Salamanca. It’s yet another Madrid day trip where wheelchair accessible information is hard to come by.
I approached my trip to Salamanca with low expectations and left amazed at how accessible the city is. Read on for details about wheelchair accessibility in Salamanca.
Note: The information here is based on my observation as a non-wheelchair user. If you have firsthand experience as a wheelchair user in Salamanca, I’d love to hear about your time there in the comments section. I appreciate it, and I’m sure our future readers will too.
General Wheelchair Accessibility in Salamanca
Salamanca is the antithesis of what makes wheelchair accessibility difficult in many Spanish towns.
You won’t encounter endless amounts of cobblestone. Instead, a smoother version of cobblestone will greet your wheels on most main streets.
Even better, Salamanca transformed some of its original cobblestone streets into smooth terrain with squares of the original cobblestone scattered about. What an ingenious way to honor the old while promoting accessibility!
Furthermore, Salamanca doesn’t have many steep inclines within its historical center. That’s especially the case if you’re arriving from the bus or train station—you’ll be able to enjoy a flat journey into the heart of the city.
This isn’t to say that Salamanca is incline-free, though, for it does have its hilly areas. Most notably, the section of town when you’re traveling up from the river.
But generally speaking, both manual and power wheelchair users will find that most inclines in downtown Salamanca are manageable.
As happy as I was to see the streets of Salamanca offer decent wheelchair accessibility, the buildings in Salamanca weren’t as accessible. I’ll talk more about accessible buildings shortly.
Getting to Salamanca
If you’re looking to take a day trip from Madrid using public transportation, Salamanca is a great option for wheelchair users.
Both the train and bus stations in Salamanca are near the historical center, about a 15 – 20 minute stroll away. There are sidewalks the entire way, with drop curbs at all crossings.
Both the Renfe trains and the Avanza buses offer support for wheelchair users, which can be requested when booking your ticket online or in person.
Wheelchair Accessible Parking in Salamanca
If you’re driving to Salamanca, I recommend finding a parking lot on the outskirts of the historical center and leaving your vehicle there.
The historical center of Salamanca is very small.
This, in conjunction with Salamanca’s good street accessibility, means that driving between sites and seeking out new parking spots is often more of a hassle than it’s worth.
The one possible exception to this is the Roman Bridge since it’s located down a short but rather steep hill from the center.
9 Wheelchair Accessible Things to Do in Salamanca
For as small as it is, Salamanca is packed with interesting things to do. In addition to the wheelchair accessible activities I’ll cover below, I encourage you to spend time exploring its streets.
You’re bound to come across plenty of your own Salamanca gems!
1. Plaza Mayor
Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor is everything you’d expect from a Spanish plaza. It has lots of open space, beautiful old buildings, multiple arched entranceways, and tons of tourists gawking at it all.
At first glance, it’s easy to mistake Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor for Madrid’s Plaza Mayor.
Talk about impressive.
In terms of wheelchair accessibility, the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca is superb. The ground is smooth and level. And many restaurants set up outdoor tables for lunch and dinner, making it a great (albeit expensive) accessible place to dine.
2. Roman Bridge
The Roman Bridge, formally called Puente Mayor del Tormes, is one of the most photographed places in Salamanca. It connects the old city with land on the opposite side of the Tormes River and has been there in one version or another for hundreds of years.
Getting to the Roman Bridge from the historical center involves going down a steep hill.
Therefore, it may be more comfortable to make your visit to the bridge either at the beginning or at the end of your Salamanca visit so you can drive there.
The bridge itself is cobblestone brick. It’ll be bumpy, but it’s not the kind of cobblestone that small wheels will get stuck in.
3. Casa de las Conchas
It’s hard to miss Casa de las Conchas when you’re roaming about Salamanca.
If it isn’t the seashell sculpture sticking out of the ground that stops you in your tracks, it’ll be all the seashells, called “conchas” in Spanish, plastered to the building.
Built in the late 1400s, there are over 300 shells on Casa de las Conchas’ walls. They represent the order of Santiago. But nowadays, they could fool someone who hasn’t looked at a map into thinking that the ocean is nearby.
The Casa de las Conchas is currently a public library. Unfortunately, there are two large steps leading into it, so the building isn’t accessible for wheelchair users.
4. Salamanca Cathedral
The Salamanca Cathedral is a beauty to look at because it’s two buildings combined—an old and a new cathedral.
It’s also disheartening for wheelchair users since, at first glance, the Salamanca Cathedral appears to be surrounded by steps.
For wheelchair users to access the cathedral, someone must go up the steps to notify the staff at the ticket booth. They’ll then open the door around the side of the cathedral, which offers an accessible entrance.
When facing the main entrance of the cathedral, the accessible entrance is to the right side. Even so, you’ll still have to go up a small ledge to get to the sidewalk leading to that door.
Once inside, the ground floor of the Salamanca Cathedral is accessible. They waive the entrance fee for wheelchair users.
5. University of Salamanca
Salamanca was a city created for academia. The University of Salamanca, founded in 1218, is the third oldest university in the western world.
The university is still active today, with Salamanca’s streets filled with both students and tourists.
You’ll encounter many university buildings when exploring Salamanca. However, none are as famous as the massive building with red doors at the corner of the Salamanca Cathedral and Plaza de Anaya.
While impressive, the main University of Salamanca entrance has steep steps. So, wheelchair users can only admire the building from the outside.
6. Art Nouveau Museum
The Art Nouveau Museum offers around 2,500 decorative art pieces ranging from the last part of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
Even people who aren’t museum buffs will be able to appreciate many of the pieces. It offers a visually engaging experience without the huge blocks of text you sometimes find at museums.
The Art Nouveau Museum is wheelchair accessible, thanks to ramps and an elevator that serves the first and second floors.
7. Convento de San Esteban
Like so many cities in Spain, Salamanca has a convent. The Convento de San Esteban is yet another beautiful piece of architecture to admire from the outside.
Once you’ve soaked in the beauty of the convent from the plaza in front of it, take a peek inside.
Salamanca’s Convento de San Esteban offers wheelchair accessibility on the first floor. Once you enter the convent, you can bypass the ticket booth—they waive the entrance fee for wheelchair users.
From there, you’ll pass through the courtyard. But first, someone must put down the portable wooden ramp that rests against the adjacent door.
Once out in the courtyard area, you can explore the area, which varies in terrain from uneven stone slabs to smooth, more modern flooring.
The courtyard is small, so it won’t take long to visit, but I recommend it.
8. Calle Torro
If the thought of shopping on a trip to a historical city makes you cringe, I get it. Feel free to move to the next point.
But if you’re a shopaholic or looking to pass some spare time before your train departs, taking a stroll down Calle Torro is a great option.
Calle Torro has smooth, flat pedestrian streets. Many of the restaurants and shops along it are wheelchair accessible.
Even if you’re not inclined to go on a shopping spree, Calle Torro is pretty to look at since there are a fair amount of old buildings scattered among the more modern shops.
One of my favorite things to do in Salamanca is enjoying a three-course Spanish meal while people-watching.
There’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from, many of which offer “menús.”
That means that you’ll get an appetizer, main meal, and dessert for anywhere from 12 – 15+ Euros, depending on the location and how expensive your ingredients are (chicken versus cod, for example).
In addition, the “menús” all come with bread and a drink of your choice- wine, beer, or water. Some places even offer sangria.
You’ll find an array of accessible outdoor seating at the restaurants in Salamanca’s historical center to enjoy this Spanish experience to the fullest.
Ready to Visit Salamanca?
Salamanca is by far one of the best wheelchair accessible day trips from Madrid. Well-adapted streets, friendly locals, and delicious food make it a great choice.
Have you been to Salamanca? I’d love to hear about your experience, tips, and favorite accessible places in the comments section.
Also, if you have questions about wheelchair travel to Salamanca, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.
P.S.- Looking for other day trip options from Madrid? Head on over to our post on five accessible day trips from Madrid. Also, don’t forget to check out our guide on 11 accessible things to do in Madrid.
Laura has been wandering the globe for over a decade. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.