It was the last day of my parents’ nine day visit and we were all pretty exhausted. We’d been pinxto hopping through San Sebastian, toured the enormous cathedral in Burgos, and walked the streets of Madrid until our feet begged us to stop. So when my father suggested spending his last day in Spain on a day trip, we were all surprised. But it was no trouble, and I already knew exactly where we’d go. Since moving to Madrid I’ve taken day trips to many small towns and nearby cities, but I’d purposely avoided visiting Segovia. I always figured it would be nice to save something new for when family came, and as it turned out, it was!
Getting to Segovia
Segovia isn’t quite as easy to get to as Toledo or Alcalá de Henares, but it’s worth the extra trouble. Although there is a bus that leaves from Principe Pio (definitely the more budget friendly option at around 16€ per person for roundtrip), the ride takes about an hour and a half, while the high-speed train takes only 28 minutes. The catch with the train, however, is that it doesn’t depart from the central Atocha Train Station, but rather the much farther north Charmartin Station. Despite the extra time to get to Charmartin (about 15 minutes by taxi or 30 minutes by public transit from our house in the city center) it is still worth it in my opinion.
The train tickets range in price depending on the time you choose, but you can easily find a roundtrip ticket for about 20 euros per person. When you arrive to the station in Segovia, it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere– all you see is countryside. There is a bus that will bring people into the center, but it doesn’t come very frequently. Since we had a very limited amount of time to spend in Segovia (we arrived at 1:00 and were taking the return train at 6:30) we opted for a taxi, which for about ten euro took the four of us on a lovely ride all the way up to the castle, where we could then slowly make our way back down to the bottom.
What to See
Our limited time in Segovia made it a “look at everything from the outside” kind of day (often my favorite anyway). We started with the gorgeous castle. Said to be one of the castles that inspired the Walt Disney Cinderella castle, we could see why. There was even a place for a moat! The other main sights are the cathedral, Plaza Mayor, and the famous aqueduct. There is much more to see and do (of course), but with these four stops (and lunch) you’ll fill five hours before you know it.
Where to eat in Segovia
As lunchtime neared, I was panicking as we hadn’t quite found “the perfect place”. We were hoping to try Segovia’s famous suckling pig, fed on 21 days of mother’s milk and considered an absolute delicacy.
Luckily we stumbled upon Restaurante Don Jimeno, where we dined like kings for a very reasonable price. See all details here (it really deserved its own post!)– and if in Segovia please check them out!
See more: If you can’t get to Segovia, enjoy cochinillo in Madrid at Botin Restaurant
A Relaxing Day
After lunch we needed to get up and move. My mom poked into souvenir shops and we walked around the Plaza Mayor. Later we visited the stunning aqueduct, a Roman structure that likely dates back to 1st Century AD (the exact origin is unknown). It is truly spectacular and a must-see when visiting Spain.
Around 6:00 we caught a taxi back to the train station for about 8 euro from the aqueduct. It was well worth it not to have to figure out the bus.
I loved each and every minute of beautiful Segovia. It is an extremely beautiful and peaceful town, the aqueduct is incredible, our food was great and you don’t need all day there (although I easily could have stayed longer).
People always ask me which nearby day trip they should take from Madrid. It is a really difficult decision. The two most impressive would definitely be Segovia and Toledo in my opinion and, despite my love for Toledo, I might have to recommend Segovia. It feels a little more compact for just one day.
What do you think? If you’ve been to both, which day trip from Madrid would you recommend?
Was so glad I found your post. We followed your lead-took the train and a taxi to the castle and then worked our way down the hill to the cathedral and plaza ending at the aqueduct. A great day-thanks!
Do you think it that wise to combine El Escorial in the morning and Segovia in the afternoon? Or is that too much for one day? I want to do Toledo for the full day, but was hoping to do El Escorial and Segovia in 1 day or 2 – 1/2 days. What do you think?
It’s definitely possible! It would be a long day, but if coming to visit in summer, our days are very long anyway (sun until 10pm!) Good luck 🙂
Hola Lauren, We will be going to Segovia , this October will be Staying in Segovia for 3 days!! Do you know if they rent any motorcycles there in Segovia
Hello! That’s wonderful! I don’t know of anything, but it sounds like a great idea.
Hi , how is the weather like in October,,we will be there in Segovia. Is cold , rainy?Thank you
Loved your blog. I am going to Madrid on January 4, 2017 for 5 days. So I plan to take a one day trip to Segovia . Should I take the bus from Madrid? Now the bus leaves grom the Moncloa station, how far .is it from Madrid? Will be staying near Retiro park .
You can take the bus or the train– I’d personally go for the train!
We are very excited we are finally coming to Spain in December, I already book our devour tours in Madrid and Barcelona. Can’t wait!
I was reading you post abot a day trip to Segovia, how many hours do you think we need, not rushing and having a cochinillo lunch?
Hi Vanessa! Just seeing this comment here now– so happy to hear you’ll be in Spain this month! I’d say you need a minimum of 5-6 hours spent in Segovia (so excluding travel time), just to have a nice lunch (at least 2 hours) and walk around the town. This won’t give you time for really entering any sites, or shopping too much. I’d plan a full day trip personally, but if time is tight, about 5 hours will at least let you see the main sights! Enjoy it!!
Between segovia and toledo it is all in the eye of the beholder. For a manageable boutique visit that’s easier on the feet segovia is the way to go. For grandeur, but more blisters, Toledo is it. Loved the Romanesque churches in Segovia but we found ourselves alone at most of the smaller churches around , and startled locals when we blundered into the unlocked ones. Most people seem to have stuck to the main drags, unlike in Toledo where they were everywhere. Answer for us – do both – and take full advantage of Segovia!
I am going to Madrid, Segovia, Salamanca,Toledo and back to Madrid for a few days. What is the best way to travel to these cities without going back to Madrid each time. do like bus travel as you see so much more of the country.
Bus or train are both great options! Check our Renfe.com for connections. You can also buy a Spain Pass if taking a lot of high speed trains during a month period.
I’ve been looking for train routes to Segovia from Madrid and RailEurope says there are no trains in October from Madrid to Segovia. Also I was looking at tours, are they worth it in your opinion?
That can’t be right– there are definitely trains everyday. Check http://www.renfe.com (although perhaps they haven’t published October’s schedule yet…). I would prefer to wander around on my own to a tour, though I’m sure with a good tour you’d learn heaps!
Definitely do your own thing!! We were in Segovia yesterday. Do a bit of reading on where you want to go first, then gran a map from the tourist info centre and wander!! Recommend Alcazar (good reason not to book a tour – my partner ended up proposing outside the castle!) as well as the cathedral and aqueduct are both beautiful. Train and bus are easy to navigate and much cheaper than organised tours. My favourite place so far 🙂
Nicole!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! Thank you for your post! It is settled then, on our own it is and Lauren you may be right, perhaps not posted yet… I finally got one schedule to show up today from Madrid to Segovia but not return, a little odd but I will figure it out once I’m there. We are looking into buying a Renfe Spain pass and I’m assuming I can travel without restrictions or additional fees. I’m hoping I’m right! Thanks again Ladies!!
Hi! Am definitely set on a trip to Segovia when we are in Madrid in just over a week (YAY!).
Is it essential to get bus/taxi to the centre? I liked the idea of walking at least one way!
Good questions Nicole! I believe it is (if I recall it’s on a highway). Of course, technically one can always walk… but I think it’s advisable if coming by train, and there is plenty of walking to be done in the town itself.
I will be in Madrid from July 3-21 with 3 friends. We would like to take a cooking class. What is your recommendation?
Also, we are interested in local artisans….potters, jewelry, etc
Hi Cookie– I don’t have any personal experience with Madrid cooking classes but have seen that Cooking Point is well reviewed on Tripadvisor. If you’d like to meet local food artisans, our Huertas Neighborhood Food and Market Tour would be perfect– 3.5 hours of 11 family run Madrid food establishments! For jewelry there’s a great place on Calle Codo, and for leather in the same area there’s a place called Taller Puntera. Hope this helps!
Cate @ Chez CateyLou
I am heading to Madrid next week for the first time, and am so happy that I stumbled upon your blog! I was debating if we should do a day trip to Segovia, and I think you have convinced me! Thank you so much for all of these great details. I can’t wait to check out your other blog posts!
So happy it’s been helpful– and yes, go to Segovia! 🙂
Thanks for the great intro to Segovia. We are going to Madrid in September and want to do a day trip to Segovia, but I’m worried about how to get around between sights (Alcazar, aqueduct, museums and jewish quarter maybe). How much is within walking distance of one another
Hi Bill, it’s not too much walking! About 10-15 minutes between different sights and monuments– at the most!
So glad I found this post! I’m going to Madrid in September and cannot decide on a day trip. I’m tossing up between Toledo and Segovia, I think I’d prefer Segovia but I’m a bit worried about the transport. Are the taxis easy to come by? Also, what camera do you use? Your photos are beautiful and I’m buying a new camera before my trip and would be thrilled if my pics turn out like these.
Segovia is my personal pick (although Toledo is incredible too). Taxis are very easy to come by, there are usually some waiting at the station and then there is a line of them in the center as well. My camera is a Canon EOS rebel– a very old one! I bought the most basic version hoping to use it as a starter camera, still don’t feel comfortable switching to anything more expensive! But it’s been great to learn on. Thanks for reading!
Thank you so much. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts and can’t wait to get to Madrid.
I loved Segovia when I was there for 2 nights in September! The big monuments were awe-inspiring, and the food was filling, but was really surprised me were the oooooooold Romanesque churches hiding around every corner of the city. So fascinating!
Although Segovia was great, I would have to throw my hat to the Toledo ring–there’s just so much more to do and see and the old town was more moody and interesting than Segovia’s.
Totally understand your opinion, but that’s exactly why I prefer Segovia. Less to do, so more relaxing in my opinion! But both places are incredible!