Have you heard of the Spanish city of Salamanca? In 1988, its old town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2002 it was awarded European Capital of Culture. This incredible city is perfect for day and night time tourism as the many churches, palaces and plazas are lit up with beautiful lights. Another interesting fact is Salamanca is the home for Spain’s oldest university and dates back to 1218. It is also, Europe’s 3rd oldest university. Both, the University of Oxford (England) and Bologna (Italy) beat them by less than 50 years.
How to get to Salamanca
While Salamanca, does have an airport, located 15 kilometers east of the city, but it only has domestic flights. Therefore, you will need to travel there via car or train, most likely from Madrid. The train takes around 100 minutes and on average costs €30 for a return ticket.
Alternatively, you can hire a car and organize a road trip. We suggest Madrid – Salamanca – Porto – Vigo – Ourense – Madrid. Car rental can cost €30-€80 per day depending on the size of the car.
Where to stay in Salamanca, Spain
For a nice hotel, with parking facilities and costs less than €100 per night consider ArtheusCarmelitas Salamanca, Hotel Urban Salamanca and Gran Hotel Corona Sol for your stay. If your budget is for €50 a night stay at the Emperatirz III. It is a little further away from the city center, 1.8km but it has four stars and costs €43 a night.
Salamanca also has a camping ground, La Capea. You can camp with a tent, caravan or rent a bungalow. Staying at La Capea is the cheapest option for accommodation, as adults can camp here for less than €20 a night.
Top Attractions in Salamanca
The top sites of Salamanca include:
• The oldest university in Spain, Universidad Civil, which is also home to Europe’s oldest library.
• The Catedral Nueva and Cathedral Vieja aka the new cathedral and the old cathedral. When you visit Cathedral Nueva, plan to reach the top of the Puerta de la Torre to get some incredible city views. You can take a guided night tour for €6, at 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
• Art lovers should visit the Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. As well as admiring the exhibits you’ll also be able to admire some fantastic stained glass within the original structure.
Finally, no trip to Salamanca is complete with spending a good hour or two in the Plaza Major. This is the largest plaza in the city, and not only is its architectural beauty mesmerizing, but it also has plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants for you enjoy the sunshine along with a refreshing drink.
Places to Eat in Salamanca
In true Spanish tradition, the food culture in Salamanca is delicious. There are ample restaurants, bistros and tapas bars for you to dig into the local cuisine. Our suggestions are La Cocina de Tonoand Tapas 2.0, for traditional tapas, El Pecado for contemporary Spanish dishes and vegetarians can fill up the stomachs at Café Atelier.
Do have enough cash on you for meals. While tourist attractions accept credit and debit card payments, many bars, cafes and sometimes restaurants do not.
Do stay relaxed and walk around at a gentle pace. Salamanca is not like the major cities who operate at a fast speed. There is no rushing to and fro here. So, take a chill pill and take your time.
Do be open-minded, as you may see some things that are different and unusual compared to your own culture.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of Spanish spoken. English isn’t their first language. You can ask for an English menu by saying “Tienes un menu en ingles?” which means, “do you have a menu in English?” It may also be useful to learn a few useful phrases as well.