Avila, about a 60-minute drive from Madrid, has kept a unique historical legacy. Named a World Heritage Site in 1985, this Castilian city is still enclosed by its Medieval walls, 2.5km in length. The Old Town is the fine result of fruitful interaction between the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians.
Avila's old city, surrounded by imposing city walls comprising eight monumental gates, 88 watchtowers and more than 2500 turrets, is one of the best-preserved medieval bastions in Spain. In winter, when an icy wind whistles in off the plains, the old city huddles behind the high stone walls as if seeking protection from the harsh Castilian climate. At night, when the walls are illuminated to magical effect, you'll wonder if you've stumbled into a fairy tale. It's a deeply religious city that for centuries has drawn pilgrims to the cult of Santa Teresa de Ávila, with its many churches, convents and high-walled palaces. As such, Ávila is the essence of Castilla and the epitome of old Spain.
Its Medieval walls, 2.5km long, are punctuated by 88 turrets and 9 gates, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta de Alcázar being the most impressive of those guarding the Romanesque defensive rampart. You can walk along the entire perimeter of the city walls on the outer side.
Ávila Cathedral:The apse of the Cathedral actually forms part of the walls, which reminds us of its defensive nature. The interior contains Romanesque sections, while the newer ones show a Gothic style. In fact, Ávila was among the first Castilian towns to use Gothic elements.