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Review: Salamanca

City/Town/Region/Island

Salamanca, Castile and Leon, Spain

Scintillating Salamanca

  • By SilverTraveller Veronica-Bowerman

    8 reviews

  • June 2016
  • Friend(s)

121 people found this review helpful

Salamanca was a delightful place to visit for a short break with friends in June 2016.

The journey there and back was easy; we took an Easyjet flight from our local airport, Bristol to Madrid where we arrived in the early evening. We had reserved a table for dinner by email at the O Pazo de Lugo, a nearby Galician restaurant within walking distance from our overnight stay at Hotel NH Madrid. The restaurant is probably one of Madrid’s undiscovered delights. It is unpretentious, but their food and service was first class and the bill amazing value for money. Next morning we embarked on the short train journey from nearby Atocha station to Salamanca and then took a short taxi journey to Hotel Ibis where we stayed for our remaining three days. At the end of our break we took a taxi ordered by our hotel to Salamanca station, then after arriving at Atocha in Madrid took another taxi waiting in a rank to Madrid airport for our flight to Bristol courtesy of Easyjet.

Salamanca was compact and easy to walk around. However, as it was a bit hilly and warm on several occasions we decided to take a very reasonably priced taxi back up the hill to our hotel from the Plaza Mayor. We were spoilt for choice at the range of things to see and do. We managed to include these places during our visit.

1 – General Archives of the Spanish Civil War
Free entry is always a bonus particularly when there are fascinating documents, pictures and artefacts to see. There is also a Masonic room set up from the 1940s era. We had not known about the terrible atrocities committed against Masons during this time until we visited this museum. Although the explanations were in Spanish the exhibition was so well presented so it was possible for a foreign visitor to understand most of it.

2 – Old Cathedral (Catedral Vieja)
Apparently we could have entered here free of charge, but we would not have had the audio facility. We entered from the New Cathedral with the audio facility at a very reasonable cost of 4 euros. It was a wonderful 13th century cathedral with some fascinating wall paintings.

3 – New Cathedral (Catedral Nueva)
This was built during the 16th and 18th centuries. Entry cost us 4 euros each with a audio guide in the language of our choice – English in our case – which was informative and made the visit much more interesting.

4 – Plaza Mayor
This reminded us of Madrid. It was huge and very impressive. It is probably the most beautiful square in Spain with some wonderful examples of Braque architecture. One could imagine Wellington here with his troops! Lots of shady colonnades and cafés around the perimeter as well as some welcome ice cream shops. However on the down side there was no place to sit and eat ice cream there in the shade unless you were prepared to order something from one of the restaurants that surrounded the perimeter.

5 – Casa Lis Museum
What amazing light and colour in this creatively designed museum. If you like Art Nouveau and Art Deco this is the museum for you. It was originally a small private palace, but apparently at the request of the owner then Don Miguel de Lis, a merchant from Salamanca, it was transformed into a magnificent Art Nouveau building by architect Don Joaquin de Vargas. We really liked the wide range on show particularly the Rene Lalique art deco glass, the bronzes, the paintings, porcelain and furniture.

6 – Lis Cafe Libreria
What a view and what fabulous décor! We took a break from viewing the adjoining splendid Art Deco museum to have a refreshing drink in this relaxing café.

7 – Puente Romano
How often can you get to walk across a Roman Bridge? I have never walked across such an old bridge before. This one was built during the first century. There are great views of the river as well as panoramic views of the countryside and the city to enjoy.

8 – Casa de las Conchas
Wonderful 15th century palace adorned with more than 300 shells. Enjoy wandering around the historical interior which houses a useful tourist information office and the best public library in Salamanca.

9 – Escuelas Menores
We had difficulty in finding this place which is off a square on Libreros. In the adjoining courtyard is the entrance to el Cielo de Salamanca. This incredible ceiling was uncovered in the 17th century and was created in the 14th century. It takes about 5 minutes for your eyes to appreciate it in the darkness. It is an amazing experience. The ceiling was painted by Fernando Gallego between 1483 and 1486, as part of the vaulted ceiling of the Ancient University Library. The vault brings together all the humanistic, biblical and Christian tradition of astrology and astronomy, as it was understood in its day. There you can find the Sun and Mercury, the signs of the zodiac such as Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius, and the Herdsman, Hercules, Serpent, Hydra, Centaurs constellations, amongst others.

10 – Convento de las Duenas
It was so peaceful in the Cloisters. The artefacts and history about the Convent were on the first floor and interesting to see. We didn’t buy cakes from the nuns although we were sorely tempted! However the alternative offered fresh almonds were very tasty and enjoyed by us all.

11 – Museo de Historia de la Automocion de Salamanca
We have visited several vehicle museums in Europe but none to compare to the range and number of vehicles here! There is something for everyone to enjoy and admire. This was our last day and we found that we had run out of time. We wished we had been able to spend at least 2-3 hours here instead of 1.

12 – Huerto de Calixto y Melibea
A quiet shady garden in which to relax not far from the Plaza de Anaya. Plenty of seating and a perfect place to chill out! Many beautiful plants as well as panoramic views to enjoy from the balcony there.

13 – Allium Restaurante
This was such a clean and fresh place in an easy to find location. The staff were attentive and efficient. We went there for an evening meal and enjoyed fish soup and lamb beautifully prepared. The red and white wines were most acceptable. We were able to pay by credit card 50/50 as we were two couples which was very useful.

14 – Tiempo de Vinos
We were a little disappointed. We had enjoyed lunchtime drinks on their terrace previously so we thought we would go there again for an evening meal a couple of days later. Unfortunately we had to wait over half an hour before our dinner order was taken. When we arrived just before 8pm we were told that we would be served in about 10 minutes. The food and wine were acceptable when we eventually got them. However we had not realised that we could not pay by credit card. Luckily we managed to scrape up the money required between the four of us!

We booked our flights, train journeys, hotels and the first night’s dinner in Madrid all on the internet at home beforehand so were able to obtain some good deals.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 3 Comment(s)

  • Veronica-Bowerman
    almost 5 years ago
    Apologies ESW - I should have put my reply in this box:
    We went everywhere on foot when we were there.
    Our hotel was on top of a hill hence us sometimes taking a taxi back when it was hot and or if we were tired. Lovely historic and interesting place.
  • Veronica-Bowerman
    almost 5 years ago
    We went everywhere on foot when we were there. Our hotel was on top of a hill hence us sometimes taking a taxi back when it was hot and or if we were tired. Lovely historic and interesting place.
  • ESW
    almost 5 years ago
    It does sound as if there is a lot to do and see here. How easy is it to get around the city by yourself?