Where is Salamanca?
It lies towards the western border of Spain with Portugal, 220km from Madrid (two and a half hours by car) and 120km south west of Valladolid (regional capital and one hour 30 minutes away by car), within easy reach of famous historical cities like Avila, Segovia, Zamora and Ciudad Rodrigo.
What kind of city is it?
Best answer is: a small, beautiful and historic university city, bustling with students, boasting two cathedrals (12th and 16th centuries) and two universities whose academic roots go back to the twelfth century and many of whose historic (and still used) buildings go back to Renaissance times. The city sits astride the River Tormes and her “heart” is the monumental Plaza Mayor (main square), reckoned by many as the finest in all Spain.
Salamanca is also the capital of the province that bears its name, a province which is largely agricultural in its economy. Much of the land is fairly flat, with a range of rocky crags marking its southern border. Because of this, the area boasts many beautiful little rural hamlets or “pueblos” and little mountain villages too. the product for which Salamanca province is most famous is the iberian ham (jamón ibérico). Pigs are fed on a special diet of acorns (or “bellotas”) from the abundant “encina” or holm oak trees of the region. This gives the bellota ham a sweet and almost “nutty” flavour which is highly regarded. The most famous (and most expensive!) variety is the “pata negra” (literally the “black foot”).
Click here to see a video created to show off Salamanca from above… “Once you see this video, you won’t get your feet back on the ground…”