Let’s face it for most people Spain is a beach holiday destination. So along the shoreline of the country there are millions of foreign tourist every year – compared to this the highlands around Madrid is a lot less visited than the coastline. And the people only going to the coast really miss out – the highlands around Madrid have a lot of amazing old towns which are worth visiting.
We went to go and see a few of the old towns around Madrid and our first destination was Segovia. Despite the relatively limited number of foreign tourist the town was far from empty – it didn’t really come as a huge surprise considering we were visiting on the weekend between Christmas and New Year. So a lot of Spanish visitors had made it up here from Madrid a short trip away. The crowd was ok since this is kind of a probing trip to decide which places we might go back and visit more intensively in the future when we have better time and can avoid the peak holiday time.
We manage to find a spot to park not too far from the old town. And just as we walk down to the town we see one of the main highlights of the city. The famous ancient aqueduct which is one of the reasons the city has achieved UNESCO world heritage status.
Behind the aqueduct is a large square with some old buildings around and this square is sort of the entrance to the main part of the old town. So we walk from the aqueduct through some small streets until we reach the main square of the city – like in so many other Spanish towns it is named Plaza Mayor. When it comes to naming the squares of the cities in Spain the locals seems to lack imagination.
The Plaza Mayor is a nice spot to visit. There are several pretty buildings located around the square. The most interesting of the buildings is the large cathedral of the city. The huge cathedral gives you an indication of the historical importance of Segovia as a major town north of Madrid.
From the cathedral there are a couple of different small roads all leading down to the alcazar or castle at the end of the old town. We wonder along one of the small roads until we get close to the castle. Here we get to the wall of the old town from where there is a great view of the landscape to the north of the town. There are some old buildings in the area including an old monastery which looks pretty from the wall.
We have a look at the castle – supposedly it should have been the inspiration for Walt Disney when he was modeling Cinderella’s castle. We like to go into the castle – but we are not the only ones who have got this idea – there are a lot of people walking into the castle. They have all got their tickets at the ticket office next to the castle. Unfortunately we haven’t secured a ticket – and the line in front of the ticket office is very long. We decide the visit to the castle will have to go on the list of things we will do when we got more time to visit this area.
We go back towards the square with the aqueduct. We choose another of the small roads – this time we go on one along the southern wall of the city. from here we get some good views of the wall, the landscape outside the wall and a bit of the castle with its fairytale towers.