Hotel Reviews - Europe

Want a city break in Spain? Caroline tries out Salamanca

Sometimes the big hitter cities such as Paris, Rome and Madrid can seem just too much like hard work. Then it’s time to start ticking off some of the second tier cities from the bucket list: that is second tier in terms of size but certainly not in terms of interest and enjoyment. There’s no need to walk your socks off or get to grips with a foreign city’s underground system if you go somewhere more compact like Nice, Vicenza or Salamanca and that’s exactly what we did two weeks ago. We spent four days in Salamanca, having hired a car in Madrid and driven the 120 miles north west and a highly successful trip it was.

Plaza Mayor Salamanca

A wonderful view

Salamanca was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988 so you can be assured that there is no shortage of sightseeing. We happily spent all but half a day of our trip (which was spent in Zamora) wandering the streets of Salamanca admiring the two cathedrals and soaking up the information on the audio guide, gazing in wonderment at the Convento of San Esteban, relaxing in the sun in the cloisters of the Convento de las Duenas, enjoying the Art Deco treasures in Casa Lis, strolling across the Roman bridge to watch the sun setting over the city, and of course enjoying lots of good food and wine in between the more cultural activities.

Evening view Salamanca

A beautiful evening view

Having enjoyed a big breakfast each day in our hotel, the lovely Palacio de San Esteban , we did as the Spaniards do and enjoyed a late lunch (in our case al fresco tapas) which meant that we could enjoy a pre dinner drink in the beautiful floodlit Plaza Mayor before dining at half eight or nine o’clock. We were spoiled for choice when it came to restaurants and enjoyed some excellent meals of prawns in garlic, monkfish, hake, milk fed lamb, steak, venison and homemade croquettas – not all at one sitting, I hasten to add!

Night view Salamanca

Plaza Mayor Salamanca lit up at night

If you’re a lover of all things Spanish but have exhausted the likes of Madrid and Barcelona then I can recommend Salamanca for a city break. On the way back to Madrid (especially if you have an evening flight) why not tag on a trip to the walled city of Avila or for art lovers, El Escorial?

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