There are three high-speed trains to and from Madrid every day. They take just less than 2 hours and cost 25€ to 31€ each way. The railway station is at Calle Alfonso Peña (tel. 90-232-03-20;www.renfe.com), about a 15-minute walk from the edge of the old town. Ten to twenty-three bus connections a day from Salamanca are very convenient. The express takes 50 minutes (6.30€) while the regular bus (5.25€) takes 1 hour. The town’s bus station lies a few paces from the railway station, at Calle Alfonso Peña, 3 (tel. 98-052-12-81). Call tel. 90-202-00-52 for bus schedules and price information. If you’re driving from Madrid, take the A-6 superhighway northwest toward Valladolid, cutting west on the N-VI and west again at the turnoff onto 122.
The Oficina Municipal de Turismo, Plaza de Arias Gonzalo, 6 (tel. 98-053-36-94;www.zamora.es/lang), is open daily 10am to 2pm and 4 to 7pm.
A Side Trip to Toro
Just a 40-minute drive east of Zamora on the A-11, Toro is a spectacularly well-preserved medieval city that highlights the third strategy Castilian kings used in the re-conquest of their lands from the Moors. Equal to the sword and the cross was the vine. Building on those first 11th-century plantings, Toro has become the heart of its own D.O. wine district, and ever since scientific winemakers began to tame the powerful tinto de Toro grape (a strain of Tempranillo) in the 1980s, the biggest names in Spanish viticulture have flocked to the area to establish vineyards. Some of the best Toro wines are made by Bodegas Fariña, and are named for the most beautiful church in town, the Colegiata. Toro’s single main street is lined with shops offering free tastings and selling the local wines—so many that if you’re not careful, you’ll be woozy by the time you get to that 13th-century Colegiata, officially Santa María la Mayor, located (of course) on Plaza Santa María (no phone; Mon–Fri 10am–2pm and 5–8pm, Sat 10am–2pm). Ironically, you enter the church from the rear so officials can charge a 1€ admission (except during Mass). They do so because the main entrance, the Pórtico de la Majestad (Portal of Majesty) ★★★, is one of the most magnificent examples of Gothic stone carving in Spain, and you have to go through the church and back out to view it. The carved figures of the Last Judgment—all still painted in sun-blasted pastels—reveal something of the carver’s theology: First to be saved, even before the Virgins and the Martyrs, are the musicians.