Ciudad Vieja de Salamanca
Salamanca's Plaza Mayor is regarded as one of the most beautiful plaza's in all of Spain. Originally opening in 1756 as a plaza for bull fighting, today it is lined by restaurants, coffee shops, and tourist stores.
At night, it is usually stunningly lit up and often gets described as, "glowing." Unfortunately, the night that I spent in Salamanca, it was not lit up, for whatever reason. I was very disappointed by my bad luck.
Ciudad Vieja de Salamanca
Simply put, this is just the old town which is downtown. It's likely you'll stroll through this area anyways. You'll know right away from the ambience and the incredible history and architecture.
Universidad de Salamanca
The University of Salamanca is right in the heart of the city of Salamanca. It might blend in with the rest of the city but you'll know you're at the university when you're near the cathedral and you notice students mulling around with a friend or two on the benches between the cathedral and the university or in the grassy areas between them. Restaurants and shops line the area as well.
Universidad de Salamanca is the oldest university in the Hispanic world and one of the oldest in the world in continuous operation. It trails (in order) the University of Bologna, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. It was founded by King Alfonso IX in 1218.
Old Cathedral & Cathedral Nueva
While they are two different cathedrals, they are built together. The €6 entrance fee gets you access to both cathedrals. Just follow the arrows on the ground and it will take you through both cathedrals. Credit cards are accepted.
The Old Cathedral was completed in the 14th century in the Romanesque/Gothic style. The New Cathedral was completed in the 18th century in the Gothic and Baroque style. It might not come as a shock but the old cathedral is noticeably smaller than the new cathedral.
Convento de San Esteban
The Convent of Salamanca is of the Dominican denomination built in the Gothic and Renaissance style. It was completed in 1610. Take your time before you go in to admire the facade. I highly recommend taking the time to admire the facade during the day AND at night. It is truly a stunning work of art.
There is a designated path to follow when you go in to explore the convent. When you enter you will need to pay your entrance fee IN CASH. Credit cards are not accepted at the convent. Once you pay your €4 entrance fee you can get a guide pamphlet in English, German, French, or Spanish.
The Roman Bridge
There's really not much to the bridge besides its historical significance. The exact date of the construction of the bridge is unknown but what is known is the it was mandated to be built by Emperors Augustus and Vespasian. Knowing this means it could have been built anywhere from 27BC-79AD. It is a bimillennium architectural monument!
The bridge you see today is the result of a few restorations as it has suffered damage over the years. Today it is strictly a pedestrian bridge which means it might be worthwhile to take a stroll over the bridge and back just to say you did so.
Where To Stay
One of the great things about Salamanca is that the city is very compact. Everything you'll want to see and explore is right downtown. Staying downtown would save a lot of trouble.
Need To Know's
A full day in Salamanca is enough time to see the important sites. So I recommend at least a night in the, "Golden City." Anything less and you might miss some of the worthwhile sites and might feel rushed.
For example, I missed the very popular Museo Art Nouveau y Art Déco Casa Lis. It is a famous art museum. I found out the hard way it closes at Monday-Friday at 5pm when arriving at 4:30pm. 30 minutes is not enough time to get the full experience of the museum. Keep that in mind.
It is definitely worth staying a night in Salamanca so you can see the sites like Plaza Mayor, Convento de San Esteban, the Old Cathedral & Cathedral Nueva, and La Clericía church during the day and lit up at night.
Both the train and bus stations are outside the city center. The city itself is completely walkable so it's not really that far but if you're staying in the city center and taking the train elsewhere, then account for a roughly 30 minute walk to the train station. The station is located northeast of the city center.
I did not take a bus to or from Salamanca so I cannot speak to the bus station but when I looked at a map of the city, it appeared to be roughly the same distance outside the city as the train station. The bus station is straight west of the city center.
Other To Do's
City Spanish Civil War Exhibit
This is a public, city run, exhibit near the river and near the Museo Art Nouveau y Art Déco Casa Lis. It is all in Spanish. There is no entry fee.
The exhibit consists of Spanish Civil War (Guerra Civil Española in Spanish) memorabilia. Quite a few interesting propaganda pamphlets and it even has a whole display of Masonic items and a Masonic Temple.
Public Library View
Another place with no entry fee. There isn't particularly much to see from this place, except for an actual library in the basement. But, it's located directly across from La Clericía church and has a fantastic view of the towers of La Clericía church.