The eponymous capital of the province of Salamanca, located in the Castile and Leon community of Spain, the city is one of the oldest cities in Western Spain, with a university whose history stretches back to its founding in 1218. The historic old city section has been declared a World Heritage Site since 1988, and along with the university itself makes for a unique combination of tourism and education, with Salamanca being one of the major centers in the country where foreigners come to learn Spanish. From sights such as the Old Cathedral to the Monterrey Palace or the Plaza Mayor, Salamanca is packed full of breathtaking architecture and history, and when combined with the renowned Spanish hospitality, countryside, wine, and food, makes for an absolutely perfect destination to experience a true Spanish adventure.
Like many places throughout Spain, Italy, and other countries, Salamanca has a very unique schedule that is completely different than what most Americans and British travelers are used to. Every day from 2 p.m. until 5 or 6 p.m. the entire city shuts down for the afternoon lunch and siesta. Cell phones are turned off, knocks are unanswered, and you will find yourself given the cold shoulder if you question why people aren’t working hand and foot to serve you, the mighty tourist. When you come to Salamanca, you come to experience Spain, and in order to do so you must adopt the local customs. However, having several hours in the afternoon where the streets are quiet is also the perfect time to walk around the districts and experience the historic buildings without having to worry about extraneous distractions, and so as long as you can adjust to their schedule you should fit right in. Keep in mind that unlike many European destinations Salamanca is not an English-speaking city. Instead, knowing a bit of Spanish will come in handy, and will help make the locals even more friendly towards you.