Segovia is for the winter

Of course, Segovia is for any time of they year. It is for summer, when the nighttime temperatures allow you to refresh body and mind while enjoying leisurely strolls through the city’s beautiful old town. It is also for autumn, when the leaves begin to fall and chestnuts flood the sidewalks. Then the Alameda de la Fuencisla is dyed in a thousand colors and it is worth stopping at each of them. It is also for spring, a time when puppets have traditionally invaded the streets. It is a time for hiking in the outskirts of the capital and endless terraces. But Segovia, above all, is for the winter. Or maybe it is that winter is Segovia’s winter.

The best version of a fairytale castle

Alcázar of Segovia

Impressive Alcázar of Segovia. | Shutterstock

To understand the reason for this statement, one must first look at the impressive castle that is one of the most traditional images of the city. The Alcazar of Segovia is one of the most important monuments of the Spanish geography and, they say, inspiration for the famous universe of Walt Disney’s fairy tales. No one could blame him: sometimes reality surpasses any attempt at imagination and this castle looks like something out of a dream.

It owes its present forms to Philip II, who ruled in the mid-15th century. Long before his reign, in any case, a fortress already existed on the site. Remains of ashlars as old as those that make up the aqueduct have been found in the area, so the Romans must have understood, already in their time, the privileged location of the aqueduct. This imposing profile that has starred in numerous tributes to the landscape rises above the Eresma river valley, as if defying the precipice.

For its position, but also for the elegance of its forms, the Alcazar of Segovia has always been admired and applauded throughout the world. Therefore, all those who have enjoyed this castle at its best can consider themselves fortunate. This comes when the snowflakes arrive, dyeing its towers white, further outlining its shapes and giving the valley over which it stands a picture, like Disney’s, fairytale. It can be seen from different perspectives: from the meadow of San Marcos, from the church of Vera Cruz or from the monastery of Santa María del Parral. Or from the numerous hiking trails that extend around the alameda de la Fuencisla. From all of them there is one certainty: there is no other castle like it.

Segovia under a white mantle


The Lady of the Cathedrals when the snow falls. | Lopez_Grande, Pixabay

When the squall Filomena wreaked havoc in the city of Madrid and left images of citizens skiing down the avenues, the Segovians, at home, must have been smiling. It is a common practice, on days of snow and even frost, to launch themselves from the slope of Teodosio el Grande, the same one that sees the competitors of the traditional Turkey Race, held every December 25. In all these descents, it is the aqueduct that awaits at the end.

Segovia is at an altitude of 1,005 meters. The first snow from the center of the peninsula usually lands in the city, which has no trouble sheltering under a white blanket that it feels like its own. Winters are long and cold, with the characteristic Castilian air tanning the faces of the inhabitants. It doesn’t snow every day, but sometimes it snows a lot. In the highest areas of the city, those dangerously close to the mountains, the snow prevents routine from running its course. In recent years, we have seen piles of snow that reach above the knees of any adult.

Wonderful landscapes have also been seen. The aqueduct, with the mountains in the background, covered in white. The Lady of the Cathedrals, as serene as ever, but covered with a different layer. The panoramic views from those corners located at higher altitudes, from where you get beautiful images of a city that has never gone to sleep during the winter. On the contrary: the terraces, perhaps even more so nowadays, are full of people. Segovians are not afraid of the cold. It is just one more among them.

Snowy landscapes

La Granja de San Ildefonso

Gardens of the Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso. | Shutterstock

Leaving the city, the road leads to similar scenarios. The Sierra de Guadarrama, which is also Segovian and Ávila, not just Madrid, awaits in the background. With legends like that of the Dead Woman, which has accompanied the Segovians since always, and from November to March, with lots of snow. In the past, say the older Segovians, it lasted all year round. With it you can enjoy the royal mountains of Valsaín, near the capital, or the impressive Royal Site of La Granja de San Ildefonso. The activities that accompany this meteorological phenomenon are also waiting just a step away from Segovia, confirming that it is winter that surrenders to the natural characteristics of the capital and province.

So, yes: Segovia is for winter. It can be enjoyed at other times of the year, but the image that these lines want to catch, preserve and pay homage to is the one that is achieved when winter arrives and the snow begins to fall, with all that that means.

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