Ávila is in the central part of the Iberian Peninsula, just north of the Sistema Central mountain range, which splits into two the Meseta Central plateau. Ávila is the "highest" province capital in Spain as it lies at an average altitude of over 1100 m.
Winter in Ávila is cold regarding Spanish standards, with minimum temperatures frequently below 0º C during the winter months, and featuring several days with significant snowfall. Summer is dry, with maximum temperatures not breaking the 30º C mark.
It is 120km from Madrid via N6. Distances to/from Avila: Madrid 110 km, Caceres 215 km, Salamanca 100 km, Segovia 70 km
Fast trains run every hour or two from Madrid-Chamartin, via El Escorial, taking 90 mins. Most continue west to Salamanca, 70 mins. Ávila railway station is 500 m east of the city centre.
A medieval city in a medieval way, the mesta route N110 road (Soria, Burgo de Osma, Ayllón, Segovia, Villacastin, Ávila, Piedrahíta, Barco, Plasencia, Cáceres) close to the mountains border of the Central System. The border for 3 centuries during the Moorish invasion make the region very special.
There is a tourist 'train' (articulated bus) but walking is sufficient for most sights.
- Walls of Ávila of the Medieval period (11th-14th centuries) are stunning. The largest fully illuminated monument in the world.
- The Cathedral is actually built into the city wall in places.
Do not miss the Romanesque shape of Saint Vincent, the sarcophagus in Saint Thomas.
- Basílica de San Vicente
- Convento de San José
- Iglesia de San Pedro
One of the most typical activities of Avila is to visit the walls. These can be accessed from the section of the dismantled Alcazar and also from the Cathedral to almost the end of the north canvas.
Another attraction is to cross the walls on a train which leaves and finishes at the arch of San Vicente. Audio visuals are displayed inside the carriages. The same route can be done in open cars that can be hired at the plazas on the other side of the San Vicente garden.
Also at the sidewalk in front of the same arch, is a visitor's centre. Here you can get guides on different themed walks around the city, such as the history of Avila, the old judiciaries or the main monasteries.
In the southern part of the city you can see the Royal Monastery of Saint Thomas, with its church in Elizabethan Gothic style. Here you can find the tomb of Prince Don Juan, whose death united the principal Spanish kingdoms. There are also Monastery cloisters of the same name which were once a residence of the Catholic kings. This Monastery was the location for films such as El Rey Pasmado (The Stunned King) and is quite cheap to enter. The Dominican order also has two museums. The oldest is of Asian art with pieces from China, Japan and Southeast Asia. It is quite cheap to enter. The more modern museum focuses on natural science.
The hills that surround the city can be seen on horseback from Naturávila, where you can rent horses and take riding lessons.
The meat is delicious, the Ávila beef is a must in Spain, try the steak Chuletón de Ávila.
Avila yolks, known as Yemas de Ávila, Yemas de Santa Teresa, are the most famous sweet.
Judías del Barco
At night Vallespin St. is the best choice for young travellers. During the day you can take tapas with beer (caña) in the square "el grande" behind the cathedral.
- Parador de Ávila, C/ Marques de Canales y Chozas 2, ☎ . 4-star parador in 16th C palace within the city walls.
Do not miss the mountains of Gredos, incredible trekking tours; the best way to get there is the village Hoyos del Espino 50km from Avila, 150km from Madrid. Visit also the historical cities of Piedrahita, Barco de Ávila and Arevalo.