Walking The Medieval Murallas of Ávila

I’d seen the walls from the highway on the way to Madrid – like something out of a period piece, the red roofs of the historic  center spill down from a shallow hill, corralled by more than 80 stone towers. In this city of stones and saints, it’s what puts Ávila on the map.

On a recent trip to visit the city I studied abroad in, I detoured towards Ávila, a small provincial capital nuzzled up to Madrid. This meant backroads past crumbling castles, farmland and hamlets that are but a blip on a little-traversed highway.

Sigh. I love Castilla y León.

Las Murallas de Avila y su Visita

Ávila is a city of stone churches, small plazas and the birthplace of Saint Theresa the Mystic and Saint John of the Cross, founders of the Descalced Carmelites, though the imposing muralla is what I came for (I did light a candle for my abuela at the Church of Saint Theresa while de paso, though).

Construction began under Alfonso VI at the end of the 11th Century, and nearly a millennia later, the entire city was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage City, one of thirteen in Spain.  

Western Walls of Avila

Iglesia Santa Teresa, Avila

Avila CollageThe Cathedral of Avila

More than one kilometer of the city walls can be visited – the short tramo from the Puerta del Alcázar around the plaza and to the cathedral, and from Puerta de las Carnicerías around the western side of the old city to Puerta del Puente, at the lowest point of the city. You can also exit at Puerta del Carmen, right next to the Parador de Turismo. One ticket is valid for the entrances at Puerta del Alcázar and Puerta de las Carnicerías.

Walking the City Walls of Avila

The Cathedral of Avila from the City Walls

Puerta del Carmen Avila

Selfie at the Murallas de Avila

Visting the Medieval Walled City of Avila Spain

Leave 90 minutes or so to visit the walls, and don’t miss the numerous Romanesque and Gothic churches within them. Also of note is the museum, convent and church dedicated to Saint Theresa (or the yolk pastries bearing her name). 

If you go: The walls are open daily from 10am, with guided tours available. Tuesdays from 2 to 4pm free. If you have a Carnet Joven, show it with a photo ID for a discounted ticket. Be sure to bring sturdy shoes, as some parts of the walls are hazardous. Regular admission is 5€, reduced 3.50€. If you want a great photo, walk or drive to Los Cuatro Postes, just across the Adaja River.

If you like walks and hikes and old things, you’ll enjoy: The Dubrovnik City Walls | Climbing Teide, Spain’s highest point | Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Have you been to Ávila? More importantly, have you tried ternera de Ávila?!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. I was just in Ávila too! Walking the walls is such a fun way to see the city and the surrounding landscapes. Yay Castilla y León!

    Did you try the yemas? They are sooo sweet, but I really liked them.
    Jessica (Barcelona Blonde) recently posted..Tricks to Learning Spanish Quickly (Intermediate Level) + GIVEAWAY!My Profile

  2. I would like to visit Avila. I’ve been meaning to go last year but I didn’t have time. I think the whole region of Castilla y Leon is breathtakingly beautiful. I cannot wait to visit Avila more so, from photos of the cathedral and the city. Thanks.
    Bridgette recently posted..From Language Assistant to English TeacherMy Profile

    • I agree, Bridgette. I didn’t know anything about the region when I went to study there, and I think I missed out on a lot! Hope you make it there soon.

  3. Oooooooh can’t wait to visit Ávila in January; this post just makes me more excited! I love how warmly-colored the stones in the city walls are.
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..Culture Shock in Spain: It’s the Little ThingsMy Profile

  4. Loving your pictures! The Muralla was by far my favorite part of Ávila. I wish I had allowed more time to walk it! I was only up there for maybe half an hour, and it felt all too rushed. The views were spectacular! And I loved feeling as if I were atop a castle, or something similarly romantic and fairytale-esque :)
    Courtney recently posted..Medieval Charm in ÁvilaMy Profile

  5. Absolutely beautiful! Ávila is now on my list of places to visit in Spain. I love castles, so I have lots of exploring to do here in Spain. Good thing I’m planning on staying for another year :)
    Mike of Mapless Mike recently posted..A Weekend on the Spanish-French BorderMy Profile

  6. I love to go to Avila and made alot of researches on line about this city, thanks for your update infos , can’t wait to see this beautiful place

  7. Wow, this is so well preserved and stunning, I would love to do a walk around the ramparts. It looks perfect for taking pictures of the inside and outside from the walls.
    noel recently posted..A first impression of Athens, Greece – Travel Photo MondaysMy Profile

    • It’s truly beautiful, and especially inviting for anyone looking to take photos. Spain is an incredibly photogenic country!

  8. Ooh, I love old castles, especially those that are up little-used country roads. I must put Avila on my list!
    Larissa recently posted..Hidden remnants of the Cold War in BerlinMy Profile

  9. Gorgeous! i have long, long, LONG wanted to visit Avila. You’ve just racheted up the desire!
    Wandering Educators recently posted..White House Summit on Study Abroad and Global CitizenshipMy Profile

    • I’d been wanting to go for years and am so glad I went out of my way! Just wish it weren’t so darn cold (though I did let myself have a glass of wine to warm up before wandering!). It’s a rather easy day trip from Madrid, so you can make it happen!

  10. These walls are straight out of a fairytale! The imagination soars.
    Lillie recently posted..Why Was the White House Conference Mostly White?My Profile

  11. Amazing photos, Cat. This is probably the region we know least in Spain. Thanks for enlightening us.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..Restaurante TehranMy Profile

  12. Great photos. I love the different perspectives on the walls and how you used the arch to frame the church.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..HONDURAS: Macaw Mountain, the Park Of Living JewelsMy Profile

  13. I’ve been debating whether or not Ávila is worth the trip, but your photos have tipped the scales in its favor! It looks gorgeous! Can’t wait to go explore it.
    Amy Bingham recently posted..Confession: I Miss American FoodsMy Profile

  14. Great photos! I think this area of Spain is much more attractive than it normally appears in the guides!

    Antoni recently posted..¿Como eran las 10 ciudades más increïbles de la actualidad en el pasado?My Profile

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