Activities and Freetime at ISLA

As well as learning Spanish you will want to make the very most out of your time in Spain.  Whether you are here for one week or one year, this is your chance to live experiences and make lots of memories to take home.

Hopefully your freetime will be filled with Spanish practice, Spanish culture and vistas …. and fun times with a group of friends of all ages and from different countries. The three can be combined!

You can read about the activities on offer at ISLA here. These happen almost every day and, while optional, are almost always well attended.  We think that this is because we don't out-source activities preferring to organize things in-house and participate in them ourselves to lend them a uniquely ISLA stamp. We love Spain and want to share this enthusiasm with you.

A typical weekly program includes a welcome event, city visit, salsa lesson, cooking lesson and ISLA Surprise.  Most Fridays there is a tapas tour or other sort of dinner. And every other weekend a cultural trip or Dieter's Drive. The ISLA Challenge, microtheatre, interactive seminars and wine tasting also feature regularly on our activity program. Every Monday you get an email with the week's offerings which are also posted on the web and on the school screens. Some are free, others have a small charge and it is advisable to sign up quick a some have a maximum amount of participants.

Shopping for a top, the pool, running, cooking dinner with friends, chatting with your host family and of course going out on the razzle dazzle are all things that you will enjoy here too. So remember to save some time for your homework!

Dieter’s Drive, Summer 2015, Clip made by Minkyu, an ISLA Student

Salsa Lessons

ISLA's salsa lessons take place almost every week in the Txoko, usually at 22:00. Juliá and Paul care about teaching you the steps so as well as having a fun time you go away with a new skill. We also offer, flamenco, zumba and breakdance on demand.

  • Price: free
  • Duration: 22.00-23.00
  • Minimum Spanish Level: A1
  • Previous Salsa experience: none required
  • Level of fitness: able to dance around for one hour

ISLA’s Cooking

You will be able to wow your family and friends back home after learning easy crowd-pleasing Spanish dishes in ISLA’s Cooking weekly cooking sessions. On the menu are: "patatas bravas” (deep fried potato cubes with spicy sauce) , “pisto” (ratatouille), "patatas arrugadas” (baby baked potatoes with special Canarian sauces) , two - way nachos, "huevos rotos” (potatos and broken eggs) "la paloma” (Potato salad in a giant crisp), "salpicón de marisco” (seafood salad) and more. The first 3 are fine for vegans, the first 5 for vegetarians. As well as learning how to prepare a few dishes, and making them yourself, you will also eat them in a jolly atmosphere while practising your Spanish!

  • Cost: 5 euros
  • Min. Spanish level: none required
  • Min cooking level: none required!
  • Time: 1,5 hours
  • Level of fitness: none, but let us know if you have any food intolerances.

Welcome Party

Newcomers will have already seen each other in the morning at the classification test and over the welcome coffee in the Txoko afterwards. The welcome party on the Tuesday evening is a chance for them to meet those students who are "old hands", that is those who joined ISLA a few days or weeks earlier.

The fairy lights are strung around, candles lit, DJ paraphanelia out and drinks cooled. See Dieter's special sangria recipe on Youtube. Apart from the sangria there's cava, wine and beer as well a variety of soft drinks and juices for minors and teetotallers. We start at 21:30 and finish at 23:00 when often student chose to continue the evening at “Bar Centenera” around the corner.

On Tuesdays in quieter months newcomers are taken for Welcome tapas and drinks of their choice at “Bar Trastero” instead. This activity runs from 20:00-21:30. They will meet the other students at the ISLA surprise a day or so later.

  • Level of fitness: none

Wine Tasting

Dieter takes charge of this activity which happens on selected Fridays throughout the year. The purpose is to enjoy some good Spanish wine and its food pairings and learn a bit about Spanish wine. 

The Cata or Wine tasting starts with a powerpoint presentation about wine in Spain, its importance on the world stage and it also includes hints about wine tasting for beginners as this activity is for everyone, not just for wine pros!

We begin with a cava and then continue with white, rosé and red wines from different Spanish wine regions. Lastly a sweet desert wine and aguardiente.  To up the fun, a competition involving a blind tasting in which students order the bottles (whose labels are concealed) by price and are quizzed on Dieter's presentation, the winner taking home his peer's adulation and a nice prize!

At the end of the presentation Dieter is delighted to answer questions and give advice about wine purchase.

  • Price: 10 euros
  • Minimum age: 18 years old
  • Duration: 21:00-23:00
  • Level of fitness: none

Salamanca walks

UNESCO heritage city, Cultural Capital of Europe Salamanca is so flirty she rather sells herself. But there is nothing like a deeply knowledgeable guide ready to share the stories and the secrets of the city they are passionate about. Salamanca’s weekly walks you will stay engaged from start to finish. And will join in too! This is no tedious plod through the facts and figures but a dynamic and dazzling journey through Salamanca's streets… and her history.

The Old Town visit which takes in the exteriors of Salamanca's beautiful, golden sandstone cathedrals, universities and convents, her Calixto and Melibea garden and Plaza Mayor happens every 2 weeks. In addition there is one other city tour picked from these:

The Cathedral Towers with their magnificent view, the Civil University (one of the four oldest in Europe), the Catholic Pontificia University, the Claras and Dueñas Convents (great cookies made by the nuns) and the San Esteban Convent where Colombus sealed the deal with the Catholic kings to finance his 1492 voyage which resulted in the discovery of the Americas. There is also a special Night Stroll when Salamanca's monuments are lit up in full glory. And a trip to the Art Moderno Art Deco Casa Lis Museum, which also has beautiful stained glass windows (as featured in the ISLA movie) and a lovely café.
  • Level of Spanish required: none as visits for beginners include English translations.
  • Length of activity: between 1 hour and 1,5 hours.
  • Price: 3 euros or free (General Visit and Night Stroll)
  • Level of fitness: able to walk slowly for about 2 hours with stops

Dieter’s Drive

Dieter's Drives are days out to off-the-beaten track locations. Often quite literally. Big coaches can't get where Dieter's Drives go and anyway the vibe and size are more road trip than tour group. Here, the highlights are the countryside and small villages rather than grand historic buildings. They usually involve a picnic with typical Spanish treats, Dieter's wine, idyllic swimming holes, big views and sundowners.
Also the chance to share Dieter's passion for Spain and enjoy relaxed chit chat with your ISLA friends.

Cost: 19 euros. Bring: swimsuit, jumper.

  • 1) Sierra de Gredos: Peña Negra to watch the paragliders. Pit stop at La Hergijuela, one of the highest villages in Spain. "El Pozo de la Pared" swimming hole with big rocks and a Roman bridge. And to the Santa Teresa reservoir for the sunset.
  • 2) Los Arribes del Duero: the jagged border countryside between Spain and Portugal with a micro-climate and orange trees. Crater bathing by the Duero river, river beach and big birds of prey on big rocks.
  • 3) Sierra de Francia: Mogarraz – with villagers’ portaits painted on the typical houses, Mestas village (inhabitants 21, bars 4) for a magical aphrodisiac drink made out of herbs, honey and pollen, river bathing in the Batuecas valley, sundowners on the top of the Peña de Francia for panoramic views.
  • Level of fitness: none

Interactive Seminars

More than a lecture, the interactive seminar features a dynamic student-teacher exchange and requires active student participation via role play - students love taking pictures of themselves dressed up in costumes of the age!

Music and images play their part to keep the student's attention captive so they absorb as much information as possible and thus perform well in the quiz at the end of the activity. Our interactive seminars have their own online platform which comprises exercises, multilingual glossaries, videos, a bibliography and photo gallery. The website is:

We currently have 3 Interactive seminars:

  • Don Quijote, The Spanish Inquisition and Columbus in Salamanca.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Minimum level of Spanish: A2.
  • Price: Free
  • Level of fitness: none

Tapas Tour

ISLA's tapas tours take place on selected Friday evenings. We depart from ISLA at around 20:30 and usually visit around 4 bars consuming about 5 tapas, though often we'll share "raciones" which are like big tapas for 3 or 4 people. Students choose between beer wine or "tinto de verano" (a bit like sangria) or a soft drink such as "mosto" (grape juice) or coca cola at the beginning of the tour (usual minor restrictions apply) and often an intern will shoot ahead to the next bar so even larger groups are accommodated quickly. Vegetarians can also be accommodated.

Students enjoy getting to know bars they wouldn't usually visit (we have two or three different routes) and the explanations and stories of the guide. At the end of the tour students often end up in Bar Centenera (also known as the ISLA Bar) to continue with their evening.

  • Pice: 10 euros
  • Duration: 20:30 – 23:00
  • Minimum Spanish level: A1
  • Level of fitness: none, but let us know if you have any food intolerances.

Excursion to Segovia

Once every month or so we take a trip to the fairytale city of Segovia. With a picturesque backdrop of the Guadarrama mountains, the key sights here are its superb Aqueduct, Plaza Mayor, Cathedral and reconstructed fortress, the Alcazar which legend claims Walt Disney used as a blueprint for his famous logo. The group is accompanied by Javi or one of the other ISLA guides who explains the city's important role in Spanish history, its unique melting pot of cultures (Christian, Jewish and Arab) and the different historical buildings.

On the way home we make a stop to contemplate Avila's magnificent walls, which are lit up if it is winter or which bask in the evening sun if it is summer.

  • Duration: approx 10 hours (journey time 2´15 hours each way)
  • Minimum level of Spanish: A1
  • Price: 35 euros
  • Level of fitness: able to walk slowly for about 2 hours with stops

Amanda’s Pot Luck Dinner

Once a month on a Friday around 20:30 a long table with tea-lights is laid out in the Txoko, along with a service table strewn with random serving spoons, ladles and large plates. What's the event? The Potluck Dinner! Students show up bearing pots, plates and tupperware containing their creations which quickly fill the table with flavours from around the world. Pasta, curry, fajitas, risotto and thai shrimp. Chili, lemon chicken and dumplings, Trifle, cheesecake, and vodka jello. With all these different pots it's a wonder we don't get pot ache! Students love trying new things and there are plenty of options for vegetarians.

Students are offered cava on arrival and then Dieter's Yummy wine. There are as always plenty of equally yummy non alcoholic options for minors and teetotallers.

And with their tyres thus pumped up, the students ride of into the Salamancan night to continue with the festivities.

  • Duration: approx 3 hours.
  • Minimum level of Spanish: A1
  • Price: Free
  • Level of fitness: none, but let us know if you have any food intolerances.


Here at ISLA we love jumping into the water, especially (but not always) in the summer…

Dieter's Drives have a sparkly water element. Pristine mountain rivers, canyons filled with rainwater and natural swimming holes all offer a welcome chance to cool off or shove a chum in with their clothes on.

Salamanca has 4 lovely swimming pools, the favourite for ISLA students being the one in the San José neighbourhood just 10 minutes walk away. It is Olympic size, has a nice café and attractive, grassy areas for sunbathing. Entrance costs 2,50 euros. Oh, and the views back over the city are spectacular.

  • Level of fitness: none, but let us know if you have any food intolerances.

Desafio ISLA

This is an interactive activity with a quiz show format designed to help students produce Spanish spontaneously. The students are the protagonists here, helped along by the teacher moderator dressed up for the job in a cheesy 70's suit. This competition doesn't take itself too seriously and the moderator will often award points for no reason at all to stir the contestants up and make them protest in Spanish.

First off, the objective of the challenge is explained and then the contestants are divided into two groups  for example boys and girls, brunettes and blondes (with the help of wigs if there isn't a natural balance!) and so on.  They are given banners to wave when the mood takes them (Champions!, "Tongo" (Cheat!). 

The contest has 6 tasks:

tararea, que algo queda, tongue twisters, parejas explosivas, cantamañanas, anti music orchestra, dance off

Check out this website to learn more about this competition

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Minimum Spanish level: A2
  • Free
  • Level of fitness: some light dancing involved

Keeping Fit

While not exactly an ISLA activity, this is something we can help organize.
Some students like to take advantage of our special rate at two local gyms (one has an indoor pool, sauna and steam bath). These offer aerobics, pilates, spinning and have all the usual machines.

Other students prefer to arm themselves with some running buddies or their headphones and head off on the jogging paths alongside the river Tormes.  From time to time we'll have fitness pro among our number who will round up the students and take them to the Jesuitas park for boot camp.

  • Level of fitness: Up to you!

Workshop web resources

Take advantage of all the resources that the web offers to improve and consolidate your Spanish. In this practical and interactive workshop you will learn about both the tools available on the ISLA website and also the most interesting resources from other suppliers. All the tools you’ll discover are accessible through different devices, so you’ll be able so use them on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. The explanation is accompanied by practical examples and demonstrations, so you’ll speedily get adept at them for use on your own. The activity is adaptable to all levels and is especially interesting for those who wish to continue learning Spanish on returning back home.

  • Level of fitness: none

Afternoon Games

Afternoon games: This activity is intended for students with an A2 level or higher. You’ll have enormous fun practising your Spanish with a variety of games: in the"quiz" games you’ll demonstrate your general knowledge, story-telling games will test your imagination, and in role-plays you’ll show off not only your Spanish but your strategic abilities too. And all with a cosy cuppa: the perfect afternoon.

  • Level of fitness: none


Beach Volleyball is a sport suitable for all ages and levels of fitness which takes us to a small beach by the river for a couple of hours. There, barefoot on the fine sand, we learn some basics on how to play as a team and then enjoy a game between friends where laughter and enjoyment are assured.

  • Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)
  • Price: free
  • No Spanish level required
  • Level of fitness: Choose how long you want to play according to your fitness

Football Playa

If you would rather play football than volleyball, then “Football Playa” is a great option. You’ll be playing barefoot, with a smaller ball and the goalposts are somewhat closer together . And you don’t need to have 22 people to play. If you prefer classic football, then you’ll have the chance to do this too. Our monitors are keen players and are happy for you to go along and play with them and their friends . ISLA also has a football team playing in the local league. All the players are Spanish and you hang out with them at the games and parties later.

  • Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)
  • Price: free
  • No Spanish level required
  • Level of fitness: Choose how long you want to play according to your fitness


Fayed, our master of the breakdance workshops ( Breakology ) has been participating in national and international competitions for many years solo and with this group, the Mind Boggle Department. This workshop is for participants who have never tried out this dance style. In the 90 minutes you will learn the basic steps and movements and even balance on one hand by the end! We have posted a few video and photos for you, so that you can get an idea of what this activity is like.

  • Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)
  • 5 euros
  • No Spanish level required
  • Wear comfortable clothes
  • Level of fitness: requires strength in arms


In a small garage, 5 minutes away from ISLA, the climbers of Salamanca have created a space for all to use and enjoy. We learn the basic motions of the sport and the different climbs that exist. After, we have a go at Bouldering for approximately 1.5 hours. This is the most simple type of climbing and ideal for all to do. You don’t need to have a level of physical fitness. You just need the willingness to try something different and submerge yourself in a different challenge that this city offers.

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • 3 euros
  • You do not need any experience
  • Level of fitness: requires a fair level of fitness


These talks are to help you learn more about Spain. We have prepared various topics for you like Spain in the Civil War, the Arab influence in Spain and the Independence Crisis in Catalonia, but if you have any suggestions, we are happy to incorporate them into our program.

The teachers doing the talks work a lot with interactive media to keep things dynamic! You will be encouraged to ask questions and otherwise contribute.. and at the end of the talk there is often a spontaneous debate. To help you get the most out of these talks we have created multilingual glossaries on the respective topics that are handed out to participants in advance.

  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Price: free
  • Spanish: for all students who are not complete beginners
  • Level of fitness: just listening

The Camino de Santiago

There is a thousand-year old Spanish tradition that captures the imagination of visitors from all over the world: the famous Camino de Santiago. This can be embarked from several different starting points but the destination is always the same: the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela

The object of this workshop is for participants to consider the ins and outs of this tradition and to work as a team to create a personalized Camino de Santiago journey. Participants will need to take into account all sorts of things like how they plan on travelling (horse, bike foot?) where they plan to start out from, what they are going to take with them, where they will sleep and what their budget is. And this will lead them to muse on what the Camino means to them personally and what they hope to get out of the experience..

  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Price: free
  • Minimum level of Spanish: A2
  • Level of fitness: none

ISLA Brunch

On selected weekends we arise at dawn to prepare this special midday event for you. You are greeted by lounge sounds and a spicy Bloody Mary (or Virgin Mary). The girls clap their hands happily at Muesli, fruit and yogurt options… the boys get stuck straight in to the fry up (sausage, bacon, mushroom, tomato, scrambled egg and…. Baked beans!!!). Hunger sated it’s then time to enjoy fruit juices, a little cava and a nice chat.

  • Duration: approx 3 hours.
  • Minimum level of Spanish: A1
  • Price: Free
  • Level of fitness: none, but let us know if you have any food intolerances.

La Ruta de los Elegidos

La Ruta de los Elegidos is a competition par excellence. It is a team game which will require you to demonstrate your Spanish skills... along with others such as mime, drawing and acting... all to show you are deserving of the title of the Chosen Ones. The Route of the Chosen is a board game that we have created especially for you to spend a fun afternoon with your classmates and improve your Spanish at the same time.

  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • free
  • Minimum level of Spanish: A2
  • Level of fitness: none

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