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Day Trip to Avila
Avila is a small enchanting city that is near enough to Madrid for a day trip.
Bus to Avila from Madrid
Calle Mendez Alvaro
Metro: Mendez Alvaro
Takes 110 minutes.
Leaves at: 7:15, 8:30, 10:00, 12:00, 13:30, 15:45, 17:30, 20:00
Return: 6:00, 7:00, 9:00, 10:00, 12:00, 15:00, 17:00, 19:00
There is frequent train service between Madrid and Avila, leaving from the Chamartin Station. The train station in Avila is 950 meters away from the Cathedral and can be walked in 12 minutes.
Read Buying Renfe Tickets Online:
Hosteria de Bracamonte
Calle Bracamonte, 6 (a short distance from the town hall).
The restaurant is quite big and has a medieval and rustic theme. The food is great and the service is very friendly and efficient.
Best Sights of Avila
The UNESCO named Avila as a World Heritage Site in 1985. The city is the best surviving example of the Spanish medieval walled city. These are the best things to see in Avila.
1. The City Walls - In 1085 King Alfonso VI conquered Toledo from the Moors and in 1090, his son-in-law Raymond of Burgundy had the city walls constructed. Between 1900 and 3000 people worked on the walls and nine years later the walls were finished. The purpose of the walls was to build a fort that would be able to control the lands that were south of the Duero River. The walls are the best preserved walls in Spain. The walls extend for 2.5 km and are about 12 m in height, with a thickness of 3 m. There are 88 semi-circular turrets and 9 gates. Among the gates are the Alcazar Gate, the San Vicente Gate, the Peso de la Harina Gate, the Mariscal Gate, the Puerta del Puente Gate, the Puerta de la Malaventura Gate, the Puerta de la Santa Gate, the Puerta del Rastro Gate, and the Carmen Gate. There are places where there are steps leading to the top of the walls.
2. The Cathedral - The Cathedral of Avila was the first Gothic church in Spain (consecrated to San Salvador) and the exterior looks like a fort. Work may have started on 1091, but the date is unsure. It was designed as a place of worship. but also as a place to provide refuge for the inhabitants, in case of an invasion by the Moors. The church is dedicated to San Salvador. The facade is quite beautiful and is very Gothic in style. There is a cube shaped tower, called the cimorro. Inside the church there is a Latin cross ground plan. The nave is 28 m high and has impressive Gothic pillars. The high altarpiece is impressive, with its gilded frame and 24 panels that illustrate the life of Jesus, the Evangelists, and the Apostles. There are many beautiful stained glass windows that are original.
The Cathedral Museum is very impressive, with many works of art by prominent artists. There is a riveting portrait that is attributed to El Greco. There is a silver monstrance of Juan de Arfe, which weighs 100 kilos. The cloisters are beautiful and lined now with glass, to protect them from the elements and the pigeons.
3. Convent of Santa Teresa - Saint Teresa was born in Avila in 1515 and the Convent of Santa Teresa was built in 1636 to honor her. The saint was a very mystical woman, as shown by her writings. The Convent was built on the site of her birthplace. The facade is neo-classic, with Baroque touches. The inside of the church is very Baroque. There is an image of Santa Teresa in the church and there is a big museum dedicated to the saint in the convent crypt. There is also a little garden where the saint played as a child.
4. Plaza de la Victoria - The principal plaza within the city walls is Plaza de la Victoria. This is where the town hall can be found. The square has arcades on the sides, with two stores selling the sweets of Avila. The yemas of Avila are known and enjoyed all over Spain.
5. Plaza de Santa Teresa - This plaza is located outside the city gates, near the Alcazar Gate. There is a large statue of Santa Teresa in the center of the square. The square was where a large market took place, where town criers read ordinances, and where the Inquisition held hearings.
6. Church of San Vicente - The Church of San Vicente was started by Raymond of Burgundy and the church is the most important Romanesque building in the city, although it is located just outside the walls. The legend is that it was built on the site where the lifeless bodies of three Christian siblings, Vicente, Cristeta, and Sabina, were found after they were killed for refusing to worship the pagan gods, in the year 306. The church was started in the late 11th century and finished in the 14th century. The church has the Romanesque tomb of the three saints.
7. Church of San Pedro - This church was started around 1100 and finished in the 14th century. The predominant style of the church is Romanesque, but it has Gothic elements also. The architecture is severe in style. The church has a Latin cross ground plan with a triple apse and a nave with two aisles. Prominent city families used to worship in this church.
8. Palace of Los Bracamonte - This palace was built in the 15th century and is near the Mariscal Gate. It has a beautiful patio with a double gallery and arches. The building is now used as the offices of the autonomous government of Castilla and Leon.
9. Palace of Los Velada - The palace was built in the 16th century and is the biggest and most beautiful in the city. It used to be owned by Gonzalo Davila and
is very historic, having hosted very important kings and guests. The patio is very impressive and beside it are three galleries with beautiful arches. The palace is now occupied by a four star hotel, the Palacio de los Velada Hotel Avila.
10. Tower of Los Guzmanes - This tower has a square turret and was built in the 16th century, as part of the House of Garcibañez de Muxica. The style is a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance. The building now is used by the Avila Provincial Council.
11. Los Cuatro Postes - At the city entrance, there is an open structure consisting of four columns joined at the top with horizontal posts and in the middle there is a large cross. The whole structure is roofless. This place gives the best view of the city.