JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH ANASTASIA CHATSATOURIAN FROM SALAMANCA, SPAIN!
Anastasia Chatsatourian is a 23 years old passionate traveller who loves the historical city of Salamanca as much as she loves sunny days. Her happiness knows no bounds when the sun adds a golden tone to the surroundings. She is a student of photography, her favourite subject. She enjoys painting in her free time and practices Krav Maga (martial art). Her dream is to combine her two passions – traveling and photography. She can speak Greek, Russian, English and Spanish.
Salamanca is a city in western Spain that is the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the community of Castile and León. The city lies on several hills by the Tormes River. Its Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is one of the most important university cities in Spain and attracts thousands of international students. The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest western university. With its 30,000 students, the university is, together with tourism, a primary source of income in Salamanca.
What is the best time to visit Salamanca?
The best time to go to Salamanca in Spain is from April until October, in which you have a soft still warm temperature and little to no rainfall. The highest average temperature in Salamanca is +31 in July and the lowest is +2 in January.
Which is the most convenient and favored transport of Salamanca?
Salamanca is a small city that you can walk from edge to edge in 45 minutes. So basically everything is close enough and for me there is no need of using the city transport. Although there is a network of city buses with services within the city as well as in the outskirts. Asingle ticket for the bus costs €1.05 and can be purchased directly from the driver. There is also a bus pass card which costs you a little less. Taxis are another option, offering local, provincial and inter-provincial services. If you are visiting in the Summers, you can ride in the tourist train which travels around Salamanca then. It starts from Plaza de Anaya and stops at the city’s main sights. Find all the information on SalamancaDeTransportes but in Spanish.
There is no international airport in Salamanca and the closest one is in Valladolid, less than an hour and a half away. Another easy option is coming from Madrid’s Bajaras airport by renting a car through the A-50 road, using the direct bus line or by train. If you have plans of travelling around Spain, you can purchase Renfe Spain pass which allows non-residents to travel by train in the country.
What are the top three must visit places in Salamanca?
Salamanca is like an open air museum with magnificent historic monuments.There are more than 3 top places that take you back in time, although here are some of the favourites that you must visit :
Salamanca University : The world’s famous Salamanca University, which is situated in the old city center is the first university in Spain and the fourth oldest university in the world. It became one of the most important centres of learning in Europe during the Middle Ages and is popular today for its Spanish language programs. Just take your time and admire the incredible facade, university library, museum and old classrooms.
The old and new cathedral : Catedral Vieja de Santa María de la Sede is the Old Cathedral built during the 12th and 13th centuries. You will be amazed by the splendid architectural building of the oldest Christian monument in Salamanca. Catedral Nueva, the new cathedral, built in between 16th and 18th century, is attached to the old but is bigger and displays three different architectural elements. It is located in a hilltop area and truly speaking it is the face of the city.
Plaza Mayor : Is the public square which is in the heart of Salamanca and is considered to be one of the grandest in Spain. There are a plethora of restaurants and cafeterias located in Plaza Mayor. It attracts many people as well as events and concerts take place there.
For detailed historic info as well as more places to see visit, click here.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Salamanca?
Madrid is a close destination that can be visited even for a day if you missed the sizes of a megapolis. Exploring the city center, visiting the Museo del Prado or having a walk in the city parks can be fulfilling. In one day its impossible to see everything, but you will have an idea of what the capital looks like.
La Alberca is a beautiful village in Spain located in a hilly region very close to Salamanca. The small bricked houses are very impressive and the geraniums on the windows add a lot of color to the village, as well as the surrounding mountain scenery is a UNESCO listed biosphere reserve.
Avila is another UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will feel like you are in the old Spain. The medieval walls that surround the old churches and museums take you back in time. At night it’s a wonderful sight to see them all illuminated.
If you have more time to explore, check out the top day trips from Salamanca here.
Which is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Salamanca?
Nochevieja Universitaria New Years eve : It is the time when Salamanca is super crowded by students from all Spain. Its basically a celebration of the new year eve but on 13th December because many students are gone from the city for the Christmas holidays, so its a chance to get together and party a lot.
Reyes Magos (Three Kings) : On January 5, Salamanca takes to the streets to welcome the arrival of the Three Kings. The tradition here in Spain is that the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings in English, bring Spanish children their gifts on the Day of the Epiphany, January 6th. A huge parade called the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos snakes through the city during the evening hours. Featuring music, costumes, and vibrant colors, the real highlight is naturally religious monarchs, who ride regally through the streets to the delight of all who watch- especially the children. The next morning, January 6, is the equivalent of Christmas day in the United States- full of presents, family, and holiday cheer.
Semana Santa (Holy Week) : Holy Week in Christianity is the week just before Easter. It is hugely celebrated in Spain and in Salamanca as well. Processions can be spotted more in Plaza Mayor and Salamanca university quarters. Although Lunes de Aguas (water Monday) is celebrated in the river location. You can read more about Semana Santa here.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Salamanca? Is Salamanca a vegetarian friendly town?
Salamanca is full of plenty restaurants, bars, cafes, bistro, fast food shops of different choice and taste. However it is a must to try the famous hornazo which is a name for a meat pie. Loin pork and chorizo are the main ingredients but eggs, cured ham or bacon are often used too. It can be found in most bakeries and in supermarkets as well.
The typical food called jeta, consists of roasted pork cheeks, served up in bite-sized portions. They are often served with vegetables, such as red peppers or fried potatoes.
Tapas and montaditos is a collection of typical Spanish food and snacks. Bread is taken as a base and on top of it you can have tiny slices of meat or fish,variety of cheese and vegetables combined with delicious sauces. You can find them almost everywhere in Salamanca.
Salamanca brings its own variety of perrunillas (cookies), which are easy to recognize by their rounded shape, golden color and the distinctive almond in the middle. Most bakeries and cake shops have perrunillas.
Salamanca is also a vegetarian friendly city. Here are the top vegetarian restaurants that you should visit.
Are there any popular markets in Salamanca which tourists must visit?
Toro and Zamora streets and Plaza del Campillo square have plenty of shops of franchise chains and famous brands. For book lovers there are bookshops selling new and second hand books close to the Plaza Mayor square. You can find different kind of books even for Spanish language studies or just literature for joy. To choose where to go visit.
Centro Comercial El Tormes and El Corte Ingles are big shopping centers where you can have a look on more variety of stuff but it is a little outside Salamanca after crossing the river.
Recinto Ferial – Avenida Aldehuela flea market is set up in a parking lot. There is clothing, art, antiques, flowers, plants, stamps. You can also find candy, kitchen gadgets, food, ceramics, shoes. Sunday mornings, 10am-2pm.
Which is the local craft or souvenir of Salamanca?
Of course in the historic center there are a lot of souvenirs and craft shops where you can find small gifts to take home with you. The famous souvenir from Salamanca is a skeleton head with a frog on top of it. Yes little dark and funny.
Which are the best streets of Salamanca worthy of taking a stroll on?
La Gran Via is the main avenue in the Salamanca with restaurants, cafes and stores on both side of the street. To feel the local vibes and get the real experience of this city you must take a stroll down here.
Plaza Mayor square of course is one of the main things to see in Salamanca where its only a pleasure to have a coffee on a sunny day. Take a beautiful walk from Plaza Mayor to Plaza de Anaya passing the university buildings and the two cathedrals and arriving to the Anaya Palace.
Rua Mayor street is the busy main street leading from Plaza del Corillo up towards the university. You’ll find the incredible façade of the Casa de las Conchas, or house of shells, one of Salamancas most impressive buildings. Here are the other best streets and squares that you can take a look.
I want to add a worth visiting neighbourhood called Bario del Oeste which is full of impressive graffitis that are literary pieces of art.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of the city?
For sure the best high place from where you can get an incredible view is the Ieronimus which has several levels but still provides a good view from first or second level. It’s more than just climbing a tower!
You can also get an incredibly romantic view from Puente Romano at the river at day and night times. Especially from sunset to twilight its very beautiful to see how the cathedral is becoming golden by the sun.
Would you suggest any shows in Salamanca to drama, music or art lovers? Where can one spot street art in Salamanca?
A great place to go is La Malhablada, where you can watch a mini theatre that lasts 15 min on the 1st and 2nd floor, and enjoy tapas and the view from the teraza.
In Centenera enjoy the jam sessions every Wednesday night. The collection of paintings, decorative objects and the bar will leave a pleasant impression on your art soul.
Salamanca has tons of concert and live music venues for your listening pleasure. For another type of experience, many of Salamanca’s historic churches also host concerts from time to time. Here are the main concert venues of Salamanca.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Salamanca?
For food I am comfortable with Tripadvisor recommendations, easy way to find a place to eat for any need and taste.
As for the city I don’t use any app but TurismoDeSalamanca website has all the information about what to see and do in Salamanca. Additionally you can use Salamanca Movil, it has all information on the city, events and special promotions.
For transport or bus routes this app Salamanca De Transportes can be useful.
For taxi use Pide Taxi.
Do you want to give any suggestion/tip to tourists coming to your Salamanca?
My suggestion is ‘Come to Salamanca!’
This city will definitely impress you. It’s a perfect weekend destination to enjoy history, nature, typical food and events. Salamanca is a small city and three days are more than enough to see more or less everything. Despite the large amount of students that live here, this city is very calm and quite at day time, so its perfect to relax couple of days.