In a nut shell, if you're ever in Madrid, you must do a day trip to Segovia. We arrived in this little fairytale city via train and were happy to discover that there's a bus that heads straight downtown (Plaza Artilleria) from the train station for €1.03. We hopped on and chatted away for 15 or so minutes until we turned a corner and saw this:
Since this is a blog and all, I'm guessing this is a problem, but I literally do not have words to explain how incredible this view is (alright, maybe not literally...). This aqueduct is just one of the structures that makes Segovia famous and I could have stared at it all day. Here's the history - About 2,000 years ago this Roman emperor was like, “You know what, guys? I think we should build an aqueduct because then we could carry water 10+ miles into our city from the nearby river. Let's build it.” So 2,000 years ago the Romans started building. In total the aqueduct is 17KM long (mostly underground), contains 167 arches, and at its tallest point it reaches 93.5 feet (28.5M). Oh, yeah, and the best part is that this aqueduct was constructed entirely without mortar (2,000 years ago.... Romans, I'm so impressed!).
After standing awestruck for 15+ minutes, Tony dragged me to our hotel a 5 minute walk away. By this time it was well past 8PM and we were pretty hungry, so we set out in search of tapas and discovered a few great spots:
- El Sitio
- Restaurante Julian Duque - in Plaza Mayor where the Cathedral sits. It's gorgeous by night.
- Diablo Cojuelo
I'm going to admit our mistake here. We're pretty sure that all of these places are traditional tapas spots meaning you order a drink and get a free tapa of your choice, but we were a little overwhelmed by the crowds, so we opted to order from the menus instead. The goat cheese salad from El Sitio was awesome, probably because it was mostly goat cheese. We were also impressed with the €2-3 glasses of wine at both Restaurante Julian Duque and Diablo Cojuelo (try the 14 month Diablo for €2.2/glass. It was delicious!).
Sunday morning Tony and I were both excited to go for a run to see Segovia from the outskirts. Since it's only about a mile from the Aqueduct to the Alcázar, it's pretty easy to get out of the city into good running areas. There's an awesome little trail called Calle Cuesta de los Hoyos. Above the trail is the main road also called Calle Cuesta de los Hoyos, and from this main road there are numerous suggested paths to get down to the walking/running path. This is highly recommended to get some incredible views of the Alcázar and the rest of the city. Check out how enchanting this is:
After our run we grabbed a menú del día at Bon Appetit which is a touristy spot right under the aqueduct. We knew we were going to overpay for the view and the food was just average, but I was still pretty awestruck, so it was worth it. From here we walked over to the Alcázar, stopping in Plaza Mayor to check out the cathedral by day. Stunning. The Alcázar is also incredibly impressive, but frankly, I enjoyed the views on the run better (no people and no scaffolding). We decided to splurge and take the Alcázar tour which is €5 plus an additional €2 to go up Torre de Juan II which is the main tower (which we obviously had to do). The inside is beautiful. The ceilings are all structured and painted with incredible detail and again, it's pretty nuts to imagine making these types of structures now let alone hundreds of years ago. The castle also features some beautiful landscape views.
The climb up Torre de Juan II is real. There are 152 uneven, winding stairs, but the reward is a rooftop view of Segovia. Worth it.a
For us, these were the three structural highlights. We also went to the Puerta de San Andrés which is cool from the outside, but supposedly better when you can actually tour it. On Sundays it's only open 10AM-2PM, so we unfortunately missed it.
Our train left Segovia at 6:22, and it was a tearful goodbye since I knew the pictures wouldn't do this little city justice, but we made it through. After a bus, train, subway, flight, bus, subway, we were safely tucked in bed back in Barcelona by 11PM (love public transit in Europe).
If you want the step-by-step itinerary for Madrid, Toledo, and Segovia, here it is. I hear that copying is the best form of flattery and I would be jealous of anyone who has the opportunity to replicate this trip.