Top choice in Ávila

Ávila's splendid 12th-century walls stretch for 2.5km atop the remains of earlier Roman and Muslim battlements and rank among the world's best-preserved medieval defensive perimeters. Two sections of the walls can be climbed – a 300m stretch that can be accessed from just inside the Puerta del Alcázar, and a longer (1300m) stretch from Puerta de los Leales that runs the length of the old city's northern perimeter. At dusk they attract swirls of swooping swallows – and they're magical when floodlit at night.

Raised to a height of 12m between the 11th and 12th centuries, the walls have been much restored and modified, with various Gothic and Renaissance touches, and even some Roman stones reused in the construction.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ávila attractions

1. Puerta del Alcázar

0.02 MILES

Access to a 300m stretch of Ávila's walls is from just inside the Puerta del Alcázar.

2. Iglesia de San Pedro

0.11 MILES

One of the city's prettier churches, the light, sandstone exterior of the Iglesia de San Pedro (dating from the 12th or 13th centuries) is a pleasant…

3. Catedral del Salvador

0.12 MILES

Ávila's 12th-century cathedral is both a house of worship and an ingenious fortress: its stout granite apse forms the central bulwark in the historic city…

4. Palacio Los Serrano

0.13 MILES

A cultural centre, this daringly renovated space is also used for contemporary art exhibitions.

6. Iglesia de Santo Tomé El Viejo

0.16 MILES

This church dates from the 13th century, and it was from this pulpit that Santa Teresa was castigated most vehemently for her reforms. It has been…

7. Museo Provincial

0.19 MILES

This regional museum includes local ethnographic exhibits (the 1932 photos by Albert Klemm are particularly interesting), as well as Roman artefacts and…

8. Iglesia de San Juan Bautista

0.21 MILES

This quiet parish church dates from the 16th century and contains the font in which Santa Teresa was baptised on 4 April 1515. The church can be visited…