In the south of Castile and Leon, with priority access to Burgos and Madrid thanks to the A-1, Segovia is a province rich in heritage. Its towns and villages live between mountains and crops, areas with a long tradition of livestock and agriculture that allow you to enjoy an excellent cuisine, with suckling pig or lamb at the top. In addition, it is common to enjoy legacies from the past, such as great Romanesque landmarks or fairytale castles. Without further ado, these are some of the most beautiful villages in Segovia.
This town shares its name with the nearby mountain range that separates Segovia and Guadalajara. It is also located very close to the province of Soria, where you can visit the Cañón de Río Lobos. It is a traditional population with a beautiful wooded environment. Ayllón has in the tower of the Martina or the former convent of San Francisco his more notable landmarks.
During its extensive past saw through its streets a multitude of important characters. For example, in the 14th century Don Álvaro de Luna took charge of the place, strengthening its defences. This nobleman was one of the most prominent in Castile, reaching important positions in the kingdom. Napoleon III’s wife, Eugenia de Montijo, also resided there sporadically. For his part, the painter Ignacio Zuloaga, closely related to the capital of Segovia as his uncle Daniel, praised Ayllón. As a curiosity, here the Mesta met in its autumn council.
Close to Valladolid, Coca has its roots in the pre-Roman period. It is believed that it was the ancient Cauca, a Celtiberian city that dominated this part of the countryside. Unfortunately, it was destroyed twice, first in the conflicts against Rome after the second Punic War between Romans and Carthaginians. Almost a century would also end in destruction in the struggles between the rebel General Sertorius and the Roman senate envoy Pompey. In the 4th century A.D. it is possible that it saw the birth of the Emperor Theodosius, who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. It is also thought that he was born in Italica, an ancient Roman city near Seville. The village of Puras is very close to this period.
However, what makes Coca one of the most beautiful villages in Segovia is its castle. This fortress dates back to the end of the Middle Ages. It has a beautiful Mudejar style, common in the region. Despite the pillage it suffered in the 19th century, it is now restored and leaves great postcards. The splendid church of Santa María, the ancient archaeological remains of the Roman sewerage system and the great tower of the temple of San Nicolás contribute a great richness to the urban complex.
Cuéllar is one of the best medieval villages in Spain. Romanesque palaces such as that of Peter I, the wooden frameworks in their homes, the remains of the Jewish quarter, Mudejar churches such as those of El Salvador or San Andrés, the monastery of Santa Clara … However, above all are the castle and walls.
The castle of Cuéllar is one of the great medieval fortresses in the region. Its forcefulness is due to the location of the nucleus, then on the border with the Muslims. Very well preserved, it mixes styles from the Mudejar to the Renaissance. This is largely due to its widespread palatial use. Dominating the rest of the village, the walled enclosures of the town start from it. Its restoration is a long term project from which we can already see results.
On the Segovian side of the Sierra de Guadarrama, with Peñalara, Navacerrada or the upper basin of the Manzanares close by, the Real Sitio de San Ildefonso shines among the most beautiful villages in Segovia. Its great position makes it ideal for nature walks. At the same time, the local gastronomy is very complete, with one of the most famous judiones in Spain and the delicious suckling pig of Segovia as the main dishes.
Its main centre is already beautiful, with good examples of popular architecture. However, the royal condition that the name of the municipality makes clear focuses the attractions. The best known is the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, whose fountains and gardens are spectacular. It even has a maze. This place was the favourite residence of Philip V. Other landmarks such as the Royal Glass Factory or the ruins of Valsaín Palace, the first Royal Site in the country, should not be missed.
Located in the Hoces del río Riaza Natural Park, nature is once again a key point to be aware of. Walking around the Linares reservoir is a great idea. This allows you to see a multitude of fauna and flora, especially the rare Egyptian vulture. As far as cultural heritage is concerned, in Maderuelo the ruins of its castle and wall stand out. The entrance to the town is the most outstanding landmark of this complex. The churches of San Miguel and Santa María show their Romanesque and Mudejar origins respectively.
Once again it is time to go to the shelter of the mountainous massif that separates Segovia and Madrid. There you can find Pedraza de la Sierra. Its medieval quarter is a beautiful example of regional architecture, worthy of an authentic rural getaway. Thus, you can walk through cobbled streets and see buildings made of ochre stone. Its location meant that the transhumance generated a lot of wealth during centuries, something reflected in its gastronomy.
This key position was defended by a large castle, very well preserved thanks to restorations such as the one carried out by Ignacio Zuloaga at the beginning of the 20th century. A tower exhibits his work. Although it was already built in the 12th century, its current appearance is the result of reforms carried out from the 15th century onwards. Today it hosts the main events of the famous candlelight nights. For a couple of Saturdays in July the village is closed, access is by free admission, and it is lit by candles. Concerts are held in its light, in a truly evocative atmosphere.
The environment of the Ayllón mountain range covers several provinces. However, in all of them there are samples of the black architecture. From Patones de Arriba to the black architecture of Alcarria, where some of the most beautiful towns of Guadalajara are located, the style has become one of the country’s favourites. Heir to a past of misery, today it serves as an economic engine. El Muyo is an excellent example of these slate constructions. Besides, being in a mountainous area, it has remarkable routes around it.
One of the best places to contemplate Romanesque art in the province of Segovia is Sepúlveda. Whether in secondary towns such as Perorrubio or in the town centre, there are many temples of this style to be seen. The church of San Salvador, dating from 1093, is one of the oldest in the region. Despite the many interferences generated by successive reforms, another outstanding one is the Virgen de la Peña, from the 12th century.
Another landmark to keep an eye on in Sepúlveda is the Hoces del Río Duratón Natural Park. They extend to Burgomillodo. The cuts generated by the river leave splendid landscapes. There is also a large community of vultures to enjoy. In terms of gastronomy, its excellent roasts are outstanding.
Without going too far from Sepúlveda you will find a jewel to be discovered and one of the most beautiful villages in Segovia. Fuentidueña has an enviable historical legacy reflected in its monuments and ruins. Therefore, it is ideal to disconnect from the city for a few days. First of all, the remains of its castle attract attention. The canvases of the wall extend over the hill that dominates the town.
Next to the walls is what is left of the church of San Martín. Its magnificent apse was given to the United States in a trade for which the Franco dictatorship recovered some Mudejar paintings from Soria that had been sold years before. Thus, one pillage solved another. The temple includes a remarkable medieval necropolis. In the lower part, the stone bridge and the church of San Miguel, still in service, stand out. Its wine cellars are also very attractive.
Like Sigüenza, Turégano was a town tied to the figure of a powerful bishop. In this case, it was the Segovian prelate Juan Arias Dávila. During the 15th century this town was one of the epicentres of its power. There he even convened a synod, an important meeting of bishops. In addition, he promoted a great reform in the castle that provided the basis of its current appearance. Around a Romanesque temple he formed a defensive and palatial building.
This member of the most beautiful villages of Castile and Leon was the possession of the bishopric until the disentailments of the 19th century. Its typical aspect and gastronomy complement both the castle and other monuments, for example the church of Santiago.
This Segovian town is famous for having been named by the Archpriest of Hita. The small town has a beautiful tandem formed by its main square and the church of San Miguel Arcángel. From the 12th century, it shows off its Romanesque style to perfection. Its tower and the porticoed gallery on one of its sides are particularly outstanding. Also interesting is the so-called “colt de herrar”, where horseshoes were placed on farm animals. The popular stone architecture is well worth a walk.
The main square of this Segovian town is one of the most recognizable in all of Spain thanks to the inspiration of the Poble Espanyol in Barcelona. Circular, it is a traditional Castilian square. It is very multifaceted and serves as a bullfighting ring, a market place or a terrace. The arcades are another of its most distinctive features. More attractive are the church of Nuestra Señora del Manto or the various local chapels. The Pedrosa beechwood is also among the most outstanding in the centre of the peninsula, together with the Tejera Negra and Montejo.
During 1441, Queen Blanca I of Navarre, wife of the Aragonese monarch Juan II, died in Santa María la Real de Nieva. It is assumed that her remains were buried in the church of the monastery of Nuestra Señora de la Soterraña. Today there is a tomb where her supposed remains, found in 1994, rest. Nevertheless, the tests of DNA indicate that it is not her.
In any case, the monastic complex justifies that Santa María la Real de Nieva is among the most beautiful villages in Segovia. Both the church and the cloister are worthy of a leisurely visit. The village itself dates back to the end of the 14th century and is home to one of the oldest bullrings in Spain.
Around Riaza there are a number of villages that make up the route of colours. Part of it is the mentioned El Muyo, where the black predominates. There are also yellows and reds. To the latter belongs Madriguera. In the Riazana district, both clay and stones rich in iron oxides are the materials that give the town its colour. It is this characteristic that gives the place its charm. Its church is a good example of this, with the reddish ochre providing a touch of the most curious.
Easily accessible from the toll section of the A-6, from Villacastín, Valdeprados is a small but beautiful town. Its proximity to the Puerto del León means that it serves as a base for seeing both the Segovia and Madrid branches of Guadarrama. However, the environment of La Risca del río Moros stands out from its nature. It is a narrow but very high canyon, which is partly reminiscent of the Cares. Luckily, it is well signposted and easy to navigate. In the village itself, the complex and its popular architecture stand out.
To conclude this review of some of the most beautiful villages in Segovia, there is Cantalejo. Near the Duratón River Gorge, Turégano and Sepúlveda, it has some of its most recognizable elements in its forests. Over the centuries these have evolved, from the initial oaks and holm oaks to the pines planted last century. Thus, the woodwork is one of the most important in the place, along with the cereal.
Three signposted routes leave from the village itself, allowing you to get to know the wooded, mountain and river environment of Cantalejo. There you can enjoy small cliffs, viewpoints and vegetation. Its lakes are also of special interest, especially in terms of birds.
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