The World Heritage city of Ávila is adored for its formidable medieval walls, an intact fortified ring around the old city.
Gazing down at the city from a vantage point to the west, Ávila will look like something out of a storybook or fantasy movie.
The reason for its appearance is that the city was developed after this part of Spain had been re-conquered from the Moors to stand as a bastion against the Caliphate to the south.
For the next few hundred years it flourished and reached its zenith in Spain’s 16th-century Golden Age when Torquemada was buried here.
Pilgrims also flock to Ávila because of its connection with Saint Teresa, patron saint of all kinds of things, from headaches to chess!
Here are the best things to do in Ávila:
1. The Walls
Ávila’s UNESCO-listed walls are considered among the finest city defences in the world.
They have a perimeter of 2.5 kilometres and are never less than three metres-thick.
The gates (11), turrets (97) and merlons (2,500) date to the 1100s and 1200s, and are part of a sophisticated defence strategy for the city.
Even inside the walls Ávila’s palaces were reinforced to repel an attack should the outer limits be breached.
The eastern side, most vulnerable to attack, is the oldest and most reinforced section, as you’ll be able to tell from the mass of stones that had been quarried from a former Roman necropolis.