Avila and its most important landmark; The medieval city wall.
It is unique in the world and entirely encircles the Old Town.
In fact it is uninterrupted and intact since it was built between the 11th and 14th century.
A World Heritage Site, it´s also the only fully illuminated monument of its size.
The walls have a perimeter of 2516 meters, feature 87 towers and 9 gates.
They rise up on a plateau on top of a rocky landscape with the left bank of the river Adajar down below.
1.5 km of the walls are actually walkable with several access points along the wall.
The views from the walls and towers reach far and several palaces and monuments.
A part of the cathedral, are integrated into the walls which means you can see stone carvings and details up close.
A second line of defense within the walls is formed by a number of palaces which served as dwelling and fortresses at the same time.
Outstanding among them, although not forming part of the wall itself, is the Palacio de Superunda near the Tower of Guzman.
It´s the best restored of all the palaces and has an interesting history.
In 1916, the Italian painter Guido Caprotti from Monza, went on a tour to Spain to study the works of Spanish masters.
On his way to Leon he got stuck in a snow storm in Avila and never left.
He fell under the spell of the city and proceeded to purchase the Palacio de Superunda.
He restored it and converted it into his atelier and living quarters.
He quickly became a `son of Avila`, painting city scenes again and again in all seasons and making a good living through portraits of the local society.
Center point of the Old Town is a plaza called Mercado Chico.
It’s bordered by a church, the town hall and cafess and restaurant.
Fiestas, processions and, in times past, an actual market are held in this lively place.
This is where we come to the sweets of Avila.
Called `yemas`, they are little mounts made from flour, egg yolk and sugar and go ideally with a coffe with milk.
The `yemas`are produced by nuns in several of the convents which abound in Avila, due to the Santa Teresa of Avila.
She was a 16th century mystic and Carmelite nun who reformed the Carmelite order.
She is the patron Saint of Spanish writers and sold in pastelerias around Mercado Chico.
Walk the walls with a bag of `yemas´ in your hand (and water), and enjoy the views and atmosphere of a very special city.
Places to stay
If you want to stay over night in Avila, you can find some nice medieval alternatives.
Palacio de los Velada is an exciting 16th-century palace.
Luxurious rooms and a great restaurant.
More Medieval cities in Castilla-Leon
Castilla-Leon, the largest region of Spain and located right in the middle of the Iberian peninsula.
It is famous for the many medieval cities, Romanesque and Gothic monuments and buildings.
Most famous and wellknown are Burgos, Leon, Valladolid, Segovia, Avila and Salamanca.
You will get an overwhelming experience in history and art.
Travel by Train
Travel by train is a very convenient way of getting around in Spain.
Most of the above mentioned cities are difficult to manage by car, narrow roads, plenty of pedestrian zones and expensive parking make train travel a much better option.