A Day in Salamanca (Road Trip Part 3)

Greetings, readers! Did you know that the city of Salamanca is only 50 miles east of the Portuguese border? Keep reading for more fun facts!

Salamanca’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we (me, David, James and Emily) visited the city with high expectations…which were thoroughly met! It’s day-trippable from Madrid and is well worth taking a day to wander the streets and look at all the old buildings. In fact, when James and Em were in Madrid earlier that month, Em had to really dissuade James from visiting Salamanca, because she knew we were going as part of his surprise birthday road trip!

It's a city that oozes history and you can spend ages just marvelling at the architecture. Like most big Spanish cities, Salamanca can be quite busy and it can sometimes feel like you’re trapped in these tourist hotspots, with little personal space. But other times, if you’re lucky, you can find a phenomenal building and can be in relative isolation with space to imagine and dream about past civilisations.

The history of the city reads like many in Spain, having passed through the hands of the Romans, Visigoths and Moors. It played an important role during the Nationalist reign of Franco and was the defacto capital during the Spanish civil war in the 1930s.

The most important institution in Salamanca is the university. It was founded in 1218 and is the oldest university in Spain. In fact, it’s the third oldest (continuously operational) university in the world! First and second prizes go to Bologna and Oxford, respectively. We enjoyed exploring one of the old university buildings, which contained a lovely little chapel and some freaky giant baby heads.

It’s definitely possible to see Salamanca in a day, or maybe two if you’re going to go into every church, cathedral and museum. I wouldn’t say it’s a must-see place, but if you’re in Madrid with a spare day, give it a look.

Next week we’ll take you down the road less travelled, but for now, enjoy these photos. OR if you have a VR headset, watch our 360 experience and get a feel for Salamanca in virtual reality! Please subscribe and we'll see you next time!

If you're not a fan of beautiful old buildings, you might as well stop scrolling...

Casa de las Conchas (House of the Shells) - built in around 1500 and currently home to a public library
Salamanca's main square. Each side is lined with cafes and bars, making it popular with university students

Can you see the Christmas decorations? Me neither.

One of the many university buildings dotted around the city. This one was home to those baby heads!

Even the shops are in ornate, old buildings!