Salamanca is located in the southwest corner of Castile y Leon region of Spain, in the western part of Spain near Portugal. The old part of the city is found south of the modern city, on the banks of the Rio Tormes. Salamanca is 212 km west of Madrid.
Salamanca has 363,000 people.
Salamanca's train station, called the Paseo de la Estación de Ferrocarril, is located northwest of the old town. To get to the old section from the train station, exit and walk left on the Paseo de la Estacion. Just past the Plaza de Espana is the old city.
The main bus terminal is at Av. Filiberto Villalobos, northwest of the old town. Busses from Madrid, Avila, Zamora, Valladolid, León, and Cáceres use this station.
The language spoken is Spanish, of course. Being a university town, you'll have no problem using English. In fact, it's hard to find a restaurant in Salamanca that doesn't have a menu in English with pictures of the food, a bad sign, usually. There are many language schools in Salamanca; it's an ideal place to study Spanish if you're so inclined.
Food and Drink
Roasts are popular--you'll see cabrito (young goat) and Cochinillo (suckling pig). Besides the Spaniards who've come here to study, Moors and Jews have left their mark on the cuisine of Salamanca--a very wide variety of dishes are available. There are many bars where you can enjoy tapas or pinchos, small bits of appetizers you have with a beer or glass of wine.
You'll find tourist information in the Plaza Mayor and in the Casa de las Conchas.
Festivals in Salamanca:
The most interesting sounding festival, it seems to me, would be the Lenten festival of Lunes de Aguas, the Monday of the Waters, where the women of ill repute are sent from Salamanca out to La Salud de Tejares to pass Lent, returning of the Monday of Quasimodo. People of Salamanca waited for their return at the Roman bridge with Easter cakes. How can you restist? See the festival links in below for more.
When to Go
Salamanca has a mild a dry Mediterranean climate. Spring and fall are ideal. Summer temperatures run above 40 degrees C many days, and winter November through March can be quite cold. Total rainfall for the year is just over 15 inches, well distributed thoughout the year except for July and August, when the least rain is expected.
What to do in Salamanca
- Cathedrals Old and New - They're right next to each other. The older is Romanesque, begun in 1140, the new one is a sprightly 490 years old, having been started in 1513 and taking 200 years to complete. Southern section of the old town in Plaza Juan XXII. Open daily 9:30am-1pm and 4-7:30pm in the season.
- The University - I like nothing better than to stroll around the University quarter. It's the oldest in Spain and chock full of interesting architecture and arcades.
- Have tapas in the Plaza Mayor - It's one of my favorites, so clean that you'll see students sitting and playing chess in the center, while all around people eat, drink and make merry after the sun goes down. Lots of student performances in the evening keep you circulating.
- Casa de las Conchas - The house of the conch shells is now the Public Library where you can wander around wondering why the US doesn't pay as much attention to aesthetics as other folks in their public buildings. Dating from the 15th century it was considered one of the most representative constructions of the times of the Catholic King and Queen.
- The Monasteries - Near the cathedral along the Gran Via you can visit several monasteries, including the Convento y Museo de las Duenas, a 16th century building with cloister.
There are 15 Museums in Salamanca, where you can see exhibits ranging from Art Deco to Fine Arts to religion. But mostly, this is a fine walking town, from the Roman bridge over the river to the Plaza Mayor, which may likely be the most compelling in Spain.
Take a virtual tour of Salamanca with our Salamanca Picture Gallery.