There are many trains that depart from Chamartin station that take you to Segovia. Very comfortable and fast. However, the station is away from the city center and you need to get a local bus to reach Segovia city center. Bus from Madrid to Segovia is another option (I recommend bus for its convenience). The trip by bus is longer, but it takes you directly to the city center. Buses to Segovia start from Intercambiador Moncloa.You can buy the round-trip bus ticket to Segovia.
To be honest, there is nothing else to see in Segovia than the churches, city center, Aqueduct, Alcazar and Judería. I would suggest you sign up for a walking tour of Segovia. Most of these tours are for free. I have used the services of AiroTour and have no hesitation in recommending them
The Roman aqueduct, the mascot of Segovia is right in the center of the city. An engineering marvel, the granite blocks that make the 166 arches are held together not by any mortar but just by balancing forces.
Segovia Alcazar is one of the most photographed monuments in Europe. It is said to have inspired the Disneyland castle. For the Alcazar, get the visit and tower climbing ticket and climb to the top for breathtaking views. Be informed that the 152 steps helical stairway to the top can be treacherous. Once at the top, the views are spectacular. Also, try to reach Alcazar first to beat the crowds as the climb is easier when crowds are sparse.
Segovia gets many day trippers from Madrid, not just because it is a World heritage city but also because it is a foodie's paradise. There are many restaurants where you can try Cochinillo (pork), the typical dish from Segovia.
El Sitio is one of the popular restaurants and my personal favorite. The recipe is authentic, ambiance is fantastic and the prices are affordable. The restaurant is very close to La Iglesia de San Miguel. If that does not work for you, El Mesón de José María, in the city center, is another great place to eat.
Another must do in Segovia is going to La Granja de San Ildefonso for its palace, gardens, and fountains. It is just 15 minutes by bus from Segovia. Unfortunately, the extravagant fountains are not turned on always but only 3 times in a year, once in May, once in June, and once in August.
Daytrip to Segovia
Madrid to Segovia - Take the bus
Visiting Segovia from Madrid makes for an interesting day trip. You can take a train to Segovia at the AVE Chamartin Metro Station. Though the train ride is only about 30 minutes, you’ll have to board bus #11 to reach the Aqueduct.
I recommend traveling to Segovia by bus as it saves money and the hassle of making changes. Bus service to Segovia start from Intercambiador Moncloa. You can get more details and also book tickets at La Sepulvedana website
What to see and do in Segovia?
1. The Alcazar of Segovia
Start your visit with the Alcazar of Segovia. It originated as a palace during the Middle Ages, but has served various uses over the years - as a school and also as a prison!
The Alcazar played a role in the discovery of America. It was here that Isabella and King Ferdinand met Columbus to fund his historic voyage.
Legend has it that Alcazar inspired Walt Disney to dream up his castles. It is so easy to spot the similarity between Alcazar and the Cinderella's castle.
What to see in Alcazar?
The Alcazar contains stunning Moorish décor and features Mudejar or decorative Iberian ceilings. Be sure to visit the Throne Room with its gilded ceiling, and take in the valley views from the arched windows of Sala de la Galera. If you have time, you should climb the Tower of John II for the best views of the town, the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, and the Meseta.
The original castle was gutted by a fire in 1862. It was rebuilt coincidentally during the Romantic movement, and that is the reason why every feature appears exaggerated in what you will see on your visit.
2. The Massive Roman Aqueduct
It was built about 2000 years ago by Emperor Trajan’s engineers. It was designed to transport water up to the city’s Roman military base. To get a good look at the Aqueduct’s stonework as well as great views of Segovia, walk up the Plaza del Azoguejo stairway.
3. Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral
Though a Renaissance era cathedral, it also contains many Gothic features such as flying buttresses. While inside, gaze up to take in the high ceilings. You should visit the Cloisters (open Monday through Saturday), see Flemish tapestries and chalices made of silver and gold. Also do not miss paintings by Van Eyck at the Museo Catedralicio.
Some more notable attractions in Segovia
You are sure to have some time left over after you visit the top 3 attractions of Segovia. If you want to get deeper into the city, here are a few more places worth seeing.
4. Museum of Contemporary Art
The first is the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente . This contemporary art museum was created when abstract expressionist Esteban Vincente donated 153 pieces of artwork.
5. Casa de los Picos
You should at least walk past this distinctive pyramid-walled Segovia art school. It is just 2 minutes walk away from the art museum, nearby the Cathedral of Segovia.
6. Jewish Quarter
Segovia also has a Jewish quarter that is worth a visit. The Sephardic Center at Plaza del Corpus Cristi offers an interesting tour of Jewish culture in Segovia.
7. Romanesque Churches of Segovia
There are also 14 Romanesque churches in Segovia, the most of any city in Spain. Four stand out as ones to visit.
- Iglesia de San Esteban, which is known for one of the highest Byzantine towers in Spain.
- Church of Iglesia de San Millán, known as a superb example of Segovian
- Iglesia de San Clemente, which is located on Fernández Ladreda, near the Aqueduct.
- Iglesia de San Martín, located about halfway up Calle Cervantes, between the Aqueduct and Plaza Mayor.
8. Monasterio del Parral
Segovia is a compact town so you may find enough time to visit the surrounding hills and see this monastery that combines a Gothic chapel with a Renaissance tower.
Segovia is nice for cycling
To visit so many sights on a day trip, you should hire a bicycle or go on an organized bike tour. Check at the Tourism Information Office by the aqueduct to see if there are tours on offer.
Segovia has a free-bicycle program during the summer/fall season, but I’m not sure it’s available for foreigners.
What to eat in Segovia?
While in Segovia you should try their most famous dish; roast suckling pig. To prepare this dish, a pig is fed mother’s milk for 21 days. It is considered a scrumptious delicacy in Segovia. If you travel along the main road you will come across many restaurants targeted towards tourists.
If you are a foodie, you should also try a few other dishes while in Segovia. Some interesting ones are Cordero Lechal (roast baby lamb), Truchas de Valsaín (local trout), Níscalos a la Segoviana (vegetarian dish of wild mushrooms) and moist-sugar glazed sponge cake called Ponche segoviano. You won’t have to worry about going hungry while in Segovia!
Souvenirs from Segovia
The oh-so-beautiful hand-painted ceramics from Segovia! I have four little pottery dishes hanging on my wall that I bought there :)
Tips to make the most from your Segovia trip
- Since there are a lot of hills and walking in Segovia, it is a good idea to wear a comfortable pair of shoes.
- Pottery and local handmade jewelry are nice souvenirs to buy from Segovia
- Cochinillo (roast suckling pig) is not cheap and yopu should expect tp pay almost 30 euros at the best places. Sides are extra!
- Drive just 10 km into the hills from Segovia to visit Palacio Real la Granja, a Versailles style baroque palace in the mountain town of San Ildefonso.
- You can plan to visit the castles of Segovia province. The Penafiel castle is a huge German-Gothic building. The Coca castle is Moorish-Western in architecture. And the Mota castle has a unique Trapeziodal design. You cannot visit all 3 on the same trip but they are each only an hour away from Segovia.