The Spanish province of Salamanca is found in the southwest corner of the country (near Portugal). The principal city of the region, also called Salamanca, is home to approximately 200,000 inhabitants. Many foreigners looking to learn “pure Spanish” (Castilian) come to study at the city’s reputable universities. Salamanca is truly a university city, and you’re sure to see both international and Spanish students walking around nearly all parts of the city and enjoying its vibrant nightlife.
What to see and do in Salamanca:
Salamanca’s beautiful 15th century university (with its intricate 16th century façade) is nearly as old as its counterparts in Bologna, Paris and Oxford. You must stop by the library- a beautiful space steeped in history and knowledge. If it is open, I also recommend visiting The Escuelas Minores (across from the main entrance) to see its impressive cloister.
It’s impossible to miss Salamanca’s two celebrated cathedrals. The Gothic New Cathedral (construction began in 1513) is the larger of the two. The nearby Old Cathedral is an impressive example of medieval architecture (a combination of Roman and Gothic influences) and more intricate than its imposing neighbor. The tops of both cathedrals offer stunning views of the city.
Plaza Mayor is a large, 18th century baroque square framed by charming cafés. It is, without a doubt, one of the best people watching locations in the city, since almost everyone in Salamanca passes through the square at least once a day.
Where to stay in Salamanca:
Hotel Residencia Rector is a smaller hotel- 14 rooms – decorated with an array of antiques and painted in bright colors. Wonderful service.
Hotel Residencia Rector
Paseo del Rector Esperabé 10
Hotel Torre Del Clavero is a bit bigger than Hotel Residencia Rector. The family-run Hotel Torre del Clavero has 26 rooms with a calmer, more neutral aesthetic.
Hotel Torre Del Clavero
Calle Consuelo 21
What and where to eat in Salamanca:
Salamancans love their beef and pork, so you’re sure to find a wide array of these meats in whichever restaurant you visit. While you’re there, be sure to try one of their cured hams, like jamón de bellota. Another “must taste” regional specialty is hornazo, a savory pastry filled with ham, chorizo (spiced sausage), pork and egg.
Cuzco is a cozy little bar that serves delicious small and medium dishes made with meat and fish.
Calle de la Compañia 48-50
Chocoholics won’t want to miss Valor, home to the best hot chocolate in the city (specialty varieties include orange or cinnamon). Pair it with one of their irresistible pastries and you’ve got a perfect breakfast or snack.
Calle Los Libreros 14
For a stylish night out, try El Pecado, a foodie haven with a contemporary, off-beat interior. Reservations recommended.
Plaza Poeta Iglesias 12,
Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for EuropeUpClose.com