Segovia, Spain


SegoviaSegovia, Spain is a fantastic destination for a day or overnight trip from Madrid. It's jam-packed with historical attractions - all of which you can discover on foot - and restaurants offering the famous regional "cochinillo" (suckling pig), among other Castilian delicacies.

Most impressive of all Segovian sights is the Roman aqueduct (circa 50 A.D.) which stretches over 800 meters (about 1/2 mile) long. This two-tiered structure of 168 granite arches seems even more remarkable when you consider that no mortar at all was used to hold the blocks together.

SegoviaClimb the hill behind the aqueduct and enter the old town's maze of streets to find Segovia's huge cathedral just off the Plaza Mayor. This massive structure is a feat in determination: construction started in 1525 and lasted 200 years, wholeheartedly dedicated to creating a gothic enormity a few centuries past the fashion.

From the cathedral it's a short walk to the Alcázar. If the turrets and towers seem strangely familiar, it might be because Disneyland purportedly modeled its Rapunzel castle after this one. Be aware that the building is actually a reconstruction; the original burned to the ground in 1862. Nevertheless, you can easily see why the Moors first chose to build a fortress here. Perched atop a rock between two rivers, this medieval castle is nothing if not fanciful.