This is obviously one of the main attractions in La Granja. The spanish ruler Felipe V retired here in 1724. He wanted to create here a residence like the one in Versailles. So he planned and extended the gardens and the palace to their nowadays appearance. The Palace was used as a summer residence by many spanish kings until Alfonso XIII.
The gardens occupy more than 80% of the Royal Palace area. The entrance is free normally (10-18h in winter, 10-21h in summer), except when the fountains are ON. This happens on the afternoons of wednesday, saturdays and sundays from 15 to 18h.
There are mainly 2 parts, a little one at the right with more flowers (my favourite) and a big one in the back with more trees, avenues and fountains.
There are many fountains around in the gardens, big and with many sculptures. Most of the time they are dry, but on some days (wednesday, saturday and sunday from 15 to 18h) they open the water and you can see the whole thing working. Nevertheless during this periods, the entrance is not free!
If you have time after visiting the Palace and the Gardens you can have a walk around the town of La Granja. Is not an extremely beautiful place, but is nice, with old castilian style houses and some quiet streets with pleasant terraces. There are a few interesting churches too.
There is an interesting museum on how they make the glass pieces in La Granja (kind of those U might have seen in Venice and so). La Granja has an old tradition in glass-making and there are many beautiful pieces shown at the museum.
Entrance 3,50 euros.
There is a famous statue in Rome of a mother wolf suckling the two Roman Twins of Romulus and Remus (they were apparently brought up by the wolf).
Due to Segovia's famous Roman link (the Aquaduct was built by the Romans 2000 years ago), there is a special bond between the two cities. This statue marks that bond.
You can find it in front of the Aquaduct (the bus stop side). The sign underneath (not shown here) says that the statue marks the bi-millennium of the Aquaduct, and that the statue was put there in 1974 (the date is in Roman numerals of course!)
If you drive out of Segovia towards Valladolid and look for signs to the parador, you will get to a Mirador (a spot where you can stop and admire the view) which offers great views of the city (both of the Cathedral and the Alcazar, the Aquaduct is harder to see from this angle).
This picture was taken in late March when the Almond Blossom was in full bloom. The Alcazar can be seen in the background.
I would recommend the views from here even when there is no blossom, but when there is, it is a real must see site.
The church of San Martin is in a reasonably large square (Plaza de Juan Bravo) as you walk up from the Aquaduct towards the Plaza Mayor and the Cathedral. As such it is 'unmissable' as you pretty much have to walk past it.
It makes a good break point on the walk (even though the walk itself is not that big) and it is worth taking a few minutes to explore the square and go inside the church.
The church itself dates from the 12th Century and has a Mudejar Tower, that would not look out of place on a mosque!
The Roman Aquaduct in Segovia is almost 2000 years old, and comprises around 20,000 granite blocks. These blocks are not held together with any mortar or other type of 'glue', they just stay together due to the craftsmanship of the builders. Several years ago, buses and cars were allowed to drive through the aquaducts arches (what a travesty that was). All of a sudden the town realised the damage that was being done to the aquaduct, and now that Segovia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this lunacy should hopefully never start again.
The Aquaduct was built in the 1st Century AD by the Romans, and was in active use until as late as the 19th Century AD.
Segovia's Cathedral is situated right next to the Plaza Mayor (or Central Square). It's a huge majestic building, although it is best seen from afar to get the true scale of it. You cannot even see the largest tower in this picture!
This incarnation of the cathedral goes back as far as 1525, although it was not formally consecrated until 1678. It is known as being the last great gothic church to be built in Spain. There had been an earlier cathedral on the site, but this was destroyed during a Castilian (Castilla (meaning Castle) is a region in Spain around Segovia) revolt.
The church has all manner of intricate details and several flying buttresses and numerous pinnacles. It can look very good silhouetted against the sky (especially from a distance).
The Tourist Information Office is right next to the Aquaduct, and faces across the square from Candido.
If you go in, you can pick up free maps and basic guides and get help booking hotels etc. The only thing they seem to ask in return is where you come from (all Spanish Tourist Information offices seem to keep statistics on that sort of thing).
It's best to go there at the start of your tip, and they will happily answer your questions. English is typically well spoken in there (although it does vary from person to person).
Juan Bravo crops up all over Segovia. There is a road, statue and theatre all named after him (and I think a hotel too).
I'm not entirely sure why he is so famous (any local care to help me out here!). He was essentially a local rebel who fought against King Carlos V when he attempted to impose absolute rule on Spain. Segovia was the hotbed for this revolt, which is probably why he is fondly remembered by the locals.
Anyhow, he came to an unfortunate end. He was captured by the Kings forces and was executed (his head was chopped off) in 1521 (he had been born in 1483).
The date on the statue shows 1921, so I'm guessing it was built to commemorate 400 years since his death.
OK, if you had no idea what the previous tip was all about, hopefully the mystery is now solved!
The pyramids were parts of the rather interesting facade that this building has. It is covered in granite ashlars that have been carved into diamond points.
The entrance way has a large half-moon arch. The balconies have the coats of arms of the Hoz family who were the original owners of the house (it was their ancestral home). The hallway and patio are decorated with tiles from Talavera and have been painted with different buildings of Segovia.
The building is these days used as an art gallery and houses temporary exhibitions.
It is open on Monday and Friday: 12:00 to 14:00 and 19:00 to 21:00. It is closed in the month of August.
The Plaza Mayor (or Central Square) in Segovia is a nice example of the central square that all Spanish Towns seem to have. It is not the most ornate, but it is a nice place to sit and eat a sandwich or some local delicacies, and there are numerous shops selling these sorts of things around the outside.
This picture shows the central square. The cathedral is further to the left and is not in shot. You can see the central bandstand, the Town Hall on the left, and the Juan Bravo theatre to the right.
There is also a small kiosk selling newspapers and sweets in the square., which is also out of shot to the left. I would advise against parking here as the traffic wardens seem pretty busy at this spot!
The best way to see the City Walls is to get in a car, and drive around them. If you don't do this, it is almost possible to miss them altogether. However it is possible to get a very good view of them from just by the Alcazar.
As you walk back from the Alcazar and through the little square in front of it, go to the right hand side and look over towards the Cathedral (you can see the main tower here that you could not see in my earlier picture from the Plaza Mayor). The City Walls are quite high and quite impressive.
These days the walls do not encompass all the city, or at least they don't appear to. I don''t actually know if they ever did, or whether they were built to protect a weak side of the city.