All travelers have their favorite places. There’s still a lot to be discovered, but in the places we’ve been, we know which ones we still day dream about. I have a few, but one of my absolute favorites has to be Segovia, Spain. When I dream of my life as a writer, holed up working on my next novel, fueled with Earl Grey Tea, I imagine myself running away to Segovia for a weekend or even a month (heck, even a year). I went twice when I studied in Madrid, once in the fall and once in late December. The first time I went was on a complete whim. I only decided to go the night before while out with friends. Exploring the little city was so enchanting that I had to bring Corinne when she visited me later in the semester.
It’s not the most touristy place, and while it’s a city, it’s not very crowded. Madrid, of course, is the definition of a city, and Toledo, the other nearby place to see, is usually the most popular pick for a day trip. As a result, Segovia, nestled within Castile and León, has a bit more of a quieter, sleepier feel (at least in the colder months). If you’re staying in Madrid, head on the metro to Príncipe Pío. You can easily buy bus tickets at one of the windows (there were signs in English when we went), and round trip is fairly inexpensive. After an hour you’re going to begin to see Segovia’s most famous attraction:
The Aqueduct of Segovia
Thought to have been built around the 1st Century AD, this aqueduct was built without cement or mortar, and actually kept providing water to the city until the mid-1800’s. I honestly can’t capture in a picture what it feels like to see it in person. When you get off the bus, you see hints of it almost immediately, and it grows more impressive the closer you get. Hang out around the aqueduct and just take in twenty centuries of history in one place. Also marvel at the fact that something like this lasted twenty centuries.
If you keep walking, you’ll find yourself in the old town of Segovia. The town is quite small, so you’ll be walking the whole time. You can check out
I don’t recommend going in if this is not your first Spanish cathedral. It’s beautiful, but I think after studying Spanish architecture for my one of my classes, memorizing phrases in Spanish, and seeing the inside of cathedrals all around Europe, it wasn’t worth the 3 euros to get in. Also, for snap-happy people, no photography allowed. So if you do go in, don’t be the jerk that sneaks pictures.
The Alcázar of Segovia
My personal favorite place to see was Segovia’s main castle. Sitting on a bit of a cliff, it looks like every fairy tale castle you’ve imagined come to life. You’ll see a staircase down the side when you reach the main area. Take it. You will cry a little inside at the number of steps you’re taking, but the view from the bottom is so worth it. Heck, if you’re planning ahead, pack a little picnic and plan to have your meal at the grassy area at the bottom. I then highly recommend climbing the Torre de Juan II around sunset because you will a view like the one at the top of this post. I’ve written very, very bad poetry about this image alone. It is a separate cost to climb the tower versus checking out the inside, so if you’re a poor student like I was, choose the tower over the inside. I did the inside the first time I went and the tower the second, and I infinitely preferred the tower. Also, yes, it is a hike, and you might hate me for suggesting climbing this tower after climbing down and up the hillside. But you’ll love me when you get to take in the views. Promise.
These three are only the three big sights in Segovia. I swear you could wander the streets, somehow miss seeing all three of these, and still have the same enchanted feeling. In fact, writing this post is making me want to return for a third, much longer stay.
Words by Samantha, Photographs by Samantha/Corinne