Segovia, along with Toledo, make an outstanding day trip from Madrid, Spain’s capital. Segovia has one of Europe’s best examples that showcase the extraordinary work of Roman engineering. The Aqueduct of Segovia is considered one of the most superb and well-preserved ancient monuments in the whole of Spain.
Segovia is located in the region of Castile and León, about 50 miles from Madrid, and is easily connected by bus and train.The trip by rail to Segovia from Madrid’s Chamartin station takes about 1 ½ hours. Buses also make the journey in about the same time. The historic center is less than 2 km from the station and can be reached via Bus number 8. Flights to Spain are cheap with low-coast carriers from the north of Europe.
Other important monuments in Segovia include the Alcázar, begun around the 11th century, and the 16th century Gothic cathedral. A mix of Moors, Christians and Jews coexisted here for generations in this city. In 1985 the old city of Segovia and its Aqueduct were declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO due to the vast array of historic buildings, both civil and religious.
The Alcazar of Segovia stands imposingly atop a rocky mount above the old city. The castle is one of the most dramatic in the country. Originally built as a fortress, the historic structure has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy. Supposedly the castle is one of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s.
The Aqueduct of Segovia, located in Plaza del Azoguejo, is the defining historical feature of the city. Dating from the late 1st or early 2nd century, it is the most important Roman civil engineering work in Spain. It consists of about 25,000 granite blocks held together without any mortar, and spans 818 meters with more than 170 arches, the highest being 29 meters high. The impressive 221 colossal piers form the urban segment of the aqueduct which once transported water on a 1% gradient over the course of 18 km.
The Segovia Cathedral is the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain. It is considered the masterpiece of Basque-Castilian Gothic and is known as “The Lady of Cathedrals”. This is the third largest cathedral in the city, and retains the cloister of the second, located opposite the castle and destroyed during the Revolt of the Comuneros in 1520. The cathedral was consecrated in 1768 and has dimensions 105 meters long, 50 meters wide, and 33 high in the nave, with 18 chapels and three doors.
This 12-sided Romanesque church is located just out of the city on the Carretera de Zamarramala. It’s worth taking a walk down below from the old city to see this Knights Templar-founded church from 1208. Most tourists will miss it.