Salamanca is such a cool city, and it was a great city to try my hand at some solo-travel!
Usually this place is bustling with students, but in July, its pretty bare and just has the occasional tourist. I had whole cathedrals and rooftops to myself at times. Even though I had some iffy weather, with rain in the morning, a sunny afternoon, and extreme wind at the top of some of the towers, I was always guaranteed a beautiful view. Also, there are some serious Harry Potter and Quasimodo vibes here.
The Alvia from Madrid. Assigned seats, baggage scanners and security. 90 minute train ride at a super speed. Spain has their train system down. And to think there are faster trains. It is so easy and carefree to take the train in Spain! Do it!
Once you arrive at the Salamanca train station, its an easy and safe 20 minute walk to the old town area.
Old and New Cathedrals
I read that you can enter through both of these, and it wasn’t entirely clear to me which I was starting with. Upon entering, I decided it must be the Old Cathedral. I grabbed a pair of English self-guided tour headphones and they confirmed my belief that it must be old, as they announced it was built between 1513-1733. Very old indeed. Just look at this place:
I wandered around this gorgeous, Gothic building, taking in the history, religion and architecture. As I neared the end, my headphones announced, “You have reached the end of the new cathedral. Please proceed to the Old Cathedral”.
“New”?! Something I love about Spain is that a 16th century building can be considered “new”. If this was new, what on earth did the old one look like?
The Old Cathedral was built between the 12th and 14th centuries, which in this case does indeed earn the title of the more elder cathedral. Silly me.
Either way, don’t miss out on getting to the rooftops of these Cathedrals to channel your inner Quasimodo. To do so, you’ve got to pay a fee around the corner at the Ieronimus.
Ieronimus – Torres de la Catedral de Salamanca
University and Pontifical
This place has Hogwarts written all over it. Alright, not really. But even the font used to write latin phrases and signs is so Pottery. And being 800 years old, with something as modern as an astronaut and a frog chiseled into the old stonework (of the Cathedral and University prospectively), it wouldn’t be too far fetched to find a wizard there too.
Salamanca is a hot-spot for controversial symbols challenging Catholicism at every turn. It’s the constant struggle between science and religion. Being a city of so much academia in such a Catholic country, you’re bound to encounter some irony. As one of the oldest universities in the world, Universidad de SalamancaI was celebrating their 800th anniversary!
Because every good Spanish city has a Plaza Mayor, or at least a central square. Usually it’s a beautiful site, with an excuse to grab a cold one, which brings me to…..
There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars, especially close to the Plaza Mayor. I picked a random one for lunch that had some light tapas because I didn’t want anything heavy. It was one of the best patatas bravas I’ve ever had. I only wish I had walked around some more to find the restaurant that served Estrella Galicia instead. Either way, couldn’t tell you the name of this place, but the view should help you figure it out!