Plaza Mayor square
San Esteban Convent
Casa de las Conchas house
Plaza Mayor square
Salamanca is in the central area of Spain, 212 kilometres from the capital, Madrid. Universal, magnificent, wise, young and golden: this city is an inland destination well worth discovering for many reasons. Its historic centre has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
A centre of learning. This is the university city par excellence: Salamanca University was the first to be founded in Spain and is also one of the oldest in Europe. In its heyday it was one of the most highly regarded European universities. For this reason it has been attended by some of the greatest Spanish thinkers, artists and writers.
City of the Spanish language. This city saw the production of the first Grammar of the Castilian Language in the 15th century, which became a fundamental instrument for its expansion throughout the world. It is also a favourite destination amongst foreign students wanting to learn Spanish. As you would expect, Salamanca is one of the most important stages on the Route of the Spanish Language.
Crossroads. The Vía de la Plata, the old Roman route that links the north and south of Spain, passes through Salamanca. It is a good base to explore interesting towns and villages nearby, that are also on the path of this ancient road, such as Guijuelo and Béjar.
Meeting point. Its humanist tradition, the open character of the local people, its cultural concerns, the wealth of its heritage... These are just a few reasons why Salamanca was European City of Culture in 2002.
Youthful spirit. Salamanca has a wealth of history, but it is also modern, fun and dynamic. The student population takes care of giving life and atmosphere to this city 24 hours a day.
The golden city. You should experience Salamanca by day and by night, but above all at dusk. This is when the sun gives a golden hue to the material used in the construction of Salamanca's monuments: Villamayor stone.
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When it comes to culture, Salamanca is a destination not to be missed
It only tales a stroll through the streets to see the centuries of history, art and learning that have made it a universal city. Discover everything this city has to offer, renowned and lively on account of its students.
Salamanca is known as the city of thought and knowledge, but here you will also find art and beauty. Its old town has the UNESCO World Heritage designation, and is home to a magnificent ensemble of monuments, with outstanding examples of different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Plateresque... The University, besides being one of Spain's oldest, is also one of the country's best examples of Renaissance architecture. Salamanca continues to be an important centre for cultural encounters and exchange in the present day too. In 2002 it was European City of Culture.
At the end of this page you will find a list of the city's main museums and monuments. To ensure that you do not miss anything during your stay, head for the Tourist Office, where they will give you detailed information on routes, itineraries and visits. In Salamanca you can also discover some of the most emblematic places in an original way, such as the "Ieronimus" and "Scala Coeli" exhibitions.
The "Ieronimus" exhibition will show you the Cathedral and its famous medieval towers: the route inside the building displays its 900 years of art and history. You can also get a spectacular view of the city from the top of the Anaya Terrace and Mocha Tower. "Scala Coeli" offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city by climbing up to the Clerecía Towers.
Sports lovers have their place here too
Golf and skiing are two of the activities available in Salamanca. You can also stroll through gardens with a literary feel and discover beautiful landscapes in the surrounding countryside.
Salamanca's parks and gardens are ideal to relax and enjoy the best of nature in the heart of the city. The famous Calixto y Melibea Garden is one of the most evocative: it is linked with the work La Celestina, and its plants and fruit trees will transport you to the scene of this famous classical Spanish comedy. The Fluvial, Los Jesuitas and La Alamedilla parks are other green areas ideal for a pleasant stroll.
If you prefer to be a little more active, however, then golf is one of the best options in Salamanca. Less than 15 kilometres from the city centre you will find several golf courses where you can have fun with the clubs: Golf Villamayor and Salamanca Zarapicos Golf Course. They are all attractive 18-hole courses, suited to players with a range of different handicaps.
Skiing is another sporting option in Salamanca. 70 kilometres away you will find the La Covatilla resort, in the heart of the Sierra de Béjar mountains. This is an ideal place to ski as a family, and it also has cross-country ski tracks for the fittest.
You can also have fun outdoors, hiking in the Sierra de Béjar mountains, the Batuecas Valley and the Arribes del Duero area. As you explore these areas of countryside you can discover beautiful traditional architecture in villages such as La Alberca and Miranda del Castañar, you can see fauna such as the golden eagle and the black vulture, and you can go to spectacular viewpoints like Peña de Francia.
Variety and traditional flavours
When it is time to eat, you will find variety and top-quality produce in Salamanca. Going out for tapas is the typical way to sample the specialities of each establishment.
The city has a large number of restaurants and bars, meaning you can savour all types of food: from traditional, home-style dishes, to creative and international cuisine, as well as restaurants specialising in meat, seafood and fish. It is easy to discover all this variety because many of the bars and restaurants are located around the historic centre. As far as prices are concerned, there is something for every budget.
While in Salamanca you should try typical products such as cured meats and Guijuelo ham, Armuña lentils, morucha beef, and sweets such as perrunillas (pastries) and &bollo maimón (kind of sponge). Be sure to try hornazo too. It is a pie filled with egg and other delicious ingredients (pork loin, chorizo sausage, ham...). It was traditionally eaten during Easter week, although can now be found all year round.
The art of "going out for tapas" In the centre of Salamanca you can enjoy one of the local people's favourite gastronomic customs: going out for tapas. When you go into the city's bars and taverns you will notice that, in almost all of them, when you order a drink you are also given an aperitif to go with it. This is the tapa. It is usually served whether you order it or not, because it is included in the price of the drink. This is an informal, carefree way of having a bite to eat, which also means you can sample the various specialities of each establishment. We can assure you that the most complicated thing will be choosing from the huge variety of delicious tapas on offer.
Students, businesspeople, families, groups of friends... You can find them all having tapas at any time of day in Salamanca's many bars. Plaza Mayor Square and the surrounding area is a classic area for tapas: some of the most lively, traditional bars can be found close by, such as those in Zamora, Toro, Clavel, San Pablo and San Justo streets. You can have tapas outside the old town too. A good option is Van Dyck street and the area around it, where you will find some famous taverns and there are also bars with very affordable prices.
For young people
Salamanca's nightlife is famous throughout Spain
The university students take care of making the city lively by day and by night. The options for going out at night are excellent: original bars, a variety of different atmospheres and fiesta to be had until the early hours.
Salamanca's nightlife is unusual, and, above all, very lively. There is nothing like going in search of the next bar to continue the party, walking through the streets of the old town with its stunning illuminated monuments, listening, in the background, to the cheery music of the tuna (groups of students who have been going out to sing old university songs in their traditional dress for centuries). The presence of so many students mean that there is nightlife almost every day of the week. You will also find a wide variety of options for your enjoyment: in the many pubs, bars and nightclubs you can dance to all kinds of music, hear concerts, see films, play cards, or simply have a drink in pleasant surroundings.
Many of these places are open all day, serving breakfast in the morning, drinks and aperitifs at lunchtime and coffee in the afternoon, becoming nightspots later on. If there is one thing that makes Salamanca's bars stand out, however, it is their original, detailed decor. Many are worth popping into for this alone. There are places with decor reminiscent of a university cloister, a chapel, a submarine or an old street, or others with unusual things to be seen inside such as a merry-go-round or a huge dolls' house.
The main areas for nightlife are in the historic centre: Gran Vía street; the Varillas and Plaza de San Justo Square area; the area around Plaza Mayor Square - in Bordadores, Prior, Rúa Mayor and Meléndez streets, amongst others. Here you will find some of Salamanca's most renowned and longest-running nightspots.
If there is fun and atmosphere to be found in Salamanca on almost any day of the year, then when the city's saint's day fiestas come around, things really take off. On 12 June, the feast of San Juan de Sahagún, there is a programme of celebrations including concerts, parades, fireworks and cultural activities. There are celebrations in September too, 8-21, in honour of the Virgen de la Vega. There are open-air dances, performances by traditional groups, concerts, sports events, fairs and, of course, bullfights.
An ideal city for children
Salamanca offers a variety of unusual, enjoyable options for those travelling as a family.
A fun way to explore the historic centre and the city's monuments, especially for the little ones, is a ride on the Tourist Train. It departs every half hour from Plaza de Anaya and covers the main points of interest in the city centre. From the train, children can see the buildings lit up at night.
Visiting the cathedral becomes a game for all the family with the "Ieronimus" exhibition. You can explore every corner of the building and go to the top of the medieval tower to enjoy stunning views of the city. Once on the ground again, there is more fun to be had at the Puerta de Ramos doorway: look for the modern figures that restorers introduced in the lower part to replace statues that were in bad condition. To pass the test you have to find a stork, an astronaut and a monkey eating an ice-cream.
The "Machines with heart" collection is another option that children and adults alike will enjoy. Here you can see old radios and machines for making films, and you can discover how an old flour mill works. There are various exhibitions in the collection, each in a different place in the city. Admission is free. During Easter week and in summer there are also entertainment and dynamic activities organised where the information is presented in an enjoyable way. They are presented in Spanish. If you are interested in taking part you should enrol at one of the exhibition centres.
There is still more on offer: at the Automobile Museum you can discover the history of cars, admiring the hundred-or-so models on display. Neither should we forget Casa Lis. With its windows of a thousand colours, it is a place overflowing with imagination and fantasy. It is home to the Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum, and is full of wonderful statues and multi-coloured objects, and has a collection of more than 300 porcelain dolls - the largest public display of this type in the world. Guided tours are available in English and French, although you should book in advance. If your stay coincides with the patron saint's day fiestas in June and September, you will also find ways to have fun with the children, with activities organised such as parades of "big-heads", fireworks, open-air dances, fairgrounds... Furthermore, after Easter week there is the traditional Lunes de Aguas (Water Monday - held 1st Monday after Easter Monday), where families head to the banks of the Tormes River to eat a typical hornazo (pie filled with egg and cured meats), to celebrate an old 16th century tradition.
Crafts, accessories, and much more
The historic centre is one of the most attractive shopping areas in Salamanca. In this university city par excellence, as souvenirs you can buy crafts, fashion, gourmet foods and, of course, books.
You can find some of Salamanca's most characteristic wares in more than 4,000 establishments spread around the city. Whatever you are looking for, you will find a host of items to give as presents, to keep as souvenirs, or to enjoy on your return home. You just have to choose from the many ideas to be found in the city's shops, street markets and shopping centres. Other useful information Opening times: some shops, especially the major franchises and the shopping centres, are open from 10am-9pm. Traditional shops open from 10am-1.30pm and from 5-8.30pm approximately. Sales: the winter sales generally begin in the first week of January and go on until the end of February, and the summer sales begin on 1 July and run until the end of August. How to pay: most people pay in cash or with a credit card, when you must show your passport or identity card. Tax free: residents from outside the European Union are entitled to have Value Added Tax (IVA) refunded on purchases of more than €90.15.
A special touch for business events
Salamanca's historic centre has the UNESCO World Heritage designation and is a unique setting for business meetings and events.
The city's ancient charm, with magnificent monuments, culture and its streets, overflowing with history, make this a highly attractive setting for congresses and professional meetings. You can get here by road from Madrid in a little over two hours. The city offers excellent accommodation infrastructure, as well as modern facilities, ideal for all kinds of meetings and events. The Castile-León Conference and Exhibition Centre and the University are two of the venues available for congresses. Salamanca is also outstanding for its lively, university atmosphere, especially by night, when its many bars and nightclubs open their doors.