- Walk on top of the wall
- Try yemas de Avila
- View the wall lit up at night
- Lunch/dinner at El Molino
Ávila, like many old Spanish towns, is enveloped by a wall. But Ávila’s medieval wall still stands so proud and unpenetrated that you can’t help but appreciate its perfection. What’s especially nice about the wall (la muralla) of Ávila is that you can walk on top of it, climbing its towers to see the landscape in all directions. Ávila is the capital of the Ávila province, which resides in the community of Castilla y León.
A brief history
Ávila’s wall of granite was built in 1090 and has 88 towers and 9 gateways. The city is believed to be the first in Hispania to have been Christianized. It was home to some important figures such as the 4th-century theologian Priscillian (the first Christian to be executed for heresy) and also St. Teresa of Ávila who was said to have been born there. Also, strangely enough, Orson Welles claimed the following about Ávila: “Horrible climate, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, very strange tragic place. I don’t know why I want to live there.”
What to do
The main “must not miss” in Ávila is a walk on the wall. There are two entrances. Be sure to get there by 7:00 though before it closes though (I’ve made that mistake once!). Once you’ve had a chance to walk the wall, take a short stroll through the city – it’s charming and worth not missing. Don’t forget to pick up some “yemas de Ávila,” the specialty treat of Ávila (made of egg yolks – yema) which you can find in any of the pastelerias (along with many other baked goods).
Where to eat
My favorite place to eat is a restaurant outside the city walls called El Molino de la Losa. The restaurant is an old mill and sits in the middle of the river. When the river is gushing, you can watch the water from inside the restaurant as it passes beneath. Be sure to try the chuleton (a type of meat) as it is especially delicious in Avila. At this particular restaurant, I also recommend the desert called “texturas de chocolate.” I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Other cities in or near Castilla y León
Salamanca (Castilla y León)
Segovia (Castilla y León)
Experiences from my blog