Attractions Nearby Avila, Day Trips and Excursions
(Avila, Castilla y León, Spain)
The province of Avila is rich in attractions and there are always plenty of worthwhile day trips to choose from. Excursions from Avila to see the attractions of Alcalá de Henares, Aranjuez, Chinchón, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Segovia and Sierra de Gredos are especially popular.
However, most holiday makers based in Avila want to incorporate a trip to see Madrid's spectacular attractions as part of their vacation. Spain's proud capital city, Madrid
is to be found just 115 km / 71 miles to the south-east and really is a must for anyone staying in this area.
Alcalá de Henares
Situated 152 km / 94 miles to the east of Avila (35 km / 22 miles north-east of Madrid), Alcalá de Henares is a city with a population of just over 200,000 people. The historical centre of Alcalá de Henares enjoys the prestigious status of being a World Heritage Site. Alcalá de Henares is part of the Autonomous Community of Madrid and contains several especially important attractions - namely its spectacular university complex - the University of Alcalá (Universidad de Alcalá), and also its late 15th-century Cathedral of Magistral of Saints Justus and Pastor (Santa e Insigne Catedral-Magistral de los Santos Justo y Pastor).
At around 167 km / 104 miles to the south-east of Avila and 48 km / 30 miles south of Madrid, Aranjuez is a pleasant town that is based at the point where both the Jarama River and the Tagus River meet. The Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Palacio Real de Aranjuez) is the number one attraction here and is a favourite residence of the King of Spain. Dating back to the 18th century, the palace is open to members of the public and features enormous landscaped gardens, complete with fountains, pools and unexpected follies. An onsite museum (the Museo de la Vida en Palacio) provides an insight into the life of a Spanish monarch.
The small Spanish town of Chinchón is just over 160 km / 99 miles north-west of Avila and some 50 km / 31 miles south-west of Madrid. Chinchón is very much centred around its Plaza Major public square, which is surrounded by local cafes and occasionally used as a temporary bullring. Apart from Chinchón's medieval castle and historic Church of Nuestra Senora de la Ascunción, the town's events and local celebrations are the staple tourist magnets and include the Festival de Anis y Vino (anisette liqueur and wine) each March, and the Garlic Festival in October.
The attractions within Madrid are some of the very best that Spain has to offer, ranging from historical sights to theme parks, such as the Warner Bros Movie World
. Landmarks in Madrid don't come much bigger than the Puerta de Alcalá (Alcalá Gate)
on the Plaza de Independencia, and the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) on the Calle de Bailén. Madrid boasts an undeniable style, energy and attitude, with a nightlife that for many begins at midnight.
Another extremely noteworthy Spanish highlight, the city of Salamanca
is located 106 km / 66 miles to the north-west of Avila, where it has become somewhat famous for its historic sandstone architecture and beautiful early Renaissance buildings. The Plaza Mayor
is an especially stunning part of Salamanca and surrounded by wonderful tourist shops
and attractions - including the City Hall (Ayuntamiento). Founded in the middle of the 13th century, the Salamanca University (Universidad de Salamanca)
adds a youthful element to the city, being home to around 35,000 students.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial
If you drive some 77 km / 48 miles to the east of Avila (45 km / 28 miles from Madrid) you will come upon San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a small town lying within the foothills of the scenic Sierra de Guadarrama. The tourist board of San Lorenzo de El Escorial actively promotes the town's attractions as something quite special, and indeed the historical monastery complex is rather impressive and is now a World Heritage Site.
Segovia stands at only 77 km / 48 miles north-east of Avila and enjoys a stunning ridge-top setting, next to the sea of Castilla. The city's skyline is rather dominated by the tower of the Segovia Cathedral (Catedral), which was built in the early part of the 16th century and is some 27 metres / 90 feet in height. Further attractions in Segovia include the 11th-century Alcázar, the Roman Aqueduct and Azoguejo Square, the latter of which is a good place to get acquainted with the city when you first arrive.
Sierra de Gredos
Located a mere 50 km / 31 miles south-west of Avila and separating Castilla-La Mancha and Castille y León, the Sierra de Gredos is a dramatic mountain range, standing in the very heart of the Iberian Peninsula. The Sierra de Gredos is also within easy reach of Cáceres, Madrid and Toledo, and now ranks as a regional Spanish park. Spring and autumn are when most people choose to visit the Sierra de Gredos mountains and enjoy the myriad of seasonal recreational attractions on offer here, such as the hiking trails, rock climbing, mountain biking and picnicking opportunities.
Roughly 190 km / 118 miles south-east of Avila, Toledo
is a small hilltop city steeped in history and Spanish culture. Toledo was first settled by the Romans and is today an enticing tourist destination, with medieval attractions and endless scenic views over the Tagus River (Rio Tajo). Those arriving in Toledo can expect to be treated to sights such as its Santo Domingo El Antiguo Monastery
(Monasterio de Santo Domingo El Antiguo), its 13th-century Cathedral (Catedal de Toledo)
, and its crowning glory - the Alcázar fortress, which is clearly visible for literally miles.