Salamanca’s Old Town

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
3
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
7
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
6
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
6
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
3
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
6
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
62 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Europe
country
Spain
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 30
Time of year visited
September
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RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
195th/359 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 60% SUMMARY RATING: Great experience

Summary

There are so many pretty towns all across Spain with their magnificent Cathedrals, windy Old Town streets and snapshot views straight from a fairy tale . . . but they often feel either super touristy or half deserted as they are no longer a functioning non-tourist town.  Salamanca is different because it is fortunate to have a university right in the beating heart of the Old Town.  This gives the visit a far more genuine feel and it’s actually quite magical wandering through the narrow lanes all around the UNESCO World Heritage listed Cathedral Nueva, finding local bars and restaurants full and then spilling out into the wider plazas like the Plaza Mayor.  Super underrated place to visit and one of the best Old Towns experiences you can find

 

Top Tip – as with so many Old Towns, its best just to head in and get lost in the vibe of the place, find yourself a restaurant, have a few drinks and do a steady explore to find what lurks behind the next street, rather than following a guidebook.  There is enough to Salamanca to give you this experience and I’d recommend doing so around dusk time when many fellow tourists have left and the restaurant scene starts (slowly!) to come alive

Accommodation tip – for a hotel right near the Old Town, with stunning views of the Cathedral from its garden pool and Monastery from its rooms, beautiful courtyards and generally top quality, I’d really recommend the Hotel Hospes Palacio de San Esteban.  Expensive, but great place

highlights

#1 Wandering through the wonderful Old Town in the early evening, catching glimpses of the Cathedral and finding little restaurants lively with the buzzing local crowd

#2 Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Cathedral Nueva with its insanely high domed roof

#3 The beautiful Convento de San Esteban (which you can get further glimpses of from the Hotel Hospes Palacio de San Esteban)

#4 Seeing the various Old Town buildings with their super detailed facades, each trying to tell a story of the time they were built

#5 Eating food, people watching in the Plaza Mayor

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone