy Profile

    • Thanks Marcia! I was blown away by the aqueduct too. Hope you can visit Spain again and include Segovia in your plans.

  13. What a wonderful place! It looks like such a colorful and magical city.
    bettyl-NZ recently posted..beach scenesMy Profile

    • Betty, thanks for your words. I think they hit the nail in the head.

  14. Wow! Like you, I had read about the Alcazar and added it to the list of places I’d like to see someday, but I had never really looked into Segovia. As stunning as the castle seems, that cathedral is magnificent! Ruth, you have certainly bumped Segovia up a few notches on our bucket list! Thanks for sharing. And for all the beautiful photos. 🙂 #WeekendWanderlust
    RobRob@TravelLatte(.net) recently posted..Take Off with the Sweepstakes at SeaMy Profile

    • Rob, the cathedral is huge! Honestly, when I looked at the pictures after the trip, it looked like one of those fake backgrounds used in photo shoots. It is amazing to witness the magnitude of the structure.

  15. I have to say, I don’t like Madrid so much, I guess I’m just not a big fan of cities. But I love nearby towns, with castles etc. Segovia is a perfect example! I spent there a lovely day. 🙂
    Traveling Rockhopper recently posted..Madeira – LevadaMy Profile

    • Glad to hear that! The cities surrounding the capital are very unique. Next time, I will rent a car and explore the region.

  16. How have I never heard of Segovia? It’s so pretty in your photos. I can see why the Alcazar captivated you. I especially like the photo looking down on the elaborate garden. The cathedral and the aqueduct are incredible, too. Looks like a great daytrip.
    Michele {Malaysian Meander} recently posted..The Castle in Central ParkMy Profile

    • Well, there are a lot of great cities and towns in Europe. I guess with time you keep learning more and more about what each country has to offer.

    • Thanks Sally. You are right. The architectural mix is great.

  17. I am impressed by how many interesting and picturesque places there are in Spain. One could live there for years and never get bored, I think.

    I’ve heard of Segovia but had never seen photos until now. Seems like a great destination, if only for a day.
    Linda Bibb recently posted..Loop Head: An Alternative to the Cliffs of MoherMy Profile

    • Spain is the third country in the world with most listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites (recently surpassed by China). You can imagine the high number of worthy places to visit.

  18. I just pinned this to my travel board. We are going (fingers crossed) to Spain for the Easter Holidays–So looking forward to our trip and your tips will be helpful. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Brooke, great to hear that! Yes, I’ll be posting more about Spain in the upcoming months. Hope the trip planning is going wonderful.

  19. This post brings back so many good memories for me! Segovia was one of the first places I visited in Spain back in 2007 with my high school Spanish club. Lovely post and great pictures, thanks for sharing! Madrid is a great place to explore but also to base yourself in if you want to go on some great day trips!

    Happy travels 🙂
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted..A Private Visit of Floors Castle with Borders JourneysMy Profile

    • Now I see where you love for Spain came from. Agree that Madrid is a great base to explore around. I loved to take the train and arrive quickly to a specific destination.

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