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Salamanca might not get quite the same recognition as Granada or Seville when it comes to blockbuster Spanish cities, but it should do. This north-western Spanish city is one of the most beautiful in the country. It’s brimming with UNESCO-protected architecture, museums, galleries and cultural institutions. Add to this a lively nightlife scene, a rich culinary tradition and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere and you have the perfect Spanish city break.
To help make the most of your Spanish holiday to Salamanca, you can book your car in advance with Enjoy Travel!
Guide of Salamanca
Salamanca is a city situated in the northwestern part of Spain, in the interior of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the regional capital of Castile and León. It sits on a plateau, surrounded by rolling hills and crisscrossed by the Tormes River. The city is renowned for its historical architecture and golden sandstone buildings. The Old City was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1988. The city is surrounded by wheat, barley and sunflower fields and dotted with small oak and pine forests. The region is rich in wildlife and home to a wide variety of birds of prey, wild boars and deer.
Climate in Salamanca
Salamanca has a typically continental Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Temperatures range from 12°C in the winter to 30°C in the summer. Spring and autumn tend to be mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C, making it a popular time to visit.
Summer kicks off in June and lasts until late September. Temperatures can reach up to 35°C and tend to be dry. Temperatures still drop in the evening though, so make sure you pack an extra layer for nightfall. The wettest months of the year are October and November, with 400-500 mm of rainfall.
Salamanca is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, the University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218. During the Mediaeval period, the city was renowned as a major centre of learning and research. The city itself is widely considered to be one of the best-preserved and most beautiful mediaeval cities in Europe thanks to its unique blend of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
Today, the city has a vibrant cultural scene with dozens of concerts, festivals and events taking place throughout the year. The International Film Festival, which takes place in October, is the crowning jewel in its cultural calendar.
Things To Do in Salamanca
People-watch in Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor is the spiritual and social heart of the city. It’s one of the largest squares in Rome and was completed in 1755. The square is lined with small shops and lively restaurants, making it the perfect spot to soak in the sunny Spanish atmosphere.
Meander around the Old City
Salamanca’s Old City was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and it’s where you’ll find many of the city’s blockbuster sites. Salamanca University is the city’s most iconic emblem and it’s not hard to see why. Founded in the 15th century, the building features an exquisitely crafted facade. The Casa de las Conchas, which is covered in over 300 shells, is another of the city’s top sights.
Stroll across the Roman Bridge
This ancient bridge spans the Tormes River and offers sparkling views of the Old Town and surrounding hills. Roman Emperor Marcus Ulpius commissioned the 176-metre-long bridge in the first century AD.
Relax in the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea gardens
Salamanca might not have a beach, but it does boast some impressive gardens. The Huerto de Calixto y Melibea takes its name from the two main characters in the classic Spanish novel “La Celestina”, which is set in the city. The gardens feature several remarkable sculptures and artworks, benches and shaded areas and several viewpoints offering jaw-dropping city views.
Eating Out in Salamanca
Salamanca is brimming with brilliant bars, restaurants and clubs catering to all tastes and budgets. Local cuisine prizes hearty and flavour-packed traditional Castilian dishes, like chuleton (a huge T-bone steak), cochinillo assado (roast suckling pig) and judiones de la granja (white beans, chorizo and pork stews). You’ll find Questo de Arribes cheese, which is made in the nearby Arribes del Duero, on most menus too. The wider region is renowned for its high-quality red, white and rose wines. Salamanca also has a thriving craft beer scene, with a handful of reputed breweries like Slainte and Cerveza Bizarra.
When it comes to eating out, you’ll be spoilt for choice. For something extra special, try one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants – there are three. En la Parra offers two tasting menus highlighting the geographical characteristics of Salamanca’s vineyards and terrains, while Victor Gutierrez combines the region’s finest ingredients with flavours from his native Peru.
The closest airport to Salamanca is the Salamanca-Matacán Airport (SLM), which is located 10 miles east of the city centre. It takes around 20 minutes to drive or a 30-minute bus journey. However, the airport is extremely small and is only served by national airlines.
If you’re flying from further afield, the next closest airport is Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD), located 124 miles southeast of the city. Most major European and international airlines serve the airport. There are regular bus and train services from the airport to the city centre, with an average journey time of around 3 hours. It takes around two hours to drive from the airport to the airport.
Getting around Salamanca
Salamanca is a relatively compact city and most of its main attractions are within walking distance of each other. Buses are the only mode of public transportation in the city. Local transport company SMTUSA runs a comprehensive network with regular services throughout the city. Tickets can be purchased on board or at designated kiosks. Salamanca also has a public bike-sharing system called ‘Salenbici’, which offers short-term bike rentals with multiple drop-off points across the city.
However, if you’re looking to explore rural destinations and smaller towns outside of the city centre, it’s worth hiring a car. While driving in the city centre can be challenging, there are multiple car parks and garages offering cheap and reliable parking on the outskirts of the city. Driving will give you more flexibility and the opportunity to travel to some of the region’s underexplored spots too.