Salamanca is a beautiful residential neighborhood in Madrid and shopping district of wide streets and grand 19th century buildings, some of which are now foreign embassies. Salamanca is home to Madrid’s wealthier and most aristocratic residents, as well as the up market shopping boulevards Serrano and Ortega y Gasset. Blocks in the area are square and streets run parallel and perpendicular. Its main streets are Serrano, Velázquez and Goya.
Art & Culture
- National Archaeological Museum:
The most valuable cultural gem of Barrio de Salamanca reopened in 2014 after rehabilitation work that lasted years. The exhibition rooms host objects from Ancient Egypt, Greek pottery and Roman statues, plus an interesting collection of sculptures from the Iberians. A splendid example of Iberian figurative art, La dama de Elche (The Lady of Elche), is one of the highlights.
- Juan March Foundation:
The Foundation runs temporary exhibitions, mostly of contemporary art, and puts on chamber music concerts as well.
- Carlos de Amberes Foundation:
Established in 1594 as a home for pilgrims hailing all the way from the Netherlands, the historical building is today the home of a foundation that aims at bringing the culture from this country in Northwest Europe closer to Madrid. A true gem is kept inside: The Martyrdom of St. Andrew, by Rubens.
- Lázaro Galdiano Museum:
It keeps the collection that art critic José Lázaro Galdiano donated to the State. Among its treasures are Hieronymus Bosch’s St. Jerome, Goya’s Aquelarre (Witches’ Sabbath), and a jar from the ancient city of Tartessos.
If you're willing to venture outside Madrid's typical hub of tourist attractions, there are a handful of great places to explore in Salamanca. See the Student's Residence where Salvador Dalí once lived. North of Serrano you'll pass a number of stately embassies and, way down, just off Serrano, on calle del Pinar 23, the reknown Residencia de Estudiantes. A plethora of famous artists and authors lived or visited here in the early 20th century: Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Miguel de Unamuno, José de Ortega y Gasset and more. It is still residence for students, a library and a cultural center.
This multi-sports hall holds not only the ACB League and the Euroleague Basketball matches of Real Madrid, but world-class concerts as well.
This high-end shopping district showcases the best of Madrid – elegance and style. Renowned designers and national and international brands have their boutiques in Salamanca. Haute couture, shoes with a name and surname, accessories, jewellery and watches will captivate your attention from the glitzy shop windows.
Calle Ortega y Gasset is the main shopping attraction in Salamanca, so much so that it’s known as Madrid’s Golden Mile of fashion. The world’s best-known couturiers offer their latest creations here. Calle Serrano, packed with men’s top clothing brand boutiques, Calle Claudio Coello and Callejón de Jorge Juan, which has become a favourite with luxury shoppers lately, are all delightful shopping streets.
If you’re looking for original artworks from talented artists, Calle Villanueva and adjacent streets, with their amazing art galleries and auction houses, is your destination.
Food & Drink
Barrio de Salamanca has three restaurants that have been awarded with what so many restaurateurs want to be blessed with: Michelin stars. Established more than 40 years ago, Zalacaín is the oldest of the three. Chef Juan Antonio Medina (heir to Benjamín Urdiaín) is a traditional cuisine specialist. Housed in the Único hotel, Ramon Freixa Madrid earned its first star in 2009 and the second one, a year later. Finally, Kabuki Wellington, run by sushiman Ricardo Sanz, serves traditional Japanese delicacies and native ingredients in original preparations.
Less starry but equally stunning and innovative are other restaurants, whose chefs prepare Peruvian or Asian dishes, and specialties from every Spanish region.
Finally, in this district there are several delis that sell a range of mouth-watering products, from artisan bread and pastries to designation of origin wines to cold meats and cheese.
Leisure & Nightlife
Nightlife in Salamanca spreads style, elegance and glamour. The area becomes active early in the afternoon.
As it accommodates a great many headquarters of big companies, this neighbourhood has lots of bars for after work drinks. Beer, wine and snacks are perfect for business executives to relax and enjoy their time after a long day at the office.
Later at night, pints and glasses of wine give way to more elaborate drinks like gin tonic, which is the refreshing blend everybody seems to be drinking these days. There are even cocktail lounges specialising in this mix consisting of gin, tonic water and aromatic leaves. The top barmen of Madrid can be seen in Salamanca, stirring and shaking the ingredients of that perfect cocktail you’ll be sipping, wrapped in the glamorous atmosphere of this exclusive neighbourhood.
When the evening pulls the sun down, Salamanca keeps going, since some of the city’s most elegant nightclubs can be found here.
Most nightspots offer good value for money in that although prices are higher than in other neighborhoods in the city, for the most part you do get what you pay for. As to be expected, much of the crowd is made up if wealthy individuals, however there certainly are others from all walks of life. Regardless of one’s social standing, though, people do dress to impress. Le Boutique (c/Serrano, 45) and Gabana 1800 (c/Velázquez, 6) are some of the most well-known clubs.
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