A Coruña is the second biggest town of Galicia, only Vigo is bigger. The city has more habitants then Santiago de Compostela. In Spanish the town is called La Coruña. In Galician they say A Coruña, or simply Coruña.
The city is an excellent destination for a city trip and spending a weekend. It’s even worth visiting A Coruña if you only have one day. Staying longer in the city isn’t a problem neither, A Coruña is an excellent base to visit Galicia, for example the Costa da Morta and Rias Altas which are nearby the city. And in an hour you can be in Santiago the Compostela from A Coruña by bus, train or car.
Where is A Coruña?
A Coruña is in the most northwest from Galicia. It’s the most northwestern city of the Iberian peninsula. The ocean is both in the north and the west of the city. It’s like the worlds end at A Coruña. When traveling from the east or the south you cannot go any further on land after A Coruña.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Oceaan on two sides it’s no surprise the city has always been an harbour city. Because its location in the west of Spain the city is an import harbour to South America. Many food for the European market, such as unions and potatoes from South America enter Europe via A Coruña. When visiting the city you cannot miss the harbour. The impressive cranes are visible from the city center. When walking around on the boulevard you can smell the fresh fish and you’ll see birds hanging around the delicious food.
A Coruña is a fantastic city to catch some air. Walk around the peninsula, relax on the beach of Riazor, eat fresh seafood in an marisqueria and see how the wild waves break in front of the Torre de Hercules.
History of A Coruña
The name of the city has its origins in the Roman era. In that era the city was called Brigantium and even in those days the city was an import harbour. Even before the Roman era the city was a settlement. In 2500 B.C. the celts lived on the place that we now call A Coruña.
The city has it’s origin on a small peninsula at the coast. On this peninsula you can find the old part of the town, the ‘ciudad vieja’. The new part of the town, called ‘la pescaderia’, is more inlands and even stretches further besides the coast. In the 20th and 21th century the city grew and became less dependant on the harbour. Also other industries grew, and A Coruña nowadays is also known as the city where the famous fashion brand Zara started.
- Lighthouse Hercules Tower (Torre de Hercules)
The absolut number one: the Hercules Tower. Not even to enter, but just the walk to this roman icon and to admire it. When walking on the peninsula of A Coruña you can see the tower from distance. On the most far end of the peninsula the lighthouse is standing proud on the cost, high above the rough rocks. Surrounded by the see from three sides the wind has a free play what makes the ocean very wild. You can see and hear the waves breaking on the rocks below the lighthouse.
Not only the side of the lighthouse is impressive. Its history is impressive as well. The tower already existed in the second century!
The tower tops 55m, but due to it’s position it comes to an altitude of 120m above sea level. Fact: the Hercules Tower is the oldest Roman lighthouse in the world that still functions!
- The firs Zara store
The world famous fashion store once started in A Coruña. The head office of Inditex, as is called the parent company of the megabrand, is still in the city. The first Zara store opened in 1975. This shop was remodeled and can be found on the following address: Calle de Juan Florez, 64
- Iglesia de Santiago
The oldest church in A Coruña. Build in the 12th century in Roman style, later adopted to more Gothic architecture. From the outside you can recognise this building style and I really recommend visiting the church when going for a walk.
- Museums and galleries
A Coruña has many beautiful musuems. Worth a visit on a rainy day. Some tips:
- Museo de Arte Contemporánea Unión Fenosa
- Museo Arqueolóxico e historico: Archeologic and historic museum of Galicia
- Casa del Hombre/Domus: Cientific museum about the human body and evolution
- Casa de las Ciencias
- Aquarium Finisterrae: Marine aqarium of A Coruña, with among others a rebuild submarine from Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s story.
What to do in A Coruña?
- Visit the beach of Riazor. A long and stretched out beach in the heart of the city. Whatever the weather is, this beach is worth a visit. Getting some fresh air in spring, enjoy the sun, sea and beach in summer. The beach is surrounded by bars and restaurants. At the end of the beach you can also find the city’s soccer Stadium; Estadio Riazor, the stadium of Deportivo A Coruña.
- Tranvia Turistico, a 12-kilometer tourist tram line along the promenade and sights of the city such as the Tower of Hercules and Estadio Riazor. A great way to see the city, but also to enjoy wonderful views of the ocean.
- Going the tapas in Calle Estrella. In the old city you can find many tapas bars. From easy going bars where the locals drink their Ribeiro wine with patatas, till high-end marisquerias with fresh seafood on star level.
A touristic map can be downloaded here
A Coruña from a bird’s eyes view
Explore (descubre) A Coruña in this short video from the local tourist office. Beautiful.
My advice: a walk over the promenade
So much to see in A Coruña! My advice is going for a walk on the city it’s promenade. The whole promenade counts 13 kilomter. That’s a serious walk, but you can also walk only a part of it. Do you like running? Go for a run and fight the wind around the Hercules Tower! The promenade as a biking line, tramvia and above all many space to walk. Definitely worth it!