Segovia is one of those magical towns that seems to take your breath away with each new thing you discover. An exquisite old section surrounded by an ancient Roman wall, it’s what’s inside that wall that offers the most amazing things to do in Segovia.
The one which is most famous is probably the Alcazar of Segovia, otherwise thought of as the fairytale castle that was Disney’s inspiration.
Then there is the Cathedral of Segovia, an off-the-charts example of the attention paid to every detail in late Gothic architecture.
However, I was so captivated by the Aqueduct of Segovia I could barely peel myself away to discover the other sites. Thankfully we did, as staring up at the aqueduct is only one of several fascinating things to do in Segovia.
For us, Segovia was a self-guided day trip from Madrid. While I would have preferred more time here, I know that many get less time and combine it as a day tour of nearby Toledo. One would need a guide to attempt that, or they would simply miss too much.
Top 3 things to do in Segovia Spain
- Aqueduct of Segovia
- Cathedral of Segovia
- Alcazar of Segovia (a fairytale castle)
Aqueduct of Segovia
The impressive Aqueduct of Segovia is over 2000 years old and incredibly well preserved. It’s an engineering feat of the Roman Empire, built about 50 A.D.
With two tiers of arches, it stands 28 meters tall and stretched 16,220 meters. Most impressive is the fact that gravity holds the unmortared granite bricks in place.
It’s a symbol that features prominently on the city’s crest, and it’s often thought of as the main drawing card for Segovia. However, there are plenty of other fascinating things to do in Segovia.
Local folklore nicknamed the aqueduct Puente de Diablo, meaning “Devil’s Bridge”.
According to legend, the devil built the bridge overnight in a bet to win a serving girl’s soul. The tale says that the devil lost the gamble because he was one brick short of completing the aqueduct when the rooster crowed, signalling morning. The marks from the devil’s fingers appear as holes dotting the surface of the granite blocks.
Cathedral of Segovia Spain
The city is also known as home to the first Gothic cathedral in Spain, built during the 16th century. It is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful examples of late Gothic architecture.
Entry requires a ticket, and there is often a long queue to get in. This is what stopped us, as we were only on a day trip. Better planning and we would have pre-reserved our ticket. Reserve your cathedral entrance ticket here.
Alcazar of Segovia (a fairytale castle)
Think back to your childhood and visualize a medieval fairytale castle. This is the Segovia castle. However, it wasn’t a “fairytale” in medieval days. In the story that we were told, the original castle burnt to the ground in the 16th century.
The 19th-century rebuild created the fantasy rather than recreating the original. Many say this is the castle that inspired Walt Disney.
With limited time, we opted not to tour it but just to walk the grounds and enjoy a coffee in Alcazar’s cafe. Either way, a visit to the alcazar should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Segovia.
More things to do in Segovia Spain
Jews first arrived in Segovia in the 13th century and lived in the district now referred to as the Jewish Quarter. The self-governing community thrived until the Spanish Inquisition, after which time only those Jews who converted to Catholicism were allowed to remain.
Many more churches in Segovia Spain
According to reader Kitat, the city maintains an important collection of Romanesque churches of both stone and brick, which include the churches of San Esteban, San Millán, San Martín, La Santísima Trinidad, San Andrés, San Clemente, Santos Justo y Pastor, La Vera Cruz, and San Salvador.
Don’t miss the detail in the building decor
City wall and city gate of Old Segovia
The city gate leads to old Segovia, the walled portion of the city, now a UNESCO site. The cathedral, Alcazar, and aqueduct are all encased within the old city.
How to get from Madrid to Segovia
Segovia is only an hour’s drive northwest of Madrid, thus making it an easy day trip. We had a car included in our home exchange in Spain; therefore, we opted to self-drive and included Segovia on our Central Spain road trip. Other options include a train, a bus, or a tour.
Self-drive Madrid to Segovia
If we hadn’t swapped both car and home, we probably would have rented a car, as we prefer self-driving in countries where we speak enough of the language to get around successfully.
Ever since we discovered RentalCars.com, we have been using them exclusively. Easy to book online, we simply enter our pick-up and drop-off cities. Then, we are presented with a list of local rental outlets, including their ratings, reviews, and cars available that meet our needs.
To date, every booking has been exactly as expected, and when we had minor problems, we simply contacted the English-speaking customer service agents for assistance. Check price and availability at RentalCars.com
Tips for self-drivers from Madrid to Segovia
- If you are self-driving, follow the directional road signs to find the aqueduct. We ignored them, choosing to follow our GPS instead. Don’t make this mistake; GPS took us to the side of the aqueduct without parking.
- Arrive feeling hungry. This city is famous for pork roasts and desserts. Allocate time for a big meal at any of the restaurants in town.
Tour Segovia Spain
There are many tour options, some starting in town, others including round-trip transportation from Madrid to Segovia. Importantly, before booking a tour, check the language that the tour will be in. While many of the tours we encountered were in Spanish only, all of the tours have English-speaking guides at the time of writing this page.
Walking tours starting in Segovia
Free Walking Tours
We love free walking tours in cities and always search for them first. Don’t be confused by the word “free”, as decent tipping is expected. There are two free options in Segovia; both are rated well: GuruWalk or Free Tour.
Tours starting in Madrid
Segovia Tour with Guided Walking Tour: This highly rated 11-hour tour travels from Madrid to Segovia via bus. You will enjoy a 90-minute walking tour in both English and Spanish. The tour includes a visit to the aqueduct, the cathedral, and the castle. You will even have some free time before returning to Madrid. Reserve your walking tour of Segovia from Madrid
Segovia: Hot Air Balloon Experience & Guided City Tour
This 7.5-hour once-in-a-lifetime experience includes a one-hour balloon ride over Segovia, a countryside breakfast, a walking tour of the old town, entry to the cathedral, the Alcazar, and much more. Reserve your hot air balloon experience here
Toledo, Segovia, and Avila Guided tour from Madrid
If you are short on time and want to see the best of the region, this 13-hour tour is for you. A long day with a lot of walking, but an amazing one. You will visit two of Spain’s UNESCO cities, see the inspiration for Disney’s castle, discover some of the best-preserved medieval walls in Avila, and learn how the Moors, Christians and Jews lived harmoniously in Toledo. It includes skip-the-line tickets making it possible to do it all in a day. Reserve your all-day tour of Segovia, Avila and Toledo
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Which captivated you more, the aqueduct of Segovia, the Gothic cathedral, or the fairytale castle?
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