Ávila Travel Guide
Ávila, formally Ávila de los Caballeros, is an enchanting medieval city, dating from the 12th century and encircled by a remarkably well preserved Romanesque wall. It is also the highest provincial capital in Spain, perched on a rocky promontory at an elevation of 3,665 feet (1,131 meters), smack in the middle of a largely flat, brown, arid, treeless landscape that is littered with grey granite boulders and backed, to its south, by the Sierra de Gredos. Between the Sierra de Gredos and Ávila, strung along the rivers in the shallow foothills, are small mountain villages that offer shelter, facilities and instruction to rural travelers and outdoor enthusiasts for such pursuits as hiking, rock climbing and even fishing in the area.
Ávila is located in central Spain, approximately 71 miles (112 km) northwest of Madrid, making for an ideal day trip from the capital city.
In Ávila, the medieval walls are the principal attraction and a constant presence, punctuated by turrets with crenellations and city gates and watchtowers. Within the walls is a wealth of Renaissance palaces and Romanesque churches, dotted along a maze of ancient cobblestone streets. The city's cathedral is notable, as are the centuries-old plazas and the convents, both within and outside the walls. The one dedicated to Ávila's patron saint, Santa Teresa, Convento de Santa Teresa, holds the most interest, for it has the added draw of a museum. El Monasterio de Santo Tomás, just outside the city walls, is worth seeing too.
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