Poor Segovia! Because the city’s Roman aqueduct appears on every checklist of Spanish monuments, the city often suffers from drive-by tourism. It’s easy to park near the aqueduct, take a picture, maybe stop for lunch, and then move on. But Segovia is more than just a pretty face. Outside the perimeter of its old walls lie important religious communities and a mystical shrine of the Knights Templar. In the city proper, Segovia displays a monumental drama from the arches of its Roman aqueduct on one end to the fantasy castle of its Alcázar on the other. The city is built on a large rocky outcrop, resulting in narrow, winding streets that have to be covered on foot to visit the Romanesque churches, early Renaissance palaces, and medieval Judería. This ancient city is located at the heart of the castle-rich part of Castilla. Isabel herself was proclaimed queen of Castilla here in 1474.
Where to Eat
Segovia is justifiably proud—some would say even possessive—of what it considers the city’s great contribution to Spanish cuisine: roast suckling pig. There’s even a special certification for the dish, Marca de Garantía “Cochinillo de Segovia,” indicating that the restaurant only uses milk-fed local pigs less than 21 days old that have been processed and cooked in accordance with a strict set of standards. Restaurants without a special oven will fry the piglet, a dish known as cochifrito.As if that were not enough, Segovia is also known for its local lamb, usually offered as chuletóns de cordero,or lamb chops, sometimes as chuletillas de lechal, or chops from milk-fed lambs. Two common starters on Segovia menus are sopa castellana—a soup usually made with a chicken broth base to which chopped ham, bread, sweet paprika, and eggs are added—and judiones de La Granja, a dish of white broad beans, chorizo sausage, fresh ham, and onion.
Segovia is shaped like a wedge of cake plopped on its side. The Roman aqueduct is at the point, while the Alcázar stands atop the thick end above all the frosting. The cathedral and Plaza Mayor are in the middle. You’ll find the best shopping in the old city between the aqueduct, the cathedral, and the Alcázar. For local ceramics and souvenirs, cruise Calle de Juan Bravo, Calle Daoiz, and Calle Marqués del Arco.Thursday is market day.