Plaza Mayor at night, Salamanca, Spain

Salamanca, a secret in Spain

In Europe, Far, Our Journeys, Road Trips, Spain, Trip-Types, Unesco by Janis0 Comments

Go see for yourself

In 2014 when Gary & I ventured on our first Spanish road trip, we’d planned a circular route from Santander (where the ferry disembarked) down through Spain heading south and picking up the pleasures of Toledo, Granada, Ronda, Jerez & Seville en-route.

Convent of San Esteban, Salamanca, Spain

Where?

Iglesia de la Purísima, Salamanca, Spain

But our final destination before jumping back on the ferry was Salamanca in Castile and León.

Why there I hear you cry?

Well, we were searching for a town or city that not only was historic; but also one that we never really knew much about.

Palacio de Monterrey, Salamanca, Spain

And so pleased were we to find this delight. Looking back, we would’ve loved to have stayed longer, as Salamanca has given us some great lasting memories, one of which I will get to shortly.

Plaza Mayor

The first surprise for us was the Plaza Mayor, built in the Baroque style, this square is truly grand and so elegant, even just visiting Salamanca to see the Plaza Mayor was worth it.

The Plaza Mayor, Salamanca, Spain

While the plaza is bustling with families having fun during the day, it is in the evening when this square comes into its own. Surrounded by galleries and arcades the restaurants, cafes and bars come alive at sunset.

Plaza Mayor at night, Salamanca, Spain

It was too good of an opportunity to pass on, so we grabbed ourselves a little table and enjoyed a glass of Cava.

So Many

We also found the tapas here to be fantastic, row after row of tempting; bites and there was just too many to choose from.

Relaxing on Plaza Mayor, Salamanca, Spain

Additionally, if you bought a drink, you were given a free tapa. We had experienced this before in Granada, but I don’t think it is so common in Spain anymore, perhaps it is regional.

Point to note

Although we visited Salamanca as part of a road trip it is only 120 miles (200km) northwest of Madrid. Stay overnight and experience Plaza Mayor coming alive in the evening.

Not one, but two

Gary and I had a full day to enjoy historical Salamanca, so we set off on a voyage of discovery. Firstly, finding the two Cathedrals that Salamanca is so proud of.

The Cathedrals from the north side, Salamanca, Spain

The Old Cathedral which originates from the 12th century was completed in Romanesque/Gothic style, and the south façade is so incredibly detailed.

The Old Cathedral, Salamanca, Spain
A view of the Catherdals from the south, Salamanca, Spain

Then came the New Cathedral much larger and was built between the 16th and 18th centuries and was constructed in the Gothic/Baroque styles.

The old Cathedral from the north, Salamanca, Spain

Amazingly damage can still be seen on the New Cathedral, which was a result of the devastating earthquake in Lisbon in 1755, some 300 miles (470km) away.

What Frog?

This ancient city can also boast to have founded Spain’s first university in 1134, which is one of the oldest in Europe, in 1218, it was given the royal charter.

University of Salamanca, Spain

Keep an eye out for the infamous “frog” can you spot it?

Sitting perched on a skull the tiny frog can barely be seen within the intricate plateresque façade.

(Click on the picture for a larger version)

Find the the Frog, Salamanca, Spain

Romans

If that wasn’t enough, Salamanca’s history even goes back to the Romans, evidence of this is the Roman bridge crossing the Tormes river. Although restorations were made in the 16th century, 15 of the arches that remain are Roman.

The Roman Bridge, Salamanca, Spain

Did you know?

Not only has the Old City of Salamanca been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, but it also became a European City of Culture in 2002.

Casa Lis

After deciding on Salamanca as a destination, we did a bit more digging and found out that it has an Art Nouveau & Art Déco museum at Casa Lis. If you enjoy this style of architecture, then you must visit while in Salamanca.

Art Deco Casa Lis, Salamanca, Spain

It is because of this museum that I am continually reminded of Salamanca, in our hotel was a beautiful Art Déco lamp, it’s gorgeous – can anyone see where this is heading?

Well, it turns out you can buy these lamps at Casa Lis….Gary didn’t take too much persuading, honestly!

The Galle lamp from Casa Lis, Salamanca, Spain

It wouldn’t be the same otherwise

Oh yes, then it was Gary’s turn to indulge his passion, “Cars”, who would have thought there would be a car museum here, how’s my luck.

The Audi parked up by the Jerez Race Circuit

I was previously thinking I had got away lightly on this trip, with only seeing one motor racing circuit, and that was Jerez, but we topped it off with seeing Fernando Alonso’s F1 Renault at the Museum of Automotive History.

Fernado's F1 Renault, Salamanca, Spain

We will be back

We left Salamanca feeling we wanted more, which is always a good thing. I also think it was because we had felt, we discovered somewhere which had eluded a lot of tourists, it also made us try a bit more of our choppy Spanish vocab.

San Sebastian Church, Salamanca, Spain
Stylish Salamanca, Spain

Accommodation

Our accommodation for the two nights we were in Salamanca, was at the luxury Grand Hotel Don Gregorio. It was a excellent hotel and in a central location to the town (also they had the lovely Art Déco lamp). The parking was valet only, as your car was kept offsite.

Inspired to visit Salamanca?

Does the thought of wandering around Plaza Mayor, enjoying tapas & the odd vinho tinto tempt you? We thought it might.

Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?

Booking.com
The Old Cathedral, Salamanca, Spain

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Have You

Enjoyed Salamanca? or are there any other little gems in Spain that you’ve discovered that they’re keeping to themselves?

About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight.

Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Salamanca, a secret in Spain was last modified: August 30th, 2017 by Janis