We love visiting Spain. From Girona and Lloret de Mar in Catalunya to San Sebastian in Basque Country to places like Malaga and Granada in Andalucia, Spain has something for everyone. The network of high speed trains throughout the country makes it super easy to plan a Spanish weekend city break. We recently flew from Dublin to Madrid for a weekend and used the opportunity to take a day trip to Segovia, about 30 minutes away by high speed rail. Segovia is a town known for ancient engineering, formidable fortifications, and great eats. Here are our top picks why a day trip to Segovia by a high speed rail is a must do if you visit Madrid.
Admire Segovia's Roman Aqueduct, A Feat of Ancient Engineering
Segovia's Roman aqueduct is the defining feature of the city. We took the public bus from the train station and the terminus is right in the shadow of the old aqueduct. Segovia's aqueduct is an impressive site to behold.
Peruse the Sweets at Limón y Menta
Wandering around the narrow streets to get a feel for Segovia, we stumbled upon Limón y Menta pasteleria. I have a major sweet tooth and this shop was just the thing to sate it. We bought florones (fried dough in the shape of a flower) and Ponche Segoviano, a rich cake filled with custard and marzipan.
We saved the Ponche Segoviano for the train ride back to Madrid. When we tasted Segovia's signature cake, we wished we could have turned the train around to go back and order more! Ponche Segoviano is incredibly rich but incredibly delicious and was one of the highlights of the trip for us.
Eat Your Heart Out on Segovia's Plaza Major
After our pitstop at Segovia's Limón y Menta, we took our treats to nearby Plaza Mayor. The florones break into heart-shaped pieces. I HEART sitting on a park bench with a tasty treat to drink in the surroundings and do a bit of people watching.
Stand in the Shadow of Segovia's Impressive Cathedral
Segovia's cathedral is another impressive edifice situated just off of Plaza Mayor. You need to pay to go inside. We decided to skip the interior and simply admire the facade against the perfect blue sky the day we visited.
Enjoy a Three Course Lunch Al Fresco at Segovia's El Redebal
Exploring Segovia on foot inevitably helped us work up an appetite. A long, leisurely lunch is a tradition in Spain and Segovia is no exception to this rule. We staked out an outdoor table at El Redebal and dined al fresco on Cochinillo asado, Segovia's signature roast suckling pig. The menu del dia paired well with a bottle of Spanish red wine and the largest crustiest roll I've ever seen. The lunch menu also included a starter (soup or a local bean dish) and a coffee. We left with bellies full and enough energy to complete our exploration of Segovia.
Tour the Alcázar for a Trip Back to Medieval Segovia
The Alcázar is a stand-out of Segovia's 'skyline'. Stone towers and turrets were striking against a deep blue sky. Fortifications on this rocky outcrop date back to Roman times. This incarnation of the Alcázar was first mentioned in the 12th century. While originally a fortress, the complex has served a number of purposes over the centuries including royal palace.
Climb the Tower at Segovia's Alcázar for Sweeping Views
The best part of the Alcázar has to be the views. We climbed the 200 or so winding stairs to the top of the tower and looked out over Segovia. I could see why this vantage point was important for fortifications back in the day.
Hike Down and Walk Along the River to View the Alcázar from Below
We continued our pattern of climbing stairs to see the Alcázar of Segovia from a different angle. This time, we descended what felt like several hundred steps to the river below.
Following the footpath, we emerged underneath the Alcázar. From this vantage point, we could really see how the Alcázar is shaped like a ship.
Strike a Pose Next to the Statue of Juan Bravo
Back in the heart of Segovia, we took a moment to pose with the statue of Juan Bravo. He took part in the Castilian War of the Communities in the early 16th century and is now commemorated here in Segovia. From a practical perspective, this spot in Segovia is a good central landmark to help navigate around town and also offers some great photo ops.
Take One Last Look at Segovia's Aqueduct Before Catching the Bus Back to the Train Station
Overall, we spent the better part of a day exploring Segovia. Before we knew it though, the clock was striking 5 pm and it was time to catch the bus back to the train station for our return trip on the high speed train to Madrid. We marveled one last time at Segovia's Roman aqueduct. It's crazy to think that these structures have survived for thousands of years without the use of mortar to hold the stones together. Segovia has withstood the test of time and is an ideal day trip by high speed rail from Madrid.