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By Meg West - Fri 18th Jan 2013

Now that Christmas and New Year are merely a distant memory and weíre all back working hard, I thought it was about time I returned with some top tips for making the most of your time in Madrid. And whatís my tip for today? Leave Madrid, and get on the bus to Salamanca.

Salamanca is a beautiful town two hours north west of Madrid. Positively overflowing with impressive architecture and history, itís said to be a smaller, nicer version of Madrid. And whilst I certainly wouldnít agree with that (well, thereís no denying that itís tiny in comparison) itís definitely still one to be ticked off the checklist before leaving this part of Spain.

Salamanca is home to Spainís oldest, active university, which was constructed in 1218 under the reign of Alfonso IX of Leůn. The university buildings are exactly what you would expect from an ancient European university, with vast courtyards, staircases and pillars galore. On a similar note, also worth a visit are Salamancaís two cathedrals: the old, 12th century and of the Romanesque style, and the new, a 16th century Gothic style construction which was completed in the 18th century. It might be worth picking up a tour guide to see these particular sights as there are some amusing additions to the architecture (a result of the reconstruction work) which you wonít want to miss.

I wonít mention them all, but Salamanca has many more points of interest; Plaza mayor, an ancient convent and an impressive church to name but a few. What is great about this city is that everythingís within a 20-30 minute walk, meaning you wonít have to spend any money on transport and can really soak up the atmosphere by wandering the streets. Thereís even a main shopping street where youíll find all of Spainís main high street shops, just on a slightly smaller scale.

There is one further aspect of Salamanca that cannot go unmentioned. Salamanca is notorious for its student community and attracts hundreds of international students every year because of its reputation and prestige. And with the students, comes the nightlife. Salamanca is packed full of bars, clubs and house parties, of which the former two will charge minimal fees for entry and drinks. If youíre used to Madrid prices, Salamanca is a fresh of breath air.

So I suppose all thatís left to give you is the link to book your bus ! ( > click here < ).

Please allow me to recommend the more expensive route; you get a luxury coach and a nice straight motorway. Having experienced both I can assure you itís worth the extra 5 euros !

Inhispania Language School, Madrid.

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