A day trip to Segovia from Madrid was what we sisters needed to experience the glorious history of Spain. The mixed culture of Roman, Arabic, Jewish and Gothic history makes the old town a special place to explore and clearly the day spent here took us back in time.
Segovia supposedly founded by Hercules is located in the Castille and Leon region and is about 30 minutes journey from Madrid through the high-speed train from Chamartin station (about 10 minutes from the city centre) and costs around 20 Euros for a round trip. A 15-minute bus (bus #11 for 1 Euro) journey from the train station took us directly to one of the main town square, Plaza Del Azoguejo, where the famous Roman Aqueduct is located.
The moment we caught site of the Aqueduct we were in awe of the magnificent structure. Built somewhere around the 1st Century, the Aqueduct supplied water from the Fuente Fria river to the city. The structure is considered to be a masterpiece of Roman Hydraulic Engineering built with unmortared granite blocks forming 167 arches and reaches its tallest height at the Azoguejo Square (93ft 6in). It was fascinating to learn that the Aqueduct was functioning until mid 19th century and has been maintained in excellent condition. It was declared as a national monument in 1884 and UNESCO declared it as World Heritage Site along with the old city in 1985.
Obtaining the city map from the tourist information center at the Square, we started our journey into the town. Climbing the steps on the left of the Aqueduct we reached the top where we could get a top view of the monument. The narrow path leading to the interiors of the old town showcases a number of beautiful buildings of the medieval age and we were quite happy to get lost among the cobbled streets enjoying the picture perfect surrounding.
As we walked towards the old Jewish Quarters we stumbled upon a 12th century San Martin Church which had a beautiful façade, however the church was closed for visitors for the day and we had to contain ourselves with looking at the exteriors of the old church. Our next stop was the old Jewish quarters, which houses the Corpus Christi Convent, main synagogue until 1410 and was important one in the Jewish Community and the Andres Laguna House (Jewish Quarter Visitor Centre). The palace provides an insight on the Jewish Quarters and the Jewish culture.
To the right of the Jewish Quarters is the main town square, Plaza Mayor where the Cathedral of Segovia, also called, “Nuestra Senora De La Asuncion Y San Frutos Cathedral” is located. This is one of the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain and displays the impressive Basque-Castilian architecture. We spent good part of early noon walking along and admiring the chapels built inside the cathedral and clicking generous amount of pictures to take back home. The entry to the Cathedral costs about 3 Euros, which we believe is worth every penny if you are interested in exploring the Gothic Grandeur of the Cathedral.
After having a relaxing lunch of paella at one of the restaurants in Plaza Mayor, we made our way to the famous Alcazar. Originally an Arab Fortress, built over the remains of the Roman Fort has been the Royal Palace where the Queen Isabelle I of Castille resided. Also the wedding of King Philip II to Anna of Austria was held in the palace.As we walked through the beautiful rooms of the palace we couldn’t help ourselves from imagining the life of the Princesses who lived in this castle, truly a bliss to enjoy this beautiful surrounding and it isn’t a surprise why this was one of the favorite residence of the Kings of Castille.
The entry fees to the castle including the Tower costs about 4.50 Euros. The Alcazar and the Segovia Cathedral are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the city.
As we finished our castle tour we decided to walk along the City Walls through the San Andres Gate also known as “Socorro Arch” which leads back to the Aqueduct. The Plaza Azoguejo has some great restaurants where you can sit back and enjoy the busy tourist town. After our tour we decided to put our travellers hat down and enjoy some yummy almond chocolate crepes at the Café Farggi at the Plaza.
The day trip to Segovia costs around 45-50 Euros person and we would suggest taking time to explore this rustic little town and get a break from the Madrid City.