A Guide to Frog-Spotting in Salamanca

Salamanca University
Salamanca University | © Mario Sánchez Prada / Flickr

Every visitor to Salamanca hears about the fabled frog, one of the most famous symbols of this beautiful Spanish city. But unlike Salamanca’s other, more obvious landmarks, this one is small and carefully hidden, and not all visitors manage to seek it out.

The legend goes like this: when students arrive for the very first time at the renowned University of Salamanca – the oldest in Spain and the third-oldest in the world – they’re greeted with a challenge: if they can spot the tiny frog carved into the intricate stone facade of the university’s main building, they’re sure to have great academic success and pass their exams without a problem. Sounds easy enough. But the trouble is, the carved stonework above the main entrance, La Puerta de Salamanca, is very intricate.

Carvings at Salamanca University

Created during the 16th century, this highly decorative stone entrance opens out onto a small plaza where you’ll usually find tourists and students gazing upwards, searching the exterior to find the little frog. Even if you’re not a student at the university, it’s still good fun to try to find the famous symbol. Some say it can take hours. If you would like a little bit of extra help with your search, read on to the end of the article, where we’ll give you a clue as to where to find it.

If you’re wondering what the frog symbolises, recent studies explain that the skull it’s sitting on is meant to represent Seville’s Prince Juan, who died as a teenager in 1497 before the facade was built. The frog represents Doctor Parra, the doctor who tried frantically to save the prince’s life. This explains the frog’s nickname of Parrita (‘little Parra’).

Salamanca is famously home to several similar curious stone carvings. To see more, walk across to the nearby New Cathedral, where you can find a gargoyle eating an ice cream, and an astronaut, carved onto its centuries-old facade.

Spoiler: Look out for a skull on the right-hand side of the facade; the frog is sitting on top.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article