Today we did the hour long drive to Segovia, it was one of the places I had been really looking forward to seeing and it did not disappoint. Segovia, like a lot of European cities, has limited parking, resulting in a bit of an uphill hike to reach the alcazaba. But has you walk through one of the ancient gates and get your first glimpse, you realise it was worth it.
The Alcazaba of Segovia is set on the side of a rocky crag with steep drop offs on two of its sides, which aided in it being an impenetrable fortress. It’s turreted towers which were made of slate, resemble those on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland.
This is the first fortress I have seen with the elaborate patterns on the external walls, which seem to be influenced by the Moorish in-habitation of Spain. Also interesting are the lumps of black slag that are embedded in most of the walls of the Alcazaba, according to our audio guide it was a decorative feature which originated from Segovia.
The fortress dates back to the 12th century, when it served as the royal residence of King Alfonso VIII. It was later enhanced by his successors, John II and Henry IV, during the 13th century. The Alcazaba was also the place for historical events like the wedding of Philip II and Anne of Austria in the Alcazaba’s Chapel and a fire in 1862 which destroyed many rooms which were later restored. One of my favourite rooms with not only an elaborate coffered ceiling but a frieze of gold plated statues of 52 Kings and Queens of Asturias, Leon and Castilla starting with Don Pelayo and ending with Joanna the Mad. Below each of the statues is a brief biography of them.
Other notable rooms in the Alcazaba include the royal chamber, the chapel where Phillip II and Anne wed, the throne room and another favourite of mine the Hall of the Galley with a large mural depicting the coronation of Isabella of Castile. The end of the tour takes you into the weoponry room a must see for all those want to be knights.
As well as the interior there are courtyards both internal complete with statues and external, where you can see the turrets close up.
At the entrance and exit of the Alcazaba is a fabulous view of the town and Segovia Cathedral. From the exit it is an easy walk along some of the city walls with their crenellations and views looking back over the Alcazaba. There is also an option to climb the stairs near San Andre Gate where you can walk along some of the higher walls with views over the cathedral and jewish quarter of the city.
Another major attraction in Segovia is the rather ornate cathedral. We did not visit the interior but the exterior was pretty impressive.
To get a really good view of the castle we stopped at the Mirador de la Pradera de San Marcos.
- Full Entry – Palace Rooms, Artillery Museum, Torre de Juan II (views over Sergovia) – €8
- Palace and Artillery Museum – €5.50 │ Children aged 5 – 16, over 65: €3.50
- Tower of Juan II – €2.50
- Audio guide – €3
- Summer time: April to October │ 10 am – 8 pm
- Winter time: November to March │ 10 am to 6 pm
- Closed 24th December (from 2.30 pm), 25th December, 31st Deceber (starting at 2.30 pm), 1st January, 5th January (starting at 2.30 pm, 6th January
- Address: Plaza de la Reina Victoria Eugenia, Segovia
- Adults – €3 │ Under 10 – free │ Seniors over 65, large families, groups 20+ (I think it includes students under 25): €2.50
- November to March │ 9.30 am – 18.30 pm (6.30 pm)
- April to October │ 9 am – 7.30 pm
San Andres Gate Walls
There are some walls you can walk around for free but if you wish to venture on the walls above the San Andres Gate you need to visit the tourist office for the code to the gate. See the information below for more details:
- The tourist point at San Andres Gate is open from 11 am – 3 pm
- Monday – Friday – Free
- Saturday and Sunday: €1
- To hire an audio guide is €5 per person per day
- 2 – 3 Plaza del Socorro, Segovia