Located just 2 hours away from Madrid, Salamanca is a great city to visit as a day trip, or better yet, stay a night or two and take in all of the culture and beauty that this UNESCO World Heritage City has to offer.
Salamanca is perhaps best known for its university, which is the oldest in Spain (founded in 1218), and the third oldest in Europe. Salamanca is nicknamed “La Dorada” (the Golden City), due to the rich golden color of the buildings that are made of a sandstone that is quarried in the nearby town of Villamayor.
The University has a number of sites that can be visited. You should start your tour at the façade of the University, located on the Patio de las Escuelas. The highly detailed plateresque-style façade is one of the most photographed monuments in Salamanca. Legend has it that if you can find the frog on the façade you will have academic success and receive a degree. So don’t be surprised if you find a crowd of people staring up at the façade when you arrive. The Escuelas Menores (Minor Schools), Escuelas Mayores (Major Schools), University Museum, and Old Library are also open to visitors and should not be missed.
Here is a list of some of the other things to see during your stay in Salamanca:
- Plaza Mayor – one of the largest squares in Spain, built in the 1730s
- Old Cathedral – Spanish Romanesque style cathedral built in the 12th C.
- New Cathedral – built in the 16th C., some parts had to be rebuilt after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. For more information, click here
- Casa de las Conchas – the House of Shells, the symbol of St. James, was built in 1500
- Convento de San Esteban – the 16th C. Convent of St. Stephen is an active convent still used today by the Dominican order. For more information, click here
- Convento de las Ursulas – the Ursuline Convent was built in 1512 by the Archbishop Alonso de Fonseca
- Pontifical University of Salamanca – university run by the Conference of Spanish Bishops was established in 1218
- Ieronimus – tour the Medieval Catheral Towers, unique emblems of Salamanca. For more information, click here
- Casa Lis – Art Nouveau & Art Deco Museum. For more information, click here
- Museum of Automotive History – this important automobile museum is set in the former Fábrica de la Luz (Light Factory). For more information, click here
Book a private tour! You may want to consider booking a private tour with an English-speaking guide. Your personal guide can provide you with information on the city and its historic sites. For more information, click here.
Photo credit: © Christopher Pappas • All rights reserved.
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