Spain Guide


Salamanca Nightlife

Salamanca is a small city but its student population ensures an energetic nightlife. You can cover the entire city on foot with ease and in its ancient streets you'll find everything from cheap Chinese restaurants and traditional tapas bars to gambling tables and karaoke. There are hundreds of street cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants to choose from and for the more hardened partygoers there are clubs which stay open till 6am.

The best place to start your evening is the magnificent Plaza Mayor which is one of the most stunning people watching venues in the whole of Spain. If you're visiting in the summer, you can sit outside with a drink and some tapas and watch the world go by or head for one of the many music bars in this part of town. After 10pm you may find yourself being entertained by one of the Tuna groups of students who tour the city in medieval costumes, serenading customers in bars and restaurants. These young troubadours come armed with guitars, mandolins and tambourines and are often extremely talented. The custom originates from the days when poor students would travel widely from one teacher to another, often staying in monasteries where they would literally sing for their supper. These days they still appreciate a donation and pass round a hat after each performance.

The most popular way to spend the evening in Salamanca is a tour of the tapas bars or "ir de pinchos" as it's called here. Pincho literally means cocktail stick and refers to the small snack which is often offered free with each drink. You might be served some chorizo sausage, manchego cheese, a piece of tortilla (Spanish omelette) or olives with anchovies. Many bars charge for these pinchos nowadays because of the large number of tourists visiting the city.

When it comes to restaurants you can take your pick of international cuisine (there are Mexican, French, Italian and Chinese restaurants here) or sample some of the local fare in one of the many fine restaurants which specialise in regional dishes. Typical regional specialties include cochinillo al fuego (roast suckling pig), chafaina (chorizo sausage with rice) and the famous hornazo meat pie made from chorizo sausage, ham, hardboiled egg and sometimes chicken. As you'd expect in a university town, there are also plenty of fast food joints pizzerias, sandwich bars and the inevitable McDonald's.

The Irish Rover, in Rua Antigua, is a popular haunt for late night party people and there are plenty of clubs to choose from. Disco Morgana in Calle Iscar Peira is one of the most popular dance spots along with Camelot, in Calle Bordadores, where techno music blasts within the walls of a former medieval monastery.

Check with the local tourist information office to see whether any local fiestas are taking place in the city or one of the local villages during your visit. There's a fiesta somewhere in the province every month, usually involving colourful processions and much merrymaking in the streets.

The town of Ciudad Rodrigo, to the south west of the city, is well worth a visit if you're in Salamanca at carnival time at the beginning of Lent. The celebrations include bull running in the streets, fancy dress parades and traditional dances. The city itself hosts a four day knees up in June in honour of St John of Sahagun, Salamanca's patron saint. The Catholic feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated with some particularly beautiful processions in the city's cathedral.