If all you can hear when you look at that name is "Genovia, Genoooooviaaaa," you're not alone. Although Segovia is not a fictional country known for its pears, it is a beautiful city that could very well be the next location for a Disney film given its stunning views and the royal palace that partly inspired Cinderella's castle.
Segovia sits just outside of the Comunidad de Madrid borders, in the community known as Castilla y León, so I couldn't use my abono jóven (transportation pass for people under 26) to get there. Instead, I bought a round-trip ticket for only 9€. There is a direct bus from Madrid to Segovia every hour, and the ride only takes about an hour as well, so it is an easy day trip. I booked my bus online ahead of time because I was worried many people would be visiting on a weekend, but if you don't know exactly when you want to go and return, you can always buy the tickets at the station if the bus isn't already full.
I left on the 12pm bus, and it was full! It seems like Saturdays are popular days for these short trips to nearby cities, like Toledo or Segovia. The bus station in Segovia, unlike the train station, is centrally located and close to the Old Town, so from there you can easily walk to any of the must-see spots. Now since I didn't get an early start, I knew I wouldn't have the entire day to do everything (which just means I'll have to go back...). I focused my time on the northwestern end of the city, where you can find the Alcázar, Jewish Quarter, Cathedral, and Plaza Mayor - but not the famous Roman aqueduct.
Because of the altitude it felt colder than Madrid, so winter might not be the ideal time to go. Even so, I was determined to walk around as much as possible. I began by taking the road on the outskirts, along the path of the woods. It was so serene, and I could hear the small channel of water below me. I found myself in front of the Convento de San Juan de la Cruz, which was beautiful but looked closed to the public. From there, I circled back around toward the famous Alcázar, or 12th century castle, which overlooks the city. Let me tell you, I have never felt so out of shape! For a minute I thought I wouldn't make it to the top of all the stairs, but seeing the view from that high up made it all worth it. Plus, the rest of the city center is on the same level so there's plenty to see and do once you're there.
By this time, I needed to take a breather (and find a bathroom!) so I went past the castle into the Plaza Mayor, filled with terraza tables in direct sunlight. I plopped down at a place right across from the cathedral. Even though I am sure it is breathtaking inside, I have already toured many cathedrals and didn't feel the need on this trip to pay to enter this one, but on my next trip it might be worth it. Once I had my fill of tortilla and sol, I ventured back to the castle. Tickets were only 6€ to enter the palace and Museo de la Artillería (Artillery Museum), since the Torre de San Juan (tower) was closed. The castle is filled with incredible history, including a hall with chronologically-lined statues of the region's past monarchs dating back to the 700s.
On the walk back to the bus station, I took a different path down to walk past the Jewish quarter where the city's oldest synagogue still stands, albeit converted to a Catholic church. Nearby, I found myself crossing the puerta del sol just as the sun was setting (see photo above). What a perfect way to end a day! There are so many towns to see in Spain, but I am so glad I chose Segovia for a day-trip and would recommend it to anyone who's into architecture, history, and beautiful landscapes.