La Granja de San Ildefonso

Palace in Around Segovia

These magnificent, elaborate baroque gardens – famous for their 28 extravagant fountains depicting ancient myths – date from 1720, when French architects and gardeners, together with some Italian help, began laying them out. There's also a maze. The 300-room Palacio Real, once a favoured summer residence for Spanish royalty and restored after a fire in 1918, is similarly impressive; it includes the colourful Museo de Tapices (Tapestry Museum).

The palace was built for the Bourbon King Felipe V, who chose this site in the western foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama to recreate in miniature his version of Versailles, the palace of his French grandfather, Louis XIV. If you time your visit for Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday at 5.30pm you can see the fountains in action.

Up to a dozen daily buses to La Granja depart regularly from Segovia's bus station (€2.20, 20 minutes).

Advertisement