Around Madrid: a Day Trip to Segovia - Suckling Pig and a Roman Aqueduct

30 November, 2007 (09:59) | Beyond Madrid

by Amy Menchhofer

Segovia, Madrid day trip

Want to get out of the city for a day? Already been to Toledo and El Escorial? Set your sights just beyond the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains to Segovia. And be sure not to miss the Top 5 must-sees.

Aqueduct, Segovia1. Roman Aqueduct – The 2000 year-old aqueduct is at its most glorious spanning the Plaza del Azoguejo where it stands almost 100 feet (29 meters) high. Its close proximity to the bus and train stations makes the aqueduct a smart first stop and you can get a free town map at the tourist office in the same plaza.

2. El Alcazar – Sitting atop a steep precipice is the 11th century castle. Its manageable size enables you to enjoy the gilded ceilings, tapestries, and stained glass in a couple hours – with or without guide (only offered in Spanish). Be sure to climb the tower for stunning views of the cathedral and town.

3. Shopping – Wander up Calles Juan Bravo and Daoiz. Both streets boast numerous shops of varying quality – from the typical post-card and t-shirt joints to art galleries with original work and several specialty jewelry stores.

4. Church hopping – The cathedral dominating Plaza Mayor is just the beginning. For a town of just under 60,000 Segovia boasts a disproportionate number of churches. The most interesting of them, La Iglesia de la Vera Cruz, is outside the walls, but the half-hour walk down from the Alcazar is worth it to visit the 13th century Knights Templar basilica.

5. Cochinillo – Cut with the edge of a plate, roast suckling pig is THE dish of Segovia. Restaurants offering the specialty, the most famous of which are El Candido and El Duque, abound. Don’t, however, feel limited to these. Follow your nose and you won’t go wrong.

How to get there

Take a bus from the Sepulvedana office in front of Estación Principe Pio, round-trip 11€, about 1 hour 15 minutes, departures every 1/2 hour. Or take the train from either Atocha or Chamartin stations, roundtrip 11.50€, just over two hours, departures every two hours. Service on the high-speed AVE from Chamartin starts in late December.

See below for a map of the places mentioned above:

View Larger Map


Comment from Graeme
Date: November 30, 2007, 4:40 pm

I like Segovia more than Toledo because it has a more “real town” feel to it, not being quite so dependent on tourists. However, I would really recommend against taking the train before the high speed service comes into operation, unless you have plenty of time and a good book to read. I went to Candido once and found it a bit disappointing, although they out on a good show they do as they cut up the cochinillo.

Comment from Palmer Jones
Date: November 30, 2007, 7:06 pm

I, too, enjoyed Segovia more than Toledo. I took the bus which was, as I have read, faster than the train. The cathedral was amazing and I enjoyed the relaxing meal in the main plaza in the late afternoon.

Comment from marina
Date: December 3, 2007, 9:26 am

I, as Graeme, also like the real town feeling that Segovia has.

It is also worth to mention that the aqueduct arches, well all of it really, is made JUST of stone, so the arches stones stay in place only by the pressure of the two stones at either sides. It is also quite impressive that apart from cement they didn’t have cranes in those days, as the stones are really big and the aqueduct is very tall, how they managed is a mystery to me.

Comment from Amy
Date: December 3, 2007, 9:59 pm

I agree with all of you. Segovia is by far my favorite day trip out of Madrid. Maybe it’s the engineer in me that loves the aqueduct. It’s certainly a nice change of scenery!

Pingback from Highlights and Tips from a Semestre Studying in Madrid - Notes from Madrid
Date: December 11, 2007, 3:45 pm

[…] Madrid is located in the center of Spain. This allows a great deal of ease for great little day trips to outside towns such as Segovia, El Escorial, Aranjuez, and of course Toledo. But, even more it makes traveling to other bigger cities in Spain very doable, Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla are all musts and all within a half day’s travel. […]

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