Spain Destinations: Avila, A Medieval Walled City


What To See In Avila

Just about an hour and a half from Madrid, Avila will always be associated with its city walls visible from far away and among the best-preserved and most complete in Europe. They protect a medieval World Heritage City of cobblestone streets, interesting architecture, and a wonderfully tranquil atmosphere that looks like something out of a storybook or fantasy movie.

The Walls

The walls were built in 1090 when king Alfonso VI took the city from the Moors, who were captured and then used as forced labor to build the massive walls. They have a perimeter of 2.5 kilometers and are around three meters-thick. There is a 1,700 meters long walkway on top of the iconic city walls open to the public. From there, the views of the cathedral, the Plaza del Mercado Grande and the countryside around the city are well worth the walk. The walls are beautifully illuminated at night and are the largest fully illuminated monument in the world.

What To Do In Avila

Avila is a placid city that invites you to enjoy quiet moments. For example, the sunset from the Cuatro Postes (Four Columns) viewing point. This is a pilgrimage site west of the city, and if you’re there at twilight, you’ll see the floodlit walls against the dark sky.

If you want to attend special events, there are Medieval Days every first weekend in September and theatrical shows on the city walls on summer nights. Avila is famous for meat dishes, especially T-bone steaks, and a dessert called Yemas de Santa Teresa, a pastry made exclusively with egg yolks. You can try many typical dishes with the fixed-price DegustÁvila lunch menus, which you will find in many restaurants in the city centre for $35 for two.

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