Spain is a beautiful country that has so many hidden gems and quaint little cities and towns. Today we want to share a picturesque city in the Castilla and Leon region of Spain. Segovia is a charming city that has many sights to offer as well as delicious tapas and dishes to try. Come along with us as we highlight some of our favorite things to do, see, and eat in Segovia!
Where is Segovia, Spain?
Segovia, Spain is just about an hour northwest of Madrid. It is easily accessible by car or bus. Plus, the bus runs pretty frequently making it a reliable source of transportation. This makes it an excellent day trip from Madrid. But it can also be perfect for a nice little weekend getaway in one of the many hotels in Segovia.
What to do in Segovia, an unforgettable trip
The streets of Segovia are full of culture and history that you can still learn to this day. You can walk along the cobble stone and marvel at the wonders that are visible at every corner. Below we will share the top 10 must sees while exploring Segovia!
1. Aqueduct of Segovia
The main star of the show, this old Roman aqueduct, is the center piece monument to see in Segovia. You literally can’t miss it as it goes right through the center of the city. The aqueduct of Segovia runs 15 km with about 170 arches. This makes it one of the defining historical features and an extraordinary engineering feat. Especially since it is mostly in place by gravity and uses very little mortar to hold the granite blocks together. It dates to the late 1st or early 2nd century and carried water from the Frío River to the city. But today it is admired by tourists and locals alike.
2. Segovia Cathedral
The Cathedral of Segovia is the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain. This makes it one of the newest gothic structures in Europe. But it also incorporates some Renaissance features since it was built in the 16th century. You can find this stunning cathedral in the Plaza Mayor of Segovia. This gigantic cathedral is beautiful to see during the day with a clear blue sky or at night when it is all lit up. The cathedral is open to worshipers or visitors who want to marvel at the elaborate decorations or climb up the tower to soak up the cityscape. Their official website provides a lot of visitor and worshipper information and historical facts.
3. Alcazar of Segovia
Down the street a little from the Segovia Cathedral you can see the Alcazar of Segovia. It is a breathtaking royal palace built on a stone peninsula between two rivers. This castle dominates the skyline and overlooks the surrounding grassy fields. Now, you may be thinking to yourself hmmm this castle looks a little familiar. Well, that’s because the Segovia castle inspired Walt Disney to design Cinderella’s castle. And it’s true! It has many similar characteristics, like the tall towers with a blueish roof. And the inside is beautiful to see too. You can take a tour of the inside to see the throne room, armory, and much more! Here is the official website of the Alcazar of Segovia where you can find ticket information and read the long history with the connection to the Kings of Castile.
4. Walls of Segovia
From the viewpoint of the Alcazar, you can see the walls that used to surround and protect the city of Segovia. The wall was refortified in 1088 when the Christians took back the city from the Moors. The wall consists of eight towers, five gates, and several doors. Nowadays the wall encircles the historic quarter. You can even walk along the wall since there is a little dirt pathway along the tree line.
5. The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter is mostly found in the old city. Within this quarter you can find many historic buildings of Jewish origin. Segovia was home to a significant Jewish population in the 13th and 14th century with a peaceful co-habitation. And as such they had their own buildings and trades. However, with the rise of the Catholic Monarch, the Jewish population was forced to move to a segregated part of the city which is now known as the Jewish Quarter by the city wall’s gates Puerta de San Andrés and Puerta del Sol. Nowadays, the area is upkept with the maintenance of the buildings and neighborhood. Here you can take a stroll down the streets to admire the buildings and join in on the many cultural events that are held here.
6. Real Casa de la Moneda
The Real Casa de la Moneda is Segovia’s former royal mint. It was founded by Felipe II and started to create currency from 1586-1869. This building housed a more modern manufacturing system that produced coins at a faster pace. For more than 200 years this mint was the forerunner for creating money. Currently, you can go visit it to see the old renaissance technology used like the hydraulic power and rollers. Here is the museum’s official website with more information.
7. Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso
The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso can be found 10 km southeast of the city near the Guadarrama Mountains. It was the summer residence of the Spanish kings from the 1720s. Interestingly enough, the palace and the gardens are modeled after the Palace of Versailles in France due to family connections. Nowadays people can visit the palace and take tours. Here you can see the former royal apartments, the Hall of Europe, and the royal gardens. The gardens are just as important and deserve a stroll around to see the 26 monumental fountains, a French-style maze, and a large pond that supplies the water to the fountains. This link provides information on how to get to the Palace and the ticket prices for tours.
8. Riaza, rocks and nature
So far we have outlined important buildings to visit in Segovia, but Segovia also has beautiful landscapes and small towns too. For example, Riaza is a small town located at the bottom of the Sierra de Ayllón. Here you can enjoy the scenic views and the abundance of nature. There are numerous routes for hiking that take you through mountains and fields of wildflowers. It is absolutely breathtaking to do one of the trails during the fall time when the leaves are changing colors!
Pedraza, Segovia is another wonderful medieval town that is worth a visit. You can roam the streets and see the old-style buildings like the Arco de la Villa, the old prison, large noble houses, palaces with large facades, and the church of San Juan.
9. Casa de los Picos
This house of points is a late 15th century mansion. You can’t walk by it without marveling at the façade. This is because it’s made of 617 diamond shaped granite points. These were put here to fill in the holes to preserve the medieval character. Currently, this building is used as an art school and exhibition.
10. Museo de Segovia
If you’re curious about the history of the province of Segovia, we highly suggest checking out this museum. It showcases the rich history of Segovia that spans several thousand years. Here you can find perfectly preserved pieces of Roman mosaics, religious sculptures, renaissance paintings, and coins. The museum does a wonderful job of ordering the relics in chronological order and offering explanatory and audiovisual posters that give the viewer more detail about the contents exhibited. This link will take you directly to the museum’s official website with more information.
Segovian Gastronomy, a pleasure for the senses
Segovia is known for its hearty stews and soups that are extremely filling. Many of the dishes include roasted meats and sausages. However, a trip to Segovia is not complete until you enjoy the infamous cochinillo. You can go to any restaurant or meson in Segovia to enjoy this popular dish. Basically, cochinillo is a roast suckling pig dish that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. But the impressive part is that this dish can be cut with a plate because it is so tender! And at the restaurants this is what they do.
We highly recommend going to Restaurante José María in the historical quarter of Segovia. We love dining here because they combine traditional Segovian cuisine with modern touches. Their menu ranges from fresh vegetables to roasted meats. Their cochinillo is made in a traditional oven with a guaranteed mark of “Cochinillo de Segovia” due to its richness and well-balanced nutritional value. Every dish they serve is made with the finest foods to give the diner a pleasant dining experience. Plus, they have eight unique dining spaces that can accommodate big and small parties making it a perfect place for family gatherings.
We want to share another typical dish from Segovia that is absolutely delicious. It’s a hearty dish called los Judiones de la Granja or farm beans. These beans grow in the region of Segovia but were brought over from the Americas. The beans are large and white or yellowish in color. The taste is almost buttery. This dish is very common in the winter months because it is jam packed with calories and meats.
Traditional Judiones de la Granja recipe for 4 people:
- 500 grams of beans from the farm
- 2 chorizos
- 2 blood sausages
- 1 pig’s ear
- 1 smoked bacon
- 2 onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of flour
- 1 tablespoon of Spanish paprika from La Dalia
How to make Judiones de la Granja in 2 hours
- Soak the beans for 12 hours. We suggest that you let them soak overnight so they are ready when you want to cook.
- In a clay pot combine the soaked beans, chorizo, blood sausages, bacon, 1 chopped onion, and the bay leaf with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Place this pot on the stove to boil for 1 hour and 45 minutes over low heat.
- For the sauce, sauté the garlic and the second onion in a frying pan.
- Once the onions become a little translucent, add the tablespoon of flour.
- Remove the pan from the heat when the flour is combined with the onions and garlic. Then add the tablespoon of paprika. This is so it does not burn.
- Add the sauce to the stew and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Serve in a traditional clay dish and enjoy!
Segovia, the best experience: walk around, eat, and enjoy
Overall, Segovia has so much to offer. We love to go every now and then to explore the city and see new treasures. It’s a stunning city and we can never get enough of the Roman aqueduct. It is an absolute delight to see in any season. It’s a fun place to walk around with family or friends. As well as a place to try new restaurants and enjoy the cuisine.
We hope this list of things to see and eat in Segovia are helpful for your next trip! Let us know what you think. We would love to hear your opinions!
If you love travelling in Spain, we are sure that your will enjoy this post about Toledo.