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Salamanca is sometimes called 'La Ciudad Dorada' (City of Gold) because of the colour, unique in Spain, of its local sandstone. It is often said that the language, as spoken there, is the most perfect Castillian Spanish anywhere. The student population has a huge impact on Salamanca, making it a vibrant city and international city, despite its small size.
The Plaza Mayor is often considered the best Plaza Mayor in Spain. Just like the one in Madrid, it is completely surrounded by arched buildings. Under the arches you will find several shops, cafés and restaurants, including one shop of the tourist information. It was constructed in the 18th century, and was used originally for bullfights. Nowadays the square is a bit more peaceful, and the focal point of the nightlife, with a lot of bars in the streets leading towards the Plaza. On the eastside of the Plaza is the Mercado (covered Market).
Salamanca has two cathedrals, an old one, and a new one. The Old Cathedral was largely built in the 13th century and is in Romanesque style. The New Cathedral dates from the 16th century, so it's not so new anymore. The Cathedrals are partly built on top of each other. You can visit the cathedrals in a slightly different way than usual. You will not enter the Cathedrals through the main door as you might expect, but stairs will lead you to the roof of the side aisle, and you will have a view inside the Cathedral from the balustrate. From the roof you also have some nice views over the city center of Salamanca.
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The University of Salamanca is the oldest in Spain. It was founded as early as 1218, and got the title of University in 1225. Nowadays Salamanca is one of the most favourite universities in Spain, with about 30.000 students attending. Most of them are from Spain, but many are also foreigners studying Spanish. A favourite past time for tourists is to spot the frog that is sculpted in the facade of the University building. If you find it on your own, it is said to bring good luck.
The Casa de las Conchas (House of the Shells) lies opposite the University. As the name suggests the house is decorated with a lot of scallop shells. Scallops are the symbol for the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and this was once a bording house for pilgrims. Now it is a public library. The patio is a nice place to visit.
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Look at notices in the Plaza Mayor - free recitals in churches are often recommended.
As Salamanca is located at an altitude of roughly 800 metres above sea level, the climate can be described as somewhat continental mediterranean, with hot and dry summers and mild but wetter winters, with relatively cold nights. Average daytime temperatures during summer (June to September) are between 25 and 29 °C while nights during this time are mostly between 10 and 12 °C. Winters last from December to February with days of 8-11 °C and nights of -1 to +1 °C. The absolute records for summer and winter are 40 °C and -13 °C respectively.
Annual precipitation is just over 400mm with most of it falling from October to January, though May is relatively wet as well at almost 50mm. Snow in winter is possible.
Salamanca Airport (SLM) serves the city. Currently, Air Europa has flights to Lanzarote, Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife-South, and Air Nostrum, a sister company of Iberia flies to Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Barcelona and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
RENFE has up to six trains departing daily for Madrid’s Chamartín station (2½ hours) via Ávila (1¾ hours). There are also frequent services to Valladolid (2½ hours). The Sud Express train from Lisbon, Portugal to Hendaye, France makes a stop at Salamanca.
From Madrid you can reach Salamanca taking the AP-6, A-51 and A-50. This newly finished A-50 reduces the time to get to Salamanca to just over two hours, bypassing the old more dangerous road. Make sure to fill up your tank for the last 100 kilometres, as the gasstations are still located near the old road, and no new ones are built (yet).
Avanzabus has multiple connection between Madrid and Salamanca. Most busses leave Madrid from the busstation at Mendez Alvaro and a couple from Moncloa. The ride takes between 2.5 hours and 3.5 hours, depending on the type of connection you choose. Auto Res has 24 buses daily to Madrid, six buses also serve Valladolid (1½ hours) and four go to Ávila (1½ hours). Regular buses head to Ciudad Rodrigo (1½ hours), Segovia (three hours) and Zamora (one hour),
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Getting around by car is not as difficult as in other (bigger) Spanish cities, but getting a parking spot is just as difficult. If you go to Salamanca, it is best to park the car, and leave it in the parking space until you leave. Parking in the downtown area will set you back around €10 for 12 hours!
Public buses run across the town, mostly connecting the suburbs with the center of town.
The city of Salamanca is not very big, and most of the sights are close to each other. Getting around by foot is by far the best way to get around the town
The are a couple of bike lanes in the city. These have a green colour.
In Salamanca there is no shortage of meat. Some good places to eat are Meson de Cervantes, Erasmus Bruin Café and Taudio (a Brazilean restaurant, where they cut several pieces of meat at your table).
Locals gather slightly north of city center for their nightly tapas on a street named Van Dyck. The tapas here are generally of a higher quality and a lower price of those found near the plaza. Almost every street out from the center will have at least one small bar, and many of them will serve tapas. The price difference between having or not a tapa with your drink is negligible (around 2€ for each beer/wine+tapa, 20-30 cts less only the beer) so go on a try them!
Popular tapas are any sort of roasted pork parts: ribs (costilla), sausage (chorizo), ham (jamon), bacon (panceta) or face (jeta). Try the "pincho moruno", a brochette of pork pieces marinated in paprika and garlic. A local speciality (if you find it appealing) is "chanfaina" a spicy rice dish with liver and/or blood that is served in many bars as a tapa on Sundays.
In the summer most restaurants set tables outside for both lunch and dinner. Be forewarned that with the privilege of sitting outside you often get charged a euro or two extra per person.
Salamanca is atop the small portion of Spain where you can purchase jamon iberia (Iberian ham). This expensive pork is very rich, very expensive and in the opinion of most Salamancans the most delicious thing there is to eat.
Vegetarians will have to work a little bit to find food. Tortilla de patata is always a safe bet (a frittata-type thing with potato and egg) but it can get old after a while. Meat (especially pork) finds its way into a majority of dishes here. When you're asking waiters if a dish does not have meat (carne), make sure you specify that you don't want chicken (pollo) or fish (pescado) either.
Basicaly there are two main areas to go for drinks. Around the Plaza Mayor and along Gran Via.
Try one of the following bars: (all located very close to Plaza Mayor) Camelot, Puerto de Chus, Submarino, Moderno, Cum-Laude and El Sol.
Chupiteria Daniel's, Paniagua, Potemkin, Plutos, Capitan Haddock, La Posada de las Almas, Niebla, and many more bars are excellent for a very late night out!
|Apartaestudios Plaza de la Libertad||Plaza de laLibertad 4||Apartment||-|
|Colegio Mayor Hispanoamericano Hernán Cortés||Paseo San Vicente 103-139||Hostel||-|
|Hostal Mindanao||Paseo de San Vicente 2||Guesthouse||91|
|Hostal Misol||Avda. Italia, 40||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Rincon de Sito||Bermejeros 29||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Ceylan||C/ San Juan de la Cruz Nº7||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Eurowest||Pico del Naranco Street, 2||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Torre del Clavero||Calle Consuelo 21||Hotel||-|
|Petit Palace Las Torres||C/ Concejo 4-6 37002||Hotel||-|
|Youth Hostel Salamanca||Escoto 13-15||Hostel||78|
|Hotel Rúa||Calle Sánchez Barbero 11||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Artheus Carmelitas||Paseo Carmelitas 67||Hotel||-|
|Los Abedules Apartments||Calle Ancha||Apartment||-|
|Los Cerecitos Apartments||Calle de los Vecinos||Apartment||-|
|Los Cedros Arapiles Apartments||Calle de Arapiles||Apartment||-|
|Los Abetos Apartments||Calle Quinta||Apartment||-|
|Los Olivos Apartments||Calle San Victor||Apartment||-|
|Don Bosco Apartments||Calle Don Bosco||Apartment||-|
|Hostal Santel Plaza Espana||C/ Pollo Martn 12||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Revolutum Hostel||C/Sanchez Barbero 7||Hostel||88|
|Hostal Reise||Maria Auxiliadora,13||Guesthouse||63|
|Hostal Internacional||Av/ Mirat 15 1Ao||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Le Petit Hotel Salamanca||Ronda Sancti Spiritus, 39||Hotel||79|
|Pension Salamanca||c/ Melendez 1, 2||Guesthouse||86|
|Hostal Uria||Calle Garcia Moreno, 1||Guesthouse||78|
|Hotel Villamayor||Camino Alto Villares 57||Hotel||-|
|Alda Centro Salamanca Hostel||Paseo Canalejas, 14||HOSTEL||78|
|Pension Hostal San Jose||Calle Jesus, 24||Guesthouse||85|
|Hostal Cuzco Salamanca||Obispo Barbado Viejo,2 Salamanca||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Escala Luna||Melendez 13, 1A||GUESTHOUSE||94|
|Hostal Tormes||Calle Rua Mayor N20||GUESTHOUSE||83|
|Pension Los Angeles||Plaza Mayor 10 3A||GUESTHOUSE||80|
|Hotel Alda Plaza Mayor||C/ Quintana, 6||HOTEL||-|
|Hostal Santel San Marcos||Plaza de San Marcos, 7||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Residencia Salamanca Dorada||Cristo de los Milagros, 6||HOSTEL||80|
|Erasmus Home||C/ Jesús 18, 37002 Salamanca||HOSTEL||85|
|Hostal Albero||Plaza Carmelitas 13||GUESTHOUSE||-|
Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.
In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.
The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.
If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.
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