Which is Better Toledo or Segovia? (And Why)

Toledo and Segovia are amazing cities and have a lot to offer. However, when it comes to deciding what city is the best for your day trip, it is a hard decision to make.

Should you visit Toledo or Segovia? Toledo has more to see and do, attracts more tourists, and is warmer during the summer months. Segovia has fewer things to see and do, attracts fewer tourists, and is cooler during the summer months.

What are some things to consider when planning your trip? It is a tough decision to make, and honestly, it depends on several factors including:

  • Your likes and dislikes
  • When you are visiting
  • How much time you have
  • Your budget

You should also consider your motivation as well. In an article in Current Issues in Tourism, authors Carmen Antón, Carmen Camarero & Marta Laguna-García note that if your motivation for the trip is internal, you are likely to have a positive response to “time intense and expenditure intense visits.” On the other hand, if your motivation is external, then you are likely to have a negative response to those two factors.

Both cities are charming, rich in history, close to Madrid and easily accessible using public transportation.

But Toledo and Segovia can offer a unique experience to visitors.

Let’s take a look at each city and determine which city is the best for you to visit. 

 ToledoSegovia
Population84,00052,000
Distance from Madrid44 miles60 miles
Travel time from Madrid by car50 minutes1 hour 15 minutes
Travel time from Madrid by bus50 minutes1 hour 20 minutes
Travel time from Madrid by high speed train30 minutes30 minutes
Foods best known forPerdiz
Venison
Carcamusas
Roasted suckling pig
Tapas cultureNoYes
Michelin restaurantsYesYes
Most well known monumentsAlcázar of Toledo
Cathedral of Toledo
Museum of Santa Cruz
Cristo de la Luz Mosque
Alcázar of Segovia
Aquaduct of Segovia
Cathedral of Segovia

Why You Should Choose to Visit Toledo

Toledo’s cultural, historical and heritage are its main attractions, which make it an important destination for tourists visiting Spain.

“I was in Madrid and wanted to spend a day in Toledo, it’s beautiful, it’s historic, it has culture and religion.”

Toledo, the one time the Capital of Spain, is marketed as “The City of Three Cultures” where Christians, Jews, and Muslims once peacefully coexisted.

Toledo is impressive – Toledo tourism promotional video

However, according to an article in the Lusophone Journal of Cultural Studies, author Luis Alfonso Escudero Gómez points out that Toledo had a “violent and shadowy past” which includes the expulsion of Jews from Spain as well as a playing a large role in the Spanish Inquisition.

You will notice the influence of these cultures around every turn in Toledo. The Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, Christians and the Jews all left their mark on the city. From architecture to art, you can see countless examples at museums of just simply walking around Toledo’s maze-like streets. And even the street design is from the time of Muslim rule.

The Jewish Quarter of Toledo is large and it is one of my favorite areas of the historic district. It is on the opposite side of town from Zocodover Plaza, and it somewhat off the beaten path as far as tourists are concerned.

But there are still plenty of cool things to see there, including the El Greco Museum, The Church of Santo Tome, and the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.

The Jewish Quarter is also a good place for a quiet place to have lunch, away from the hustle and bustle of the area surrounding Zocodover Plaza.

Foods

Toledo is known for marzipan, game meats such as partridge and venison, manchego cheese, wine, and olives. It also has many regional foods you should try such as Pesto Manchego, Carcamusas Toledona, and very interestingly, believe it or not – croquettes!

Marzipan

Toledo is famous for marzipan, a sweet recipe consisting of equal parts of ground almonds and sugar, plus eggs. If you have a sweet tooth then marzipan is definitely for you. But I do know people that say that marzipan is too sweet for them due to the high sugar content.

Marzipan can be found at many local bakeries in Toledo, and you can still buy handmade marzipan directly from several Convents.

Interested in learning more about buying marzipan in Toledo? Check out my article Where to Buy Marzipan in Toledo Spain.

Tapas

Toledo doesn’t have a great tapas scene when compared to other Spanish cities such as Granada. Honestly, after living here for several years, and visiting many other cities, towns, and villages in Spain, I have to say that overall I am disappointed in Toledo’s seemingly lack of tapas culture.

In general, getting tapas with your drink is hit or miss, some bars will offer you basic items like potato chips, or a few olives, and some will give you nothing. If you are looking for tapas in Toledo, you need to make sure that you go to the tapas and wine bars that Toledo does have.

If you would like to learn more about tapas in Toledo and which tapas and wine bars you need to visit, be sure to check out my tapas and wine bar guide.

Tourist Map of Toledo

Ready to plan your day trip to Toledo? Make sure that you visit my map of Toledo page to download a tourist map of historic Toledo Spain.

Why You Should Choose to Visit Segovia

Segovia has the highest concentration of Romanesque churches in all of Europe. But it is best known for its monuments, namely The Aqueduct of Segovia, The Alcázar of Segovia, and the Segovia Cathedral.

Segovia is also home to several universities, art institutes, a school of music and Spanish language centers offering classes not only to local/area residents but international students as well.

The Aqueduct, the Alcázar, and the Cathedral are the focal points of the city, attracting local, national, and international tourists.

Segovia is smaller than Toledo and has fewer things to see and do, but that doesn’t mean that Segovia is not worth a day trip. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In an article published by Western Michigan University, author Rose Ann Switt states that Segovia has “over 60 additional historic buildings, monuments, and protected vistas.”

Location and weather

As the old saying goes, location is everything. Segovia (elevation 3280 feet) is located northwest of Madrid in the foothills of the Guadarrama Mountains. Being nestled in the mountains, Segovia also acts as a summer weekend “retreat from the heat” for residents of nearby Madrid.

If you are visiting Madrid during the hot summer months, then you should consider a day trip to Segovia. The weather is typically cooler than in Toledo.

Foods

Segovia is known for its meats, regional specialties such as roast suckling pig, roast baby lamb, roast baby goat, chorizo. and locally caught trout. It’s also known for several vegetable-based meals such as white navy beans, and wild mushrooms sauteed in garlic and parsley. Segovia’s most well-known desserts are Ponche Segoviano, which is a sugar-glazed sponge cake and Leche Frita, a rich dessert made with milk, sugar, flour, egg, butter, and cinnamon.

You can taste the history of the city in Segovia’s centuries-old icons such as Cuchinillo Asado (roast suckling pig).

The Main Monuments of Segovia

The Aqueduct of Segovia

The Aquaduct of Segovia – Segovia, Spain

The Aqueduct is the official symbol of Segovia, and it is one of the most magnificent examples of Roman design and construction.

It was completed around 100 AD (the exact time of construction is unknown) and it carried water from the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains into the city of Segovia.

The Alcázar of Segovia

The Alcázar of Segovia – Segovia, Spain

The Alcázar of Segovia is, after the aqueduct, the image of Segovia, a beautiful Castilian city full of history and legends

 Cost
Complete entrance€8.00
Palace and museum only€5.50
Tower of Juan II only€2.50
Guided tour€2.00 in addition to your entrance fee
Reserve an exclusive tour guide€40.00
Rent an audioguide€3.00 + €5.00 refundable deposit

The Cathedral of Segovia

The Cathedral of Segovia – Segovia, Spain

The last of the great Gothic cathedrals to be built in Spain. The first cornerstone was set in place in 1525.

Tourist Map of Segovia

Ready to plan your day trip to Segovia? Make sure that you visit my map of Toledo page to download a tourist map of historic Toledo Spain.

Conclusion

Which is better, Toledo or Segovia? It’s a difficult question to answer, and even though I am a fulltime resident of Toledo I will offer my unbiased opinion.

Ease of getting to – Winner Both

Toledo and Segovia are both easily accessed by train. The high-speed AVE train zips across the Spanish countryside and you can travel from Madrid to Toledo or from Madrid to Segovia in approximately 30 minutes.

The AVE from Madrid to Toledo departs from Madrid’s Atocha train station, and the AVE from Madrid to Segovia departs from Madrid’s Chamartín train station.

The high-speed AVE is operated by Renfe (www.renfe.com +34 902 10 94 20) Spain’s national train company.

Amount of Monuments – Winner Toledo

It’s hard to disagree that Toledo has more monuments than Segovia. The historic area of Toledo is small, but it is literally packed with things to see and do. There are so many interesting things to see that its best to stay the night, and give yourself two full days to see the city and everything that it has to offer.

Food and Tapas – Winner Segovia

If you are like me and you really are into tapas, I would definitely choose to visit Segovia. Its tapas culture is much better than Toledo, and you will experience a wider variety and quality of tapas than in Toledo.

Visting during the summer – Winner Segovia

Due to its location southeast of Madrid, Toledo is hot during the summer months, especially July and August. And do to its location northwest of Madrid, Segovia is cooler during the summer months. If you are planning to visit during the summer, and your primary concern is the temperature, then you should opt for Segovia.

Most relaxing – Winner Segovia

Although it’s possible to get off the beaten path and get away from the crowds in Toledo, for me Segovia is always a much more relaxing place to visit.

Toledo offers a lot of things to see and do, which makes it an extremely popular day trip destination from Madrid. And each day from 9 am to around 4 pm Toledo is shoulder to shoulder full of tourists, especially during the peak tourist season.

Segovia gets a lot of tourists as well, but not nearly the numbers that visit Toledo each day.

Is It Possible to See Both Toledo and Segovia in One Day?

Yes, it is possible to see both Toledo and Segovia in one day, but keep in mind Toledo and Segovia are in the opposite direction from Madrid and they are located about 100 miles from each other. I would generally recommend picking either Toledo or Segovia and not trying to see both cities in a day, only because there are too many things to see, especially in Toledo.

However, if you are really intent on seeing both cities there are guided bus tours that you can take. Just be sure to factor in the time that you will be spending on the tour bus traveling between Toledo and Segovia. You might not get to see many things in either city, and you might not be able to spend a lot of time at each monument.

Related Information

Where Are Toledo and Segovia Located?

Toledo and Segovia are located in opposite directions of each other. Toledo is located 44 miles southwest of Madrid, in the Castilla-La Mancha region. Segovia is located 60 miles to the northwest of Madrid, in the Castile and León region.

How Long Does It Take to Travel from Madrid to Toledo?

You can travel from Madrid to Toledo by car in about 50 minutes, by bus in about 50 minutes, and by high-speed train in 30 minutes.

How Long Does It Take to Travel from Madrid to Segovia?

You can travel from Madrid to Segovia by car in about 1 hr 15 minutes, by bus in about 1 hour 20 minutes, and by high-speed train in 30 minutes.

Can I Travel Directly from Toledo to Segovia?

In short, yes you can travel directly from Toledo to Segovia. By car, the trip between the two cities will take roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes and you will cover 98 miles as you drive through the beautiful Spanish countryside.