Spain | Exploring Ávila’s Medieval Architecture Destinations | Travel Zone by Best Western

Spain | Exploring Ávila’s Medieval Architecture

By Best Western

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history of Ávila, a captivating central Spanish city. Tucked away from the bustling tourist destinations, Ávila offers the perfect opportunity to savor the splendid Spanish weather, cuisine, and culture. However, what sets this town apart is its unique charm.  

Ávila is entirely encircled by the best-preserved medieval walls in Spain, providing an authentic glimpse into the past. These remarkable walls, dating back to the 11th century, shortly after the Norman invasion of England, are not only a testament to history but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national monument in Spain for over three centuries.  

Located just an hour and a half outside of Madrid, Ávila is home to a mere 6,000 residents within its castle walls, promising a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life while on holiday. Should you wish to take a day trip to Madrid or ensure easy access to the airport, rest assured, there are a number of public transportation options.  

Ávila exudes a medieval atmosphere, surrounded by the soothing waters of the Adaja River. Nestled within its protective walls, you’ll discover a cathedral and Romanesque churches, all adding to the city’s timeless allure. 

The medieval walls themselves are a sight to behold, appearing as if they were taken right out of a movie set. Notably, the San Salvador Cathedral is integrated into the wall, making it a particularly impressive part. The most enchanting way to explore the nine gates in the wall is by strolling along the three-meter-thick enclosed walls, offering unrivaled panoramic views of the entire city. This epic wall boasts nearly 2,500 merlons and 88 towers, making it a spectacle worth savoring, even if you’re not a history enthusiast. 

Among the epic wall, you’ll find intriguing gates that serve as time portals, like the Puerta del Alcazar, which once served as a passage for royalty, and the Puerta del Carman, adorned with statues of its namesake. 

These walls represented more than just a defensive structure; they symbolized social status. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, local decency often built their mansions adjacent to the walls, associating their families with these symbolic and prestigious structures. Indeed, the wall emphasizes the class system, with those in power residing within its protective embrace.  

Beyond the walls, Ávila is a delightful city with narrow, winding streets waiting to be explored. The Plaza del Mercado Chico, a charming market square at the heart of town, is within walking distance of many small restaurants.  

After a leisurely walk along the city’s wall, you’re bound to have worked up an appetite. Try local delicacies such as “Judías del Barco de Ávila,” a bean and meat dish from the region, or the “Chuletón de Ávila,” a steak that hails from Ávila. For a quick dessert on the go or a relaxing break, visit the renowned La Flor de Castilla, a shop famous for its traditional “Yemas de Santa Teresa” sweets from Ávila.  

If you have time to spare after exploring the magnificent surrounding walls, consider a visit to the Ávila Museum of Oriental Art, housed in part of the court premises of the Monastery of St. Thomas. Walking these historic walls, you’ll truly sense what life was like in times gone by. 

Ávila is undeniably a special place, boasting the highest number of Gothic and Romanesque churches in all of Spain. It’s a destination that effortlessly blends history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit for travelers seeking an authentic Spanish experience.  

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