Why visit Segovia?
There are several cities in the world whose architecture has been influenced by three great civilisations: Christian, Jewish and Muslim. There are also cities whose charming stone architecture dating back to the Middle Ages has been appreciated and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. But how many of them can take pride in having a perfectly preserved soaring Roman aqueduct in the middle of the old town surrounded by 3km of stone medieval city walls? I can assure you that not many of them have a dream-like castle which served as the model for the Disneyland castle, either. In Segovia you have all these dished out on a silver plate, garnished with the friendliness of its inhabitants and served with a free tapa on the side.
If you need more reasons to find out why Segovia became one of our favourite places in the world, read on.
0 – negative experience 5 – positive experience
Segovia: the facts
Segovia, with 56,660 inhabitants is the capital of Segovia Province in the autonomous community of Castile and León. Its proximity to Madrid (92km) makes it a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the Spanish capital.
There are numerous legends about the founding of the city, involving such diverse characters as Hercules and Noah’s son. What we know for sure, however, is that Segovia, once a Celtic city, fell into Roman hands around 75BC. Abandoned after the Islamic invasion, the city gradually started regenerating and gaining more importance after the conquest of Toledo by Alfonso VI of León and Castile. Being located on important wool and textiles trading routes, Segovia reached its golden era in the late Middle Ages with an increasing Jewish community contributing to its growth. Nowadays we can still admire the versatile cultural and architectural influences of these bygone times.
Segovia’s climate can be classified as continental Mediterranean, which means it’s rather dry and the average daytime temperatures oscillate between 8oC (in January) and 28oC (in July and August). The average sunlight hours are between 3-4 (in winter) and 10-11 (in summer), and you can expect about 76 rainy days throughout the year in Segovia (with May being the wettest month).
Weather in Segovia now
Present day Segovia is a bustling tourist city with a lively student population. In November the city also holds an annual film festival (MUCES -The City of Segovia Festival of European Cinema) which gives the public the opportunity of getting to know current Europe-wide cinema.
The town of Segovia is located on a single hill surrounded by yellowish plains that reach the horizon. All the main tourist sights and hotels lie within the old town walls, excluding the Aqueduct which stretches into the modern part of Segovia. As the Aqueduct joins both parts of the city, it’s very easy to orientate yourself around it. On the southern side of this Roman invention you can find Plaza del Azoguejo with the tourist information centre; on its northern side lays Plaza de la Artillería.
Segovia Free Walking Tour
Monument & Sights Guide
Acueducto de Segovia
(Aqueduct of Segovia)
What is it? 1st century AD Roman aqueduct
Where is it? Runs for 15km from Fuente Fría river through the centre of the town
Information: El Acueducto de Segovia (Aqueduct of Segovia) is the most important and best preserved example of Roman engineering on the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the symbol of Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the unmissable focal point of the city. Construction was carried out between the 1st and 2nd century and is all the more impressive due to the fact that not a drop of mortar was used to hold the 25,000 granite blocks and 170 arches together. The Aqueduct Bridge, spanning the city centre, is its defining feature and is 818 metres long and its the highest point, right in the central square, measures an imposing 29 metres.
Casa de los Picos
(House of the Peaks)
Monument Type: Stately home
Address: Calle Juan Bravo, 33
Opening Times: Apr 01 – Sep 30: Mon – Sun: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Oct 01 – Mar 31: Mon – Sun: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. & 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Price: Free (visitors can only enter the exhibition room and Renaissance courtyard)
Information: Currently home to the Segovia Art School the Casa de los Picos is most notable for its façade, which is covered entirely by pyramid-shaped granite blocks. The building dates back to the 15th century and was constructed for the aristocratic De la Hoz family, whose coat of arms sits proudly above the balconies. The entranceway and courtyard are decorated with tiles from Talavera, which are decorated with images of some of Segovia’s most famous buildings.
Palacio del Conde Alpuente
(Palace of the Count of Alpuente)
Monument Type: Stately home / Adminisitive Bulding
Address: C/ Plaza del Platero Oquendo, 3
Opening Times: -
Information: Built at the end of the 15th century with a noticeable Arabic influence, important features include the slate built Gothic windows and sgraffito façade. Also make sure to poke your head instead in order to catch a glimpse of the stain glassed ceiling designed by Carlos Muñoz de Pablos. Today its houses the offices of the Concierge Building of Castilla y León
Plaza San Martín
(St. Martin square)
What is it? Small public square
Where is it? On the Royal road, halfway between the aqueduct and cathedral
Information: One of Segovia’s most charming squares, Plaza San Martin is located aling the Royal road and contains a statue to Juan Bravo, a leader of the rebel Comuneros in the Castilian War of the Communities of the 16th century. Other notable features include the 14th century Torreón de Lozoya (which is now used as an exhibition hall) and the wonderful Romanesque Church of St.Martin (see below)
Iglesia de San Martín
(Church of St. Martin)
Monument Type: Church
Address: Plaza Medina del Campo s/n
Opening Times: hours of worship only
Information: One of the prettiest churches in Segovia, St.Martin’s is Romanesque in style and contains one of the most beautiful Romanesque atriums in Spain, surrounding the church on three of its sides. Other notable features include the romesque / mudéjar tower with its brick arches on stone columns and the Western façade which contains one of the largest Romanesque doors in the land.
What is it? Public square, centre of UNESCO listed old town and home to Segovia Cathedral
Where is it? Almost directly between the Alcazar and the Aqueduct
Information: At the very heart of the UNESCO listed Segovia old town, Plaza Mayor is the centre of community life. Three quarters of the square is surrounded by arcades with the remaining quarter being given over to Segovia Cathedral. On the northern side lies the Town Hall, a granite building constructed in 1610, on the eastern side the Teatro Juan Bravo (Juan Bravo Theatre) and the southern, the Church of San Miguel. In the centre there is an open pavilion, which becomes the centre of activities during the city’s festivals. There is a small market on Thursday mornings and for those who are weary, the oldest tavern in Segovia La Taberna Rubi which dates back to 1861 lies just off the square.
Catedral de Santa María de Segovia
Monument Type: Cathedral
Address: Plaza Mayor, s/n
Opening Times: Oct – Mar: 9.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. Apr – Sep: 9.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.
Price: General Admission: 3 € Groups +20: 2 € Sun: 9.30 – 1.15 a.m.: Free
Information: The massive Segovia Cathedral was built between 1525-1577 and was the last Gothic cathedral to be built in Spain. It stands on the highest point of the town and was constructed after fire destroyed the original cathedral in 1520. The surprisingly sparse interior is constructed around 3 naves and contains more than 20 chapels. The site is also of historical interest as it marks the place where Isabella I was proclaimed Queen of Castile.
Iglesia Parroquial de San Andrés
(St. Andres Church)
Monument Type: Church
Address: Calle Daoiz, 1
Opening Times: hours of worship only
Information: The Church of San Andres is marked by different architectural styles. Built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style are the apses, later additions the Mudejar three level tower and the Baroque slate spire. Inside one can find a three nave church with a particularly impressive 17th century main altarpiece.
Alcázar de Segovia
(Alcazar of Segovia)
Monument Type: Castle
Address: Plaza Reina Victoria Eugenia, s/n
Opening Times: Oct – Mar: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Apr – Sep: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Price: Complete ticket: 7 € Normal ticket: 5 € Groups, Pensioners & Students: 3 € 3rd Tues of Month: Free
Information: Segovia Castle is one the most distinctive in all of Spain due to its unique ships’ bow shape and is said to be one of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. Built on the site of the former Arab and preceding Roman fort, the castle became particular important in the middle ages as it remained one of the favourite residences of the monarchs of the Kingdom of Castile. The Hall of Kings, which contains friezes representing all Spanish Kings and Queens from Pelagius of Asturias to Juana la Loca, was built during this time to house Parliament. In the interior another notable room is the Hall of Ajimeces which houses many works of art.
Iglesia de San Esteban
(Church of St. Stephen)
Monument Type: Church
Address: Plaza de San Esteban s/n
Opening Times: hours of worship only
Information: The most definitive feature of St. Stephen’s is its soaring imposing Romanesque belfry, considered one of most beautiful in this style, which was rebuilt after a fire in the late 19th century. The portico gallery that surrounds the church on two sides is also charming.
Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad
(Church of the Holy Trinity)
Monument Type: Church
Address: Plaza de la Trinidad 6
Opening Times: hours of worships only
Information: Built on the site of an earlier place of worship, the single nave Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad is built in the Romanesque style. It is one of the best preserved examples of its kind in the town and is marked by a relatively simple interior. However, it is particularly noteworthy for the Gothic chapel of the Campo family and important paintings by A. Benson and J. Pontormo.
Iglesia de San Juan de los Caballeros
(Church of St. John of the Gentlemen)
Monument Type: Church
Address: Plaza de Colmenar s/n
Opening Times: Oct – Jun: Tue – Sat: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Jul – Sep: Tue – Sat: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Price: General Admission: 1.20 € Reduced: .60 € Students: Free Sat & Sun: Free
Information: The Iglesia de San Juan de los Caballeros is one of the oldest churches in Segovia and its name derives from the tombs of the city’s elite buried within its crypt. It was constructed between the 11th – 13th centuries and is a three nave church in the Romanesque style. Its most important feature are perhaps the capitals of the columns of the portico which depict numerous biblical and natural scenes. Nowadays there is a ceramics museum that shows work of the Zuloaga family who restored the church in 1905.
11 things to do for free in Segovia
Not only is Segovia amazingly beautiful there are also a number of things that you can do for free. So here is our list of 11 things to do for free in Segovia, so you can stretch that euro as far as it well go.
1. The Acueducto de Segovia (Aqueduct of Segovia) is the most important and best preserved example of Roman engineering on the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. The best views can be found on Plaza Azoguejo.
2. Catedral de Santa María de Segovia (Segovia Cathedral) (Plaza Mayor, s/n) is, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. It is also Free on Sundays between 9.30 – 13.15.
3. Take a walk around La judería, Segovia’s charming Jewish quarter. Stroll the cobbled streets around Plaza de la Merced and the parishes of St. Michael and St. Andrew, all within the city walls.
4. The Iglesia de la Vera Cruz (Church of Vera Cruz) (Carretera de Zamarramala) is just outside the city walls and is Free Apr – Sep: Tue – Sun Evenings (4 p.m. – 7 p.m.) Oct – Mar: Tue – Sun Evenings (4p.m. – 6 p.m.)
5. The Casa de Moneda (Segovia Mint) (C/ de la Moneda) was built in the 16th century by Juan de Herrera for King Philip II. The building has survived in almost perfect condition and you can still see how it looked 400 years ago. It is Free to visit and the opening times are Oct – Mar: Wed – Sun (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.) Apr – Sep: Wed – Sun (10 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
6. Alcázar de Segovia (Alcazar of Segovia) (Plaza Reina Victoria Eugenia, s/n) is said to be one of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle, and its unique ship bow’s shape is certaintly breaktaking. It is Free the 3rd Tues of Month.
7. Iglesia del Corpus Christi (Church of Corpus Christi) (Plaza del Corpus 7) was the town’s old Main Synagogue) and the entrance fee is voluntary
8. Iglesia de San Juan de los Caballero / Zuloaga Museum (Church of St. John of the Gentlemen) (Pl. de Colmenares s/n) is a three nave church in the Romanesque style and is one of the oldest churches in Segovia. It is Free on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
9. Iglesia de San Justo (Church of St. Justo) (Travesía del Alamillo) is a Romanesque church located close to the cathedral notable for its prominent tower. The entrance fee is voluntary.
10. If you are interested in religious architecture Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad, Iglesia de San Esteban, Iglesia Parroquial de San Andrés and Iglesia de San Martín are all open during the hours of service and are Free
11. Located outside the old town, the Monasterio Santa María del Parral (St. Maria Monastery) (C/ Subida al Parral, 2) is a wonderful Gothic construction and is Free to visit Tue – Sun: 16:15 & 17:15
12. The Baroque Monasterio de los Carmelitas Descalzos (Monastery of the Barefoot Carmelits) (Alameda de la Fuencisla) is the burial place of Saint John of the Cross and is Free to visit Tue – Sun: 10 a.m. – 1.30 p.m. & 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Mon: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
We were lucky with finding a CouchSurfing host while in Segovia, although if you’re not that fortunate, here are the cheapest accommodations options available in the town:
Duermevela Hostel (Calle de los Gascos, 7) is located close to the Aqueduct and comes highly recommended. The sleeping options are a 4 bed mixed dorm (18.50 €) or double bed private (19 €) and there is a common room, WiFi and lockers. Breakfast is not included.
Complejo Hostelero Venta Magullo (Carretera Soria-Plasencia, Kilometro 189) is located a short walk from the town and includes an on-site bar / restaurant / cafe. Prices can vary dramatically depending on the season and day with a bed in 3 bed private room (16 – 25€) the cheapest option.
Residencia Juvenil Emperador Teodosio (Paseo Conde Sepúlveda, 4) is Segovia’s youth hostel but is only in operation 1st July – 15th September. Prices vary but are guaranteed to be among the cheapest in town.
Camping El Acueducto (Avda. D. Juan de Borbon, 49) is open in the summer only but is by far the cheapest accommodation in town. It is located about 3 km to the south east of the old town and contains a supermarket and bar/cafe. 1 Adult costs 6 €, 1 tent 6 € and a car costs 9 €
The centre of Segovia’s nightlife is Calle de la Infanta Isabel, known by the locals as “Calle de los Bares” (bar street). It’s particularly busy between Thursday and Saturday night and it’s a perfect place if you want to try some of the local tapas, have a few glasses of wine or beer and soak up the night-time atmosphere of students filling the streets.
Another nightlife area, where you can find some bars and discos, is around Calle de los Escuderos and Calle de Carmen (near the Aqueduct). The night doesn’t start here earlier than 10 p.m. but head there only at the weekend, otherwise it’s dead.
Things to try and buy
Segovian cuisine is a hearty, heavy affair. It is most famous for its cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) but other local specialities include lechazo asado (roast lamb) and judiones con verduras (beans with vegetables). Locally cured queso de oveja (sheep’s cheese) and jamón serrano (serrano ham) are also highly recommended. To drink, the red wine Ribera del Duero is the tipple of choice.
For those looking for a unique souvenir idea, a collectable coin from the world’s oldest functioning mint, which resides in Segovia, might be a little different.
Here a few places that offer WiFi connections:
The closest airports to Segovia are Madrid‘s Aeropuerto de Madrid Barajas (87 km), tel: 91 393 60 00 Valladolid’s Aeropuerto de Valladolid (125 km), tel: 983 560 180 Salamanca‘s Aeropuerto de Salamanca (164 km), tel: 923 306 082
Estacion de Segovia-Guioma / Segovia-AV (Segovia-Guioma train station) is located 5 km outside the city, but there are bus services every 15 min from the aqueduct, and from there, there is a high speed train connection between Segovia and Madrid (30 min) and Valladolid (Estación de Campo Grande) (40 min) run by AVE with tickets costing 10 €. From Estación de Segovia (Segovia train station) there are also slower, slightly cheaper Renfe Cercanias suburban trains (6 €) that run to Madrid.
Estación de autobuses de Segovia (Segovia bus station) (Paseo Ezequiel González, 12) is the cheapest way of getting to and out of Segovia. There are two bus companies running in the area La Sepulvedana – Madrid, Ávila y Salamanca, and most important local towns like La Granja de San Ildefonso and El Espinar and Linecar - Valladolid, Cuéllar, Arévalo, Aranda de Duero, La Lastrilla, Santa María La Real de Nieva, Coca, Riaza, Ayllón.
The local buses are run by Urbanos de Segovia, although Segovia is so small and all the tourist attractions are located within the walking distance, therefore we doubt you’ll need to use public transport for moving around the town. However, there are 10 local bus lines to choose from and you can check the timetable and the map on urbanosdesegovia.com (normal ticket costs 0,95 €).
South towards La Granja / Madrid (CL-601)
From Plaza de la Artillería next to the Aqueduct, follow Av. del Padre Claret and get to the 3rd roundabout (the one after the bullring). We hitched directly on this roundabout and got a lift within 20min.
South towards Madrid (motorway, AP-61)
From Plaza de la Artillería next to the Aqueduct, follow Av. del Padre Claret and turn right at the first roundabout into Av. de Juan Carlos. Follow it until Av. de la Constitución and turn left. Go straight until Ctra de San Rafael which will turn into Ctra de Madrid. it should be possible to hitchhike on its first roundabout.
North towards Valladolid (CL-601)
From Plaza de la Artillería next to the Aqueduct, follow Av de la Via Roma. After the first roundabout it turns into Ctra National where it should be possible to catch a lift joining the C:-601 road.
West & North-west towards Ávila & Salamanca (AP-51, A-50)
From in ftont of the Aqueduct follow Av de Fernández Ladreda until it turns into Calle 3 de Abril. You can start hitchhiking here or alternatively follow it until the river and then turn left.
written by: Ania