If you come to Spain and all you get to see is Segovia, you will go home happy. Segovia has almost everything you could wish to visit in a town—a Walt Disney-style castle that will have you expecting to see a princess looking out one of the turrets to see her knight in shining armour riding across the plains below, a Roman aqueduct that is still very much in tact a mere 2000 years later and an enormous impressive gothic cathedral. If all of this were not enough to keep your attention there are still the quaint side streets with little shops offering local wares.
There is so much to say about Segovia it is hard to know where to start. Just going Segovia and seeing the aqueduct would make the trip more than worth your while, but there is so much more to see and do that you could spend weeks or even months really absorbing Segovia.
There are quaint little alleys and back streets, a Jewish quarter to discover, fascinating architecture, patios and parks all waiting to be explored. Segovia also offers a surprisingly fun shopping experience that you wouldn’t expect in a tourist town. There are plenty of cheesy tourist-type shops, but these are offset with even more interesting boutique stores that offer leather goods, jewellery, ceramic and local wares. And not to be missed is the cuisine in Segovia.
What to see in Segovia
The most obvious place to start in Segovia is at the iconic Roman aqueduct from the Plaza Azoguejo:
Looking up you get a feel of the immensity of the structure and will almost hear the echo of the workman pounding the stone from 2000 years ago. I never cease to be impressed by the size and workmanship of the aqueduct. It has over 160 arches built with huge blocks of granite, yet there is no mortar in between the blocks.
And the aqueduct is only the beginning of this amazing little mountain town.
Speaking of mountains, make sure you wear comfortable shoes as the only way to see everything in Segovia is to walk up and down the steep cobblestone streets.
The tourist office is the plaza Azoguejo which is where you also get the best view of the aqueduct. You may want to stop at the tourist office to get a map of Segovia to get your bearings and perhaps get a tour of one or more of the sights you most want to see.
See the sights as you walk the streets
As you head up the main street, don’t rush. Take in all the sights. There are a number of buildings with unique facades.
The glassed-in balconies are something you start to see as you get to the northern parts of Spain. It isn’t usual in this region of Spain, but you can find some examples such as this one on the main street in Segovia. Besides looking lovely, these balconies served a purpose Spain has always been well known for the art of sewing lace and other types of fancy embroidery. Anyone who has ever tried this type of sewing knows that good lighting is a must. These balconies were the ladies sewing rooms.
Taste the local cuisine
On the corner of the Plaza Major is a small cafeteria, El Alcazar, where you can get the famous “Ponche Segoviana”, which is a rich dessert that is made of layers of custard, marzipan and icing sugar. If you have a sweet tooth this is something you must experience while in Segovia. Eating a Ponche Segoviana with some good strong coffee is the perfect mix of sweet and bitter.
An interesting thing about Spain is that each region has its speciality when it comes to food. It is rare you will find the same dish elsewhere in Spain—so when in Segovia, eat as the Segovians. Speaking of food specialities, if you want a meal instead of just a snack Segovia is known for roasted suckling pig.
I will dedicate another blog to the food in Segovia so you can get full details of what to order and how.
Now that you’ve had your coffee and Ponche, you are ready to continue with energy to see the rest of Segovia.
Visit The Alcazar of Segovia:
It is time to head to the castle. This is a fairy land-looking palace. It has numerous turrets with pointed roofs and a deep moat around the castle as well as two rivers running on either side of it. Looking at its position you would expect it would have been impenetrable but it had its fair share of battles and changes of masters.
The tour inside of the castle is well worth it. It isn’t a large castle, but much of the interior is very opulent, gold covered ceilings and carved marble doorways.
You can take a guided tour or rent headsets that will give you an excellent explanation of each of the rooms and the highlights in each.
The splendour of the interior of the castle is well worth seeing. You have the option of including a visit to one of the towers on the tour as well.
Practical information for visiting the Alcazar:
Open: year round
Price: 8 Euros
Audio guide: 1 Euro (with a 5 Euro deposit that you will get back when you hand in the audio handset)
There are guided tours in English, but only for larger groups. The audio guides are very informative so you can get by without the official guided tour if you aren’t in a group.
Once you have finished going through the palace there is still much to see and do in Segovia.
A few other options depending on the time you have:
The The Gothic Cathedral in the Plaza Major of Segovia
Have the speciality of roasted pig at one of the many restaurants
Go Shopping. The pedestrian streets in Segovia are full of little artisan shops.
Visit the Monastery Santa Maria del Parrel