Salamanca, a small city in between Madrid and the border of Portugal. It gets lost in the country of Spain since it usually isn’t on maps and is hidden in the shadows of the capital just two hours away. Salamanca is a city with much charm that many people miss out on due its lack of acknowledgement. What makes this city so unique is, even though it’s considered a city, there’s a comfort that will make you feel like you belong. The thing is, the community is knit-tight and everyone seems to know their neighbours. When they see a new face, they won’t be shy to chat with you. Salamanca might be isolated in the dry lands of Spain but here is why it’s a must-go-to destination.
Salamanca Plaza Mayor
It’s safe to say most cities in Spain have a plaza mayor where locals fill the square during the day and night. Whether you have been to Barcelona or Madrid, you haven’t seen the most beautiful plaza mayor until you have been to Salamanca – literally. The plaza has been considered the most beautiful plaza in all of Spain with it’s friendly and vibrant environment. During the day you can sip on a café with it’s many restaurants that have outdoor seating or eat some helado from the many ice cream shops. As the sun goes down, watch the plaza light up and families and friends crowd the square playing games or simply chatting. You might even catch musicians that will play for you while you eat your dinner.
Universidad de Salamanca
There are two universities in Salamanca but the city takes great pride in their public university, Universidad de Salamanca. It’s known for it’s prestigious courses and is considered one of the top universities in Spain attracting students from the country and all over the world. Though, the main reason why this university is so important because it’s the first university of Spain. The campus spreads around a small section of the city and you will be able to stroll through history where major Spanish influencers also strolled down before.
There’s a saying amongst the locals that goes, ‘if you’re not a professor, you’re a student’. As mentioned, the old city is famous for its university making it primarily a university city. Students flood the city all year, whether they’re international students taking summer classes or the regular students enrolled in the fall and spring. Locals have come to accept that this old city has a young essence due to these students and they have transformed Salamanca.
If you start in the Plaza Mayor, you will be swarmed by promotors asking you to join them to their nightclub for a free chupito or drink. You might be considered a foreigner but select your drinks like a local. There’s the clarita, which is beer mixed with a fizzy drink, tinto de verano, similar to sangria but consists of red wine, a fizzy drink and an orange or lemon if you want, and a risky one, agua de Valencia. A combination of oranges, champagne, gin, vodka and sugar, agua de Valencia can have you feeling good in no time but be careful! Eat some tapas throughout the night and the next morning, you will be grateful for that decision. As you walk down these streets, you will feel the base of the music in surrounding bars and nightclubs that will lure you in. The options are endless and will guarantee a night of adventure and fun.
Let’s take Gaudí’s side of La Sagrada Familia and create more than one building that has a sandy look to it. Salamanca is considered the ‘Golden City’ based on the type of stone majority of it’s buildings are made of. There’s a sandstone made in the region of Castile-León that has a yellow and caramel colour causing the city to illuminate as the sun hits it. As you go downtown, you will see some of the oldest buildings in Spain which has become a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Act. This allows these buildings to be protected and maintain their history. You will be able to see this sandstone in the Plaza Mayor, the New Cathedral of Salamanca and the campus buildings of the University of Salamanca.