The Salamanca Frog: How to Find It and What Happens Next

By Abi King | Spain

Dec 11

For centuries, the university town of Salamanca has entertained students, children and visitors with a game of “spot the frog.” An immense sandstone carving guards the entrance to the Universidad Civil and legend has it that those who find the small (and weathered) frog among the heroes, legends and coats of arms will have good luck in the following year.

Sounds straightforward enough, right?

Not so fast.

How to Find the Frog in Salamanca

The frog is small, the carving intricate. As befits the oldest university in Spain (and third oldest in the world,) the University Entrance is a rather grand affair. Even when you know what you’re looking for, it can take some time.

Related: Madrid’s Literary Quarter



Still searching for the frog in Salamanca

Still searching

Closing in on the frog in Salamanca

Closing in on the frog

By now, however, the poor frog looks considerably worse for wear.

The Frog in Salamanca

The Frog

A few streets away, a similar apricot-coloured carving graces the walls of the New Cathedral (after all, work only began on this one in 1513.)


Spain, like many European countries, has plenty of cathedrals: vast, ornate monuments that dominate city centres and symbolise both the church’s power and its importance throughout the region’s history.

But how many have an astronaut in their delicately-carved stone?

Take a closer look, however, because during 20th century restoration work, a new citizen appeared among the gargoyles…

Astronaut in Salamanca


The astronaut of Salamanca.


About the Author

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.

  • Helly (Travel by the Calendar) says:

    lol, love the astronaut. I’m afraid I can’t see the frog, even when it’s pointed out to me. Looks more like a skull to me. Or is the frog sitting on top of the skull? Hmmmm

  • Amy @ The Q Family says:

    LOL.. Love the astronaut

  • Sharlene says:

    I can barely even tell its a frog. I don’t think I would have ever found it.

  • TheWordWire says:

    “Spot the Frog” sounds like a great game — the place is so beautiful, I hope I get to spot it one day myself. Thanks for sharing!

  • Abi says:

    Yes – the frog is that dissolving splodge on top of the skull…
    The astronaut is much easier to spot!

  • Dominique says:

    That’s a frog? It looked kind of like a pig to me :lol:

  • Abi says:

    Well, you know, he’s a very old frog by now…

  • Melvin says:

    A frog? Never! If that little round thing is something… then it is a toad! ;-)

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