Interested in visiting Avila, Spain? Wondering what to do in Avila and what to see in Avila?
I covered you. I visited Avila and here’s my well-researched guide to Avila Spain!
- GUIDE TO AVILA SPAIN
- WHERE IS AVILA, SPAIN
- BEST THINGS TO DO IN AVILA SPAIN
- 1. ADMIRE AVILA WALLS FROM GROUND
- 2. WALK THE WALLS
- 3. PUERTA DEL ALCAZAR
- 4. EXPLORE AVILA OLD TOWN
- 5. VISIT AVILA CATHEDRAL
- 6. SEE PLAZA DEL MERCADO CHICO
- 7. VISIT IGLESIA – CONVENTO DE SANTA TERESA WITH THE CHAPEL OF BIRTH
- 8. CONVENTO DE SAN JOSE
- 9. REAL MONASTERIO DE SANTO TOMAS
- 10. BASILICA ST VICENTE
- 11. IGLESIA SAN PEDRO
- 12. MUSEO COLECTION CAPROTTI
- 13. WALK CAMINO DE SANTIAGO FROM AVILA
- 14. START WALKING RUTA TERESIANA
- 15. ROMAN BRIDGE OF AVILA
- 16. FOUR POSTS VIEWPOINT
- 17. TRY CHULETON DE AVILA
- 18. JUDIAS DE EL BARCO DE AVILA
- 19. YEMAS DE SANTA TERESA
- 20. FIESTA DE SANTA TERESA
- 21. HOLY WEEK IN AVILA
- WHERE TO STAY IN AVILA SPAIN
- HOW TO VISIT AVILA FROM MADRID
- BEST TIME TO VISIT AVILA SPAIN
GUIDE TO AVILA SPAIN
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The Old City of Avila in Spain is a UNESCO World Heritage City and one of the most beautiful cities in Spain.
Avila is one of the walled ancient Spanish cities that take its visitors’ breaths away and leave them speechless!
Gorgeous Avila is called the ‘finest medieval remnant in Spain’. The Old City of Avila provides unique time-traveling to its visitors.
Besides that, the magical old town has been nicknamed the Town of Stones and Saints.
Stunning Avila is famous for the impressive 2.5 km-long medieval walls and Saint Teresa of Avila, a Catholic saint and mystic born in Avila Spain.
The Walls of Avila and Saint Teresa of Avila are the symbols of Avila.
The Old City of Avila is home to a number of iglesias (churches), ermitas, basilicas, santuarios, monasteries and convents. The poet Avner Pérez called Avila the Jerusalem of Castile.
The fairytale medieval city of Avila is one of the most authentic Spanish cities and a Spanish city that showcases the essence of Old Castile, Spain.
If you want to see one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Spain and one of the finest examples of old Spanish cities, visiting Avila is a must.
WHERE IS AVILA, SPAIN
Breathtaking Avila is in the region of Castilla and Leon in central Spain.
Avila is in proximity to Madrid. Avila is 68 mi (110 km) northwest of Madrid.
Madrid-Barajas International Airport is the closest airport to Avila. It takes about an hour and 30 min by train to reach Avila from Madrid. A bus ride from Madrid to Avila lasts about an hour and 30 min too.
Because of o its famous beauty and location within a short distance of Madrid, Avila is a perfect day trip from Madrid.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN AVILA SPAIN
What to do in Avila and what to see in Avila Spain
1. ADMIRE AVILA WALLS FROM GROUND
The Old City Walls are the most famous landmark of Avila.
The magnificent Walls of Avila are the first site seen while approaching the city of Avila. The gigantic walls encircle the old city.
The Walls of Avila are 2.5 km long, 3 m thick and 12 m tall. The Avila walls complex has 88 towers and 9 gates.
The walls of Avila were built from the 11th century to the 14th century to protect Avila from the Moorish invasion.
Today they are a National Monument of Spain and (with the Old City) a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2. WALK THE WALLS
The first impression of Avila and Avila’s walls a visitor gets by walking around the walls. But, strolling Avila Old Walls provide a complete perspective of the Walls and the Avila Old City.
The picture-perfect Avila Walls enclose the Old City of Avila. The Avila Walls are 2.5 km long, but they are walkable for about half of their length.
The stroll of the walls is a 1.6-mile (1.3 km) loop that takes about 45 min to complete. But, keep in mind that you will make many stops to observe or to take many amazing photos of Avila during your stroll.
The Walls provide some of the most unique and beautiful views of Avila.
Strolling Avila Walls is one of the best experiences in Spain to go for!
The Walls are accesable from La Puerta de la Cathedral, Puerta del Alcazar, Puerta del Carmen and Puerta del Puente. The walls are open for walking from 10 am.
3. PUERTA DEL ALCAZAR
The Gate of Alcazar or Puerta del Alcazar is one of the most important gates of the Old City of Avila.
Puerta del Alcazar gate with two gigantic bridge-connected towers is arguably the most impressive gate of Avila Old City.
Regardless if you decide to access the Walls from this gate or not, you can not miss them in Avila.
4. EXPLORE AVILA OLD TOWN
Avila Old City is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Spain.
It is a fortified medieval city. The walls encircle the Old City of Avila which can be entered through nine gates. The inside-the walls old city houses many religious and secular monuments reflecting the Golden Age of Avila – the medieval times.
Walking the cobbled streets of old Avila appears like time travel to the Middle Age.
5. VISIT AVILA CATHEDRAL
The Cathedral of Avila is the first Gothic cathedral in Spain.
Avila’s Cathedral is beautifully decorated with a white-red stone called ‘piedra sangrante’ (bloodstone).
An interesting fact is that Avila’s cathedral is fortified, and it is a part of the Avila Walls.
The Cathedral of the Saviour in Avila is a one-of-a-kind cathedral fortress in the world and a must-see in Avila Spain.
6. SEE PLAZA DEL MERCADO CHICO
Plaza Mercado Chico is a historical landmark in Avila.
It is a medieval and the main square in Avila. The square is within the Walls of Avila, while Avila’s Town Hall and the church of San Juan stand on the sides of the square.
Plaza del Mercado Chico revamps its medieval flair during the Market of the Three Cultures festival. The square becomes a stage for medieval Moors, Christians, and Jews during the festival weekend. The fair features medieval tournaments, shows, parades with medieval music, and even medieval gastronomy.
The festival happens on the first weekend in September every year.
Plaza Mercado Chico is the heart of the Old City of Avila that is impossible not to visit in Avila.
7. VISIT IGLESIA – CONVENTO DE SANTA TERESA WITH THE CHAPEL OF BIRTH
St Teresa of Avila is the most prominent person from Avila.
She is a Catholic saint and mystic born in Avila in the 16th century. Santa Teresa was the founder of the Discalced Carmelite Catholic order and one of the most notable female Catholic saints. St Teresa of Avila was named Doctor of the Church for her spiritual insights.
The church of St Teresa of Avila is on the site where she was born. The Chapel of the Birth of St Teresa is a part of the church. In addition, the Museum of St Teresa is a part of the church-convent complex. The museum holds a finger of the saint.
The Church and Convent of St. Teresa are a part of the World Heritage Site of Avila.
8. CONVENTO DE SAN JOSE
The Convent of Saint Joseph in Avila was the first convent founded by Saint Teresa.
The Convento de San Jose in Avila is a monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns, the strictest female Catholic order dedicated to the cloistered contemplative life.
The convent is a part of the World Heritage Site of ‘Old Town of Avila and its extra Muros churches’.
9. REAL MONASTERIO DE SANTO TOMAS
The Royal Monastery of Saint Thomas is a Dominican monastery in Avila.
The monastery is the largest in Avila. It is dedicated to Saint Thomas Aquinas.
The monastery was built in the Gothic Catholic Monarchs style in the 15th century. The monastery holds the tomb of the Infant Don Juan, the only son of the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile). A summer royal palace of the Catholic Monarchs is part of the monastery complex too.
But that’s not all. The monastery has two museums: the Oriental Art Museum and the Museum of Natural Sciences. The Oriental Art Museum holds a stunning collection of Asian artifacts. The museum is one of only two existing Asian art museums in Spain (the second is in Valladolid).
The Royal Monastery of Saint Thomas is a part of the World Heritage Site of Avila.
10. BASILICA ST VICENTE
The Basilica of San Vicente represents the finest example of Romanesque architecture in Spain. It is a national monument of Spain.
The Basilica is dedicated to saints and martyrs from Avila: saint Vicent and his sisters, saint Sabina and saint Cristeta. The church holds the gorgeous saints’ cenotaph in multicolored stone.
The Basilica is outside the city walls and is still a part of the UNESCO acclaimed World Heritage City of Avila (just like the above-mentioned The Royal Monastery of Saint Thomas).
11. IGLESIA SAN PEDRO
The Church of St Peter the Apostle in Avila is similar to the Basilica of San Vicente.
It is a beautiful Romanesque church. Catholic Monarchs swore to respect the charters of Castile in this historic church.
Iglesia San Pedro in Avila is a national monument of Spain and a part of the World Heritage Site of the Old City of Avila.
12. MUSEO COLECTION CAPROTTI
Guido Caprotti was an Italian-born painter who lived and worked in Avila in the first half of the 20th century.
He is best known for painting portraits of local people and painting scenes of everyday life in Avila. He lived in the Palace of Superunda in Avila for much of his life. The palace houses his collection and is called the Caprotti Palace today.
The marvelous Caprotti collection is a must-see in Avila for art lovers.
13. WALK CAMINO DE SANTIAGO FROM AVILA
The Levante route of Camino de Santiago (Camino de Levante) goes through Avila.
Camino Levante is an 860 km-long Camino de Santiago route. The Camino de Levante starts in Valencia, crosses the Meseta, and joins Camino Via de La Plata in Zamora towards Santiago de Compostela.
If you decide to walk Camino de Santiago from Avila, you will need to walk for 25 days to reach Santiago de Compostela.
Contact the Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago in Ávila (Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago en Ávila) to help you plan your journey.
14. START WALKING RUTA TERESIANA
Ruta Teresiana is a 4-day pilgrimage walk from Avila to Alba de Tormes. The route follows the life of St Teresa of Avila from her birthplace in Avila to her tomb in Alba de Tormes.
Ruta Teresiana, also called Camino Teresiano, is the Teresian route from the Cradle to the Grave of St Teresa. The route goes from Avila across Gotarrendura, Fontiverros and Mancera de Abajo to Alba de Tormes.
If you like meaningful treks and are still not ready to walk Camino de Santiago, you might enjoy Camino Teresiano.
Visit gorgeous Avila and follow the footsteps of St Teresa of Avila from Avila to Alba de Tormes.
15. ROMAN BRIDGE OF AVILA
The Roman bridge over the Adaja River is a historic landmark of Avila.
Camino de Santiago Levante and Camino Teresiano routes go across the ancient Roman bridge in Avila.
Regardless if you walk Camino Teresiano or Camino de Santiago from Avila, the five-arched Roman Bridge is a stop on the way from Avila to the Four Poles viewpoint.
16. FOUR POSTS VIEWPOINT
The Four Posts, or Los Cuatro Postes in Spanish, is a monument in Avila but is best known for the panoramic views of the city it provides.
The most magical views of Avila from the Four Poles Viewpoint are at sunset.
The Four Posts is a religious monument built in the 16th century as a stop on the pilgrimage route to the hermitage of San Leonardo. The annual pilgrimage to the hermitage has been held since the 12th century, the time when the city of Avila and the entire region witnessed the plague.
The Four Posts is also the place where the 7-year-old Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada (later to be known as St Teresa of Avila) and her brother Rodrigo was found after running away from home with a childish dream of joining heroic battles against Moors.
17. TRY CHULETON DE AVILA
Tasting the authentic cuisine of Avila is a must-experience for gourmet travelers, and alike.
Castilla is known for a hearty meal. The same goes for Avila.
Chuleton de Avila is the most famous local dish from Avila. Chuleton de Avila is a barbecued veal steak from the famous black Iberian pig (Negra Iberica).
The steak is traditionally served on a wooden stab, instead of a plate.
If you are a foodie who enjoys tasting local foods on your travels, traditional Chuleton de Avila is a must-try in Avila.
18. JUDIAS DE EL BARCO DE AVILA
But if you are visiting Avila in winter, Judías del Barco de Ávila is a to-go-for traditional dish from Avila.
Judías del Barco de Ávila is a bean stew made from local El Barco of Avila beans, chorizo (sausage), morcilla (black pudding), pig’s ear, pork’s tail and leg, and pancetta.
Warming Judías del Barco de Ávila stew is a favorite local dish in cold winter days in Avila.
19. YEMAS DE SANTA TERESA
Yemas means egg yolks. Yemas de Santa Teresa are ‘Egg Yolks of St Theresa’.
The Egg Yolks of St Theresa are some of the most famous desserts in Spain.
Sweet Yemas de Santa Teresa is a ball-shaped pastry made from egg yolks and lemon juice-cinnamon syrup.
20. FIESTA DE SANTA TERESA
Santa Teresa is the Saint Patron of Avila. St Teresa Feast Day is October 15.
The Santa Teresa festival honors the most famous daughter of Avila. Avila’s Santa Teresa festival starts with a speech from a balcony of the Town Hall.
It continues with a holy mass held in the Cathedral and a procession in Avila streets. Concerts, shows, and sports competitions are held during the festival.
Santa Teresa festival in Avila starts on October 15 and lasts one week.
21. HOLY WEEK IN AVILA
Easter in Spain is one of the most important historical, cultural, social, and religious events.
Semana Santa processions in Spain commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Holy Week (Semana Santa) and Easter (Pasqua) are uniquely celebrated throughout Spain.
Holy Week celebrations in Castile and Avila are dignified and solemn.
The tradition of Holy Week celebrations in Avila goes back to the 16th century. The main events of Holy Week in Avila is the Miserere procession on Easter Tuesday, the Pasos procession on Maundy Thursday, and the Penitentiary Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.
Semana Santa in the medieval walled city of Avila is one of the unique experiences to get in Spain.
Head to Avila for Holy Week and celebrate Easter in Spain.
WHERE TO STAY IN AVILA SPAIN
LUXURY: Best Western Premier Sofraga Palacio is a stylish 4-star hotel with luxurious rooms and a fabulous location within the City Walls.
MID-RANGE: Palacio Valderrabanos is a 4-star hotel in a fabulous 14th-century palace within the walls of the Old City of Avila and next to the Cathedral of Avila. This exceptional hotel is in proximity to all must-see sites in Avila.
BUDGET-FRIENDLY: Hostal Alcántara is a budget-friendly 2-star hotel in a quiet back street within the Old City of Avila. The hotel is a good value for money.
HOW TO VISIT AVILA FROM MADRID
Avila from Madrid by bus
The cheapest way to reach Avila from Madrid is by bus. The bus from Madrid to Avila goes three times a day. A bus ride from Madrid to Avila takes an hour and 40 min. A bus ride from Madrid to Avila costs 11 USD.
Avila from Madrid by train
The fastest way to reach Avila from Madrid is by train. Direct train to Avila goes from Madrid – Principe Pio train station. A train ride takes an hour and 30 min on average.
A train ticket from Madrid to Avila costs 14 USD.
Avila from Madrid by car
By renting a car in Madrid you get the freedom to see Avila and Castile at leisure without depending on public transport.
Rent a car in Madrid and head to Avila. Avila is within an hour and 30 min by car from Madrid.
Avila from Madrid is reachable by car via Autovia A-6 highway with tolls.
It is also reachable via the M-503 motorway without tolls or via A-5 combined with M-507 and N-403 roads without tolls too.
Avila from Madrid by car-pooling
But, Spanish people use European carpooling called BlaBlaCar a lot. If you are visiting Spain on a budget, you can find some affordable BlaBlaCar offers.
Avila from Madrid by tour
Visiting Avila on a day trip from Madrid is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid.
A visit to Avila is often combined with a visit to Segovia, Toledo, or Salamanca on the same trip from Madrid.
BEST TIME TO VISIT AVILA SPAIN
Avila is at over 3600 ft (1100 m) altitude. Therefore, winter in Avila is cold with frequent snowfalls, and summer in Avila is hot with chilly nights.
The coldest month in Avila is January. January has a mean average daily temperature of 38.5 F (3.6 C). The warmest month in avian is Jul. July has a mean average daily temperature of 70.1 F (21.2 C)
The best time to visit Avila is from May to mid-October for the most favorable weather for traveling.
The best month for visiting Avila is October for attending the spectacular Fiesta de Santa Teresa and for pleasant air temperatures for sightseeing Avila.
Head to Avila to see the ‘finest medieval remnant in Spain’.
Is Avila worth visiting
Avila is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Spain. The Old City of Avila is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful cities in Spain.