Located only 117 miles away from Madrid, Ávila is one of the best-preserved medieval bastions in Spain. A deeply religious city that claims to have the highest number of Romanesque and Gothic churches per capita in Spain.
In pre-Roman times (5th century BC), the Vettones inhabited the area. After the conquest by ancient Rome, the town started to be known as Abila or Abela, in fact the plan of the town remains typically Roman: rectangular with its two main streets intersecting at a forum in the center. It was one of the first towns in Hispania that was converted to Christianity.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Ávila became a stronghold of the Visigoths but the Arabs soon conquered it. It suffered the attack by the northern Iberian Christian kingdoms, until it became part of the Kingdom of Castile in 1088. It was then when the walls, that still stand, where constructed to protect the Spanish territories from the Moors.
Ávila’s are one of the best-preserved and complete medieval town-walls in the world. The imposing Romanesque city walls comprise 8 monumental gates, 88 watchtowers and more than 2500 turrets. Two sections of the walls can be visited: a 300m stretch that can be accessed from just inside the Puerta del Alcázar, and a longer 1300m stretch that runs the length of the old city’s northern perimeter.