A Perfect Day in Salamanca, Spain

Nicole Stein
April 27, 2022

Salamanca, Spain is under the radar when it comes to Spanish cities. I’ve seen it listed on fun day trips from Madrid, or ideal cities for night-life, but it rarely tops one’s list. For the past three months, however, I’ve explored Salamanca from head to toe and I can wholeheartedly say it’s one of the best European cities I’ve had the pleasure of exploring. So, without further ado, here is my guide to a perfect day in Spain’s golden city. 

What I’ve determined to be the home of Salamanca’s best coffee, Mandala café, is a mandatory breakfast location just two minutes down the street from the public library. I recommend the tortilla with spinach and the toast with jamón and tomato to pair nicely with your café con leche. The prices are incredibly affordable (one of Salamanca’s greatest perks) and the food is so delicious, I find myself here almost every morning. 

After breakfast, head over to the New Cathedral and play i-spy, searching for the astronaut statue carved near the front door. The astronaut was added to the cathedral in 1992 during a restoration project. Not only is the astronaut hunt loads of fun, but the new and old Salamanca cathedrals are some of the prettiest buildings I’ve seen, and they truly represent the cities golden hue. 

Astronaut en Salamanca

From the cathedral, make your way to the main building of Spain’s oldest school, the University of Salamanca. Legend has it that if students can find the frog carving on the building's intricate exterior, they are granted good luck on their academic endeavors. The frog is more or less the mascot of the city, as the image can be found on souvenirs, logos, and obviously building doors. 

Right around the corner from the frog is the “Patio de Escuelas Menores,” a beautiful courtyard home to undergraduate studies. Lined by classrooms, perhaps the best room is home to the sky of Salamanca, a fresco by Fernando Gallego depicting constellations and stars. The piece was restored in the 1950s, but apparently only ⅓ of the original work was salvaged. 

Cielo de Salamanca Mural

Next, I recommend a visit to Casa Lis, Salamanca’s art deco and art nouveau museum (and alternatively, my favorite museum in the world). I love Casa Lis because of its weirdness, which includes a gallery dedicated to dolls who make you feel like your every move is being watched.

Casa Lis beautiful stained glass

After all this sightseeing, it’s time for lunch. One of my favorite aspects of Spanish culture is the “menu del día,” where most restaurants have a set price point for a huge lunch that includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert, and drink. Seriously, leave the museum and walk through the streets until you see or smell a menu that strikes your fancy. My favorite is Don Quixote. After lunch, it’s time for the tried and true siesta, the period of time every afternoon where stores close, school lets out, and everyone naps off their big-meal fatigue. 

Post rest time, it’s time to explore the more modern side of Salamanca: the west side or, barrio del oeste. Home to dirt cheap cafés, vintage shopping galore (amarga and armario del oeste are the standouts), and unique street art, the barrio is a great place to wander and people watch. 

Amarga, a vintage store in the Barrio Del Oeste

Barrio Del Oeste's cool street art

Now head to Café Niebla, everyone’s favorite cocktail bar with a menu that is at least 10 pages long with anything you could imagine from coffees to soft drinks and mocktails to extravagant cocktails. The interior has a lot of character, and sometimes they even have live music. 

Post happy-hour, it’s time for dinner at Taberna de Libreros aka the best food I’ve ever eaten. The chef just came to Salamanca from London, so you know it’s the real deal. Seriously, everything about this place is top-notch, starting with the olives they give you as soon as you're seated. 

It’s been a long day of sightseeing, but if you’re still enthusiastic, I recommend going somewhere to dance. I recommend Centenero, a place that draws an older crowd but is perfect for salsa dancing and integration oneself into Salamanca culture and nightlife. After all, that’s what travelling is all about. 

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Nicole Stein

<p>Hi! My name is Nicole Stein. I am a Spanish major at Kenyon College from Montclair, New Jersey spending the Spring of 2022 in Salamanca, Spain! My favorite things to do are travel, try new food, swim in small bodies of water, pet baby animals of all kinds, spend time outside hiking, skiing and exploring, and making connections with people from all walks of life.</p>

2022 Spring
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