You can explore two very different periods in Spain’s history on this half-day tour from Madrid that takes in the monastery-palace of El Escorial as well as the poignant civil war memorial the Valley of the Fallen.
Ávila and Segovia
Departing from your hotel in the morning, you head out of the city into the mountains to the northwest of Madrid before descending into the rolling farmland so typical of the Castilla y León region.
Your first stop, the walled city of Ávila, is one of Spain’s best-preserved medieval cities and a delight to explore. Legend has it that Ávila was established by one of Hercules’ sons. Whatever the truth, it was heavily fortified in the 11th and 12th centuries to protect it and the surrounding Spanish territories from the Moors.
With your guide, you’ll visit the grand 12th-century Catedral del Salvador. You’ll also walk around the central streets of the old town and stroll along a section of the medieval city walls for panoramic views across Ávila and the surrounding landscape.
Departing from Ávila, you continue onto the ridgetop city of Segovia, about an hour’s drive away. Dating back to Roman times, the city boasts a towering 894 m (3,000 ft) aqueduct from the 1st century AD, which marches majestically through the city walls into the heart of the old town.
Built without mortar, the aqueduct has a double tier of arches and sits at the opposite end of the old city to Segovia’s most-visited landmark, the turreted Alcázar. Begun in the 11th century, modified in medieval times and burned to the ground in 1862, this castle’s towers, turrets and moat are a reconstruction of the original.
As you stroll between the two sights, you’ll pass some of Segovia’s Romanesque churches, 15th- and 16th-century nobles’ palaces and the cathedral. There’s time to stop for lunch in the central square near the cathedral before you tour the castle’s interior and enjoy the views across the countryside.
At the end of the day, your guide will take you back to your hotel.
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Photos of Ávila and Segovia
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