Salamanca hosts more than 25,000 students during semester time, which means that the average age of the city’s inhabitant is quite young and that its nightlife is absolutely amazing. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see bars still open at four o’clock in the morning and night clubs until seven.
If you are going to visit Salamanca, I recommend you look for accommodation, even if your original plan is to go alone for the day: I’m telling you upfront that you’ll probably get caught up in the good vibes and party atmosphere and end up wanting to spend the night.
I also don’t want you to end up like us the first time we went: we had planned to return in the evening but ended up going out on the town and finishing the night at seven in the morning (after having drunk a hellava lot, let’s be honest). In the end, we had to stay to sleep in our car, and in the morning when they tapped on our window to see if we were ok, the very friendly local police recommended we renew our parking ticket before letting us get back to sleep!
Parties in Salamanca often start in the afternoon with a few beers in the pleasant and relaxed atmosphere of the Plaza Mayor. Most of the other bars are also found around the Plaza Mayor, so you can continue the party with a little pub crawl.
At sundown, there are loads of bars around Plaza de San Juan Bautista, Calle del Grillo or Calle Varillas selling cheap litres of beer or wine mixed with coke. A good place to stop off before the night really gets started.
The area around Paseo Carmelitas has some really lively terraces with commercial music and lots of two-for-one drinks offers. There are several bar areas in the city, but the Gran Vía and the surrounding streets have been the local party spot for over twenty years. You’ll find a party almost anywhere you go, but just be careful not to fall for the same thing that once happened to me and some friends: we were partying on Gran Via, leaving one bar to head to another, when we saw a huge line of young people in front a nearby building. Thinking that it had to be a good place, we decided to join the queue. It was not until almost an hour later, when we saw that the line wasn’t moving that we noticed that we were queuing at the door of a morgue.
Good thing we didn’t actually get in because it wouldn’t have been until we asked someone where the bar was that we would have realised where we really were! Many of the bars and clubs in Salamanca have really cool interiors. Such as “El Puerto de Chus“, which has a maritime-themed fit out, or “El Submarino“, a bar decorated with actual pieces of submarine.
For those who can while away countless hours in clubs, you can’t leave Salamanca without having checked out “la Camelot“. Located in the Bordadores area in part of the Ursulas Convent, this club is the most famous in Salamanca and features an amazing medieval style fit out with stone columns, shields and even a pulpit.
Music Factory is also not far from here, a venue that thanks to its live music and concerts has forced itself on to the list of things you’ve got to see in Salamanca. Another nightclub that’s deeply engrained in the city’s cultural scene is the Cvm Lavde nightclub (located on Calle Prior), which has a replica of the Plaza Mayor on its dance floor.
If it’s more of an international style you’re after, you shouldn’t miss the Irish Rover Theatre, another of the must-sees in Salamanca. A café by day and an Irish pub at night, this is a great place to enjoy music, have a Guinness and find Erasmus parties, all in the atmosphere of a classic Irish theatre (word of warning, this place is slightly further from the downtown area than the others).
Other obligatory visits include La Perla Negra, Zhivago, Gatsby, Capitolium, La Hacienda, La Posada de las Ánimas and La Bibliotheca. As you can see, there is so much nightlife on offer, you could spend a whole weekend partying without even seeing all the ‘must-see’ places! And as I do not recommend you to stay in your car (no matter how nice the local police are), I suggest you find suitable accommodation before you go.
As Salamanca is a city with a lot of “nocturnal student tourism”, you can imagine there are a lot of very economical accommodation options. Don’t get carried away with the prices though, unless you like the sound of what happened to us the second time we went when we stayed in a hostel that cost just 25 euros for the whole weekend: the hostel sheets were sticky (with god knows what, we preferred to sleep on top of our coats) and when we were checking in they assured us that nothing bad had happened in the hostel in the last 5 years… we were up half the night wondering what must have happened 6 years ago!
True, at that time we were students and had to ration every last euro. But now, I would recommend a place like the Boutique Hotel Room Mate Vega, which is both affordable, really nice and is located just by the Gran Vía and the bar area, which is really handy when you’re stumbling home early in the morning after one of the best nights out of your life!