I had spent a great morning already, cycling through Madrid with my expert guide Kaspar Winteler from Bravo Bike Tours. As I was in the mood for a short out-of-town excursion, Kaspar had given me some suggestions, and one in particular had a nice ring to it: Segovia, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Segovia is another one of Spain’s historic gems
So I made my way by subway from the Plaza de España to the Principe Pio Train Station which is also a hub for bus transportation. I quickly found the Sepulvedana bus company and bought my ticket for the bus from Madrid to Segovia. I left Madrid shortly before 3 pm and arrived in Segovia at 4:30. The high-speed train actually only takes half an hour to get there.
Beautiful flowers along the pathway up to the main square of Segovia
The bus let me off on the main throughway, so I started a stroll towards the downtown area which is located on a rocky promontory. I walked up a series of fairly steep streets until I arrived on the main square of Segovia where I sat down at one of the outdoor restaurants. It was definitely time for a late lunch and I enjoyed the view over the Gothic Cathedral and the main square with its bandstand.
The main square of Segovia
Finally strengthened I was ready to explore the city and walked northwards along the main street from the cathedral. This part of town was surprisingly quiet and very few people were walking on the street. Past a variety of boutiques and quiet private houses I ended up at the north end of town which is crowned with an 11th century castle. The interior of the Alcaczar of Segovia is a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance Styles and at one point was home to famous Spanish Queen Isabella the Catholic.
Climbing the steep steps of the Alcazar of Segovia
With its turrets and steeply pitched roofs, the Alcazar of Segovia was actually Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s Castle. Its shape is very distinctive as its northern tip comes together like the bow of a ship. Through medieval times, this castle was one of the favourite residences of the reigning family of the Kingdom of Castile, and it also acted as an important defensive structure through the Kingdom.
The Alcazar of Segovia
My goal was to make it up to the Tower of John II. So I purchase an admission ticket at a side building, crossed the bridge over the moat and climbed up a series of long stone stairs to reach the top of this rectangular tower. The 360 degree from the top of the tower was absolutely breathtaking. On the north side I was looking down on the castle’s roofs, turrets and courtyards. And on the south side I had an awesome view of the city of Segovia, against the backdrop of the Sierra de Guadarama Mountains.
What a gorgeous view of downtown Segovia from the Alcazar!
After this amazing medieval excursion I walked back through some more quiet streets, past many of Segovia’s more than 20 Romanesque churches. As I approached the main square things started to get busier, and the streets on the south side of town had filled up with people now. Restaurants and bars were full of people, and boutiques and shops were doing brisk business with the locals and visitors.
Segovia has many beautiful spots
Down towards the bottom of the hill I then visited the second main sight of Segovia: the Aqueduct of Segovia. Built around the 1st century after Christ, this aqueduct is one of the most significant and most well-preserved monuments of antiquity and used to transport water from the nearby mountains into the city. At its tallest point, the aqueduct is almost 29 meters (over 93 feet ) high. The structure contains 36 pointed arches on two levels without any mortar!
The Aqueduct of Segovia is huge and perfectly preserved
The public square underneath the aqueduct, the Plaza Azuguejo, was teeming with people, doing their shopping or heading off for a cup of coffee. From here I headed into a pedestrian zone with lots of outdoor restaurants, bars and shopping. The town was definitely very lively now. I picked up an ice cream and watched the local action before I took the bus back into Madrid. The sun was just going down as I rode over the mountains north of Madrid.
A great view of Segovia
After my ride back from Segovia to Madrid, I grabbed the subway back to the Plaza de España. The Gran Via, Madrid’s famous shopping street was full of people and I watched the street life for a little while before I retreated back to my hotel to catch some rest for a few more hours in Madrid before I would have to head for the airport.