Known around the world as one of the best destinations for twenty-somethings, Salamanca is like a siren call to international students looking for a port to call home a few months out of the year. It isn’t hard to see why so many young adults have made their pilgrimage to this small but magnificent city in Spain. Salamanca is small enough to navigate by foot, allowing you to gain an intimate understanding of the local landscape and culture where just 156,000 people live. Many consider Salamanca the ideal location because of the youth and romance of the city, assorted cultural opportunities and proximity to the capital city of Madrid.
Another important aspect of life in Salamanca is the rich nightlife where partying every night of the week isn’t out of the ordinary. No matter if it’s the middle of a work week or the beginning of the weekend, there are more than 3,000 bars and 50,000 students in the area guaranteeing a good party is never far away. Here’s a rundown of what a normal night looks like and few nightlife spots to try if you choose to embrace Salamanca’s night-time party atmosphere.
In Spain, most evenings out begin with tapas. In the old city centre there is a spot called “Calle Van Dyck” that is a favourite among locals—an instant badge of respect. Guaranteed to be busy but guaranteed to serve delicious tapas, this is the perfect way to begin your night in Salamanca, because once you are satisfied by the small meal, it’s time to meet up with your group!
Invariably, if you need to find people, you will agree to meet them under the clock. More specifically, the clock in Plaza Mayor, which has become the official meeting place in Salamanca. Here is where students flock to meet up with friends, make new friends and make plans for the night out. Almost every student comes to Salamanca not knowing anyone, and leaves with tons of new friends and acquaintances.
Although there are more than 3,000 bars in Salamanca, some will give a stronger impression than others, so here is a list of a few popular places in Salamanca that students and locals frequent in this student-centric town:
A popular place for international students is Irish Pub O'Hara's, very close to the Plaza Mayor. Always fun and enjoyable, during working days this pub is friendlier on your wallet. It operates with the “Bara Libre” concept, which may have been invented in Spain. When entering a bar, you can pay three or six euros depending on your preference for beer or mixed drinks and then you are allowed to drink as much as you want, for no additional cost. This is a great place to meet local Spaniards as everyone relaxes to watch Spanish—and other European—football matches over a beer.
If you like to dance, then look no farther than El Savor! This is the place to be if you like salsa, merengue or samba. Or, if you are a little rusty on the dance floor and need some lessons, every week El Savor has free salsa, samba and merengue courses to help you get back into the swing of things. Most of the time free, accessible, live performances make El Savor definitely worth a visit.
Fully packed almost every night with mostly international students, located near the old and new university, this bar plays all kinds of popular music from today and from a few years (or decades) back. When live shows come on, this bar will get especially rowdy and if you aren’t one for big crowds and earsplitting music, it may be a good time to move on to the next bar.
Delicatessen is one of the trendiest hotspots of Salamanca. It includes modern furnishing, the House DJ who plays recent dance music and a comfortable sofa on which you can just relax and chill out. If you are headed to Delicatessen during the day, it is the perfect spot for enjoying a “café solo” or “con leche” and have an affordable lunch.
Perhaps the most authentic bar of the crowd, Amadeus is ideal for hearing music you can’t hear in your own country while surrounded by plenty of Salamanca locals. It will feel like a very authentic Spanish nightlife experience for you to immerse yourself in. With plenty of space to spread out, you won’t have to worry about crowds here early in the night.
If noisy bars with international and Spanish music are not for you and you prefer Jazz, Blues or Latin music, you can have a good time in Birdland Jazz. This is a multi-story establishment with a smooth rhythmic vibe packed with relaxed customers. You’re unlikely to find drama here. It is a great place to start or end your night. Have a drink and chat with locals or your friends.
Salamanca has plenty to offer a tourist during the day, but as the sun sets, the students pour out of the campus and get ready to start their nights. Though you will undoubtedly enjoy Salamanca’s vibrant nightlife, it’s always important to stay in groups and be safe. Be cautious as you explore the sights and remember that travel insurance policies will not cover you for any alcohol-related mishaps. Have a plan before you go out and remember not to push your limits. Think ahead, think smart. Before you pack your party gear and jet set to Salamanca, consider buying overseas travel insurance from Cover-More Australia to have a back-up plan in the off-chance something goes wrong.
Image courtesy of Flickr user katiebordner