Still haven't been to Ávila? We encourage you to visit this World Heritage City, where three cultures once coexisted.. Ávila exudes history, art, gastronomy, nature and tradition at every turn.
In this setting filled with incomparable riches stands the Parador de Ávila, just one hour from Madrid. The 16th-century Piedras Albas Palace, now a Parador, is located in the city's historic district, adjoining the walls. The interior boasts comfortable rooms and a magnificent glass-enclosed courtyard.
Here's an excellent plan that will allow you to get the most out of your stay at the Parador de Ávila.
Day 1: historical tour
The first thing you'll want to do is visit the highlight of the city: the famous walls of Ávila. They are considered the finest example of Spanish Romanesque military architecture and are the best preserved in the world. There are entrances at Casa de las Carnicerías (a building which once housed two butcher's shops), Alcázar Gate and Puente Gate.
Another sight you won't want to miss is the Convent and Museum of St. Teresa. The church, built on the site of the saint's birthplace, and the Carmelite convent have both been listed as historical landmarks. Don't miss the pure Carmelite baroque style and the crypt of the saint. The Relics Room and a small souvenir shop are located on the same square.
And of course, there is Ávila Cathedral, a temple and fortress dating from 1172. It is considered the first Gothic cathedral in Spain and a must-see for anyone visiting the city. Other important sights includes Santo Tomás Royal Monastery, a 1497 monastery and royal residence; San Vicente Basilica, which represents the culmination of the Romanesque style in Ávila; and San Pedro Church, listed as a national monument in 1941 and historically important as the venue where the monarchs swore to respect the laws of Castile.
Following such an intense day of sightseeing, we recommend dinner at the Parador restaurant, whose excellent quality cuisine and panoramic views of the city have earned it four forks. The Barco de Ávila beans, which are the Parador's house specialty, beef chop and exquisite yemas de Santa Teresa (egg yolk sweets named for St. Teresa) are sure to leave you speechless.
Day 2: nature in the Gredos mountains
How about a day spent enjoying the outdoors? Let's head over the Sierra de Gredos mountains, a little over a half hour from the Parador by car.
After enjoying the breakfast buffet painstakingly prepared each day by the Parador's professionals, we recommend one of the most famous hikes in Gredos Regional Park, the Circo de Gredos, a glacial cirque.
The broad path with large granite flagstones leading up to Prado de las Pozas (an alpine meadow) can be done on foot or bicycle. There, after crossing the bridge over Las Pozas River, you'll come to a group of amazing waterfalls in an ancient glacial valley. This is a perfect spot to stop and enjoy the spectacular views!
Once you've got your strength back, we encourage you to continue up to Los Barrerones, which offers a view of the cirque and Gredos Lake.
How can we make this day even better? By stopping for dinner at the Parador de Gredos, which is on the way back to Ávila.
Day 3: excursion to Arévalo
Spend the last day of your getaway enjoying a visit to the charming town of Arévalo, just 51 kilometers from the Parador de Ávila by car. (You can also get there by train.)
Listed as an area of artistic and historical importance, its streets offer countless points of interest that you'll want to stop and see. Take a leisurely stroll through the town square or discover some of the many churches, including Santa María la Mayor, San Martín, San Miguel and Santo Domingo de Silos.
This is the perfect end to a luxurious three-day getaway steeped in heritage, culture, nature and excellent cuisine.
And as always, we leave you with a map to give you an idea of the location of the Parador and its surrounding area. Enjoy!