It’s that time of the year again in Segovia. It’s somehow cold, wet, and dark, yet lively, festive, and cozy. It may seem like the perfect time to stay in bed watching Schitt’s Creek while drinking an obscene amount of tea or coffee, but even with Covid restrictions, Segovia (as always) has so much more to offer. For me, this season offers one of nature’s greatest gifts (one that, as a southerner, I need to take advantage of) – Snow!
If you don’t venture out of Segovia, you probably won’t see snow past the white rooftops which disappear by the end of morning classes. But if you look out at the horizon, you’ll see that about 20 minutes away, the snow-covered Sierra de Guadarrama is waiting for you to enjoy her. In this article, we’ve got 2 towns and 2 hikes for you to do in the winter snow!
San Ildefonso and El Chorro Grande
If you’ve been to San Ildefonso or have read my piece on it from a couple weeks ago, you may be thinking, “how can it get any better?”. It already has huge (free) gardens, nice town squares, and Segovia’s best churros. Snow somehow brings it up to an 11 on the beauty scale though. During these winter months, San Ildefonso has many outdoor christmas markets and decorations which turn it into a little winter wonderland.
From San Ildefonso, you can visit El Chorro Grande, my go-to for an easy day hike in the Sierra de Guadarrama. It’s already pretty enough in the summer and fall, but the snow adds a whole nother level of beauty. My first time to this spot was in mid-November, just after the first big snowfall of 2019, and that experience is still stuck in my head to this day. If you time the hike right, you can descend right at sunset and experience a view like no other!
Valsain, La Pradera de Navalhorno, and the Rio Eresma
Valsain and La Pradera de Navalhorno (also included in my small towns showcase) serves as a lesser-known brother to San Ildefonso. About a 30-45 minute walk from San Ildefonso, Valsain hosts grazing fields with some of the prettiest views in the Sierra de Guadarrama. From here, you can go essentially anywhere in the Segovian Sierra, from Boca de Asno to Cueva de Monje and Cerro de Cabeza Grande. However, staying in the town and checking out the old palace ruins and decorated plaza may be your best bet with all the snow!
Another opportunity Valsain provides is a walk along arguably the Rio Eresma’s prettiest stretch. The stretch from Valsain to Boca de Asno will shock you with its beauty, especially with snow-covered banks and white forests. There are also incredible rock formations, only improved by the snow. If you don’t feel up to that hike, you can always walk the opposite direction to Embalse de Ponton Alto, right next to San Ildefonso. Either way, it’s a great place to experience Segovian winter!!
We hope that this little guide can help you make some (maybe post-exams) plans to see the snow and experience winter in Segovia!