Two-and-a-half hours north-west of Madrid, Salamanca is the perfect final stop on the way from Spain to Portugal, or a first stop if traveling the other way round. Cold in winter and pleasantly warm in summer, Salamanca is a clean city, famous for its nightlife and even more famous for its university, and is very popular with foreigners for learning Spanish.
The nearest airport is in Valladolid, though Madrid airport isn't too far away.
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Best Time to Visit Salamanca:
In the second week of September Salamanca has its festival - the Virgen de la Vega. (More on September Festivals in Spain) September is also the month when the students come back to Salamanca, bringing back the whole purpose of Salamanca. The winter months get very cold, so if you plan on visiting from November to February, bring a jacket! More on Weather in Spain.
Number of Days to Spend in Salamanca (excluding day trips):
All the sights can be seen in a day, but it is such a pleasant city that it is worth at least two days.
Hotels in Salamanca:
For hotel reservations in Salamanca check out Kayak. Kayak allows you to sort hotels by price, popularity, rating or proximity to famous landmark.
Hotels in Salamanca (compare prices)
Three Things to Do in Salamanca:
- Marvel at how everything goes so well together, with the uniform sandstone architecture amazingly beautiful for something so consistent.
- Look for the Lucky Frog on the Universidad Civil, before heading around the corner and searching for the astronaut and ice cream cone on the Catedral Nueva.
- Learn Spanish at the University - the University of Salamanca is one of the oldest in Europe (the sixth oldest still in existence) and the Spanish spoken in this area is one of the purest in the country.
Day Trips from Salamanca:
Ciudad Rodrigo, a fortress city built high on a rocky rise, on the way to Portugal from Salamanca. Zamora, another walled city, is just an hour from Salamanca by bus.
Visit La Alberca at any time in the second half of the year to see the the town's pet pig roam the streets. In January it will be raffled off for charity. Read more about Rifa del Marrano de San Anton
Where to Next?:
North to Leon and then on to Galicia, south-east to Madrid, or west to Portugal.
Distances to Salamanca:
From Madrid 206km - 2h30 by bus or train (and they are both the same price, too), 2h30 by car. Read more on Madrid
See also: Madrid to Salamanca
From Barcelona 839km - 11h by bus, 11h15 by train, 9h by car. Read more on Barcelona
From Seville 462km - 7h by bus, 5h45 by car. No train. Read more on Seville
Hiring a Car in Salamanca:
Check the prices of the major car rental companies on Travelocity.
Approaching the city, the most striking thing is how agricultural the land is. A you enter the city by bus, the landscape is very grassy, with the New Cathedral (it isn't that new, by the way, just comparatively so) appearing over the top of a grassy mound. It makes sense to head straight for the Cathedral and start your exploration of the city with a walk up to Plaza Mayor, as these will be your two reference points for your stay in Salamanca.
Starting from Plaza Anaya, with the New Cathedral behind you (and its astronaut and ice cream carvings), you have the Universidad Civil to your left (and on the other side of that, Salamanca's famous Lucky Frog). Walking up c/Rua Mayor, you'll have the Clerecia and the Casa de las Conchas (House of Shells) on your left before you eventually reach Plaza Mayor. Within a few streets of Plaza Mayor you will find a number of beautiful churches and ancient buildings. See my Pictures of Salamanca to see just a few of them.