Segovia is a fairytale Spanish city that inspired Disney, writes Annie Bennett.

WHY GO

This Spanish city is famous for its historic buildings, including its castle — Alcazar — which was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. The old city and its aqueduct are on Unesco's World Heritage register, and it's an easy day-trip from Madrid.

HOW TO GET THERE

Fly to Madrid (88km from Segovia), then take the airport terminal train link to reach Chamartin station, where you get the train to Segovia (Avant services are half the price of Alvias — both take 27 minutes).

STAY HERE

From Segovia's modern Parador, on a hillside 3km outside the city, you have a spectacular view as well as a restaurant. Right on the Plaza Mayor, the three-star Infanta Isabel has pleasant rooms with classic decor.

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WALK HERE

From the porticoed Plaza Mayor, admire the filigree spires of the late-Gothic cathedral (admission $5), then turn up Calle Marques del Arco to reach Alcazar ($14). On leaving, bear right, following the city walls, to reach the Jewish Quarter around Plaza de Socorro.

SEE THIS

The Roman aqueduct was built more than 2000 years ago using granite slabs — with nothing sticking them together — to construct 118 arches across the Plaza del Azoguejo and beyond.

TRY THIS

The climate of Segovia provides ideal conditions for hot-air ballooning. Float over the roofs with Siempre en Las Nubes, which has a balloon suitable for people with reduced mobility. From $267.

SHOP HERE

Calle Cervantes leads gently upwards from the aqueduct, becoming Calle Juan Bravo along the way up to the Plaza Mayor. Pick up specialities such as Iberico ham at Caprichos de Castilla (Cervantes 9).

DRINK HERE

Join locals on the terrace of La Concepcion in the Plaza Mayor. Order a Ribera del Duero red or Rueda white ($5).

EAT HERE

Book ahead at the renowned Meson de Candido on Plaza de Azoguejo and expect to pay about $100 for a three-course meal. with wine. Or Jose Maria near the Plaza Mayor about $83.

Checklist

GETTING THERE

Emirates

flies from Auckland to Madrid, via Dubai, with return Economy Class fares from $2009.