Considering that Salamanca is known for its reputation as the best university city in Spain, one would be tempted to assume that the city comes to a standstill during the summer months, but this is not the case. While it’s true that the city does quiet down in the summer, it’s anything but boring! In fact, it’s very likely that you’ll come across numerous tourists, including Spanish tourists, there to have a good time and see what the summertime in Salamanca has to offer.
Cultural activities and summer festivals
Some of the most interesting activities actually take place in university residence halls. Especially notable are the residences at the Colegio del Archbishop Fonseca. This colegio, founded in 1519, is hosting a variety of events this year: from theatrical monologues such as The Mysteries of Quixote, starring the prestigious actor Rafael Álvarez “El Brujo”; to Shakespearean works such as Hamlet or Ricardo III; to the main attraction, The Siege of Numantia, a play by Miguel de Cervantes.
The cultural activities also extend to the nearby towns. If you are in Salamanca July 15th-16th, you can catch the Béjar Blues Festival (about an hour away by bus). It’s a festival in which the most authentic blues and the most unique voices take center stage. For instance, ever heard of Shemekia Copeland or Lurrie Bell? If so, you can’t miss this event… and if not, now is the perfect time to discover them.
Another important festival close to Salamanca is the theater festival that’s organized in Ciudad Rodrigo (also approximately an hour away by bus). From August 23rd-27th, you can see performances ranging from the avant-garde, to traditional cuentacuentos storytelling, to puppet shows, to classical theater…
Take a dip in the pools of Salamanca
Between all the cultural events and the summer heat, you might be left craving a few hours to just relax and cool off. And what better place to do just that than in one of the city’s municipal pools? The pools in Salamanca have standardized their schedules this year and are open from July 11th-September 11th, from 11:00am to 9:00pm. Spending a whole day lounging by the pool will cost you a mere € 3.56. One of the most recommended spots is the Garrido municipal pool; not only is it surrounded by lush greenery, but it’s also easily accesible from the city center.
But if you want something different, you can also check out any of the 5 natural pools in the neighboring towns, such as the Río Frío natural pool (in Villasrubias, an hour from the city); or the one in Las Batuecas (about an hour and twenty minutes away from the city).
The most typical bars and the most modern pubs
We can’t forget that wherever there are students, there will also be countless cafés, pubs and bars. The variety of spots in Salamanca is huge, with a bit of something for everyone. The most concentrated area to find bars and pubs is in th city center, on easily-accessible streets such as Calle Bordadores, Gran Vía and Calle Varillas. Perhaps the best-known bar is Gatsby (Calle Bordadores, 16) with its great variety of drinks at affordable prices – and the same goes for the medieval-themed bar/club Camelot ; another highly-recommended place is the elegant Birdland (Calle Azafranal, 57). But if you’re looking for a touch of something different, you have to try the speciality drinks at The Doctor Cocktail (Calle Doctor Piñuela, 5); the drinks are so good, the bartender has been a finalist in international cocktail competitions!
Take a walk and discover the mysteries of Salamanca
Salamanca is a city absolutely saturated in history, so something as ordinary as simply taking a walk around the city can bring big surprises. We’re not going to focus on the well-known attractions such as the Cathedral, Plaza Mayor, or the Casa de las Conchas, though – we’d rather tell you about the lesser-known sites. For example, did you know that in the Plaza del Corrillo there are columns with carved astronomical and mythological symbols, and that no one knows how the symbols got there? Or that the courtyard of the University of Salamanca’s Escuelas Menores houses a super-mysterious medieval painting called “El Cielo de Salamanca”? Not to mention the Cueva de Salamanca (“the cave of Salamanca”) where, according to legend, the devil used to hold lessons for a few select students.
Salamanca is a city that will surprise you: where the ancient, the modern, the “cool” and the traditional come together to create an unforgettable summer experience. If you haven’t yet seen it for yourself, what are you waiting for?
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