We had been in Madrid for 5 years and we had not yet been to visit that city that was so striking and a couple of hours away by car – Salamanca. People insisted that we were going to like it because it had a charm similar to that of Granada (because of being a city with a great university life and having the good habit of tapas) and they were right, it did not disappoint and besides, we loved it.
We arrived on a Saturday morning and went back on a Sunday afternoon, but the historic center of Salamanca is affordable on a weekend and gives time to stroll, visit and taste all its charms. It is a very well maintained and preserved city in which the historic center of the rest of the city is clearly defined.
Here I write a guide of what we visited that weekend and where we had the luck to eat and dine… about the accommodation I won’t say say anything because it was quite bad (despite being a three-star hotel near the center and in front of the Parador).
New Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin
It is located in a beautiful square surrounded by several majestic buildings such as the Palacio de Anaya, the church of San Sebastián or the faculty of philology.
Admiring the Cathedral from outside, you can see the shapes and reliefs that are in it. It will not be necessary to dig a lot, because it is the corner that everyone wants to photograph, to find a part of the facade with modern elements such as an astronaut, a devil eating ice cream, a lynx, a bull, a crayfish, a stork or a hare. These curious elements were added in a creative restoration in the year 1992 and that symbolizes the modernity of the 20th century.
Once inside the cathedral we can walk its plant of more than 100 meters in length, on which rise three tall ships finished in ribbed vaults. Arrived here, let’s look up and enjoy the incomparable spectacle offered by the light that let in the 90 stained glass windows that they ordered to bring from Flanders.
It is accessed from the new Cathedral. Yes, Salamanca has two Cathedrals. It was luck and success, since they had the great idea of keeping the old cathedral that had become too small due to the increase in population.
This first cathedral (“the little one”) was built between the 12th and 13th centuries, combining Romanesque with Gothic. What stands out in its interior is the Altarpiece of the History of Salvation, formed by 53 tables that narrate, as if it were a comic, the life of the Virgin and Jesus Christ, very useful at the time of evangelizing the people of that era, which in its immense majority was illiterate.
This Saturday we were looking for something light to eat because the previous day we had a good feast, so we searched on the Internet and found exactly what we were looking for: the Café Atelier (Calle Serranos , 33, 37008 Salamanca), with vegetarian tapas was delicious and they treated us great. We recommend it!
University of Salamanca
It is the heart of the city and the reason why there is so much life in its streets.
When passing Calderón de la Barca street we find the Patio de Escuelas Menor, from which we can recreate with the facade of the central building of the university, built to be observed.
Irremediably, we will have to dedicate a few minutes to find the famous frog that is sculpted. They say that young people who start their studies there should find it if they do not want to fail their exams. In order not to injure the neck and lose the sight looking for it, you should know that it is on a skull. The idea was to warn the students that they should focus on their studies because the sin, symbolized by the frog, could lead them to death, obviously the skull.
Once the frog is found, let’s get carried away by the university environment and enter the building to visit the university that has hosted some of the best heads in our history, such as those of Calderón de la Barca, Unamuno or Fray Luis de León, among many others.
It is the epicenter of the city. We can cross it through the arcades that surround it or placing ourselves in the center and admiring its majesty.
In this square you will find the tourist office where you can take a map of the city as well as have some information about the different events the weekend in the city.
For dinner, we wanted to find a more special place and we went to a restaurant that we had previously searched online. You will have to book as it will be difficult to find a table without a reservation: Vinodiario Restaurant (Plaza Basilios, 1, 37001 Salamanca) where we had a great meal and drank very delicious wines.
House of the shells
It was built in the 15th century, due to the connection between Don Rodrigo Arias and María de Pimentel. That’s why shells and fleurs de lis decorate the whole building, since they were the symbol of each family. Although it now houses a public library, Casa de las Conchas was never used for such noble purposes. In fact, in the 18th century it became a prison of the university where the students paid their sentences.
The clergy. The other university in the city
The Pontificia is located in an architectural complex known as La Clerecía, on the same street as the Casa de las Conchas. We will access by its baroque door to the monumental complex that is composed of the church, the old Royal College, which houses the university, and a cloister that looks more like the courtyard of a royal palace than a religious building.
It seems that when the Jesuits inhabited it they were not happy with such architectural magnitude, so they spread the rumor that in the neighboring Casa de las Conchas had hidden a treasure, so that it could be torn down and be able to expand the Clergy. Luckily, the rumor did not work out very well and the Casa de las Conchas is still preserved.
From the towers of La Clerecía we can discover a splendid panorama of the city.
On Sunday at noon we wanted to try a typical tapas bar in Salamanca and we went to one of which we had read many reviews on the Internet and, again, we left very happy. Cuzco winery Salamanca (Calle Juan del Rey, 5, 37002 Salamanca) where the tapas were exquisite and the ham insurmountable.
The garden of Calixto and Melibea
Near the facade of the old cathedral, and just near the Art Nouveau Museum and Deco Casa Lis, you will find the Orchard of Calixto and Melibea, from which you can take beautiful photos of the Cathedrals and the river area.
Near the museum that I have mentioned before you get to the Roman bridge, from which you get very nice views of the city, the river and nearby buildings like the one in the archive.
Church and convent of San Esteban or Dominicos
This church called us a lot of attention because it is huge and beautiful. It has a charm around it and the views of the city from it are also spectacular.
I hope you enjoyed this getaway as much as we did. And you know, if you like this post, share it and if not, tell me to improve.