Before I traveled to Salamanca in Spain, I had absolutely no idea what kind of a city is that /shame on me ;)/. I was traveling in north Portugal when decided to cross the border with Spain, after discovering a beautiful picture on internet of a dam on the border river with SpainI love freestyle traveling, trips insipred by a photo or a local story! I don’t think I found the right dam but it was still worth to explore further Spanish territory. I have to say, I will never get bored with exploring this country. Everytime I travel to Spain I dicover another unusual scenery of the region. Similar with Portugal. I picked slightly bigger city on the map to where I was and took direction toward Salamanca. As I said I didn’t know what a huge heritage this place is. There are number of things to do in Salamanca due to its unforgetable historic attractions.
Salamanca is located in west-central part of Spain with 150,000 inhabitants. In Spain it is known as “The Golden City” because of its honey-coloured sandstone. Most visitors are attracted by Salamanca rich architectural heritage but don’t forget about delicious cuisine of central Spain. You’ll find plenty of tapas bars in the Old Town but if you fancy observing local nightlife Plaza Mayor should be your evening destination. These are major Salamanca attractions to explore in the city.
Top Things to do in Salamanca!
The moment you walk under the arcades to discover Plaza Mayor and the Baroque architecture of the surrounding buildings you know it is a magical destination and it won’t be a 5 minute attraction. You just want to stop and admire. It is absolutely amazing place to slow down and enjoy exploring the history of this place. Any time for coffee is good so relax, sit back and have delicious black one in a lovely cafe in Plaza Mayor. If you are into ice-creams, the serve one of the best I’ve had. Evening is the right time to visit Plaza Mayor. This is definitely one of the most impressive squares in Spain.
The Old Town streets of Salamanca.
The old town streets of Salamanca are stunning. It barely happens to me to walk same footsteps number of times but you just want to explore this city more and more. University of Salamanca is the oldest University in Spain and third oldest in Europe! There are two cathedrals which are dominating the city space and are two artictic landmarks of the place – the Old Cathedral of Salamanca and the New Cathedral.
The Catedral Nueva de Salamanca.
New Cathedral of Salamanca was built in 16th century in the Gothic style. It went a restoration in 1992. I had no idea that for cathedral resorers it is allowed to add some additional items and details to the facade as a sort of their signature. Jeronimo Garcia, who was renovating the New Cathedral, also added some more modern images to the facade. He included an astronaut floating among the vines, a dragon eating ice cream, a rabbit, and a crayfish! 😉
Cathedral Vieja (The Old Cathedral of Salamanca).
The Old Cathedral of Salamanca built at the end of the 12th century in a Romanesque style with the outstanding Gallo Tower. The Cathedral remains one of the most beautiful Romanesque monuments in Europe. The facade with religious sculptures of the Old Cathedral of Salamanca is incredible.
Take a walk through the towers of Cathedra Clerecia /Clerecia Church Towers/ – Known as the Scala Coeli – “stairway to heaven”. Tiny steep stairs will take you to the top of the tower for incredible views over the city. The entrance is 4 euro or something but this is really a must to climb.
Convento de San Esteban.
This is another top attraction of Salamanca, just visit this place. Convento de San Esteban church has an extraordinary facade and indoor architecture. Built in 12th century the building was dedicated to be a centre of study and technology. There is a cortyard with columns and a garden.
Casa de las Conchas – this is another amazing historic building with walls covered with a pattern of sea-shells. The walls are decorated with over 300 shells. The sea-shells monuments are also present on the surrounding streets. It was built in 15th century and is currently houses a public library. It is believed that the shells are a symbol of the Order of Santiago and its related Camino de Santiago pilgrim route. The other theory is more romantic, stating that the repetition of the shells on the facade Don Rodrigo´s symbol of love for his wife Doña Maria.
Convento de las Agustinas e Iglesia de la Purísima.
This church was built in the 17th century, on the initiative of Manuel de Fonseca y Zúñiga. The building has a Latin-cross plan and is covered by barrel vaults.
Salamanca Roman Bridge.
It’s a 176 metres long road bridge in the centre of Salamanca crossing Tormes River. The most fascinating thing about this bridge is that it is dated back to 1st century! It was renovated in 18th century but its arches remain original.