Have you ever got the feeling of admiring the best ramparts of the world? This is exactly what Ávila is providing. Yes, yes, the Great Wall of China is a bit bigger. But a panoramic view of Ávila from a strategic point offers a complete view of a Medieval city all surrounded by amazing walls. That is to admire not just a piece of an awesome construction but to spot a complete episode of history itself.
Nevertheless, Ávila is much more than walls. It is a small capital of province in Castilla, inner Spain, with a wonderful set of Medieval heritage buildings, excellent gastronomy and a strong unique character. In Ávila everything is within walking distance, so you won’t need public transport to move around or to bring your own electric scooter as we did 🙂
In addition, you should know that Ávila is listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO. Do you expect a city full of tourists out of all this information? Not at all. Ávila is one of the hidden gems in Spain, very unspoiled. Ah! In 2020 it was the safest city in Spain.
- 1 What to do in Ávila?
- 2 How to get there?
- 3 Eat and drink in the best ramparts of the world
- 4 Where to stay?
What to do in Ávila?
Walking on the best ramparts of the world
It is the most famous monument in the city of Avila and one of the best preserved medieval walled enclosures in the world. It surrounds the entire city with its more than 2,500 meters in length, 87 towers and 9 access gates.
The Romans built the first wall in the III century and later on it was rebuilt in the 11th century. The wall is perfectly preserved throughout its perimeter and its great preservation allows the visitor to climb and walk along it for almost 2 kilometers. The views from the top are just excellent.
- 1 day plan
- Top experience
- € 5 general / € 3.5 children, students and groups.
- Free on non bank holidays Tuesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- 1 hour visit
- From March 23 to October 21: Every day from 10:00 to 20:00 (in summer 1 hour more)
- From October 29 to March 22: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
Visit the Cathedral
The Cathedral’s construction started in the 12th century and finished in the 15th. It was the first cathedral in Spain in Gothic style. That is why Catedral de Ávila is one of the essential temples to see in the city.
The temple has the appearance of a fortress, since its apse is attached to the wall, constituting the most voluminous and the strongest set of the wall. It has two main facades and its interior keeps an impressive altarpiece by Pedro de Berruguete.
- 1 day plan
- € 6 general / € 4.50 Children and students
- Free on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30 to 9:30
- 30 minutes visit
- From Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon
- Unfortunately the visit hours change a lot because of religious events
Mercado Chico Square
Plaza del Mercado Chico is one of the most interesting places to see in Ávila. This was the center of the old Iberian town populated by the Vetons, one of the Iberian tribes. Later on, during the Roman period, the city forum was in this place.
Currently we can find the Town Hall and several bars around. The visitor can catch up with a small street colorful market on fridays. This is one of the cutest places in town to sit down, have a drink and enjoy the vibe in the sun.
- 1 day plan
- 10 minutes visit
- You can stay for some drinks
Los Cuatro Postes lookout
Los Cuatro Postes, located on the left side of the Adaja river, is the best lookout where you can see all the set of ramparts and the old town of Ávila. It was initially designed for the authorities as a resting point for the annual pilgrimage to the hermitage of San Leonardo (currently disappeared). Nowadays, instead, it is the best place to see a magnificent panoramic of the best ramparts of the world and a perfect view of Ávila.
- 1 day plan
- 15 minutes visit (selfies included)
San Vicente Basílica
Leaving the old town by Puerta de San Vicente we will arrive at the Basilica of San Vicente. Its construction began in the 12th century, apparently by the same master who built the cathedral. It is in Romanesque style. Inside we can see the Cenotaph of the Holy Brothers Martyrs, a funerary monument in honor of 3 brothers who were martyred in the 4th century, made out of stone and polychrome.
- 2 days plan
- € 2.50 general / € 2.20 Reduced
- 30 minutes visit
- Summer Hours (April 1-October 31): Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:30
- Winter Hours (November 1-March 31): Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
San Pedro Church
The Church of San Pedro, located in Plaza del Mercado Grande, in front of the Puerta del Alcázar, is another of the temples to visit in Ávila. It dates from the 12th-13th centuries, making it one of the oldest in the city. It is a beautiful construction, which has a Cistercian rose window on its cover. Inside, the austere ornamentation contrasts with the interesting set of paintings and altarpieces.
- 2 days plan
- 15 minutes visit
Mercado Grande Square
Plaza del Mercado Grande is a great place to admire either San Pedro Church or either the walls and the awesome Alcázar Gate. It is a great place all day long, to have a drink at one of their terraces. During the night the views to the lightened up walls are just breathtaking.
- 1 day plan
- Free besides the drinks
- 15 minutes for a coffee with views
Palaces and mansions
In Ávila, besides the best ramparts of the world, there are a lot of historic buildings such as convents, churches and Palaces and rich stone houses. The most interesting ones are Palacio de los Dávila, a beautiful fortified medieval palace; Palace of the Superunda, one of the best preserved Renaissance palaces in the city; Palacio de los Verdugo which was built in the 16th century, it stands out for its sober façade and a stone boar on the left side; Núñez Vela Palace, in the 16th century Renaissance style, it stands out for its arcaded interior patio and the well-known Torreón de los Guzmanes, a defensive structure as well as a palace. It is currently the headquarters of the Provincial Council of Ávila.
Taste the origin of Yemas de Santa Teresa
The Yemas de Santa Teresa were invented in a bakery called nowadays La Flor de Castilla in 1860. These yemas are a sweet traditional from Ávila made out of egg yolks. It is possible and very close to the main spots in the old town to sit down for a coffee and buy some yemas or some more delights in the original place where they were invented.
How to get there?
We can get Ávila from Madrid through the A-6 and A-51 in 1h and 30 minutes, or if we come from the north by the A-50 that connects Salamanca with Ávila. You can rent a car at the best price here.
By public transport
We can get to Ávila both by train and by bus in an hour and a half, so it’s a matter of comfort. Both Avila’s bus and train stations are a 10-minute walk from Puerta del Alcázar. You can get your tickets here.
Eat and drink in the best ramparts of the world
One of the best things to do in Ávila is to taste the local traditional gastronomy, which has several awesome and well-known dishes such as the Ávila ribeye (chuletón de Ávila), Castilian soup (sopa castellana), the beans from El Barco, the revolconas potatoes (patatas revolconas) and the delicious Santa Teresa yolks.
The following restaurants stand out:
- Reyes Católicos Restaurant: Well located restaurant with a large terrace to eat. It is a bit pricy but the food is worth it.
- La Santa Restaurant: For Ávila ribeye is one of the best options.
- La Alcaravea: It has excellent views of the cathedral.
- El Tejar Restaurant: Big portion tapas presented on tiles. Good value for your money.
Where to stay?
Ávila is a small city, so you can walk everywhere. That is the best, because you do not need to take a hotel in the center to be able to visit the best ramparts of the world. And that will save for you a few euros on your visits. So do not hesitate, here are the most interesting accommodations in Ávila:
- Hotel Sercotel Cuatro Postes: Very good value for your money. It is not in the old town but near the best viewing point in town.
- Hotel H2 Avila: Cheap and high quality service. A good option to spare some euros getting excellent value for your money.
- Palacio de los Velada: Awesome place to spend a night in a real historic palace.
- Palacio de Monjaraz: Close to the Cathedral is the ideal place to feel te history during your stay.