by Amy Menchhofer
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.
1. 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: