Segovia is a town of 52,000 people (2018) in Castile and Leon. The city is famous for its historic buildings including three main landmarks: its midtown Roman aqueduct, its cathedral (one of the last ones to be built in Europe following a Gothic style), and the castle, which served as one of the templates for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle. The city centre of Segovia was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
The economy of Segovia revolves around metallurgy, agriculture, furniture, construction and, particularly, tourism. The town plays host to thousands of day-visitors from Madrid each year due to its popular attractions.
Buses between Segovia and Madrid (Moncloa bus station) run once or twice an hour, taking one hour, fare €10. Buses also run to Avila (one hour) and Salamanca (3 hr 30 min). The bus operator is La Sepulvedana. Segovia bus station is on Paseo de Ezequiel Gonzalez, 300 m south of the Aqueduct.
Segovia has two railway stations, both to the south of the city.
- High-speed AVE trains use the new 1 Segovia-Guiomar railway station, 5 km away. These take 30 min to Madrid Chamartin and 40 min to Valladolid, fare €15 one-way. They run every hour or so, more often for commuters mornings into Madrid and evenings coming out. The AVE station has frequent buses to the centre (€2): Bus 11 to Plaza Artilleria beneath the Aqueduct, and Bus 12 to the main bus station, both every 20 min.
- Segovia's old station is only 1 km from the centre, but nowadays has only two trains per day. These are regional trains taking two hours from Madrid Atocha, via Chamartin and Cercedilla, fare €9 one-way. Bus 8 runs past the railway station to town centre.
The nearest airport is Madrid Barajas, 100 km south - change at Chamartin between Metro and mainline trains.
The walled Old Town is easily accessible on foot. Most of it is pedestrianised, and no traffic passes beneath the Aqueduct, which thus divides the city. At the foot of the Aqueduct east side in Plaza Artilleria is an underground parking lot (€2/hr). Bus 9 starts from here to make a circuit of Old Town, daily every 30 min from 11:00 to 19:30, fare €1. West side in Plaza del Azoguejo is a Tourist Information Centre, with another in Plaza Mayor.
- 1. This Aqueduct was built to supply water to the Roman fort and settlement here, probably around 100 AD. It used to gather water from Rio Frio, in the mountains 17 km south, flowing to the south edge of town to be stored and filtered. From there it turns and makes its spectacular leap across the valley, 28.5 m above Plazas Artilleria & del Azoguejo, to enter the Old Town. You can't walk on the structure, the best vantage point is at the head of the stairway into Old Town at Postigo del Consuelo. It's often floodlit at night.
- The easiest way into the walled Old Town from Plaza del Azoguejo is to walk up Calle Cervantes. Halfway up, note Casa de los Picos ("The House of the Points"), a 15th-century mansion with a facade studded with granite pyramids.
- 2. The Cathedral was built in Gothic style between 1525 and 1768, but with font, choir and cloister recycled from the destroyed previous cathedral. Open Nov-Mar 09:00-17:30, Apr-Oct 09:00-18:30. Entry €3 including cloister and museum, €7 to also climb the tower.
- 3 Museo de Segovia, Calle Socorro 11, ☏ , [email protected]. Su 10:00-14:00; Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 plus (Oct-Jun) 16:00-19:00 and (Jul-Sep) 17:00-20:00. Contains artefacts, models, and art related to the history, culture & lifestyle of the city and the surrounding region. €1.20.
- 4 Alcázar. Daily Apr-Oct 10:00-20:00, Nov-Mar to 18:00. Built around the 11th century, with the current facade added by Phillip II. The interior is decorated in a variety of styles including Romanesque, Gothic, Mudejar, and Renaissance. It's variously hosted the royal court of the Trastamara Dynasty, Isabella the Catholic, the wedding of Phillip II, and the Spanish Artillery Academy. The full entry ticket includes Palace, Artillery Museum and Tower of Juan II. Scenes from Orson Welles film Chimes at Midnight were filmed here. Full entry €8.
- 5. It is an 18th-century palace in the small town of San Ildefonso, 13 km east of the city. Formerly the royal summer residence since the reign of Philip V, the palace is in a restrained baroque style surrounded by 1500 acres of gardens in 18th-century French manner. A bus may run here from Segovia, but you probably need your own transport. It's open Oct-Mar: Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, Apr-Sep: to 20:00. There's a Parador next to the palace.
Ski: Two small resorts in the hills nearby are Puerto de Navacerrada and Valdesqui.
You can buy nice pottery, typical not only of Segovia but of Castile as a whole. Take a look at the botijos, for storing fresh water.
Segovia cuisine is typical of Castille. Favourites are slow-roast suckling pig (cochinillo), roast lamb, veal & beef, sausages, fish (notably verdel, smoked mackerel), judiones bean stew, and salads. For afters, typical deserts are ponche segoviano and natillas.
Budget & quick eats:
- Cafeteria Orly, Bajada del Carmen, 2, ☏ . M W-F 08:00-23:00, Sa Su 12:00-00:00. Bar & coffee shop.
- Confiteria El Alcazar, 13 Plaza Mayor. Daily 10:00-20:00. Sweet sweet sweets, surly service.
- Lots and lots of Tapas places.
Mid-range & splurge:
- Mesón De Cándido, Plaza Azoguejo 5, ☏ . Daily 13:00-16:30 & 20:00-23:00. Renowned meson under the Aqueduct.
- Restaurante Jose Maria, Cronista Lecea, 11 (near Plaza Mayor), ☏ . Daily 09:00-01:00. An excellent meson, booking essential.
- El Sitio, Calle de la Infanta Isabel, 9, ☏ . Daily 09:00-03:00. Great tapas bar downstairs and a restaurant upstairs.
- Casa Duque, Calle Cervantes 12 (near Aqueduct). Daily 12:30-23:30. Rich selection of traditional Castilian fare.
Out of town:
- The Parador restaurant is excellent, see "Sleep" entry.
- La Postal, C/ Sacramento 22, Zamarramala (2 km north of Segovia), ☏ . M-Th 09:30-18:00, F-Su 09:30-00:30. Views of Segovia and great food & drink.
- La Venta Vieja, Highway N603, km 80, Ortigosa Del Monte (S edge of Ortigosa, 10 km west of Segovia). 24 / 7. An excellent (but pricey) meson in the plains of Castille.
- Restaurante Marcial, Ctra. Nac. 110, Km. 227. Villacastin. Su-F 06:00-22:30. This is near the junction of N110 between Segovia and Avila, and A6 from Madrid towards Leon. Very good meals.
Try the red wine and the "Ribera del Duero" in particular. There are also good white wines which are perfect with a good fish dish. If you have to drive, the bottled water is also excellent. Moreover, for people who like them, strong liquors are offered at the end of a good meal, after the almost mandatory coffee. Segovia city also has the DYC whisky distillery. The 8-year-old whisky has a good reputation among the local population.
Near the Plaza del Azoguejo you will find a number of nice bars.
- Hotel AR Los Arcos, Pº Ezequiel González, 26 40002 Segovia, ☏ .
- [dead link] Hostal Sotopalacio, C/ Segovia 15, ☏ . 12 rooms in central comfy hostel.
- Hostal-Bar Plaza, C/Cronista Lecea 11 (Just off main square), ☏ . Clean, comfortable rooms, nearly hotel quality.
- Parador de Segovia, Ctra. de Valladolid (on hillside 4 km N of centre), ☏ . 4-star parador in modern building with views, excellent restaurant and pool. Free parking for guests.
- Ávila, 70 km west, is a charming walled old city. Another 100 km northwest brings you to Salamanca.
- Old cities of Castile and Leon are Valladolid, Burgos, and Leon.
- El Escorial is easily reached off the road south to Madrid.
- Reaching Barcelona, the Med coast, or Andalusia will involve travelling via Madrid.