What to see in Salamanca?

By | 19 February, 2024 | 0 comments

Discover the most beautiful places in Salamanca

Located in northwestern Spain, Salamanca is a city of exceptional beauty that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. We would like to share 10 activities and places of interest that this Spanish jewel has to offer. Walk through its streets, soak up its history and discover the most emblematic places in Salamanca.



1. La Plaza Mayor de Salamanca

Date of construction: between 1729 and 1755.

It is one of the most beautiful squares in Spain and the world and one of the capital Baroque monuments of peninsular architecture. Since its completion, this typical Castilian square has been a meeting point for locals, who consider it their living room, and for outsiders.

Declared a National Monument in 1935, the technical and artistic justification states that it is “the most decorated, proportionate and harmonious square of all those of its time in Spain”. It has 88 arches and numerous carved medallions. Just as today, the square was the site of the city’s most important religious, civil and recreational activities: bullfights, processions and even executions. For this reason, some house owners rented out their balconies to spectators at a very high price.

Curiosities and legends

In 1954 the gardens that were laid out in the mid-19th century disappeared. These gardens marked a curious ritual whereby the men walked around them in a clockwise direction and the women in a counter-clockwise direction. The square was a civil meeting point and therefore also a place for lovers to meet.

Every 15 August, a flagpole, crowned by a figure of a bull, with the Spanish flag, is placed on the belfry of the town hall. This figure, which goes by the name of ‘Mariseca’, is placed to signal the proximity of the Salamanca festivities and is not removed until they are over.



This is one of the most popular palaces in Salamanca and one of the best examples of Spanish civil Gothic architecture. It was built in the late 15th and early 16th centuries by Rodrigo Arias Maldonado, who was close to the Catholic Monarchs and a knight of the Order of Santiago. Shells are the main ornamental motif on the façade. Perhaps one of the most disputed points is the reason for the choice of shells as an ornamental element.

Some authors see it as a sign of the Maldonado family’s pride in belonging to the order of Santiago. Other authors, undoubtedly more romantic, point out that the repetition of the shells, a noble symbol of the Pimentels, was a sign of the love that Don Rodrigo felt for his wife Doña María.

The cellars of the house later became a place where the students of the university paid the sentences imposed by the master-scholar. Today this space houses a public library and exhibition hall.



A new balcony over the towers of the clergy where you can admire, from above, the splendour of this World Heritage city. A walk around the towers, next to the bells, will allow us to contemplate the rich and varied architectural heritage of the city, the network of its streets, and the Baroque grandeur of the clergy.

The visit reveals other rooms such as the Courtyard of Studies or the Matroneos.



Most of this grandiose building was founded in the 16th century by Cardinal Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, son of the second Duke of Alba. There is a long list of distinguished intellectuals who shared its cloisters: Francisco de Vitoria and his school of Salamanca, Domingo de Soto, Melchor Cano, Diego de Deza or those famous visitors such as Christopher Columbus, Saint Teresa or Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who, if possible, increased the fame of the convent.

Its beautiful carved façade, altarpiece, cloisters and Soto’s staircase stand out.

Curiosities and legends

The Sala Profundis is located in the cloistered area. This is where Christopher Columbus first presented to the Dominicans the idea of reaching the “Indians” by a new route. The support of the Dominicans was decisive for the Catholic Monarchs to approve Columbus’ project.

Very close to the cloister is the confessional of Saint Theresa. In 1571 the Saint was in Salamanca and used this room for her confessions.

The convent of the Duenas is linked to that of the Dominicans by the so-called bridge of Soto. It was erected in 1556 to save a dirty stream that flowed down to the river Tormes, along what is now Gran Vía.



Only the arches close to the city are original, the rest correspond to the restoration of the 18th century. This bridge formed part of the Silver Route, a route that acquired great economic and strategic importance after the Roman occupation. At the entrance to the bridge there is a pre-Roman boar, a protective symbol, which has been linked to universal literature through Lazarillo de Tormes.



This Royal College of the Jesuit Order was built, among others, by Gómez de Mora in 1611. The missionaries who were trained there subsequently spread the Catholic faith throughout the world. However, the monumental work took 150 years to complete, and when in 1767 the Jesuit order was expelled from Spain by Charles III, the building was “quartered”, divided into parts, and suffered abandonment, wars, disentailment and ruin. It was in 1946 when it was reunited and the Pontifical University was founded.

Curiosities and legends

Both the college and the private area of the monks have a high gallery for strolling and sunbathing in winter, as it is a convent without an orchard or garden.



Founded as a university around 1218 by decision of King Alfonso IX of León, it was officially confirmed as a university in the Magna Carta granted by Alfonso X in 1254. It originally followed the Bolognese model, which gave preference to the study of civil and canon law over theology and philosophy, which predominated at the University of Paris. In its period of greatest splendour, in the 15th and 16th centuries, it was at the forefront of European universities. It is currently the oldest university in Spain.

Highlights inside include the Fray Luis de León classroom, the reliefs on the cloister staircase, and the Library, founded in 1254 by Alfonso X the Wise, which houses numerous manuscripts and incunabula of incalculable value. These include the tohá and the “round books” that Torres Villaroel bought in Paris, which were actually globes, and which he called them so that the librarian would accept and pay for them.

Opposite the façade of the university is the courtyard of the Major schools. It is made up of the Gothic building of the Major Schools (1415), the Student Hospital (1412), now the Rectorate, the Minor Schools building (1533) and the façade of the University (1512-1516).

Curiosities and legends

The “Cielo de Salamanca” (Salamanca’s Heaven) is accessed through the Patio de Escuelas Menores. According to student tradition, if you want to pass your exams with ease, you must first see the frog on the façade of the university.


The silhouette of the cathedrals presides over the Salamanca sky and their interior reflects the life and history of the city and its citizens. They constitute another historic-artistic ensemble par excellence as they stand side by side: the Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral. The New Cathedral, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, was born and grew out of the other. The Old Cathedral, in Romanesque style.

Old CatHedral

Access to the Old Cathedral is through the interior of the New Cathedral. On entering it we return to the past, this Romanesque temple revives a very ancient, medieval spirit. An architecturally defensive building, a place linked to the repopulation (construction began around 1509), to a society at war where the most representative value is that of the warrior saint (Raymond of Burgundy and Bishop Jerome).

Curiosities and legends

The Chapel of San Martín is also known as the Oil Chapel, because this is where the jars of oil used for the Cathedral’s lamps were kept. The thickness of its walls meant that during the Civil War it became an air raid shelter, and General Franco took refuge inside it.

The dome of the Old Cathedral is popularly known as the “tower of the cockerel” because of the weathervane in the shape of a cockerel that crowns it.


New Cathedral

At the end of the 15th century, the population of Salamanca had increased significantly, thanks to the rise and fame of its University. The Old Cathedral had become too small, and the aesthetic and ideological predominance of the Gothic world had turned it into an archaic and impractical space. Thus, in 1513, construction began on the new cathedral, one of the last Gothic cathedrals in Spain, which was completed two centuries later, in 1733. Different architectural styles are fragmentarily reflected in its construction.

The new cathedral reflects the idea of urban development. Its grandeur shows a triumphant institution in the face of its ideological enemies and its own parishioners. It is the largest and tallest building in the city.

Curiosities y legends

In 1755 the Lisbon earthquake severely damaged the Bell Tower. The bell system was damaged and the bell ringer had to climb up to the bells to ring them. Today this tradition continues and every 31st October a character, dressed in the typical charro costume, climbs up to the tower’s weathervane and plays a “charrada


The Natural Park Las Batuecas of France is a unique natural space, with beautiful valleys, high peaks and lush forests.

In essence, the Natural Park is an area of contrasts, of great scenic and ecological value, which is manifested in the relief, vegetation, fauna and the action of man.

It is a space that treasures a great cultural wealth and an important historical and artistic heritage, with five municipalities declared “Historic-Artistic Ensemble”; with enclaves with cave paintings, remains of Roman mines, hermitages, monasteries scattered throughout its territory.

Our suggestion is to visit some of them that conserve a great historical and cultural tradition and an architecture that has been recovered: La Alberca, Mogarraz and Miranda del Castañar are all included in the network of the most beautiful villages in Spain.


Arribes del Duero is one of the most impressive natural parks with great contributions to enjoy. Its landscapes and surroundings will simply leave you speechless. The park runs along the Douro River which acts as a natural border between Spain and Portugal and where you can enjoy some 100 km of river canyons and spectacular viewpoints.

As part of what you can do in Arribes del Duero we can highlight hiking, sailing the Douro by boat admiring its impressive canyons and its most vertical cuts without forgetting to enjoy the exquisite gastronomy.


¡Salamanca te espera! Descubre una ciudad histórica, con un enorme patrimonio artístico, cultural y natural. Embárcate en un viaje por los sabores de la cocina castellana en el Restaurante El Monje o saborea un auténtico vino de la tierra bajo las impresionantes vistas de las Catedrales en nuestra terraza de verano. ¡Te esperamos!

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