Salamanca, Castile-León

One day in Salamanca


the city of the two cathedrals

If you want to get to know one of the most beautiful World Heritage Cities in Spain, why not arrange a day out in Salamanca? You'll love strolling around the cobbled streets of the historic quarter and visiting the university and the city's two cathedrals with their characteristic golden stone. What's more, you'll find that many of its buildings guard a multitude of secrets. Would you like to know where they are?


The day could start with a stroll through the old town to explore the main tourist sights such as the Plaza Mayor and the city’s two Cathedrals.

Historic quarter. The centre of city life

The best place to begin our itinerary is in the famous Plaza Mayor, one of the most beautiful squares in the whole of Europe. We can pick up all the information we need in the tourist office here. We're now standing at the busiest spot in the whole city, and if we look around us, we're bound to see a number of people enjoying a drink or a snack at the outdoor cafés and restaurants. It's well worth taking a walk round the 88 porticoed arches in the square; if you look carefully, you can see carved medallions with the faces of famous people like the writer Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote.After taking a few photos, this is the time to stop for a cup of coffee at any of the cafés in the square, for example the hundred-year-old Café Novelty, with the sculpture of the writer Torrente Ballester in its interior. We continue our visit through the Plaza del Corrillo square (there are a series of small stalls here where you can buy gifts and souvenirs), and then go down the Rúa Mayor until we reach the Casa de las Conchas (House of Shells). You'll be captivated by this unusual building decorated with thousands of shells which were used as a token of the marriage between the scions of two noble families. According to legend there's a treasure hidden beneath one of the shells, so it's worth looking very closely.

Behind the Casa de las Conchas, in the Calle de la Compañía, we can see the towers of the Clerecía church and the Pontificia University. We're now walking along one of the most historic thoroughfares in the city, and it feels as though we've travelled back in time to past centuries, to a period of splendid palaces. If we continue down we’ll see Monterrey Palace, the Convent of Las Ursulas and the College of Archbishop Fonseca.Retracing our steps we come to the beautiful Plaza de Anaya square and its gardens, one of the most charming places in Salamanca. This is a good place to take a seat and admire all the beautiful buildings around us: in front of us, we see the city's imposing New Cathedral, and behind us, Anaya College. There's a really special atmosphere in this area, which is bustling with tourists, students, passers-by… 

the city of the two cathedrals

This is the moment to see the New Cathedral from close-up. As we approach the building, we're sure to find a group of people trying to pick out the different details in this Gothic construction. The best idea is to join in the search, as the lower part of the Cathedral door conceals carved figures such as an astronaut, a monkey eating an ice cream and a stork. Incredible but true! Not many cities have two cathedrals: Salamanca does.They're interconnected, and the Old Cathedral is accessed from inside the New Cathedral. Although the Old Cathedral is not as imposing, the medieval atmosphere and tranquillity of this Romanesque temple captivates everyone who steps inside. These walls have witnessed banquets, examinations (students who passed their exams were awarded their degree in the cloister of the Cathedral itself), religious councils, Inquisition courts…

Various images of Salamanca Cathedrals, Castile-León

Although we've seen some fairly impressive sights, the best is yet to come: from the ground floor of the Old Cathedral, you can visit the permanent exhibition called 'Ieronimus', with an unusual tour that includes access to the highest part of both cathedrals. We can get a close-up view of –and almost touch– the towers, which are 110 metres high, including the most typical towers such as the Gallo (cockerel) (so-called due to its cockerel-shaped weathervane) and the Campanas. We then move onto a terrace, which offers outstanding views over the city. Simply fantastic.

Let’s go out for tapas

After this highly cultural morning, lunch is the perfect time to savour the famous culinary attractions of Salamanca. And the best way to do this is by going out for tapas: hopping from bar to bar trying small portions of the local specialities. The area around the Plaza Mayor is the ideal place to sample a wide range of hearty sausages and cured meats, for example. If you'd rather eat in a restaurant, you can always order the delicious roast suckling pig. Another busy area which is much frequented and offers a wide range of options (now in the new part of the city) is the Calle Van Dyck.

Places not to be missed

What to see


In the second half of the day we can discover some of the secrets of the famous University of Salamanca, take a romantic stroll through the garden of Calixto y Melibea, or enjoy some retail therapy. Salamanca has so much to offer you.

University City

Suitably revived by lunch, we return to Plaza de Anaya square to see another of the city's treasures: the University. It's located on our right, and we go around the building until we arrive at its Plateresque doorway. Here you’ll find another pleasant surprise: it also conceals curious carved figures such as dolphins, and the famous frog. which has become the symbol of Salamanca, and something that all visitors have to try and spot. According to legend, if a student can see it without being told where it is, he or she will pass all that year's exams. Let's have a go at finding it. And if we really can't see it, we can always ask for help from the people around us.

The magical and romantic side to Salamanca

We now go down the Bohemian street of Los Libreros, where we find the Casa Lis Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, in an Art Nouveau mansion. If we continue along this street we reach the old city wall, and one of the most romantic spots in the city: the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea, a garden said to be the meeting place for the lovers Calixto and Melibea, the main characters in the novel 'La Celestina', a classic work of Spanish literature. It is the perfect place to rest and be soothed by the scent of flowers, as well as to enjoy the outstanding view, with the Cathedral in the background.

Left: University / Centre: Casa Lis © / Right: Convent of San Esteban in Salamanca, Castile and Leon © Grupo Ciudades Patrimonio

A little further on, in Plaza de Carvajal, we find another magical place: the Cave of Salamanca. We can't pass up the chance to enter the crypt where, legend tells, there was once a school of occult sciences where the Devil stole the shadow of a nobleman. For many, this is the gateway to another hidden city.After visiting (on our right) the imposing Convent and Church of San Esteban (whose visitors have included such illustrious names as Columbus) we continue on along Calle San Pablo, the site of the Clavero Tower and La Salina Palace, until we come to the Plaza Mayor.We've seen all Salamanca's most beautiful monuments, and now we can spend a little time shopping for souvenirs to remind us of our visit. The best idea when shopping for gifts is to head for the streets of Toro and Zamora, where you'll find numerous boutiques, jewellers, typical crafts shops... Ask for filigree work or the typical Salamanca button. Or what about a little frog to remind us of our search at the university?

Places not to be missed

What to see


Say farewell to Salamanca as you watch its transformation as the buildings light up at night and the city is embraced by a unique magic.

Illuminated Salamanca, the city by night

One of the best ways of enjoying the breath-taking sunset over Salamanca is to visit the Roman Bridge, then stroll along the riverbank, which is one of the top places for taking some outstanding photos of the city. Then again, if we stay in the centre of town we can see the spectacular sight of the glow of the sunset turning the stone on the façades of all the buildings to a magical golden colour.As night falls, Salamanca lights up and becomes even more beautiful, if such a thing is possible. For dinner, we choose the cobbled streets of the Plaza Mayor.

Salamanca, Castile-León

And dinner is only the beginning, because as Salamanca is a university town, its nightlife is famous for its great atmosphere which continues into the small hours. So if you feel like going dancing or having an after-dinner drink, you'll find bars and clubs to suit all tastes right near the squares of Plaza Mayor and Plaza San Justo, in the area of Gran Vía and Calle Bordadores: converted chapels, and venues decorated like a boat or a submarine… You can also catch some live music, meet people from all over the world, listen to storytellers… The possibilities in Salamanca are never-ending.

Places not to be missed

What to see

Tips and recommendations

Worth knowing

There are numerous guided tours of the city which start in the Plaza Mayor square.Download the free tourist guide ‘Salamanca Tourism’: with audioguide, routes and services.The Tourist Office offers accessible tourism material.In the shop ‘La Tienda de Turismo de Salamanca’ (Plaza Mayor 14) you can find the perfect souvenir and gift from your trip to the city.Ask about games and routes for children at the Tourist Office.

What to do

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