When it comes to Spanish cities, it doesn’t get any more magical than Segovia. From the Alcazar which is said to have inspired Cinderella’s castle to the ancient Roman aqueduct, small hidden streets and a rich historic and cultural past, a visit to Segovia is like stepping back in time.
Upon arriving in this city, you’re bound to fall in love right away. The cobblestone streets seep mystery, the tiny eateries practically call your name, and the buildings dating back to Roman and Moorish times are sure to draw you in.
Whether you’re visiting Segovia on a day trip or have more time to spend in this charming little town, here are the best things to do in Segovia!
- 1 Step into a Fairytale at the Alcazar
- 2 Tour the Cathedral
- 3 Marvel at the Aqueduct
- 4 Walk Along the City Ramparts
- 5 Get Lost in Calle Real de Segovia
- 6 Learn the History of La Juderia
- 7 Visit Museo de Segovia Casa del Sol
- 8 Enjoy the Colorful Esteban Vincente Museum of Contemporary Art
- 9 Find Local Delicacies at the Museo Gastronomico de Segovia
- 10 Have a Coffee at Plaza Medina del Campo
- 11 Learn How Money Was Made at Real Casa de la Moneda
- 12 Check Out the Courtyard at Casa de los Picos
- 13 Feel Like a Knight at Iglesia de la Vera Cruz
- 14 Enjoy the Architecture at Iglesia de San Millan
- 15 Pretend You’re Royalty at the Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso
- 16 Picnic at Mirador de la Pradera de San Marcos
- 17 Take a Hot Air Balloon Flight over Segovia
- 18 Get the Full Segovia Experience on a Guided Tour
Step into a Fairytale at the Alcazar
The centerpiece of Segovia and one of the main pictures of the city is the 12th century Alcazar, which once housed the likes of King Alfonso VIII, John II, Henry IV, and other notable Spanish royals.
The castle has a complete fairytale style about it as it sits high on a hill, overlooking the rest of the city with soaring towers, pointed steeples, and high walls.
Visitors are welcome to tour the entire Alcazar on a visit to Segovia, so enjoy feeling like royalty as you float between rooms, admiring tapestries, armor and beautiful views of the valley below.
One place you can’t miss is the Tower of John II which offers gorgeous 360° views of the entire city and its surroundings. It’s a climb to get there and costs an additional admission fee but is 100% worth it, especially for sunset!
Tour the Cathedral
Another unmissable Segovia attraction is the Cathedral, which stands in the center of the city and marks the highest point in Old Town.
Built in a late Gothic style between 1525 and 1593, the city’s Cathedral is as intricate as it is beautiful, with stunning details and ornamental work both inside and outside. The tallest tower of this yellow-stoned building stands at a whopping 100 meters, making it easy to spot from most points throughout Segovia.
On a visit to the Cathedral, you’re sure to enjoy the gorgeously colored stained glass windows, the massive sanctuary, and the many chapels adorned with fine artwork. But one of the most amazing aspects of this building is the Archive Room which holds more than 500 antique books, including the first book to ever be printed in Spain!
If you’re seeking the best views from the Cathedral, consider taking this guided tour which brings you to the top of the bell tower to marvel at the entire city below.
Marvel at the Aqueduct
The true symbol of Segovia is the Roman aqueduct: one of the largest Roman structures still standing in Spain. With its double decker arches and flawless stone construction, visiting the aqueduct is one of the best things to do in Segovia and certainly among the most popular with tourists.
The aqueduct was built sometime around 50 AD and brought water more than 17 kilometers to the city from the Acebeda River way up in the mountains — a tremendous feat for the time period.
The fact that it’s still standing today, with its 20,400 blocks of granite, is even more amazing!
The aqueduct begins at the Granja Palace and stretches all the way to the Alcazar. You’ll find that the best place to admire this UNESCO World Heritage Site is from Plaza del Azoguejo right in the middle of Old Town. This is where the aqueduct is its highest!
Walk Along the City Ramparts
Like most medieval towns, Segovia is surrounded by massive walls. Dating back to the 11th century, most of these limestone walls have been beautifully maintained and are even open for visitors to walk along.
There are three gates that are still open along the ramparts: the San Andres Gate, the San Cebrian Gate, and the Santiago Gate.
If you’re not afraid of heights, spend a sunny morning or stunning golden hour walking along the walls, taking in sights of the once sprawling Jewish Quarter, lush green valley, and other Segovia landmarks from a unique vantage point. The best part to walk along is the portion west of the Cathedral near the San Andres Gate.
Get Lost in Calle Real de Segovia
To get a feel for medieval Segovia, spend an afternoon exploring Calle Real.
Rather than a single street, Calle Real is a maze of pedestrian roads that wind through the oldest part of the city. It’s here that you’ll find a vast collection of 15th and 16th century buildings, churches, and homes for the wealthy marked with their solid stone construction, still standing today.
Besides stone buildings, on your walk you’re also likely to encounter street performers, charming cafes, small bars and local shops, blending the new Segovia with the old.
Calle Real spans from the Aqueduct to the Alcazar, taking you through the heart of the city and the Jewish Quarter.
Learn the History of La Juderia
One of the most interesting areas in Segovia is La Juderia, or the Jewish Quarter. It’s filled with rich history and hidden corners, perfect for an hour or two of exploring.
At one point, Segovia’s Jewish Quarter was one of the wealthiest areas in the city. But in 1481, eight gates were used to close off the area in an effort to segregate the Jewish community and convert them to Christianity.
Due to this segregation, La Juderia is a bit different than the rest of Segovia and Old Town, making it an interesting place to wander around or grab a bite to eat. Be sure to stop by the Main Synagogue, which in 1410 was converted to the Convent of Corpus Christi. It is amazingly well-preserved, with much of the original decor perfectly intact.
La Juderia is in the area of Plaza de la Merced and stretches all the way to Plaza del Socorro and has a distinctly medieval feel throughout.
Visit Museo de Segovia Casa del Sol
Tucked away in what was once a medieval fortress, you’ll find Museo de Segovia, the city’s fine arts museum which was founded in 1842.
Here, you’ll find more than 1,500 pieces on display covering (on average) 1,000 years of Segovia’s history. You’ll find religious works, mosaics from Roman times, great Renaissance paintings, archaeological treasures, and a variety of other fun artifacts dating way back.
While you won’t find a ton of big names at this museum (although there are a few works by Rembrandt and Dürer), it’s still worth a visit to check out the Celtiberian boars which are more than 2,500 years old, 15th and 16th century Castilian and Flemish painted panels, and crystal and glass from the Royal Factory.
Enjoy the Colorful Esteban Vincente Museum of Contemporary Art
If modern art is more your cup of tea, make your way to the Esteban Vincente Museum of Contemporary Art, which features a gorgeous collection housed in a former 15th century palace.
This museum is dedicated to works by Esteban Vincente, a Spanish artist who immigrated to New York in 1936 and found great fame in his abstract expressionist paintings.
There are 153 colorful works on display, in a range of styles throughout Vincente’s career. The focal point of the collection are his later works which were mostly done in the United States.
Find Local Delicacies at the Museo Gastronomico de Segovia
A museum of a different kind, Museo Gastronomico gives visitors an in-depth look at how food and culture come together in Segovia. The beautiful permanent exhibitions guide visitors through the history of food in Segovia, as well as the region’s specialties and how they came to be.
Once you’ve finished your museum tour, be sure to make your way to the shop where you can sample local products and pick up gourmet delicacies of your own! Now that’s a museum you can get anyone to go to.
After leaving the museum, you’ll probably be aching for some local food, so head to a nearby restaurant for a steaming plate of suckling pig, Segovia’s true specialty!
Have a Coffee at Plaza Medina del Campo
While there are several city squares in Segovia, none will make you feel quite as posh as Plaza Medina del Campo. You’ll find this little square tucked away behind Calle Juan Bravo and it represents the heart of what was once the aristocratic district during the Renaissance.
The entire square is surrounded by former mansions of some of the wealthiest families in Segovia, with plenty of ornaments and detailed facades inspired by the work done by silversmiths during this time.
Sitting in the center of the square, you’ll find the Church of San Martin. And surrounding it, you’ll find plenty of terraces to enjoy a coffee or bite to eat at while marveling at the fantastic buildings.
Learn How Money Was Made at Real Casa de la Moneda
One of the oldest commercial buildings in Spain, the Real Casa de la Moneda was built in the 6th century and served as the Royal Mint of Segovia. Founded by Philip II, it operated between 1586 and 1869 and employed different production methods throughout the years.
These days, the Real Casa de la Moneda is a museum that walks visitors through the history of money, how it was made, and the different tools and machines used by the Spanish Royal Mint.
One of the coolest parts of the mint is that it used hydraulic power coming from the Eresma River. The water wheel is still standing and fully functional today. How cool is that?!
Check Out the Courtyard at Casa de los Picos
For one of the most interesting things to do in Segovia, especially if you’re an architecture buff, head to Casa de los Picos to admire the unique facade and see how aristocrats lived in the 15th century.
Casa de los Picos is pretty much unmissable if you’re strolling down Calle Juan Bravo as it’s quite literally a house made of points. On the exterior of the building, there are 617 granite pyramids coming to a point, creating the illusion that the house is wearing armor.
The house was once owned by the de la Hoz family (check out their coat of arms above the balconies). It was one of the de la Hoz descendants, Juan de la Hoz, who added the distinctive pointy pyramids to the facade of the house.
Today, Casa de los Picos houses the Segovia Art School and an exhibition hall. It’s open to visitors so definitely stop in to check out the Renaissance-style courtyard which is decorated with tiles depicting famous buildings in Segovia!
Feel Like a Knight at Iglesia de la Vera Cruz
As you make your way out of the center of town, the area surrounding Segovia becomes incredibly picturesque, with small roads, rolling green hills, and structures like Iglesia de la Vera Cruz.
La Vera Cruz is a strikingly beautiful church from the 13th century which was founded by the Knights Templar and inspired by the original Temple of the Knights in Jerusalem. It includes 12 sides, one for each apostle, and other details that were common in architecture from the Crusades.
The inside is rather simple but leaves visitors with a sense of wonder about what mysteries the walls hold from times long ago.
Enjoy the Architecture at Iglesia de San Millan
Another beautiful church to visit in Segovia is Iglesia de San Millan, a 10th century church built during the Moorish period.
While San Millan is similar in style to other Romanesque churches and temples, what makes this one stand out is the bell tower. It was built in blocky Moorish style, likely because it was standing before the church was constructed, while the rest of the building curves and bends as is common with Roman-style architecture.
The best thing about Iglesia de San Millan is it’s less frequented by tourists, so if you’re lucky, you may have the place all to yourself!
Pretend You’re Royalty at the Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso
If there’s one thing worth visiting outside of the Segovia city center, it’s the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso. This breathtaking palace sits just 11 kilometers from the center of Segovia, sitting in the Sierra de Guadarrama.
As this beautiful area was a common weekend destination for Madrileños, it’s no wonder Philip V decided to construct his palace here during the 18th century. He modeled it after Chateau de Versailles in France, which is clear as soon as you step on the property, from the lavish gardens down to the massive Baroque-style palace halls.
On a gander through La Granja, stop by the Throne Room and the church (complete with the tomb of Philip V and his wife). But what’s really special here are the 15th and 16th century tapestries by Flemish, French, and Spanish artists.
Once you’ve finished exploring the sprawling interior, take some time to walk through the formal French gardens, adorned with shaped hedges, geometrically arranged flowers, and 26 fountains.
Picnic at Mirador de la Pradera de San Marcos
Searching for a dazzling view of the Alcazar? Look no further than Mirador de la Pradera de San Marcos.
This sunny patch of grass nestled beside the Eresma River is the perfect place to take in views of the massive castle and get your tan on. It’s also the perfect place for an afternoon snack, so pack a picnic and your camera and head on over
Since it offers the best view of the north side of the Alcazar, don’t be surprised if you’re flanked by tourists passing through for their perfect Instagram shot.
Take a Hot Air Balloon Flight over Segovia
Speaking of good views, it doesn’t get much better than a tour of the city by hot air balloon.
On this thrilling excursion, you’ll get to fly for one hour (with professional balloonists) over all of Segovia, taking in sights of the city from above. The flight departs at dawn, ensuring the perfect golden light for when you’re soaring high in the sky.
This once-in-a-lifetime experience will conclude with a champagne toast and a scrumptious breakfast, making waking up early totally worth it. I mean, champagne for breakfast? Count me in!
Get the Full Segovia Experience on a Guided Tour
Finally, if you’re visiting Segovia on a day trip or simply wish to see the best of the city with a local guide, this guided tour is the perfect option. Combining both Avila and Segovia, you’ll get to experience two of the best day trips from Madrid in one day!
You’ll travel via mini coach with a small group and an expert guide who knows these two cities like the back of their hand. Your first stop is Avila, where you’ll learn more about the history of this fortified city, get the chance to walk along its walls, and see some key monuments.
Then, you’ll make your way to Segovia. You’ll make a stop at the Aqueduct to learn the history and snap some pictures before taking guided tours of both the Cathedral and Alcazar.
You won’t have to worry about a thing on this tour, except for making your way to the meeting point in Madrid and purchasing your own lunch. Everything else is included!
After seeing all that Segovia has in store, aren’t you just in love with the city already? From the romantic streets to the deep historical sights to the charming cafes and restaurants, there’s no shortage of things to do in Segovia.
A trip to this city is a stunning mix of history, culture and of course good food, and will be unlike anywhere else you visit in Spain.
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