Visiting Madrid opens up a plethora of opportunities to see other parts of Spain on your trip. It’s situated centrally and has high speed train routes to every corner of the country. You can travel to Seville or Barcelona in circa two and a half hours or visit one of the more local cities, such as Toledo or Segovia, in 30 minutes. Having been to Toledo and having plans to visit Barcelona and Seville in the coming weeks, I opted for a day trip to Segovia.
Segovia is a historic town Northwest of Madrid. It is a UNESCO world heritage site which boasts an ancient Roman aqueduct (that’s still in use), a cathedral (one of the last Gothic cathedrals to ever be built in Europe) and a fascinating castle (which influenced Walt Disney classics). So needless to say, my expectations were quite high.
I booked the trip from Madrid-Chamartín via the Trainline EU website, which has made train travel in Europe so easy. Tickets were €10.30 each way for a high-speed 28 minute journey. The station Estación de Madrid-Chamartín, is located above the Metro stop of Chamartín on Line 1. I collected my tickets from the Renfe machine using the reference number provided and I was ready to go.
The journey mainly underground to my disappointment was fast and effortless. Unlike many trains I’d been on in the UK I arrived on time. I exited the station and I was in the middle of nowhere. I would have been a bit more concerned had 90% of the train not vacated with me. Having not looked into this prior to my trip, Segovia Ave Station is actually a short bus journey away from the city itself, perhaps to maintain the desired historic appearance or because there was no space. However whilst I waited for the number 11 bus which took me to the centre of the city I took in what was a fabulous view of the mountain range sitting behind the cow-filled corn fields.
The bus turned up and I paid my €2 and again, I was on my way. 10 minutes later I was in Segovia and looking up at probably the most impressive piece of architecture I have ever seen, the Roman aqueduct. After a bit of Googling and eaves dropping on some passing tour guides, I was pretty clued up on the structure. Built in the first century by the Romans, the aqueduct ferried water from the Frío River to the city, but to my amazement it is still in use today.
I walked all the way from along the aqueduct and back (813 metres each way). The detail and skill that went into the design and build is something that can only be appreciated if you get the chance to see it for yourself.
I continued to walk up, what I can only assume, are ancient steps. Continuing through the old town where the buildings are laid out showing how Moorish, Jewish and Christian communities all coexisted during the 16th Century, I poked my head down every alley and crevice that I could see. I reached the main square, Plaza Mayor, where the Gothic cathedral casts a towering presence over the other beautiful buildings. The cathedral, built between 1525 and 1577 was one of the last Gothic cathedrals of its type to be built in Europe.
I had lunch in the square at a lovely restaurant called Mesón Mayor. Situating myself on the terrace under a parasol, I watched the world go by before making my way to the north part of the town to see Alcázar de Segovia.
The castle was initially built as a fortress by the Romans, but has since been used as a Royal Palace, a State Prison and more recently as a museum. It influenced Walt Disney’s animated classics and it’s easy to see how. I took some photos and bought some souvenir gifts before making my way back to the aqueduct to catch the bus back to the train station.
I would definitely recommend a day trip to Segovia. It’s unrivalled in my, albeit limited, experience of day trips from Madrid and it’s so easy to get to thanks to the brilliant high speed train infrastructure in place.
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