Do you feel like eating delicious tapas on a square in the sun and do you see yourself strolling through cosy streets? Then go on a city trip to Salamanca, the oldest student city in Spain!
Salamanca is more than 200 kilometres west of Madrid and is known for its golden sandstone buildings. It gives the buildings a golden colour, especially at sunset. Salamanca, therefore, has the nickname “Ciudad Dorada”, or the Golden City. Since 1988, the centre of the city is on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. You will immediately understand this as soon as you see the beautiful monasteries, cathedrals and other architecture. The old centre can be walked very well in terms of size, and all have little squares with bars, discos and restaurants. In Salamanca, you can, therefore, in addition to enjoying the warm Spanish sun, see and do enough!
The University of Salamanca is located in the historic city centre and was founded between 1425 and 1433. The building is considered one of the most beautiful universities in the world, mainly due to its facade. The wood carving is a lovely example of the plateresque style and was added in 1592 by the Catholic kings. Many tourists try to find one of the most intricate engravings, the ‘frog on a skull’. The University of Salamanca, one of the oldest universities in the world, is also considered one of the most impressive and dazzling buildings in Spain.
Plaza Mayor is the beautiful central square of Salamanca and is located in the middle of the old centre. The square serves as the meeting place for the people of Salamanca and is known for the beautiful baroque decorations and the many cosy cafes, terraces and shops. It is highly recommended to visit Plaza Mayor in the evening; the square is then beautifully illuminated.
Museo Art Nouveau and Deco
The exceptional Art Nouveau y Deco is one of the most important in the region and offers artistic masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. The artefacts range from impressive collections of paintings, sculptures to ceramics and art deco pieces. The impressive building was originally a private palace and was eventually opened as a museum in 1995. The intricate glassworks and light plays make it one of the most stunning architectural constructions in Spain. The museum has the most extensive collection of porcelain dolls in the world, and the sculptures and glassworks are beautiful and very special.
Casa de las Conchas (the Shell House)
The historic Casa da las Conchas was built by Rodrigo Arias de Maldonado, a knight of the Order of Santiago de Compostela, and was completed in 1517. The building is decorated with more than 300 shells, which attracts many visitors. The architecture is mainly Gothic with Renaissance, and it contains Mudejar elements. It is worthwhile to walk through the gates to admire the restored courtyard and view impressive works from up close. Although it served as the Maldonado Palace in the 16th century, the House of Shells is now home to the public library and information centre.
Convento de San Esteban (the Monastery of the Holy Esteban)
Salamanca has many beautiful monasteries, of which the Convento de San Esteban is one of the best known. It is a sizeable Dominican monastery from the 16th century. In particular, the beautiful sanctuary of two floors and all the religious art that can be found in the monastery makes a visit to Convento de San Esteban worthwhile.
The old and the new cathedral of Salamanca
The impressive new cathedral of Salamanca is next to the old, and its construction began in the 15th century and lasted until the 18th century. It is considerably larger than its historical counterpart and is one of the most impressive examples of Spain’s Gothic architecture, while also containing Baroque and Renaissance elements. The old cathedral is accessible through the new cathedral and was completed in the 14th century. Although both have different architectural styles, they are nevertheless in harmony with each other. Visitors can climb the towers and walk through the cathedrals.
Eating and drinking in Salamanca
When you think of Spanish cuisine, of course, you immediately think of tapas! In the Castile and León region, they usually eat a particular type of tapas called pinchos. A pincho is a slice of bread that is richly invested and usually contains a skewer. Do just like the locals and go to different pinchos bars one night to try a few dishes everywhere.
In particular, around Plaza Mayor, Plaza del Oeste and Calle Van Dyck there are many nice tapas bars and other restaurants or eateries. For example, pay a visit to Mesón El Minutejo or Restaurante Don Cochinillo for tapas and other typical Spanish dishes. Do you prefer something else? At La Pepita Burger Bar, you eat the best burgers.
Some tips for when you go to Salamanca:
When you want to eat out, order a few tasty snacks: the tapas from Spain! Then we advise you to go to another bar and do the same again: even more tapas! This way, you also get some exercise in between, and you can taste several things. Watch out for a restaurant where you can see “tapas” on the facade. In most cases, these are very touristy places. In the authentic restaurants of Salamanca, tapas are called “pinchos”.
During the high season, a lot of tourists come to Spain to enjoy Salamanca. So much so that you can be annoyed by the vast amounts of tourists. The best to go in the spring and autumn. You then have a little more room for manoeuvre, and luckily it’s not that hot either!
Another tip for the visitor: you can perfectly combine your visit to Salamanca with a city trip to Madrid. You can even go by car from Madrid. The distance between these cities is just over 200 kilometres. So you completed that in no time.