The month of June and July are all about Spain on my blog and on my store site. The third city is Avila.
Every time I have visited Avila I have taken the train from Madrid. As the train approaches the city, from quite a distance you get a view of the fortified walls of the old city, which is an impressive site as it is one of the best-preserved medieval fortified cities in Europe. And for those going to Europe with visions of castles and fortresses, this city will not disappoint.
I have been to Avila many times and each time I am always surprised at how chilly it is. I once visited Avila in the middle of August, one of the hottest months in Spain, and while Madrid was sweltering I arrived in to goose-bump weather and ended up having to buy a sweater in Avila. (This is always a good trick to use if you want an excuse to buy a new sweater though).
What to See in Avila, Spain:
The city of Avila has a long history of battles, conquerors, and prosperity that reach as far back as pre-Roman times. The fortified city’s walls were built in 1090 and include nine gateways and over eighty towers. Today there are various sections of the wall that you can walk along and towers you can climb up (there is a small fee to do so). On every visit to Avila I make a point of walking along every accessible point on the wall and, to the joy of my family, I also go up every tower that you can – I insist that they all have different views. (In hindsight this is a great town for kids!).
Aside from the old city wall there is the Gothic Cathedral that should be visited. The cathedral is actually attached to the city wall and it was built between the 12th and 14th century. You can walk right up to the Cathedral from one of the wall walkways. Some of the best views of the newer sections of town can be seen from two towers right by the Cathedral. (Note that this is also one of the highest points of the wall and includes a very steep staircase, but I would encourage even those afraid of heights not to miss out on this)!
The city is a maze of cobbled stones streets, medieval and Renaissance architecture, and palaces. There are also numerous cathedrals and convents, most notably the Convent of Santa Teresa de Jesus.
Storks in Avila, Spain
And apart from the architecture, cathedrals, and history there are storks. While walking through Avila you will hear a faint clapping sound which is actually storks clapping their beaks together. Storks are a prominent sight in Avila and many other Spanish cities; their enormous nests sit on top of towers and roofs and you can also see them dotting the old city wall. You can get very close to some of the nests while climbing the old city wall. (The advantages of climbing the wall… just keep growing)!
There is a lot to see in Avila and I highly recommend it!
— For more information visit the official Avila tourist website by clicking here.
* And for photographs, books, and cards of Avila, Spain go to The Monica Store by clicking here.
How to get to Avila, Spain:
1 – Avila is an hour and a half train ride from Madrid. Take the train from Chamartin.
— For schedules and fares click here for the RailEurope site.