Salamanca travel guide

About Salamanca

Salamanca in Castilla y León is a cosmopolitan city that is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe.

Despite being settled by the Romans, Visigoths, and Moors throughout its early history, Salamanca's heyday didn't come until the 13th century with the construction of itsuniversity - the oldest in Spain and the third oldest in Europe. The old city of Salamanca is now a UNESCO protected World Heritage Site with all of its beautiful Plateresque architecture including the 2 stunning cathedrals, the Catedral Vieja (Old Cathedral) and the Catedral Nueva (New Cathedral), an amazing 23 churches, beautiful palaces such as the exquisite privately-owned Palacio de Monterrey, well-preserved convents and monasteries including the Convento de San Esteban and several university colleges. TheCielo de Salamanca fresco in the university's Escuelas Menores is a wonderful work of art depicting the Sun and Mercury with the zodiac signs and the four winds. Built from limestone that has developed a golden glow, the architecture of Salamanca has earned it the nickname of the Ciudad Dorada, the golden city. Unmissable is the Plaza Mayor, Salamanca's magnificent main square built in the Baroque style and lined with restaurants, cafés, ice-cream parlours and all sorts of shops perfect for finding a souvenir.

Visit the best museums in Salamanca, the Casa Lis and Casa de las Conchas. The Casa Lis is a modernist builidng with brilliant stained-glass ceilings that houses an impressive collection of 1600 art-nouveau and art-deco pieces which were left to the state by the antique dealer Manuel Ramos Andrade who spent his life collecting them. A newly refurbished Provincial Library, the Casa de las Conchas is a unique building whose facade is covered in over 300 shells, the symbol of Santiago, and is as beautiful inside as it its outside. After all that history, why not go for a stroll beside the Tormes river which runs through the city and cross the ancient puente romano, the roman bridge which formed part of the Roman road Via de la Plata and was used by pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route? Beloved by writers, Salamanca has some unusual related attractions to visit in the Cueva de Salamanca, written about by Cervantes, a crypt said to be where the Devil trained 7 students, only one of whom escaped and who lost his shadow in the process to mark him out to others, and the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea, a romantic secret garden where lovers meet and attach locks to its well that was named after the lead characters in the novel, The Celestine, by Fernando de Rojas, telling a story of Romeo and Juliet style lovers who meet a tragic end. Salamanca celebrates 2 big festivals, the Subida al Mariquelo on December 31 and Lunes de Aguas on the first Monday after Easter and is when hornazo is traditionally eaten - a pastry filled with pork, chorizo and egg.

Salamanca is a great place for doing some shopping with several shopping districts where you'll find crafts shops, fashion boutiques and gourmet food shops and there also some major malls on the city's outskirts. In the restaurants of Salamanca you'll find lots of local delicacies including cured meats (chorizo, jamon, lomo iberico, salchichón), stews, roast meats, game, cabrito (goat), cheeses such as hinojosa de duero, pulses, and almond based sweets and biscuits such as armaguillos, mazapanes and bollo maimón.

Why visit Salamanca?

  • The Architecture
  • Shopping
  • Festivals
  • Food and Drink    


  • Country: Spain
  • Region: Castilla y León
  • Province: Salamanca
  • Population: 154,500
  • Coordinates: 40.967067,-5.662276

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Places to visit nearby

Zamora in Castilla y León is one of the most beautiful cities in the region and is known as the ciudad del rómanico because of its many Romanesque churches.

Ávila in Castilla y León is a magnificent walled city and is one of the oldest towns in the region.

Valladolid in Castilla y León is the region's would-be capital and is a thriving modern city with a strong cultural heritage, known as the 'capital of the tapa'.

Nearby attractions

Visit the Monasterio de Santo Tomas and discover the 3 beautiful cloisters of this wonderful 15th century monastery. Meander through the small and sombre Tuscan-style Cloister of the Novitiate, the respectful Cloister of...

The biggest draw to the Iglesia de San Pablo is it's spectacular Gothic facade created during the 13th century. A magnificent work of stone sculpture, the facade can be split into 3 parts.

The Museo Nacional de Escultura (the National Sculpture Museum) contains an excellent selection of European sculpture from th 15th to the 18th century.