Top 22 Things To Do In Salamanca, Spain

things to do in salamanca spain
| 7 min read

Salamanca, Spain is a short 134 miles (216 km) from Madrid, located in the west-central part of the country. The city is steeped in a deep-rooted history that dates back to the Celtic era and is well known for its beautiful architecture. There are key structures you’ll want to check out during your visit, including the House of Shells and both the New and Old Cathedrals. The city is also famous for the University of Salamanca, which is one of the oldest operating schools in the world. If you’re planning on visiting this fascinating city soon, be sure to check out some of these fabulous things to do while in Salamanca, Spain.

1. Enjoy the architectural stylings of the Old Cathedral

Cathedral of Salamanca Romanesque
Source: Photo by user chicadelatele used under CC BY 2.0

Founded in the 12th century by Bishop Jerome of Périgord, the Old Cathedral is a wondrous architectural display. You’ll find it encompasses both Romanesque (primarily semi-circle arches) and gothic features (primarily pointed arches), which when combined make for a truly enchanting structure. The intertwining of the two architectural styles is quite complimentary of the time period in which the cathedral was constructed, as the Romanesque style was fading out as the gothic style was becoming more popular.

Old Cathedral

Address: Plaza Juan XXIII 37008 Salamanca

Website: Old Cathedral

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 6.76 USD

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2. Check out the intriguing House of Shells

4566-Casa de las Conchas (Salamanca)
Source: Photo by user Jose Luis Cernada... used under CC BY 2.0

The House of Shells is a fantastic example of Spanish gothic architecture and makes for a great place to visit while in Salamanca. The structure was built by Don Rodrigo Arias Maldonado, who designed the house to be covered in ornamental shells motifs. It is still debated as to why Maldonado chose shells as his primary decorating design. These days, the House of Shells is used as a library and an exhibition hall.

House of Shells

Address: Calle de la Compañía, 2, 37002 Salamanca, Spain

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 9pm; Sat: 9am - 2pm, 4pm - 7pm (closed on Sun)

Price: Free

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3. Stop by and marvel at St. Stephen's Convent

Iglesia San Esteban Salamanca
Source: Photo by user Rafaelji used under CC BY-SA 3.0

St. Stephen’s Convent began construction in 1524 and wrapped up in 1610. With its construction spanning so many decades, you can see different architectural stylings in the building’s facade, including gothic and primarily Plateresque features. The reredos even encompasses many baroque elements. The architecture is truly fascinating and a place you’ll be pleased to see in person.

St. Stephen's Convent

Address: Plaza del Concilio de Trento, 3, 37001 Salamanca, Spain

Website: St. Stephen’s Convent

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 2pm, 4pm - 6pm (8pm in summer) (closed on Mon & Sun afternoon)

Price: 4.51 USD

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4. Take a stroll along the Roman bridge of Salamanca

Roman Bridge at night - Salamanca, Spain - panoramio
Source: Photo by user Sergey Ashmarin used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Roman bridge of Salamanca crosses the Tormes River and remains an important symbol of the city’s history. It also appears on Salamanca’s coat of arms dating back to the 13th century. The bridge is a total of 577 feet (176 meters) long and has a total of 26 arches, 15 of which are from the original bridge construction. You’ll find the bridge is a wonderful place for a walk, where nature and history collide most harmoniously.

Roman bridge of Salamanca

Address: Puente de Sánchez Fabrés, 37008 Salamanca, Spain

Website: Roman bridge of Salamanca

Price: Free

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5. Explore the art exhibits of Casa Lis

Cafetería de la Casa Lis (Salamanca)
Source: Photo by user Siri twin used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Stop by Casa Lis while in Salamanca for some of the best period art exhibits around. The museum features pieces from the later decades of the 19th century through World War II, with exhibits including stained glass and a doll collection. You’ll find the museum located in an old mansion, which only adds to the feeling of history when you visit.

Casa Lis

Address: Gibraltar, 14, 37008 Salamanca, Spain

Website: Casa Lis

Opening hours: 11am - 9pm (daily)

Price: 4.51 USD

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6. Soak up the amazing architecture of Plaza Mayor

La Plaza Mayor de Salamanca
Source: Photo by user Gabriel Fdez. used under CC BY 2.0

The Plaza Mayor is one of the largest plazas in Salamanca, and it is located in the center of the city. You’ll find it serves as a central meeting and gathering area for locals and tourists alike, with benches available and people who bring their own blankets to sit on. The plaza is styled following the baroque stylings of the time period, with wonderfully irregular facades, none of which measure to the exact same height.

Plaza Mayor

Address: Plaza Mayor, s/n, 37002 Salamanca, Spain

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7. Check out the beauty of the Palace de la Salina

Palacio de la Salina o Fonseca, Salamanca. Patio
Source: Photo by user José Luis Filpo C... used under CC BY 3.0

Built in 1538 by Don Rodrigo de Messía, the Palace de la Salina features a renaissance style as well as an irregularly shaped courtyard. Within the courtyard, you’ll find statues of people whose body’s are artfully twisted in a most interesting way. Be sure to stop by during your visit to Salamanca!

Palace de la Salina

Address: Calle San Pablo, 18, 37001 Salamanca, Spain

Website: Palace de la Salina

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11:30am - 1:30pm, 6pm - 9pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free

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8. Enjoy renaissance-age paintings at the New Cathedral

things to do in salamanca spain | enjoy renaissance-age paintings at the new cathedral
Source: instagram

The New Cathedral began construction in the 16th century and wrapped up in the 18th century, giving the structure both late gothic and early baroque architectural features. Inside, you’ll find many wonderful renaissance-age paintings to marvel at. Some of these paintings include the Virgin with the child Jesus and a portrait of Julián Rodríguez Sánchez, a casualty of the Spanish Civil War.

New Cathedral

Address: C. Cardenal Pla y Deniel, 37008 Salamanca, Spain

Website: New Cathedral

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 6.76 USD

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9. Gaze in wonder at the University of Salamanca

The University of Salamanca is unique in several aspects, making it a great place to check out during your trip. The school was founded in 1134, making it the oldest Hispanic university and the third oldest university in the world that is still fully functional and in operation. With such a lengthy history, you’ll find plenty of beautiful stonework and carvings to marvel at while on campus.

University of Salamanca

Address: 37008 Salamanca, Spain

Website: University of Salamanca

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10. Enjoy the contemporary artwork at Domus Artium

For some of the best contemporary artwork exhibits in Salamanca, it’s worth your while to visit Domus Artium during your travels. The exhibits change throughout the year, so if you visit Salamanca often, you can visit Domus Artium and enjoy new and updated works of art. Guided tours within the museum are available, be sure to inquire at the front desk for more information.

Domus Artium

Address: Av. de la Aldehuela, s/n, 37003 Salamanca, Spain

Website: Domus Artium

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 12pm - 2pm, 5pm - 8pm; Sat - Sun: 12pm - 3pm, 5pm - 9pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free

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11. Check out the Mudejar architecture at the Convent of the Dueñas

Convent of the Duenas
Source: Pixabay

Mudejar architecture refers to the stylings of traditional Islamic decorations when applied to Christian gothic, Romanesque or renaissance architecture. Spain has quite a bit of this type of architecture, and a great example of it can be found at the Convent of the Dueñas. The convent is of the Dominican Order and was founded by Juana Rodriguez Maldonado back in 1419.

Convent of the Dueñas

Address: Plaza Concilio de Trento, s/n, 37001 Salamanca, Spain

Website: Convent of the Dueñas

Opening hours: 10:30am - 12:45pm, 4:30pm - 7:30pm (daily) (closed on Sun)

Price: 2.24 USD

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12. Get lost in time in Salamanca's Old City

Old City of Salamanca-111072
Source: Photo by user Yvon Fruneau used under CC BY-SA 3.0-IGO

One of several sites in Salamanca, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1988. The University of Salamanca is located in the area, which was founded back in the 3rd century BC by the Carthaginians. Taking a stroll through this section of the city will give you a great aesthetic tour through time, as the architecture was prone to change through the years.

Salamanca's Old City

Address: City Center, Salamanca

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13. Delight in the architectural wonder of the Clerecía Church

La Clerecia - Catholic Church Salamanca

Posted by Dhanya RS on Saturday, 1 December 2018

Construction of this church began in 1617 under the supervision of Margaret, wife of Philip III and came to completion in 1754. The architectural style is baroque and the structure features grand bell towers that are lovely to behold. The Clerecía also features a three-storied cloister, which is also constructed in the baroque style.

The Clerecía

Address: Calle de la Compañía, 5, 37002 Salamanca, Spain

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 10:30am - 12:45pm, 4pm - 5:30pm; Sat: 10:30am - 1:30pm, 4pm - 5:30pm; Sun: 10:30am - 1:30pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 3.39 USD

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14. Stargaze indoors at the Sky of Salamanca

Located within the University of Salamanca, the Sky of Salamanca is a ceiling mural painted by Fernando Gallego. When gazing up at the vast picture, you’ll see depicted scenes of constellations in the sky alongside angels and chariots. It is said that the mural is meant to recreate the night sky on August 18, 1475.

Sky of Salamanca

Address: Plaza Fray Luis de León, 3, 37008 Salamanca, Spain

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 2pm, 4pm - 8pm (closed on Sun)

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15. Escape your busy life within the greenery of Huerto De Calixto & Melibea

#Salamanca, Spain
Source: Photo by user Brianna Laugher used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Come on through the stone arch upon arrival and you’ll find yourself stepping into the most peaceful garden in the midst of busy Salamanca. Inside, you’ll find lush greenery, colorful flowers, spacious paths and bench seats to take it all in. From the center of the garden, you can see the lovely Old Cathedral.

Huerto De Calixto & Melibea

Address: Calle Arcediano, 20, 37008 Salamanca, Spain

Opening hours: 8:30am - 10:30pm (daily)

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16. Indulge in farm-fresh foods at the Salamanca Central Market

Salamanca Market 02 (30646126054)
Source: Photo by user michael clarke stuff used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Salamanca Central Market takes place in the Plaza del Mercado, which is just next door to Plaza Mayor. Here, you’ll find some of the freshest foods in town which certainly cannot be missed. A few of the foods that you’ll find at the Central Market include meats and cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and baked goods.

Salamanca Central Market

Address: Plaza del Mercado, 0, 37001 Salamanca, Spain

Website: Salamanca Central Market

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8am - 2:30pm; Fri - Sat: 7:30am - 3pm (closed on Sun)

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17. Check out the water oasis of the Almendra Reservoir

Located an hour’s drive from Salamanca, the Almendra Dam spans the width of the River Tormes. The dam is no small engineering feat. In fact, at about 0.3 miles (0.5 km) wide and 202 feet (61 meters) tall, it is one of Spain’s largest structures. Beyond it, you’ll find Almendra Reservoir, where you can find swimming and fishing opportunities.

Almendra Reservoir

Address: 49240, Zamora, Spain

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18. Brush up on your history at the General Archive of the Spanish Civil War

Archivo General de la Guerra Civil en Salamanca.

Posted by San Esteban de Zapardiel on Sunday, 10 September 2017

As part of Spain’s National Historical Archive, this is a must-see stop for history buffs. Step inside, and learn about the events of the Spanish Civil War and leave with a renewed historical appreciation. You’ll also learn more about Spanish freemasonry during your visit to the archives.

General Archive of the Spanish Civil War

Address: Gibraltar, 2, 37008 Salamanca, Spain

Website: General Archive of the Spanish Civil War

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 3pm, 5pm - 9pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

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19. Enjoy the beauty of the Archbishop Fonseca College courtyard

Posted by Daniel Chui on Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Constructed in the 16th century, Archbishop Fonseca College is a lovely structure with heavy renaissance influences. The courtyard gallery itself features two floors, both of which feature decorations consisting of medallions meant to illustrate a group of illustrious men. Currently, the building surrounding the courtyard is being used as a university residential facility.

Archbishop Fonseca College

Address: 37007 Salamanca, Spain

Website: Archbishop Fonseca College

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20. Check out the fascinating Siega Verde archaeological site

Siega Verde
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ángel M. Felicísimo used under CC BY 2.0

Located approximately an hour’s drive outside of Salamanca, this archaeological site makes for a fun place to visit during your trip. The significance of the area was discovered in 1988 and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2010. Paleolithic in age, this site has a total of 645 engravings, featuring carvings of horses, cattle, and deer. Site personnel recommend reserving a time slot for your visit, which can be done at the site’s website. It is also best to arrive 10 minutes prior to your reserved time.

Siega Verde archaeological site

Address: SA-V-200, 37497 Villar de la Yegua, Salamanca, Spain

Website: Siega Verde archaeological site

Opening hours: Varies due to availability

Price: 7.37 USD

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21. Experience the great outdoors at the Arribes del Duero Natural Park

Rio Duero (15 de abril de 2017, Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero)
Source: Photo by user Discasto used under CC BY-SA 4.0

While in Salamanca, you’ll want to be plan a day trip to the Arribes del Duero Natural Park, which is west of the city along the Portugal/Spain border. Within the park, you’ll find beautiful waterfalls, steep canyons, and lush greenery. Wildlife is plentiful throughout the park as well, with native species including eagle owls, peregrine falcons, barbel, otters, and boars.

Arribes del Duero Natural Park

Address: 37246, Salamanca, Spain

Website: Arribes del Duero Natural Park

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22. Enjoy a paddling excursion on the Tormes River

Salamanca from across the Tormes River

Posted by Tam Truc Nguyen on Friday, 24 November 2017

Paddling is a great way to see and experience the Tormes River while in Salamanca. If traveling to Salamanca in the summer, renting a paddle boat could be a fantastic way to keep cool while still seeing the sights. Be sure to explore the Roman Bridge from your boat!

Paddle boating on the Tormes River

Address: Puente de Enrique Estevan, 37008 Salamanca, Spain

Price: 17.01 USD

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Explore all that Salamanca has to offer

You’ll find no shortage of things to see and do in Salamanca if you know where to look! These are just a few ideas on things to do to jump-start your trip planning for a fantastic time in Salamanca, Spain.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Amber has enjoyed being an office manager at a geotechnical engineering firm for seven years and has a Bachelor's degree from Tarleton State University in Marketing. When not working or wrangling...Read more

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