WHAT TO VISIT IN ÁVILA | PLANS
We are very close to the historic centre of Ávila, a place with centuries of history where tourist attractions such as churches, monasteries, palaces or the emblem of the city par excellence, the city wall, stand out. But Ávila is not just about monuments. The squares, the viewpoints and the rich gastronomy of the area are other reasons why visiting Ávila will be a unique and enriching experience.
THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN ÁVILA
Founded in the 9th century to protect the territories of Castile against the Muslims, the wall as a whole defines the structure of the city. The historic center of Ávila and several of the churches outside the walls are named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Below, we highlight the essentials in Ávila, so as not to miss the most important thing during your visit to the city.
THE WALLS OF ÁVILA
The walled enclosure, one of the best preserved in Europe, has remained in perfect condition over the years, since its construction by the Romans in the 3rd century and subsequent reconstruction and extension in the 11th century. Along its 2.5 km. you can walk along the 88 towers that compose it, being the cimorro of the cathedral one of them, and enjoy excellent views of the city and its surroundings.
The old quarter can be accessed through any of its nine gates, but to access the wall itself you can only go through the Puerta del Alcázar, the Casa de Carnicerías (the Cathedral Arch) or the entrance that leads to the Parador de Avila, the Puerta del Alcázar being the most outstanding for its location and beauty.
VIEWPOINT OF THE FOUR POSTS
The best place to see the wall and photograph it from a distance. This religious monument, a centre of pilgrimage and, it seems, the place from which Saint Teresa last nostalgically looked down on Avila, can be reached on foot in about 20 minutes from the centre.
You can also take the tourist train, the tuk-tuk, or your own car in just over 5 minutes from the hotel, as there is plenty of parking space.
SMALL MARKET SQUARE
One of the main squares in the city. It is arcaded and is the Town Hall square. It is a place for celebrations and a market on Fridays. Here you can find arcades with a multitude of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the gastronomy of Avila.
Religious tourism is particularly important in Ávila, and special mention should be made of the figure of Saint Teresa of Jesus, a native of Ávila and one of the most important people in the Catholic Church throughout history: beatified, canonised and proclaimed Doctor of the Catholic Church.
Therefore, there are many religious buildings to be found throughout the city. Here we will name the most relevant ones, but there are many more.
The main monument and first Gothic cathedral in Spain, dedicated to Christ the Saviour, dates from the end of the 11th or beginning of the 12th century. Attached to the defensive framework of the walls of Ávila, its exterior building stands out. It is well worth a visit inside to see its stained glass windows, the altarpiece of the High Altar and the chapel of the Virgen de la Piedad.
BASILICA OF SANTA TERESA DE JESÚS
In the Plaza la Santa, one of the most beautiful squares in the city, we find this church in honour of one of Avila’s most illustrious figures. Baroque in style amidst the Romanesque, it was built in the 17th century on what was supposedly the saint’s birthplace.
A marble image at the entrance, the chapel where she was born and the museum that traces the life of Saint Teresa of Jesus make it clear that her figure was a before and after in the history of the city. Undoubtedly one of the most emblematic places to visit in Avila.
BASILICA OF SAN VICENTE
This Romanesque monument, which began to be built in the 11th century and was completed in the 15th century, is the second largest and most important church in Avila and is included in the city’s World Heritage List. Located outside the city walls, its porticoed gallery stands out on the outside.
Inside, the cenotaph tells the story of the martyrdom of three brothers in the time of the emperor Diocletian, who were sacrificed and buried on what was later to become this magnificent church. One of the three brothers was St. Vincent, from which he took his name. The name of Saint Vincent, together with that of his siblings, Sabina and Cristeta, appear in La “Palomilla”.
CHURCH OF SAN PEDRO APÓSTOL
Also located outside the city walls and presiding over the Plaza del Mercado Grande or Plaza de Santa Teresa, this jewel of Romanesque architecture, considered to be of Cultural Interest, stands out for the rose window on its façade and is well worth including among the places to visit in Avila.
MONASTERY OF SANTO TOMÁS
A little further from the centre, but perfectly accessible on foot in 10 minutes, we find this monastery, which was built by the Inquisitor Torquemada himself and financed by the Catholic Monarchs to be used first as a summer residence and later as the tomb of their son Prince Don Juan.
Its three cloisters stand out, especially the main one, with a garden surrounded by attractive and elegant arches, and the two museums it houses, one oriental and the other of natural sciences. Also the altarpiece, by Pedro Berruguete.
STROLLING AROUND AVILA
Walking aimlessly through the narrow streets of the old town will take you to hidden places, small squares or to the old Jewish quarter of Ávila, a place full of stone streets where you can see the traces of the Jewish community in the city, with buildings such as the synagogue of Don Samuel or the synagogue of Belforad, which is now the church of the Virgen de las Nieves.
Another place not to be missed is the Paseo del Rastro with stunning views of the valley and a place for fairs and travelling exhibitions.
Avila is synonymous with good food. The famous meat of our land, with the chuletón de Ávila as the main protagonist, will complete the tourist day in the best of ways, sitting at the table and enjoying a good meal accompanied by a good wine.
Typical dishes of the city include judiones de El Barco (beans from El Barco) and patatas revolconas. And to finish off, yemas de “La Flor de Castilla”, Ávila’s most popular sweet.
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WE INVITE YOU TO DISCOVER AND EXPLORE ÁVILA, A SMALL CITY BUT FULL OF HISTORY AND BEAUTY IN EACH OF ITS CORNERS, IDEAL TO FORGET ABOUT THE CAR AND WALK THROUGH ALL ITS STREETS AND MONUMENTS