History in abundance, Segovia, Spain
Spoilt for choice
Segovia truly is a wonderful city to visit, it feels like there is an historical story around every corner. So, it will come as no surprise that the ‘Old Town’ of Segovia and its awe-inspiring aqueduct, was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.
Segovia is quite a small city and fairly easy to cover on foot.
There is an Alcazar at one end of the town so do expect a hill, although this is reasonably gradual as you stroll through the mainly pedestrian town.
If you don’t happen to be on a road trip in this area don’t worry, just add on an extra day to a Madrid mini break. It is very accessible by bus, train or an organized tour from the capital city.
The main artery
When you first arrive in Segovia you’ll instinctively be drawn towards the unmissable Roman feat of engineering, the aqueduct. As you head near the Plaza del Azoguejo you will be astounded by the Roman giant that appears in front of you.
So much to say, and so much to see, so I wrote a separate post on this 2,000-year-old aqueduct.
Start creating your own Spanish adventure and discover its historical towns and cities for yourself, easyJet & British Airways are just a couple of options.
King of the Castle
Although Segovia is probably most well-known for its Roman Aqueduct, the main reason that this was built, was to supply water to the fortress that lie at the other end of the town.
Since the Romans settled here towards the end of the 1st century AD, this high lying craggy rock has evolved into the splendor it is today. The Alcazar of Segovia, this Royal Palace sits prominent like a bow of a ship overlooking the surrounding plains.
If you get the opportunity, the Alcazar is a lovely place to be when the evening sun is setting.
Romanesque to Gothic
Segovia has some lovely peaceful plazas tucked away from the madding crowds. But the central family gathering scene of Plaza Mayor is one not to be missed.
This wonderful spatial plaza has a central focal point of a bandstand, but pride of place in this ancient setting and the most prominent structure is Segovia’s Cathedral.
Purportedly the last Gothic style cathedral to be built in Spain. Construction started on this amazing place of worship in 1525 and was consecrated in 16th July 1768.
The original Romanesque cathedral was situated adjacent to the Alcazar, but was destroyed during the Comuneros War in 1521.
The Cathedral has a three nave floorplan, 20 chapels and a bell tower that reaches 90 meters high. The serene 15th century cloister was transferred stone by stone from the original Cathedral.
The ancient walls encircle the historic quarter and provide some amazing views across the Castile-Leon region of Spain.
Weaving between the lanes and alleyways you’ll be welcomed by some wonderful architecture and numerous examples of medieval Romanesque style churches. In particular is San Esteban church, with is prominent bell tower.
A helpful guide
There are so many incredible places to discover in Spain and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Eyewitness books, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
On the outskirts of Segovia is the Vera Cruz church which was founded by the Knights Templar in 1208. The church takes its inspiration from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the origin of the Templar Order.
This church once housed a piece of the Vera Cruz (True Cross), this now resides in the nearby village church of Zamarramala.
This is an amazing example of a Templar church and has a 12 sided floor plan. One of the best viewpoints to see this church, is from the Alcazar high above.
In this region of Spain, a local delicacy is ‘cochinillo’- suckling pig. I appreciate that this is not to everyone’s taste or ethics, but when in Rome…
As we knew this was a specialty, we pre-booked a restaurant Meson De Candido adjacent to the aqueduct. Sitting under the stars and being overshadowed by the 2,000-year-old monument.
We were not to be disappointed, we witnessed the suckling pig ‘splitting ceremony’. The delicacy is served in an earthenware dish and the cook armed with a plate, makes precision slices into the cochinillo with the plate, before smashing it on the floor.
Perhaps a bit theatrical but none the less entertaining.
After dinner we took a tranquil walk amongst the amazing aqueduct arches.
Our accommodation for the 3 nights we were in Segovia, was at Hotel Real Sirenas. This hotel is in a very central location in a pedestrian area, in the heart of the old town.
We were driving so it was interesting manoeuvring around the streets to locate it.
Our advice is to use GPS only as a guidance, as the roads are narrow and you need to park a short distance from the hotel.
The hotel has secure off-site parking; you will temporarily leave your car and the hotel will park your car for you.
The parking is €14 per night.
Cáceres here we come
The next step on our road trip was Cáceres in Spain’s Extremadura region. Prior to this stop we visited Avila, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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Inspired to visit Segovia?
We were, and we were not disappointed. It certainly was one of the highlights of our trip.
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