Salamanca is filled with loads of wonderful sites to see and delicious goodies to indulge in. Located in the historical region of Castilla Leon, in central Spain, Salamanca (200 kilometers west of Madrid and very close already to Portugal) is along with Santiago de Compostela and Alcala de Henares, one of Spain´s top and oldest university cities.
Salamanca travel guide - Contents
Salamanca is located in the northeast of Spain, 2 hours outside of Madrid, between the capital and the province of Galicia. It is a city that may not be a “hose-hold-name” but it’s a city of great historical importance. Salamanca is home to the oldest University in Spain and has long been a cultural hub in the country and in Europe. Even to this day, Salamanca is still a prime destination for Erasmus students from all corners of Europe.
5 Top Reasons To Visit Salamaca
Salamanca’s Old Quarter
Salamanca’s old was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, and it is easy to see why. The characteristic sandstone monuments are everywhere, dotted throughout the city center. The history in culture is palpable as you walk through what was the medieval version of Harvard or Oxford. Salamanca is even more impressive at night when the main monuments and buildings are lit up.
As you might expect, the city center has many museums and monuments to visit, but the ones you most definitely have to check out are:
La plaza mayor of Salamanca.
One of Spain´s most impressive and renowned plazas, la Salamanca´s Plaza Mayor was constructed in the 1700s where the original (and much larger) town square once stood. It is now the heart of the city, with many bars and shops lining the square and serving as the stage for most of the city’s big events.
This is one of the most famous cathedrals in Spain and it is in fact two cathedrals in one.
La Catedral Vieja or the old cathedral is one of the two cathedrals that Salamanca is home to. The old cathedral was built in the XIV century and has survived all types of battles, sieges, and even an earthquake. The cathedral was almost demolished when construction of the new cathedral was going to commence. The only reason the building survived was because the construction of the new cathedral took so long.
La Catedral Nueva or The new cathedral began construction in 1513 and was not completed until 1733, over 200 years! The project began after the city began to expand and the old cathedral was considered to be to small and dark. The new cathedral is the second largest in Spain and features one of the tallest bell towers as well.
University buildings and palaces
The number of buildings located in the old quarter of Salamanca is vast. Amongst the most famous ones we find La Casa de Las Conchas. This is a gothic style urban palace built in the XV century. The face of the building is decorated with a great number of seashells or conchas. The reason behind this particular decoration is still a mystery and there are several theories involving secret orders and hidden romantic gestures.
Eating in Salamanca
Salamanca is well known in Spain for its tapas. Many cities claim to have the best tapas or pintxos in the country, but Salamanca might have them all beat in value.
The bars in Salamanca are excellent and very inexpensive by comparison. This is due, in part, to the large student population to whom the bars cater to.
Local gastronomy in Salamanca
For the most part, bars in Salamanca a more on the traditional side and serve up a wide variety of classic tapas to be enjoyed with a glass of wine or a cold beer but always surrounded by friends or family.
On the Weekend the popular areas in Salamanca can get crowded but the ambiance and the food are well worth having to deal with the crowds.
Salamanca has a long list of local delicacies that you should not miss out on if you are visiting. Salamanca is a rich farming area and is well known in Spain for its excellent meat, in particular for its charcuterie. So as you make your way from bar to bar, make sure to order any of these if you see it on the menu:
The most typical dish from Salamanca is the hornazo. A pie stuffed with all sorts of of amazing meats and sausages from chorizo, to lomo to Iberico ham, etc. It is a heavy meal so either be ready for a good nap or have a strong cup of coffee on deck.
Then there is Salamanca’s farinato, a spreadable sausage, similar in some ways to sobrasada. It is usually fried and served with a fried egg and fried potatoes or spread on freshly toasted bread. Simply superb.
Finally, Guijuelo ham is the local version of Serrano ham made with local pigs and with a series of standards and processes that are unique to the region. It is only produced in this region, so if you love serrano ham or Iberico ham you will regret not trying it.
Salamanca's top attraction: the cathedral
Best Time To Visit Salamanca
Weekends are normally pretty busy since the city receives lots of local tourists, families visit students and students don´t attend classes. But the city is very lively on weekends too and you would not get the feeling of other saturated tourist destinations.
Our favorite months to visit Salamanca are March, April, May, and June (you may be lucky and find students celebrating!, September, and October.
Weather In Salamanca
Salamanca is located 200 kilometers northwest of Madrid. It enjoys pure continental weather with cold winters and hot and dry summers.
Where Are The Best Views To Enjoy Salamanca?
The best views are from the tower next to the Cathedral, from the Roman Bridge and the Enrique Estevan Bridge.
Two less well-known spots are the towers at La Clerecia (facing la Casa de las Conchas) and the views from the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea. This last case offers probably the most romantic spot and views of all Salamanca
Video of Salamanca
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