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Visit Salamanca

How to Spend your Downtime in Salamanca

Salamanca is famous for two things: its university, which has been operating without interruption for the best part of a millennium, and the uniformly extravagant style of its architecture, which, despite representing different tendencies that cut across four centuries in the history of art, have merited the city the nickname of 'The Golden City', due to the glowing material predominant in most of Salamanca's emblematic buildings: local sandstone

Plaza Mayor

Whilst you will not be stuck for things to do, simply because ambling through this city's streets and delightful plazas is amusement enough, one activity that is not to be missed, and probably which you won´t be able to miss, is the nightlife on offer in Salamanca. Whether you simply want to munch on a few tapas on calle Van Dyck or quench your thirst with some copas of Calimocho in one of Salamanca's many bars (It is said that Salamanca has one of the highest bars to inhabitants ratios in all of Europe), then this place won´t disappoint.

One of the most uniquely staggering places in all of Europe, let alone Spain, the town is replete with fascinating tourist attractions that will effectively guide visitors through Spanish history before and after its consolidation as a unified nation. In this sense, a walk through the Plaza Mayor, or some of the older schools within the university quarter, have the magical ability to transport you to a different time and to transmit a surreal, almost romantic emotion, that will make you feel like no other place in the world could.

Learn More than Spanish

It might seem fanciful to say that when you are in a place as intrinsically linked to knowledge, literature and history as Salamanca is, you will manage to soak up the information just from strolling along the narrow streets or rubbing your shoulders against the sandy walls, and, indeed, it is highly unlikely that you will gain any knowledge at all from anything as simple as that. But it is also true that, faced with surroundings as rich as these, it becomes easier to find the determination to make an extra effort in whatever it is that we are doing.

For this very reason, perhaps, Salamanca is one of the most popular destinations in the country when it comes to learning Spanish in Spain and taking combined courses, because imbued within the traditionally cultured atmosphere of a university town there is the incentive, the facilities and the general disposition to carry out academic activities, while at the same time benefiting from a sophisticated set up with plenty of activities and things to see and do that allows you to make the most of your free time as well as of your study time.

Cathedral

Most importantly, however, the wealth of cultural influences that come together, and have done for centuries, in Salamanca, add yet another dimension to the appeal of the city as a centre of study. For instance, nothing is more encouraging when learning a foreign language than doing so through a method that keeps you focused, engaged and enthusiastic. And, precisely one of the most successful ways to achieve this is by embarking on combined courses that blend language lessons with subjects about which the student is passionate.

Beyond the architectural features that stun visitors upon arrival, with genuine and substantial evidence of what things were like in Spain in the late XV century, when the Gothic was still the aesthetic of choice in the country, and through the second half of the XVII century, when baroque excesses led to the emergence of Churrigueresque architecture, Salamanca is also richly indebted to the literary tradition. Nowhere is this more clear than at the university, which, naturally, has been home to innumerable intellectuals from home and abroad, such as, famously, Miguel de Unamuno, one of the most respected and lucid thinkers of the XX century, who acted as the rector of the university on three separate occasions.

Understandably, then, some language schools in Salamanca offer combined courses, blending academic subjects into the programme. In this sense, a foray into the history of Spain can serve as the ideal incentive to perform at an optimal rate when learning Spanish, as further interest into the ins and outs of a complex and immensely rich heritage will work wonders against the dangers of what can become a tedious routine. The same is true of literature, art, architecture and other disciplines, which truly come to life, quite literally, in the quaint environment of Salamanca.

As a matter of fact, a quick look through any Salamanca city guide will provide you with a detailed blueprint of Spanish culture, seen not as a static or theoretic set of characteristics, but vividly carved in the landscape of the city, determining the look and feel of the different neighbourhoods and, in short, allowing you to experience first hand and all at once what has taken several centuries to develop.