Reader J Carmen Smith from Wigan fell in love with Spain's beautiful old cities

Stunning españa

Spain has several World-Heritage Cities, and last summer my husband and I visited three of them—Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca and Cáceres. I already have a great love for Santiago de Compostela, having visited many times over the past 14 years, but this was our first trip to Salamanca and Cáceres.

After three days in Santiago, we took the A66—the Autovia Ruta de la Plata—to Salamanca in the region of Castilla y León. This motorway is a pleasure to drive along, with very little traffic and edged with bushes of golden broom. It’s a fitting route to the golden city.

Our hotel was just a couple of minutes’ walk from the magnificent Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, and we found the old city easy to explore on foot. The weather was perfect and we never tired of watching the intensity of the light change on the yellow stonework of the buildings at different times of the day.

Among the many must-see sights is the Romanesque cathedral, situated in the beautiful open square of the Plaza de Anaya and joined to the “new” gothic cathedral; the  façade of the 16th-century Convento de San Esteban; and the Casa de las Conchas, its exterior covered with over 300 carved stone shells. We explored Salamanca’s museums and university, and relaxed and enjoyed the shade in the small, tranquil Huerto de Calixto y Melibea gardens, before crossing the Roman bridge for a stunning view of the city from the other side of the river.

A comfortable pair of shoes is a must as you explore the city’s Roman, Visigoth and Moorish origins—then take time to sit, enjoy tapas and people-watch with a cold drink. It was impossible not to fall in love with Salamanca, but all too soon it was time to take our leave—Cáceres, and its colony of storks, beckoned!

  • Sample the delights of northern spain:

Flights to Santiago de Compostela via easyJet start from £26.99 one way. Dial 0330 365 5000 or visit easyjet for more details.

 

 

Catherine has danced in Rio, been microlighting in South Africa and hiked the mountains of Oman.

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