Are you ready to discover the charming Spanish city of Salamanca? This beautiful city embodies the perfect balance between small-town feel and big-city vibes making it a perfect destination.

It is known as the “Golden City” for its stunning, golden sandstone buildings which shimmer in the sunlight.

The city, situated to the northwest of Madrid, boasts some of the most spectacular architecture in Spain dating back to the Roman era.

Salamanca is also home to one of Europe’s oldest universities and a thriving student population which adds to its unique energy and vibrancy.

In this blog post, we will explore the wonders of Salamanca, from its ancient landmarks to its bustling plazas and lively nightlife. So get ready to be transported to this mesmerizing city known for its enthralling charm and magical beauty!


Salamanca: A Golden City Full of History and Vibrant Vibes

As you explore Salamanca, you will be immersed in history and culture at every corner of the old town.

This gorgeous city became a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Act in 1988, thanks to some of the oldest buildings in Spain.

Plaza Mayor

Salamanca Plaza Mayor
Salamanca Plaza Mayor

One of the city highlights is the Plaza Mayor, the heart of the city and a bustling hub of activity.

Here you can indulge in some mouth-watering tapas and popular Spanish drinks while admiring the gorgeous baroque architecture.

Since the 1730s, it’s been the meeting place for friends, families, students, and young lovers. Before cell phones, couples would just agree to meet under the main clock at a certain hour on a specific day.

Sisters visiting Plaza Mayor Salamanca
Exploring Plaza Mayor Salamanca with my sister

These days it’s a bit easier to schedule dates and just meet at any of the restaurants and bars around the Plaza. But rumor has it that “under the clock” is still the preferred spot for most blind dates.

But the Plaza is not just for groups of friends and dating couples. If you’re just traveling on your own, no worries. This stunning square is lined with elegant buildings and charming sidewalk cafes, making it the perfect place to sit back, relax, and soak up the atmosphere.

Casa de las Conchas

Casa de las Conchas Salamanca
Casa de las Conchas Salamanca

Have you ever heard of the Casa de las Conchas in Salamanca? It’s a beautiful stately mansion that was built in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, and it’s definitely worth a visit!

One of the most striking features of the house is the façade, which is adorned with over 300 carvings of scallop shells. You’ll also notice Gothic, Renaissance, and Mudejar elements in the décor of the house.

Legend has it that there is a gold coin hidden under each shell, but we can’t guarantee that! Currently, you can visit the Casa de las Conchas and explore its public library. 

If you enjoy walking and exploring new towns, you’ll love walking around Salamanca. Join a free walking tour to learn more about this golden city’s history, myths, and legends.

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Old and New Salamanca Cathedrals

Salamanca Cathedral
Salamanca Cathedral

If you’re planning a trip to Salamanca, Spain, you can’t miss visiting the Old and New Cathedrals! These two beautiful structures are connected, so you only need one ticket to visit both.

The New Cathedral, built in the 16th century, is often listed among the Top Cathedrals of Spain.

Its mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles will leave you amazed. You can’t miss the carved choir and impressive interior.

Next door, you’ll find the Old Cathedral, founded in the 12th century and built in a Gothic/Romanesque style. With its colorful apse featuring a large cycle of 53 tableaux, the Old Cathedral has a romantic vibe that will transport you to a different era.

Don’t forget to visit the Cathedral Towers and climb up to the roofs for stunning views of the city.

University of Salamanca

Universidad de Salamanca
University of Salamanca

Don’t miss out on visiting the University of Salamanca, the oldest university in Spain, and its many landmarks on campus. The stunning architecture of the university buildings is sure to leave you in awe.

In addition to its history, Salamanca boasts a lively and vibrant atmosphere. There are plenty of cultural experiences and activities to enjoy, from visiting museums to trying local cuisine and attending cultural events.

After visiting Salamanca, you’ll leave with unique and enriching experiences that you won’t forget.

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Traveling Back in Time and The Oldest University in Spain

Travel back in time and visit the University of Salamanca, where students have studied since 1218.

Countless influential figures have walked these halls, including Christopher Columbus, Caldron de la Barca, and possibly Miguel de Cervantes, author of the famous Don Quixote.

University of Salamanca Courtyard
University of Salamanca Courtyard

Walking through the campus, you’ll feel transported back in time with its stunning architecture and historic landmarks.

The University of Salamanca has a remarkable legacy, with famous scholars, philosophers, and mathematicians. The Gregorian calendar (our current calendar system), for example, was proposed by scholars from Salamanca after receiving a request from the Pope.

If you like learning languages, specifically the Spanish language, you will love the fact that the University of Salamanca was a key participant in the study and development of this tongue. For instance, the first Spanish language grammar book was developed here by Antonio de Nebrija.

Also, some famous Spanish literature masterpieces were written by authors who studied or lived in Salamanca. La Celestina, one of the most famous novels published in 1499, was written by Fernando de Rojas while he was still a student in Salamanca.

As you explore the university, imagine the intellectual debates and discussions that must have taken place among scholars throughout the years. The University of Salamanca is not just a place to study, it’s a cultural treasure that has nurtured minds for over 800 years.

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Important University Landmarks

As you walk around the historic University of Salamanca, you’ll come across many important landmarks that showcase its rich academic and cultural heritage.

University of Salamanca
University of Salamanca Main Entrance Facade

Don’t miss the stunning Plateresque facade of the Escuelas Mayores, which served as the university’s main lecture halls during the Renaissance.

Salamanca Challenge: Look for a tiny frog figure on the intricate carvings and decorations of the university’s main entrance facade. It may sound easy, but the frog is quite small, so make sure you keep your eyes open wide! Many students and visitors from all over the world come to Salamanca seeking this unique piece of history. Legend has it that if you can find a frog on the intricate plasterwork, you will have good luck.

Another must-see is the Library of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, which contains over 200,000 volumes and manuscripts dating back to the 13th century.

And, of course, no visit to the University of Salamanca would be complete without taking in the breathtaking view from the Clerecy Tower, which offers panoramic views of the city and beyond.

Wander through the campus, and you’ll feel the energy and passion of the scholars who have passed through these halls over the centuries. You’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the vital role that this esteemed institution has played in shaping Hispanic culture and history.

Must-try Foods and Drinks in Salamanca

If you’re headed to Salamanca, you’re in for a treat. While the city is known for its University and stunning city center, the food scene is a destination in itself.

When it comes to where to eat, Oroviejo should be high on your list. Located between Calle Compañía and Casa de las Conchas, this restaurant is housed in a historic building with thick walls and a deep well.

You can enjoy a tasting menu that features dishes like steak tartar with Beluga caviar and beetroot soup with pheasant and wild mushroom foam. If you’re a meat lover, you’ll love their traditional firewood oven.

Make sure you try the local white wine called Rufete produced by Viñas del Cambrico — it’s fantastic.

Farinato Salad in Salamanca
Farinato Salad from La Marimorena

Another must-visit spot is La Marimorena, located in Plaza Mayor. This cozy restaurant offers an affordable tapas and dinner menu.

Be sure to try their patatas bravas and country stews for less than 8 EUR. Also, try a tinto de verano (wine and lemon soda) or caña con limón (beer with lemon soda), which are staple drinks across Spain.

Salamanca is known for its Iberian ham, its hornazo (a savory pastry filled with ham and chorizo), and a spicy crumbly sausage called farinato — don’t leave without trying them. Buen provecho!

Salamanca Cultural Activities and Experiences

Salamanca Cultural Activities
Salamanca Cultural Activities

There are plenty of activities and experiences you won’t want to miss while visiting Salamanca. Make sure to visit the local museums like the Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum, Casa Lis, and the Salamanca Museum.

Attend cultural events, such as the Salamanca International Film Festival, Flamenco shows, and outdoor concerts in Plaza Mayor.

You can even take a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Spanish dishes. No matter what you choose, your visit to Salamanca will be unforgettable thanks to its rich history and vibrant culture.

Learning Spanish in Salamanca

If you’re looking for an immersive way to learn Spanish, Salamanca is definitely the way to go. From absolute beginners to advanced speakers, there’s a course for every language level.

Join more than 4,000 foreign language students studying Spanish at the University of Salamanca each year. Additionally, there are several Spanish language schools across the city, so don’t miss the opportunity to learn and immerse yourself in this beautiful language.

Whether you choose to stay in a campus residence, shared student apartment, or with a Spanish host family, Salamanca’s culture and history will inspire your learning.

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Visiting Salamanca is truly a unique and enriching experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. From wandering the golden streets and landmarks to tasting the delicious local cuisine, there is something for everyone.

Whether you’re a student or a traveler, Salamanca’s charm will draw you in and leave you wanting more. So pack your bags and head to this magical city – you won’t regret it!

About the Author: Denisse Romero, M.S, Ed.M. is the founder of As a frequent traveler and global education advisor, she’s always looking for student travel opportunities to share with her readers.

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