Head to the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama to explore the sprawling monastery, before settling down in breathtaking Segovia with its many royal sites. Situated on a ridge in the middle of a gorgeously stark, undulating plain, this city is defined by its Roman and medieval monuments, its excellent cuisine, its embroideries and textiles, and the sense of well-being you'll gain when you spend time here.
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- The Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial boasts an impressive art collection from Goya, Rubens, and El Greco and is the resting place of just about every king since Carlos I. The library has more than 50,000 works.
- The Roman aqueduct ranks with Pont du Gard in France as one of the greatest surviving examples of Roman engineering.
- Climb the rampart of the Alcázar, an imposing castle with a fascinating architectural history. Walt Disney's Cinderella's Castle is widely believed to have been modeled after the Alcázar's silhouette.
- The Palacio Real de la Granja, in La Granja de San Ildefonso, 7 mi/11 km southeast of Segovia, is the first great palace commissioned by the Bourbon dynasty.
- Castillo de Coca, 37 mi/60 km northeast of Segovia, was built for Archbishop Alonso de Fonseca I, who loved to host riotous parties.