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Segovia

Visiting Segovia, kids may be surprised to see a massive Roman aqueduct leading into the old city. 2,000 years ago, Segovia was a Roman city, the Visigoths arrived in the 5th century, several hundred years later, the Moors conquered Segovia. In the 11th century, the Christian kings took over the city, and in 1474, Isabella was crowned Queen of Castille here. During the Golden Age, Segovia was a prosperous city, and the kings and queens of Spain stayed in the Alcazar (castle). Today, the old city of Segovia is beautifully preserved on a plateau, surrounded by medieval city walls.
    Roman aqueduct bridge – Stand in the Plaza del Azoguejo or Plaza de la Artilleria and it’s right there, a fabulous double-arch Roman aqueduct bridge! Constructed at the end of the 1st century AD from huge granite blocks, the aqueduct brought water from the mountains into and through the city. Yet another feat of Roman engineering, this is simply impressive.
    Follow the aqueduct bridge south, as far as the kids feel like walking. Or, at Plaza de Azoguejo (on the west side of the aqueduct), by the tourist office climb up the stairs to the right. On the stairs, you’ll be at eye level with the first arch level of the aqueduct. Continue up the stairs, to the second level. Up the next set of stairs you’re at the medieval city walls and can look over the bridge. Here is also the last section that would have carried the water into the city proper.
  Alcazar – The Alcazar is a kid’s dream of a fortified castle. Situated on a rocky promontory, there’s been a fort here since Roman times. In the 13th –16th centuries the fort was spiffed up to become a comfy castle for royalty. Before Madrid became the capital of Spain, the Alcazar in Segovia was the favorite residence of kings and queens. No crumbly castle, the Alcazar is in superb shape (it burned down and was re-constructed in the 19th century).
    As you wander through the Alcazar, check out the Throne Room, illuminated with stained glass, plus two thrones and portraits of Ferdinand and Isabella. The Hall of the Monarchs was the heart of the castle – along the top of the room are 52 carved, gilded portraits of the kings and queens of Spain. In the royal bedroom, the red canopied bed is trimmed with real gold. Throughout the castle are oodles of armor, swords, cannons and heraldic shields.
    Be sure to climb up the Torre de Juan (Tower of John II). It’s 152 steps, going round and round up to the top. From the watchtower rooftop are fabulous views of the countryside in all directions Here kids can definitely feel like a king or queen of the castle.
    Tip: In basement where you’ll find the bathrooms, you can also see the old foundations of the castle, dating back to the Middle Ages, possible Roman era.
    Old City Walls – Medieval walls completely enclose the old city and are beautifully preserved. From the Alcazar, walk back in the direction of the cathedral, on Ronda de Don Juan II. Along the way kids can climb up on the ramparts, look over the walls to an imaginary foe below. Keep walking to the San Andres Gate (you’ll pass the Museo de Segovia along the way). The San Andres Gate, with two sturdy crenellated towers on either side was a primary gateway to the castle.
  Museo de Segovia (Museum of Segovia) – The Museo de Segovia (“Casa del Sol”) encompasses the history of Segovia province – from Bronze age swords and pottery, to Roman metal tools, Visigoth brooches and necklaces, medieval cups, models of machines for minting money, traditional life and clothing in Segovia. Check out animations of the Roman aqueduct (how it was built and carried water all the way through the old city) and Alcazar over the centuries.
    Cathedral of Segovia – The cathedral was begun in 1525 and work continued over the centuries. Inside, there’s a choir with carved wooden stalls and a Baroque high altar with a silver-covered statue of Mary, the Virgin of Peace. Wander through the peaceful cloister (older than the church) and a small museum with silver and gold chalices, crosses and embroidered capes. The Segovia cathedral is huge, with lovely soaring Gothic arches, but if you’ve visited the Toledo cathedral, Segovia is much less opulent by comparison.
    Plaza de la Merced – A couple blocks northwest of the cathedral this plaza has a small play area, benches and shade. It’s the perfect place to bring your picnic lunch.
    Iglesia de Vera Cruz (Church of the True Cross)- Older kids will enjoy a walk to Vera Cruz Church, outside the city walls. From the Alcazar, walk east to the Santiago Gate. Go through the gate and down the Paseo de San Juan de la Cruz.
      At the river, continue on Calle de San Marcos, or take a detour and walk north on the riverside walk to the Royal Mint (Casa de Moneda). In the 16th century, the Royal Mint was state of the art, using a water wheel to power the minting machines.
      From Calle de San Marcos, turn right at Carretera de Zamarranmala and walk north. You’ll see a round, twelve-sided church, founded by the Knights Templar in the 13th century. The church, based on a design from Jerusalem, housed a relic of the True Cross (the relic is now kept in the nearby village, and each year on Good Friday, the relic is brought to Vera Cruz Church). Climb up the tower for super views of the Alcazar in the distance.
    Tourist bus – Pick up the hop on hop off bus at the Plaza de la Artilleria, right in front of the aqueduct. The bus goes in a loop outside the old city, with super views of the Roman aqueduct, city walls, and Alcazar. It’s also a convenient way to get to the Templar church. The loop around the city (without getting off) takes about an hour.
      Tip: Segovia is an easy day trip from Madrid, 35 min. by high speed AVE train. From the AVE train station, a bus goes directly to the Plaza de la Artilleria, or take a taxi. At the plaza on the west side of the aqueduct (Plaza del Azoguejo), stop into the tourist office for a free detailed map of Segovia.
family hotels segovia spain

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in Segovia, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels, all styles and price ranges, located in the city center and close to the aqueduct:

Segovia family hotels
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