My first to visit to Avila was one of pure surprise and delight. Having chosen a hotel within the city walls our ( with hubby ) explorations began. Normally I research and vaguely plan what to do when heading to a new place, plot the must-sees, maybe the odd good eating place or two, this time it’d been so busy I hadn’t looked at anything.
Our drive was long but Spanish roads inland are often very quiet and nearly always have great views. On arriving in Avila our first sighting of the city walls was a ‘wow’ moment. We had many more. The huge city walls which are intact stretch 2km or so around the old city and most surprising after living in the heat of Andalucia, and in summer, was grass. Outside the walls were carpets of deep, green grass, something we miss being English. What a fabulous contrast that bright blue sky and green, green grass.
As Avila is the highest city in Spain you can imagine the views from the city walls are pretty impressive, they are. Walking the ramparts around about half of the walls is amazing. Most towers are accessible too. I tried to imagine what the inside of the city walls were like in the days the castle was needed for protection, now it’s pretty much full of buildings, and some lovely ones there are.
Hotel Valderrabanos, a XIV century palace, is right next to the cathedral in a pedestrian plaza, close to loads of fabulous monuments. The Hotel has recently undergone renovations and the once shabby chic hotel, now is comfortably charming, with some gorgeous original features, wide corridors, stained glass windows and gorgeous old wooden doors. I’m rather partial to ancient wooden doors.
Would I stay there again? Yes but, seeing as we rarely stay in the stay place twice because of wanting to experience other hotels too, it’s unlikely.
The main problem with this and other hotels within the city walls is the lack of parking but unloading is allowed then the car has to be taken outside the walls and parked. It is rather pleasant that vehicles are limited in the monumental areas so I can’t have it all ways I guess!
Being a moutainous area and cold in winter, we’d seen snow sticks on the access roads, one of the specialities of Avila is its huge steaks. T-bones and rump beef, pork and lamb the latter which is rather rare in Andalucia barbecued or chargrilled. These are definitely the dishes you should sample here, meat lover or not.