The city of Salamanca is a great stop on the way from Portugal to Spain, or the other way around.
Famous for its university and nightlife, and with beautiful Renaissance buildings, the city has enough things to keep you busy for a day.
Ready to explore Salamanca? Follow this itinerary and enjoy a leisurely stroll that will take you to all of the city’s main sights.
A Day in Salamanca
- Starting at the University, take the challenge of finding the famous Lucky Frog on the elaborate Gothic facade of the Escuelas Mayores (Upper Schools). Legend has it that new students who are able to spot the frog on their first try will pass all their exams.
The interior of the Escuelas Mayores is not as splendorous as its facade, but for €10 you’ll visit the cloister and the aula (lecture hall) where Pedro Calderón de la Barca and Cervantes once sat.
- The building of the Escuelas Menores (Lower Schools) is wrapped around the patio in front of the Escuelas Mayores. Find The Sky of Salamanca (Cielo de Salamanca), an interesting representation of an astrological map by Fernando Gallego. Dated from the fifteenth century, the mural painting was originally part of the Historic Library It was discovered by accident in the twentieth century during renovations works, and moved to the Escuelas Menores.
- On your way to Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor, stop to take a photograph of the unusual facade of Casa das Conchas (The Shell House), a building mixing late Gothic and Plateresque styles, decorated with more than 300 shells. Built during the Reign of the Catholic Monarchs, it currently houses a public library.
- Plaza Mayor is the heart of Salamanca, and one of the largest and most beautiful squares in Spain. The square and its arcades are a popular gathering spot. There are several cafés and restaurants for a break or meal.
- Back to Plaza Anaya, take a tour of Salamanca’s old and new cathedrals. Both cathedrals are part of the same complex, though they have distinct visiting hours.
The Catedral Vieja (Old Cathedral), built in the twelfth century, is an interesting example of the Spanish Romanesque with a few Gothic influences. Through the chapel, you get to the Catedral Nueva (New Cathedral) whose construction began in the sixteenth century and took two centuries to be completed.
- A bit further east find San Estebán Convent, one of the finest examples of the Spanish Plateresque style, owned by the Dominican order.
- Finally, head to Tormes River, cross the Roman bridge and enjoy the city views.
Best Time to Visit
Though Salamanca is a year-round destination, you’ll find the best time to visit this Spanish city is in the spring and autumn. You’re likely to find pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds.
Where to Stay
There is a reasonable choice of hotels in Salamanca.
For a budget stay, check out Hostal Plaza Mayor located in the city centre, and within easy reach of major attractions.
Catalonia Plaza Mayor Salamanca is a proper hotel, and another good-value option for an overnight in Salamanca.