Visiting Segovia from Madrid
If you happen to be in the Capital of Spain, then you 100% need to take this day trip to Segovia from Madrid. The UNESCO listed city of Segovia is an easy day trip from the nation’s Capital.
There’s a ton of things to do in Segovia, the most iconic being El Aqueducto or the Aqueduct of Segovia, the ancient city walls, Segovia Cathedral and the beautiful Alcazar of Segovia (Segovia Castle has a striking resemblance to Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom!).
The ancient walled city is also full of quaint little cobbled alleyways, arched facades and pretty churches all sat in a sprawling landscape.
Honestly, Segovia is one of the prettiest places to visit in Spain and certainly one of the best day trips from Madrid.
This guide is packed with tons of practical information about visiting Segovia. I’m going to tell you how to get to Segovia from Madrid, how to see the best Segovia attractions and a load more.
Segovia – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The City of Segovia gained its UNESCO status as a World Heritage site in 1985. It’s not just the three iconic landmarks that make a day trip to Segovia so worthwhile.
When you visit Segovia from Madrid, in addition to the three big guns (the Aqueduct, Cathedral and Alcazar) it’s also worthwhile visiting the old Jewish quarter and a load of stately homes and courtyards. If you look out over the city walls, you’ll see more ancient buildings scattered about the rolling hills.
The province of Segovia is an absolute gem and clear to see how Segovia gained its UNESCO status.
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Where is Segovia?
The province of Segovia is located about 100km northwest of Madrid and makes for an easy day trip. Segovia old town is the capital of this province.
It’s really easy to take a day trip to Segovia from Madrid. If you wanted to explore the area in more depth you could make an overnight trip out of it.
What to see in Segovia – The Highlights
These are all the best things to see in Segovia on a day trip. These sights can be blitzed in a day (it’s a long day, but totally doable if you start early) if you are just on a day trip to Segovia from Madrid, or for a more chilled approach check out my top suggestions of some amazing places to stay in Segovia at the bottom of this article.
Aqueduct of Segovia
Depending on which story you want to believe, the iconic Aqueduct of Segovia was formed by Hercules, the son of Zeus. Another legend claims that it was built by the Devil himself!
However, as cool as those mythologies are, the Aqueduct of Segovia was actually built by the Romans in around the 1st Century AD! It was built to transport water from Rio Frio, (Cold River) which is in the mountains located more than 15km away, the Aqueduct at Segovia is a section of a much larger network of other aqueducts and underground canals.
You can’t help but notice and then in awe of how massive the structure really is. Check out some of these stats!
- The Aqueduct has approximately 220 pillars and between 160-170 arches!
- It is made up from no less than 25,000 granite blocks each one weighing up to two tons.
- There is no mortar to hold the granite blocks together! Gravity is doing its own beautiful job here.
- It measures over 813 metres in length (which is made up of 4 straight sections).
- The tallest point of the Aqueduct is at Plaza del Azoguejo, standing at around 29metres high.
- The Aqueduct is still in a fully working condition and still used today to deliver drinking water.
- The Aqueduct has a 1-degree decline which makes water flow along it.
One of the best places to photograph the Aqueduct is to head up the Postigo steps to the lookout point. The steps are to the side of the Information Centre (Centro Recepción de Visitantes) on Plaza del Azoguejo. If you catch the sun in the early morning, or late afternoon the Aqueduct casts a fantastic shadow over the Plaza del Azoguejo.
Alcazar of Segovia
The castle was first documented in 1122, and over the centuries went through rebuilds until 1862 when the castle was destroyed in a fire. It was rebuilt again! Despite it being destroyed by fire, the castle remains undefeated.
Like all quintessential Fairy-tale castles, the Alcazar of Segovia is built high upon a rocky outcrop between two rivers, the River Erasma and the River Clamores. It’s got two courtyards, Rapunzel style towers topped with witch-hat like roofs and a keep.
You might be thinking that Segovia Castle looks familiar? You’re not wrong, loads of castles name claim to being Walt Disney’s influence for Cinderella’s Castle and Alcazar of Segovia is one of them! Another contender to this claim is Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany (you can see for yourself why this iconic German castle claims their allegiance to the Walt Disney creation in this article).
To go inside the Alcazar it costs 5.50 Euro (approx. $6) you also have the option to rent an audio guide which will fill you in on loads of info – the actual signage is minimal in places.
If you want to go up the tower for the views, then it’s a 153 step spiralling climb and an additional 2.50 Euro (approx $2.75) to do this. The views are pretty epic from the top, you’ll be able to see the mountains in the distance.
The name Alcazar comes from the Arabic word ‘al-qasr’
The Walls of Segovia at the time of completion stretched around the entire perimeter of the city. At 3km in circumference, containing eight towers along with five gates and a multitude of doors they are undoubtedly impressive. (If you love ancient walled cities, then you need to add Dubrovnik to your travel bucket list!)
The blocks used to build the walls are mostly granite, but they also contain recycled parts from the old Roman Necropolis even reusing gravestones!
Wander the Cobbled Streets
Because of its UNESCO status, the streets within the old city walls of Segovia are still pretty authentic or at least have been renovated to appear how they would. If the peak-of-the-day crowds are getting just a bit too much, then head off into some of the side streets branching off the main centre.
Off the main central area, you’ll also stumble across some quieter cafes and restaurants if the main drag is too hectic.
Plaza Mayor is the central hub of old Segovia and is the perfect spot to sit and people-watch while admiring the Segovia Cathedral, the pretty connecting cobbled lanes whilst nursing a glass of locally produced wine. The open square is surrounded by a multitude of cafes, restaurants and bars so you won’t be short on places to try out.
Limón y Mente to eat Ponche Segoviano
One of the best cafes in Segovia has to be which stands out from its rivals is ‘Limón y Mente’. Situated on Calle Isabel la Católica, just off the Plaza Mayor.
Order the local sweet treat called a Ponche Segoviano. Essentially, it’s a sweet sponge cake, layered with a syrupy and sticky filling inside and then covered in Marzipan before being dusted with icing sugar. Don’t fall for the eyes-bigger-than-belly feeling which I regrettably did by ordering one for myself and my sister (in hindsight, we should have shared one between us!).
They also serve ice cream, pastries, and good coffee.
Puerta de Arevalo
The Arevalo Gate straddles the main road; the CL-607, which runs to the north-west outside of the old city walls. The pretty arch looks a little bit out of place and just stands alone against a rock face to one side and the river to the other.
Views of Segovia from Mirador del Alcazar y los dos Valles and Mirador del Último Pino.
The old city of Segovia is surrounded by swathes of countryside, so if the weather is fine it’s worth taking full advantage of this as well as getting some decent panoramic photos of Segovia Castle and the Walls of Segovia from a different perspective. It’s also a handy opportunity to walk off that Ponche Segoviano you’ve just eaten as the walk does involve a reasonably steep climb down the hill (and then up again) via the steps outside the city walls.
From the Puerta de Arevalo, take the signpost to Mirador del Alcazar y Los dos Valles and a little further along the trail, Mirador del Último Pino to find the best panoramic views of the town of Segovia.
Romulus and Remus Statue
You may have seen bronze or stone statues similar to this dotted all over the world. The slightly bizarre sculpture of the mythical twins, Romulus and Remus suckling off of a Capitoline She-Wolf links back to the legend of how Rome was founded.
It was placed here in 1974 to signify the bimillenary of the Aqueduct. (the inscription on the statue reads ‘Roma a Segovia en el bimilenario de su acueducto MCMLXXIV’).. Basically, it’s the Aqueducts 2000th year Birthday present.
The Jewish Quarter
Build it 1120, the Puerta de San Andreas is the only gate remaining (there used to be 7) of the ancient entrances to the Jewish Quarter of Segovia. At this gate, you can also access a section of the Segovia’s Old City Walls and walk along the top of them. The views from here include the Alcazar and surrounding countryside as well as the rooftops of the Jewish Quarter including the cemetery.
Casa de Los Picos
You’d be hard pushed to miss this unusual looking building. This aptly named 15th-century building – Casa de Los Picos translates to House of the Peaks, is covered in 617 granite pyramid-shaped blocks.
Today it houses the Segovia Art School, an exhibition hall and a Renaissance courtyard. I didn’t go inside the building on this visit to Segovia; I was more interested in the strange look from the outside.
Day Tours from Madrid to Segovia
If you want someone else to do the leg-work for you then why not book onto a day tour to Segovia from Madrid? The tours usually include transfers from Madrid and a guide to show you all the highlights, or for a special occasion, how about taking a Hot Air Balloon ride over the beautiful walled city, check out these amazing tours below.
If pre-planned tours aren’t your thing, then here’s the perfect Segovia guide for you. Segovia gets super busy with tourists, often by the coach load on a day trip to Segovia from Madrid, so to make the most of the city start reasonably early before the crowds. If you’re after Instgrammable shots without the masses, then the earlier the better!
This route will take you past all the must-see attractions in Segovia. Be sure to check out my map of Segovia below for a more visual guide.
Starting Location: At the appropriately named Avenue Aqueducto or Plaza Azoguejo.
For the perfect day exploring Segovia, follow this itinerary to see all the highlights. More details on each of the locations can be found earlier on in this article.
- Starting at the Plaza Azouguejo, the first of the Segovia’s main attractions will be the Aqueduct of Segovia (1). Spend some time earlier in the day photograph the stunning arches before the crowds get too big. Look out for the statue of Romulus and Remus (2) located near to the Aqueduct on Plaza Azouguejo.
- Get a different perspective of the Aqueduct by climbing up the stairs next to the Tourist Information point to the Look Out Points (3) there is one located on each side of the Aqueduct.
- From the lookout point, head away from the Aqueduct and find Plaza Mayor (4), you can’t miss Segovia Cathedral (5) looming over the Plaza. If you’ve got time, head into the Cathedral.
- Exit the Cathedral and head round the corner to Limón y Mente (6) to try the local cake Ponche Segoviano…. you’ll need to sit and digest this for a while.
- Keep heading in a north-west direction until you end up at Alcazar of Segovia (7) allow a couple of hours here to fully explore the Castle and to climb the tower.
- Exit the Alcazar and head out of the walled city. Take the steep steps down and head out to the Puerta de Arevalo (8) from here take the little footpath and trail to see the views looking back at Segovia at the Mirador del Alcazar y Los dos Valles (9a) and Mirador del Último Pino (9b)
- Head back towards the walled city, depending on how much you enjoy walking, you have two options. Either retrace your footsteps or continue along the walking trail through the countryside. Once back in the main Old Town, head towards the Jewish Quarter (10) where you’ll find the only reaming gate called Puerta de San Andreas. From here, you can walk along the Segovia City Walls (11)
- To finish off the day, take time to Wander the Cobbled Streets (12) stopping off to try some of the local foods and a glass of wine, be sure to pass the quirky facade of Casa de Los Picos (13) en route before heading home.
Getting to Segovia
Wondering how to get to Segovia from Madrid? If you aren’t going as part of an organised day tour from the capital, then you have three options, by bus, train or car. Here’s the lowdown on each.
Madrid to Segovia by Bus
The cheapest option to get to Segovia from Madrid is by bus. The main bus companies that do the Madrid to Segovia route are La Sepulvedana and Avanza. From Madrid pick up the bus at Moncloa Station.
The journey takes around 90 minutes, between the two companies, services run over 16 times a day and costs around 8 Euro (approx. $9) per journey. The bus stops at the conveniently located Plaza la Estación de Autobuses, right next to the Aqueduct. On weekdays the earliest bus to Segovia departs at around 6.30 am, the latest bus you can catch from Segovia to get back to Madrid is at 9.45 pm.
Times differ at the weekend, so be sure to check the service here, but there is no shortage of buses to Segovia from Madrid.
Madrid to Segovia by Train
If you want a little more comfort than the bus, then getting to Segovia from Madrid via train is another option. Various services are available but the regional train takes around 2 hours It departs from Atocha Cercanias in Madrid and costs 8.50 Euro (approx. $9.40) per journey.
Alternatively, (and by far the better option for catching the train to Segovia from Madrid) use the RENFE high-speed train. It’s a little more expensive at 13 Euro (approx. $14.50) per journey and takes just 30 minutes departing in Madrid at least once an hour from Chamartin.
On weekdays the earliest high-speed train departs at 6.40 am with the last train at about 10.45 pm. Weekends timings are 8 am for the earliest from Madrid and then 9.30 pm leaving Segovia.
Both train services arrive in Segovia at Guiomar Station which is 8km from Segovia old town. So, head outside, you’ll then need to catch a bus (look for the number 11) which will take you into the centre of town. This costs 2 Euro (approx. $2.20).
Madrid to Segovia by Car
For pure convenience, visiting Segovia from Madrid by car is the easiest option by far. Naturally, the easiest way to get there is to Sat Nav it. But for a heads-up drive north-west out of Madrid and take the A6 motorway out of the city. Continue on the AP6 and then the AP61. You’ll see signs for Segovia from here.
Once in Segovia you’ll find loads of car parking options, the closer you are to the centre, the more expensive they are. However, if you visit on a Sunday, you’ll find free street parking- just remember to check the signs! The journey takes about 1hour 20minutes.
Where to Stay in Segovia
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If you’re in Sapin, then hopefully you’ll be adding a day trip to Segovia from Madrid to your itinerary. Or have you alerady visited Segovia before and did you see all these highlights? Or did you see anything else that I should have mentioned? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.