• Salamanca's Old Cathedral

Salamanca

This sunny sandstone city boasts Spain’s grandest plaza, its oldest university, and a fascinating history, all swaddled in a strolling, college-town ambience. A youthful and less touristy version of Toledo, Salamanca is home to a series of monuments, a pair of buttress-sharing cathedrals from different centuries, clusters of cloisters, and several interesting museums. Take a paseo with the local crowd down Calle de Rúa Mayor and through Plaza Mayor. The young people congregate until late in the night, chanting and cheering, talking and singing. When I asked a local woman why young men all alone on Plaza Mayor suddenly break into song, she said, “Doesn’t it happen where you live?”