The best things to see and do in Salamanca

The ancient city of Salamanca is recognised around the world for its famous university and historic UNESCO World Heritage Site Old City.

The ancient city of Salamanca is recognised around the world for its famous university and historic UNESCO World Heritage Site Old City. Retaining a wonderful village vibe thanks to the relaxed pace of the locals and the careful infrastructure; Salamanca is growing increasingly popular with Spanish and overseas visitors looking to experience the city’s unique way of life.
Known as La Dorada (the golden city), the sandstone buildings of Salamanca seem to glow in the sunlight, creating a welcoming and mesmerising spectacle.
Must see sights
Salamanca is a city whose significance and influence is far greater than its city limits, and the beautiful, ancient architecture creates a postcard-worthy setting. In a country full of memorable cities, Salamanca is still regarded as one of the most appealing in all of Spain, thanks to the unspoiled charm of its old palaces, churches, alleys and squares. 

Known as La Dorada (the Golden City), the sandstone buildings of Salamanca seem to glow in the sunlight, creating a welcoming and mesmerising spectacle that perfectly complements any Douro River cruise. Acquaint yourself with the highlights of this momentous Spanish city, as we take a look at the must-see sights, hidden gems and culinary delights of Salamanca. 

The Cathedral of Salamanca refers to both the Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral. The beautiful charm of the Old Cathedral is evident and we would recommend visiting the elder of the two first. Built in the 12th-century and possessing a Romanesque charm, the cathedral is a site of exquisite beauty, inside and out. The New Cathedral is considered to be a national monument, with an ornate façade featuring depictions of an astronaut and a faun eating ice cream.

Two lively dancers on a Salamca Street, Spain
The University – With such a high percentage of the city’s population engaged in academia, the university is central to the spirit and personality of Salamanca. A visit to the beautiful university buildings surrounding the Patio de Escuelas square will leave you spellbound and envious of the local scholars. The delightful old academic buildings boast wonderfully traditional Spanish-style architecture which would impress even Oxbridge alumni.

Casa de las Conchas – With a name translating to House of the Shells, you shouldn’t be surprised to find the façade of this late Gothic, 16th-century building covered in more than 300 shells. Now home to a public library, the welcoming entrance to Casa de las Conchas is complete with statues of dolphins, the Renaissance symbol of love.

Casa Lis – Proving that Salamanca is not stuck entirely in the past, Casa Lis is the city’s museum dedicated to Art Nouveau and Art Deco. A huge selection of exhibits featuring sculptures, jewellery and glasswork are dotted throughout this delightful, small museum. A short walk around the museum should be completed with a visit to the café, which pairs a charming food and drink selection with exquisite views over Salamanca’s 1st-century Roman bridge.
Fast facts

Salamanca provides interest and intrigue around every corner; here are just a few of our favourite facts about this unique city.

The people of Salamanca are called Salmantinos
Salamanca’s 16th-century cathedral features a stone cosmonaut amongst its gargoyles
20% of the city’s population either study or work at the university
The university is the third oldest in Europe
Salamanca was the 2002 European Capital of Culture
The frog is a symbol of Salamanca and is said to bring good luck
Salamanca is one of Spain’s major centres for the teaching of the Spanish language

If you’re interested in experiencing the historic splendour of Salamanca as part of an Emerald Waterways river cruise, take a look at our Secrets of the Douro itinerary or call our friendly sales team on 0808 301 4705.
Salamanca View
Two lively dancers on a Salamca Street, Spain