Photo of Avila

Visit Avila

Avila is in the Castile and Leon region of Spain. At over 1000m above sea-level it is the highest provincial capital in Spain.

Avila is famous for its medieval walls. They are arguably the best in Europe. The 11th century walls are two kilometres long, have 88 turrets and are perfectly preserved.

The town is also famous as the home of Saint Teresa.

Explore Avila

The main sight of Avila is of course its immense medieval walls. To get the best view go to Los Cuatro Postes (the four posts) on the Salamanca road. The walls were built in 1090 when Alfonso VI captured the city from the Moors. The Moors were then used as forced labour to build them which took 9 years.

St Thomas Monastery, Avila

The walls are beautifully illuminated at night, indeed the walls of Avila are the largest fully illuminated monument in the world! You can walk along the walls and get some great views of the city. There are nine gateways through the walls, the most impressive are St Vincent's gate and the Alcazar gate.

Avila is said to be the most 16th century town in Spain and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Cathedral of Avila is built into the city walls. It was never finished and has a tower missing. The oldest parts of the cathedral served both as fortress and church. Inside are Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance details.


The Monastery of Saint Thomas is a little distance from the centre but is one of the most attractive sights in Avila. It has three cloisters.

The Basilica de San Vincente is another attractive church in Avila. It is built on the site where St Vincent was tortured and executed. Legend has it that a rich Jew who was mocking St Vincent after his death was almost suffocated to death by a serpent. He repented, converted to Christianity and built the church on the same site.

Avila basilica

Also of huge importance in the town are the buildings relating to Santa Teresa who was born in Avila. There is a convent and a monastery dedicated to Saint Teresa.

The Convento de Santa Teresa is built on the site of her birth. The Convento de San José is the first monastery Teresa founded and contains various memorabila related to her.

She lived in the Monasterio de la Encarnacion for 20 years and each room is named after her different deeds. The monastery contains various memorabilia to do with her life.

There is a small provincial museum, the Museo Provincal, which is housed in the 16th century Palacio de los Deanes.

Orson Wells once said of Avila that it is the place he would most like to live, describing it as a "strange, tragic place". He filmed various scenes of his 1965 film " Chimes at Midnight" here in Avila.

Places to visit near Avila

Los Cuatro Postes (the four posts). This is the spot where Saint Theresa was caught by her uncle when she tried to run away. A small monument with four columns is dedicated to her and the views from here - particularly over the walls of Avila- are very good.

The Sierre de Gredos, a beautiful mountain range, is close to Avila.

The magnificent monastery-palace complex of El Escorial should not be missed if you are in the area.

Segovia has an incredible Roman aquaduct, an alcazar and a large Gothic cathedral - another city not to be missed.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Avila guide, and the Castile and Leon guide.

See also: 

Map of Avila and places to visit


Avila places to visit

El Escorial

El Escorial

El Escorial is a huge UNESCO listed palace complex.

El Escorial guide


Segovia is situated on a rocky outcrop and has an amazing Gothic cathedral and a Moorish castle which dominates the city.

Segovia guide
Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

The Royal Palace is a stunning royal palace with superb formal gardens.

Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso guide