Tourism around Salamanca's Plaza Mayor


  • Plaza Mayor (Main Square)
  • Iglesia de San Martín (Church of Saint Martín)
  • Casa de las Conchas (House of Shells)
  • La Clerecía
  • Torre del Clavero (Clavero Tower)
plaza mayor

As the heart of Salamanca life, the Plaza Mayor quarter is naturally replete with must-sees to add to your Salamanca tourism check-list. Not surprisingly, a great starting point and introduction to the area is the Plaza Mayor. Built in the 18th century by one of the Churriguera brothers (this time it's Alberto), it's considered to be Spain's most beautiful main square- no easy feat since essentially every Spanish city and town has one! Once used for the autos-da-fé and executions of the Spanish Inquisition and later for bullfights, today the enclosed plaza is filled with terrace cafés perfect for taking in the plaza's beguiling Baroque grandeur and the magnificent three-story façade of the Ayuntamiento (City Hall).

Wedged into a huddle of houses you'll find the Iglesia de San Martín, a small 12th century church showcasing the early Christian architecture of the Romanesque period. Venture in through the Romanesque entrance (through which people have entered for nine centuries!) and take in the delightful mix of Romanesque and early Gothic elements.

casa de las conchas Continuing south en route to the Salamanca University quarter, you'll come across two stunning buildings right across from each other on a narrow street Calle de la Compañía: the Casa de las Conchas and the Clerecía. The first of the two is a 16th century mansion that is perhaps Salamanca's most distinctive building. Why? The original owner, Dr. Rodrigo Maldonado de Talavera, was a member of Spain's elite Order of Saint James (otherwise known as Santiago) of which the emblem is the scallop shell- for this reason the building is practically an ode to the shell. Featuring rows upon rows of carved shells on its exterior, it is without a doubt a stunning, one-of-a-kind sight. Now serving as Salamanca's public library, the mansion has a recently restored courtyard boasting Gothic and Renaissance elements... not to mention an incredible view of La Clerecía from the second level!

The latter of the two, La Clerecía, is a colossal Baroque church forming part of the Universidad Pontificia (the religious university) complex. It's only open for mass, so try to sneak in during the half-hour beforehand for a glimpse! Regardless, La Clerecía has a stunning patio that you can always visit which bears a resemblance to a miniature version of the Plaza Mayor.

One more interesting stop is the Torre del Clavero, a 15th century tower featuring Gothic pepperpot turrets. Upon seeing it, you may question what exactly it is... you're not the only one! It's function is unknown, although there is a hypothesis that it was originally attached to a since-vanished mansion. Nevertheless, it is a city landmark and an interesting touristic stop in the Playa Mayor quarter.