Madrid has so much going on it is often hard to drag yourself away from. You will, however, eventually need a break. A day trip to Avila, a town near Madrid, is definitely worth a trip. In fact, a visit to Avila is a must if you visit Spain. The town is so popular, there are over 20 trains a day from Madrid.
Avila is in the south of Old Castile, part of the Castile and Leon autonomous district. The city was originally known for Teresa of Avila, a Roman Catholic mystic. The cathedral in the city is also considered a masterpiece. While this is no doubt fascinating to you, the real attraction of Avilla is the defensive fortification.
Were you addicted to the Lord of the Rings movies? Enjoy reading about Camelot? Have a thing for castles? You are going to love Avila. The town is home to the second largest defensive walls in the world. Known as Las Murallas, the walls were built in the eleventh century. They are a couple miles long and average 40 feet in height. The walls are partitioned by over 80 towers that reach as high as 65 feet, the equivalent of a six-story building. There are nine gates allowing you to enter and exit the town. All and all, the Avila Walls are a site to be seen.
The amazing thing about the walls is their condition. They are in a near perfect state. If you did not know better, you would swear they were built last week. Happily, you can tromp up and down the towers and walk across the top of the walls. Looking out over the area surrounding Avila, you get a definite feel for what it must have been like for a soldier to defend the city.
Keep in mind Avila is at a high elevation. It can be cold in the winter and blazing hot in the summer.