Ávila is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spain, about 100 kilometres from the capital city of Madrid. This hilltop city is famous for its nearly intact medieval walls and for being the birthplace of St Teresa, a Carmelite nun and mystic. Every October, a festival is held to honour her with parades, concerts and carnivals.
One of the best-preserved fortifications in Europe, the city walls of Ávila are punctuated by over 80 semicircular towers, nine gates and a cathedral. Believed to be the first Gothic cathedral in Spain, the Ávila Cathedral features intricately carved doors, 15th-century stained-glass windows and a stunning altarpiece. There’s a 1,700-metre-long public walkway on top of the walls, along which you can stroll for superb views of the city.
Everywhere you turn in Ávila, you’re bound to find something dedicated to its patron saint, St Teresa – monuments, streets, shops and the city’s famous sweets. Yemas de Santa Teresa are orange-coloured balls made of candied egg yolk. Another local speciality you should try is the Chuletón de Ávila, a T-bone steak made from native black cows.