Much different than the bustling metropolises of Madrid and Barcelona, Salamanca is a charming town known for its beauty and its distinct youthful vibe. This city is dependent on the tourism and the intellectual pursuit from the University of Salamanca. One of the oldest and most renowned universities in the world, the school attracts a diverse range of students from all over the globe. One of the greatest features of this town is that it beholds the purest dialect of Spanish, perfect for students or visitors hoping to learn the language.
Along with the University, another major attraction of Salamanca is the Plaza Mayor. Widely considered as Spain’s most beautiful central plaza and once the home of regular bullfights, these days you can grab a few drinks or enjoy the weather with ample amounts of people-watching while listening to the sounds of the famous Tuna Bands singing traditional Spanish serenades. If you would prefer to relax in the evening, grab some dinner and bask in the ambience from the golden illumination on the square as it is sure to be a memorable and magical experience.
If you’re looking to take in the culture, the Museo de Art Nouveau y Art Deco, beholds a stunning collection of sculpture, paintings, and art nouveau pieces. After you explore the likes of Faberge, Steiff and Lalique, you can enjoy the stunning architecture of the Catedral Nueva and the Catedral Vieja. During this period, when a new cathedral was erected it would typically go on top of the old one. The unique Salamanca sanctuaries live side by side so that you may take in the history of each.
If you’re looking to relieve stress from final exams or if your college days are long gone but you’d like to relive the glory days, nothing will do better than to enjoy Salamanca’s energetic nightlife. Often starting very late at night, or very early in the morning, depending on how you look at it, nightlife in Salamanca is unlike any other. Though you will find a grand, vibrant nightlife in Salamanca, it’s always important to stay in groups and be safe. Have a plan before you go out and remember not to push your limits. Think ahead, think smart.
The University of Salamanca was founded back in 1218 by King Alfonso and is considered the oldest institution of higher learning in Spain. In 1929, it became the first Spanish university to offer language courses to foreign students with its inaugural Spanish language program. Today, the program is one of the most successful of its kind with over 4,000 students enrolled yearly. The buildings that make up the university feature intricate details and ornamented characters throughout. See if you can spot the famous “frog on the skull”—if you can spot it, rumor is you’ll have good luck with your courses (or, if you are just passing through, good luck in general!)
Directly in the middle of Salamanca is a large plaza that has been dubbed Plaza Mayor. It’s used as a public square and is a popular gathering area for students and locals alike. The square is lined with many small shops, ice cream parlours, jewellery stores and even a pharmacy. On a sunny day, you’ll find kids running around, adults relaxing around the perimeters and students sitting around the square on a patchwork of blankets socializing. Spend an hour or two here doing some restful people watching before continuing on your tourist activities for the day.
Located at Casa Lis, the Museo de Art Nouveau y Art Deco is the city’s earliest Modernist building as it was built in 1905. The museum has 19 collections of decorative art and contains close to 2,500 pieces including glass, porcelain works, gold and ivory statues, bronze items, paintings and much more. One exhibit focuses on a pictorial representation of 19th century Catalonian works and pieces by artists from Salamanca like Ceslo Lagar and Mateo Hernandez.
Salamanca has very mild weather, tropical and enjoyable by most standards. In the dead of winter, you can expect it to be around 8 degrees Celsius and at the hottest part of summer, temperatures hover around 30 degrees Celsius.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the university town. You’ll feel like a student right along with those studying in Salamanca. Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance that you can count on like a budget travel insurance policy from Cover-More Australia. Budget travel cover can start at less than 50 cents a day and will give you peace of mind while you are travelling around Spain.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Keith Ellwood.