The first thing you’ll probably notice when you arrive in Salamanca, apart from the gorgeous architecture, is the abundance of bookshops. This is a very literary city, and bookshops abound partly because of the famously prestigious university and also because Salamanca is one of Spain’s most popular destinations for Spanish language students. You’ll find most booksellers clustered around Plaza Mayor and the university. Plus, the Book Fair takes place in May and in September there’s the Old and Second Hand Book Fair – both of which take over the main squares of Plaza Mayor and Plaza de los Bandos. If you’re looking for a couple of interesting reads to enjoy on your travels, you’ll have no trouble finding them in this city. With so many bookstores to choose from, we’ve narrowed the selection down to a few favourites.
This is the kind of shop that book lovers dream about, located on the appropriately-named Calle Libreros. The shelves in one room of this independent bookshop groan with curiosities, rare volumes, signed copies and first editions, while in another you’re faced with heaps on ancient manuscripts and even engravings. More accessible is the French and English language section, which also has its own room. You can even explore the room dedicated to music, or the collections of antiques and handicrafts from around the world, dating mostly from the turn of the last century. The themes might seem distinct, but the owners maintain that all these art forms are deeply connected.
The unusual combination of antique books and designer jewellery on sale has proven irresistible to Salamanca’s shoppers, and as a result La Nave is always packed. The staff are attentive and charming, always willing to help you find the things you need – whether you knew you needed them or not. If you’re just window shopping, there’s a relaxed atmosphere with the freedom to browse at your leisure among the broad selection of literature, including plenty of weighty titles on philosophy, psychology, sociology and more.
Live music at Libreria Hydria, Salamanca | Photo courtesy of Libreria Hydria
One of the city’s best known independent bookstores, artsy Hydria is renowned not only for its fantastic selection of contemporary fiction, second-hand books and publications in other languages, but it also serves as an art gallery space and hosts live music nights – and of course author readings and book launches.
If you’ve been carting around a book or two that you no longer want, trade it in here and pick up something different. This popular bookseller and buyer aimed at the local students prides itself on low prices, has a modern feel and a great selection, mostly in Spanish.
Across the road is this little bookseller with a bright interior and laid-back atmosphere. Here you’ll find everything from children’s books to cookbooks plus a small second-hand selection including some interesting older editions.
This truly vintage and family-owned bookshop is welcoming, if a little cramped. The place is packed with all kinds of treasures, from antique volumes and leather-bound collections to maps showing Salamanca at various points throughout its curious history, as well as heaps of literary fiction.