Segovia: Charming Roman medieval city near Madrid

The famous Roman aqueduct of Segovia

Last November 2010, two of my old roommates and I went on a day trip to Segovia, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Segovia is a charming old Roman medieval city about 90km northwest of Madrid. I loved it!

I kept hearing great things about Segovia from many people, especially one of my co-workers at school who was from a small town in Segovia. I was excited to get away from Madrid and explore a new city!

We took a La Sepulvedana bus to Segovia from Príncipe Pio station in Madrid.
There is also a train to Segovia through Renfe, but the Segovia train station is a bit outside the city, and you would still need to take a taxi or bus to the center. But the La Sepulvedana bus goes directly to Segovia’s city center!

Once we go to Príncipe Pio in Madrid, we raced to catch the bus, and thought we could just buy the tickets at the last minute. But we found out we were too late, and that the bus had assigned seating (which I learned is pretty standard for city-to-city bus travel). So no worries, we bought our bus tickets for the next hour.

En route to Segovia with California-like scenery

The bus ride was 45 minutes, and the drive along the way really reminded me of California (mountains and canyons)! I seriously could have imagined I was driving on a freeway at home.

Segovia has a very small city center, and it is a perfect day trip from Madrid. We only needed a few hours to see the main highlights of the town. Everything is very near each other.

The first thing we saw was the famous Roman aqueduct.

Aqueduct of Segovia

The Aqueduct was built at the end of the 1st century. It consists of 25,000 granite blocks stuck together WITHOUT any mortar or cement! It is HUGE, over 800 meters long and 28 meters tall.

The Aqueduct is VERY tall

Pictures don’t do the aqueduct justice. It’s really impressive. You HAVE to see it in person, if possible.

After the aqueduct, we went to the 16th century Segovia Cathedral, the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain.

Cathedral of Segovia

Cathedral window

Interior of the Cathedral

section of a ceiling

Outside the Cathedral, we came across some nice trinkets

And then off to the castle, the Alcázar!

An enchanting castle: The Alcázar of Segovia


The Alcázar (Fortress) of Segovia was originally built around the 11th Century over the remains of an old Roman fortress. It was one of the main inspirations for the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland! It was also one of the former residences of the Kings of Castile.

Exploring the castle...

Decorated ceiling in the Royal Chamber featuring statues of the Kings and Queens of Spain

Peaceful Segovian countryside through a palace window

Artillery room

Palace courtyard

View of the Cathedral with snow-capped mountains in the background

From the top of the castle tower: Viva España!

View from above

We found some random stairs near the castle, and we decided to take a chance and explore. The stairs were very steep and seemed to go on forever (where where we going?!), followed by a path, but we were rewarded at the bottom. We found a nice and quiet lawn, with an incredible view of the castle!

Random path we decided to explore

a fairy tale view after exploring and wandering down from the castle!

After taking some awesome photos, we now realized we were further from the town center, and found ourselves in a more secluded part of town. But after roaming around and getting lost (with nobody insight to help us), we finally made out way back to the city center.

By this time, it was around 6pm and we were pretty hungry after the hours of sight-seeing. Before our trip, we kept hearing everybody rave about cochinillo (roast suckling pig), the famous dish of Segovia (this is also a famous dish in the Philippines and in many Latin American countries). We started looking for any open restaurants, but unfortunately, ALL the restaurants said their kitchens were closed, and wouldn’t open for dinner until 8 or 8:30pm. Sad news, as we were looking forward to trying the Segovian food, but I guess we’ll have to wait until next time…We ended up grabbing a quick sandwich and heading back to Madrid.

I really, really loved Segovia. Even though the city is a tourist attraction, it still succeeds in maintaing its authenticity. It’s definitely a perfect daytrip from Madrid. Very easy to get to by bus and it only takes a few hours to see the sights.

I’m looking forward to returning to Segovia in December when my parents and sister come visit me for their first trip to Spain!