Two things distinguish Ávila: its eleventh-century walls, two perfectly preserved kilometres of which surround the old town, and the mystic writer Santa Teresa, who was born here and whose shrines are a major focus of religious pilgrimage. Set on a high plain, with the peaks of the Sierra de Gredos as a backdrop, the town is quite a sight, especially if you approach with the evening sun highlighting the golden tone of the walls and the details of the 88 towers. The walls make orientation straightforward, with the cathedral and most other sights contained within. Just outside the southeast corner is the city’s main square, Plaza Santa Teresa, and the most imposing of the old gates, the Puerta del Alcázar.

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