Discover the Best of Salamanca: Things to Do and See

Beth Macdonald
January 7
Written by Elena Kostas

Discover Salamanca, a city full of history, culture, and beautiful spots to explore. Find out the top places to visit in Salamanca and enjoy an unforgettable experience.

Salamanca is a fascinating city that will captivate you with its rich history, impressive architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. Known as the 'Golden City', Salamanca boasts one of the most impressive architectural ensembles in Europe.

Explore the renowned University of Salamanca, founded in the 13th century, and marvel at its magnificent Plateresque facade. Stroll through the Plaza Mayor, the heart of the city, and admire its Renaissance beauty. Don't miss the New Cathedral and the Old Cathedral, two Gothic gems that will leave you speechless.

Immerse yourself in the student atmosphere at the numerous bars and restaurants in the city. Taste the delicious local cuisine, such as the famous Guijuelo Iberian ham or the exquisite cheeses from the region. Enjoy the lively nightlife in the Van Dyck area, known for its tapas and numerous bars.

1. University of Salamanca

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a large building with a dome on top of it
University of Salamanca / Beth Macdonald, Unsplash

The University of Salamanca is one of the oldest academic institutions in Europe, founded in 1218. It is located in the city of Salamanca, in the autonomous community of Castilla y León, Spain.

The University of Salamanca boasts impressive architecture, with historical buildings such as the Plateresque Facade and the General Library. These buildings are a living testament to the history and importance of this university.

In addition to its architectural beauty, the University of Salamanca is also known for its vibrant academic and cultural atmosphere. The university has been a center of knowledge for centuries and has hosted important figures such as Miguel de Unamuno and Francisco de Vitoria.

2. Old Cathedral of Salamanca

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a cathedral with a large stained glass window
Old Cathedral of Salamanca / Sergio Otoya, Unsplash

The Old Cathedral of Salamanca is one of the most emblematic monuments in the city and a must-visit during your trip to Salamanca. Built in Gothic style, this architectural gem will transport you to past times and leave you in awe with its imposing presence. Its location in the historic center will allow you to enjoy an environment full of history and culture.

The Old Cathedral is famous for its stone facade and impressive stained glass windows, which fill the main nave with light. You can explore its different chapels, admire its altarpieces, and discover the numerous artistic treasures it houses inside.

Don't miss the visit to the Gallo Tower, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the entire city. Admire Salamanca's old town from above and be amazed by the beauty of its cobbled streets and historic monuments.

3. New Cathedral of Salamanca

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The New Cathedral of Salamanca is one of the most remarkable monuments in the city. Built between the 16th and 18th centuries, it combines Gothic and Renaissance styles. Its stunning Plateresque façade is a masterpiece of sculpture.

Inside, you can admire the grandeur of the nave and chapels, as well as the famous main altarpiece, created by sculptor Churriguera. Don't miss the opportunity to climb the towers, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of Salamanca.

The New Cathedral is a must-visit for architecture and history lovers, and it is part of Salamanca's historic ensemble, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

4. Van Dyck Area

Food and Markets

The Van Dyck Area is one of the most emblematic areas of the city of Salamanca. Located in the historic center, this area stands out for its lively nightlife and wide selection of bars and restaurants. It is the perfect place to enjoy the local cuisine and immerse yourself in Salamanca's culture.

With its narrow cobbled streets and historic buildings, the Van Dyck Area offers a unique charm and vibrant atmosphere. During the night, the streets are filled with people looking to enjoy good food and a relaxed environment.

In the Van Dyck Area you will find a wide variety of gastronomic options, from traditional tapas and pinchos to more elaborate dishes. Additionally, many establishments offer live music and special events that make the experience even more memorable.

5. Guijuelo Iberian Ham of Salamanca

Food and Markets$$$

Guijuelo Iberian Ham is one of the most beloved gastronomic products of Salamanca. Its delicious flavor and texture make it a true culinary gem.

Guijuelo, located in the region of La Sierra de Béjar, is famous for the quality of its Iberian hams. The tradition of breeding and producing ham dates back centuries, and Guijuelo is home to some of the best cellars and drying sheds in Spain.

In Guijuelo, Iberian pigs roam freely, feeding on acorns and natural pastures. The entire curing and production process is done by hand, following the ancient traditions passed down from generation to generation.

6. Tapas Bars in Salamanca

Food and Markets$$$

Tapas bars in Salamanca are one of the city's main attractions. Known for its culinary tradition, Salamanca offers a wide variety of bars where you can enjoy delicious tapas accompanied by a good drink.

In every corner of the city, you will find bars that stand out for their specialties, from the classic Iberian ham and regional cheese tapas to more elaborate dishes that blend traditional cuisine with modern gastronomy.

In addition to enjoying the food, tapas bars in Salamanca are also meeting places and social hubs. It is common to see people gathered around the bar, sharing lively conversations and enjoying the city's nightlife.

7. Exploring the historic center

History and Cultural Heritage

Exploring Salamanca's Historic Center

Located in the region of Castilla y León, Salamanca is a city full of history and cultural heritage. The historic center of the city, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain.

As you wander through its cobbled streets and admire its beautiful buildings, you can transport yourself back in time and discover the magnificence of medieval and Renaissance architecture. From the famous Plaza Mayor to the University of Salamanca, considered the oldest university in Spain, every corner of the historic center has a story to tell.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Casa de las Conchas, an impressive Renaissance library, or the Salamanca Cathedral, a gem of Gothic architecture. And be sure to indulge in delicious local dishes at the numerous restaurants and bars in the area.

8. Cultural Events and Festivals

Entertainment and Pop Culture

Cultural Events and Festivals in Salamanca

Salamanca is a vibrant and culturally rich city, which is reflected in its wide range of cultural events and festivals throughout the year. The city is famous for hosting numerous events that attract visitors from all over the world.

From music and dance festivals to art exhibitions and theatrical performances, Salamanca offers a variety of options for those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture. Highlights include the International Festival of Arts of Castile and León and the Salamanca Jazz Festival.

Experience the excitement and unique atmosphere surrounding these cultural events and festivals in Salamanca, and be captivated by the city's magic.