Salamanca, famed for its status as the top university town in Spain, is located in the autonomous region of Castile-Leon, some two hours North-west of the capital Madrid. Like many of the cities and towns of the region, it was a city born in the Roman era and still treasures many relics of the imperial age. However, Salamanca really took on grandeur and importance in the Renaissance period. In Salamanca, the inhabitants are said to speak the "purest" Spanish in Spain, a reputation it shares with Valladolid. For this reason Salamanca is popular with people all over the world who want to learn Spanish, as well as the tourists.


Salamanca is an extremely pleasant city to cover on foot; it is big enough to offer all the excitement of a big city, but small enough to feel like your local town. In the centre of the city, the Plaza Mayor, is known as the living room of the Salmantinos (Salamancans). Originally used to witness bullfights and nowadays to attend concerts, it is one of the finest squares in Europe.

Salamanca is considered to be one of the most spectacular Renaissance cities in Europe and has gained the nickname La Ciudad Dorada, “the golden city” due to the exquisite golden glow that is given off by the sandstone buildings. This golden glow is unique in Spain and is due to the "Villamayor Stone", a very special type of sandstone coming from a quarry situated in Villamayor, a village close to Salamanca.

In the centre of the city, one stumbles inevitably upon the impressive old Romanesque [ Salamanca Cathedral] that was founded in the 12th century. The cathedral sports a dome and the interior includes frescoes by the early Renaissance painter Nicolas Florentino. The adjoining "new" cathedral was built in stages from 1509 and combines Late Gothic architecture.

An extremely important influence on the city is of course, [ Salamanca University], founded in 1212 and the second oldest in the world, after the University of Bologna. It is certainly worth a walk around the site and a view of some of the monuments and tributes to the plethora of world greats that have studied and lectured within its walls. Christopher Columbus lectured in the university following his return to Spain on his world changing discoveries; Hernán Cortés took classes at Salamanca, Miguel de Unamuno was a student there, as was Miguel de Cervantes.

Since 1996, Salamanca has been the designated site of the archive of the Spanish Civil War (Archivo General de la Guerra Civil Española). This archive was assembled by Franco´s regime, selectively obtained from the administrative departments of various institutions and organisations during the Spanish Civil War as a repressive instrument used against all sort of opposition groups and individuals: republicans of all signs, unionists, Communists, liberals, Basque and Catalan nationalists.


The city's two main shopping zones extend around Calle Melendez and the historic area of the Plaza Mayor. If it is a department store you are looking for, the largest is [ Corte Fiel] in the Plaza Mayor.

If you are in search of more authentic goods, such as handicrafts, Calle Conde de Cadarrus has a number of outlets whose inventories represent most of the trades that used to proliferate in the region around Salamanca. Handicrafts in Salamanca embrace a broad range of materials: silver, used in the local precious-metal and silverwork, leather, including the famed Spanish-style riding boot or boto; fabrics, used to weave shawls; wood, used in basketry and wickerwork and earthenware and ceramic products.

Nightlife and Eating Out

With creative, international, traditional or vegetarian cooking, Salamancan restaurants offer a varied cuisine that without doubt will impress tourists that venture to sample them. In the numerous eateries, the majority situated around the Plaza Mayor, one can sample lentil or lamb stews, cheeses, specialist sausages or local wines. A classic dish that must be tried is the Salamancan Charreria or "peasant lands" is a cocido, a baked casserole of chick peas. The real pleasure of visiting a city like Salamanca is to “do tapas” or in other words, bar-hopping, drinking small beers or wines and receiving your complementary tapa at each stop-off.

The most well-known and popular zones for going out are found along the Call Van Dyck and the bars surrounding the Plaza Mayor. University students dominate this city, which assures a good night life is to be found. The Spanish claim that the best cities in Spain for night life are Santiago, Salamanca and Granada. If noisy bars or nightclubs are not really your cup of tea then Salamanca offers a plenitude of cafes where you can enjoy a quiet drink and a chat.

You can enjoy yourself practically any night of the week in Salamanca but the main nights are Thursday to Saturday. The options for bars are seemingly endless in the city centre, on a Thursday you can find bars with special offers (parties, second drink free, etc.) and you can finish off the night at a disco. In bars like Pino for example, on a Friday and Saturday nights you get your second drink free. For rock, punk and heavier sounds La Iguana, Paniagua, Chao, or Rivendel are all a good bet. To round off the evening, there is El Potenkim or El Contrastes that both continue until the very early hours.

Tourist Information

Plaza Mayor nº 32, Casa de Postas.Salamanca


Salamanca, located close to Valladolid is served by the airport at Villanubla. The airport has experienced recent expansion due to the arrival of Ryanair operations. The airline flies to destinations such as London-Stansted, Paris, Brussels-Charleroi, Lisbon, Barcelona and Vigo.

Only two hours drive or train journey is the capital Madrid, where the large airport of Madrid-Barajas serves all major national and international destinations.

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