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After Toledo, SEGOVIA is the standout trip from Madrid. A relatively small city, strategically sited on a rocky ridge, it is deeply and haughtily Castilian, with a panoply of squares and mansions from its days of Golden Age grandeur, when it was a royal resort and a base for the Cortes (parliament). It was in Segovia that Isabel la Católica was proclaimed queen of Castile in 1474.

For a city of its size, there are a stunning number of architectural monuments. Most celebrated are the breathtaking Roman aqueduct, the Gothic cathedral and the fairy-tale Alcázar, but the less obvious attractions – the cluster of ancient churches and the many mansions found in the lanes of the old town, all in a warm, honey-coloured stone – are what really make it worth a visit. If you have time, take a walk out of the city alongside the river and out to the fascinating church of Vera Cruz.

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