Galicia has always had a very special place in my heart. Well, the whole Northwestern Spain in fact. Opposite to most Spaniards, we would not run to Mediterranean sun when the days were too hot in Madrid. We would escape to the North. With its continental climate, fishermen’s towns scattered along the rugged coastline of the Cantabric. Pristine beaches and glorious mountains, all within less than 1 hour drive.
A Coruña was among my favourite spots. With delicious food, lovely locals and that fresh air you only get when you get out to the mountains. Plus how exciting is being so close to the “End of the World!” (Finisterre).
But enough sappy trip down memory lane, I’m here to show you why A Coruña is one of the best places in Spain for a weekend getaway, as well as tell you all about the things to do in A Coruña during your trip.
A Coruña (or also known as La Coruña) is a city in the province of Galicia in the Northwestern tip of Spain. The city’s motto “A Coruña, the city where nobody is an outsider” already says a lot about the character of its roughly 200.000 inhabitants. Chill and friendly, always open to help and have a chat with anyone, even if they don’t understand each other. There’s few places more perfect to escape to from the hustle and bustle of city life than A Coruña.
How to get to A Coruña
La Coruña is super easy to get to. This coastal city can be reached by train in about 5 to 9 hours from many points in Spain and Portugal, inter-city buses from almost anywhere within Spain and Portugal, and of course by plane from many European hubs with Air Europa, Volotea, Vueling and Iberia.
Where to Stay in La Coruña
There are plenty of hotels, hostels and pensiones to choose from catering for all tastes and budgets. We stayed at the Hotel Eurostar Ciudad de la Coruña (★★★★). Its wonderful location right in the Parque Escultórico de la Torre de Hércules makes of it a prime accommodation for visitors to the city. The rooms have a breath-taking view over the Atlantic Ocean, the breakfast buffet is fantastic, and to top it off they have regular discounts and promotions for guests.
Day One: Coastal Itinerary
La Coruña is one of the most importan harbour cities in Spain, not only that, but it is located in one of the most impressive coastlines in the peninsula. So if the weather allows, you should spend at least a day exploring along the coast of A Coruña. Starting the day by heading to one of the many things to see in A Coruña, the Parque Escultórico Tower of Hercules. A USECO World Heritage Site. This ancient Roman lighthouse is 55 meters high and watches over the North Atlantic coast of Spain since the 1st century A.D., which makes it the oldest lighthouse still in use (aprox. 2000 years old!).
If you continue walking along from there, you’ll come face to face with the Aquarium Finisterrae, a curious place, very interactive, specially interesting for the Jules Verne fans, they have a reconstruction of Nemo’s “submarine” the Nautiuls.
A bit further down in the same direction, you’ll come across the Ensenada de Orzan and Riazor beaches, really nice to take a break or come with a picnic basket. But for the real deal, take the bus and make it all the way to Monte de San Pedro, where you’ll witness the best sunsets in the city, and if you are lucky also the “green flash” if you are lucky to visit and have the right atmosferic conditions.
Day Two: Exploring the City
The city is wonderful to explore on foot. Take your time and take it all in. As you walk towards the center, you’ll first encounter the peaceful Castillo de San Antón (San Anton’s Castle), home to Coruña’s archeological museum. And the views over the old town are par to none.
Winter (September – June):
Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 7:30 PM
Sunday and Bank Holidays from 10 AM to 2:30 PM
Summer (July & August):
Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 9 PM
Sunday and Bank Holidays from 10 AM to 3 PM
Admission Fee: 2€ (1€ reduced fee)
If you continue walking, you’ll come to the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town), where many historical buildings can be visited such as la Iglesia de Santo Domingo, the Jardín de San Carlos where british general Sir John Moore tomb lays, and many “casonas señoriales” (stately homes), to name a few.
Not far is the town square (Plaza de María Pita) overlooked by the reagal town hall, and the Fine Arts Museum (which is free to visit) among many other beautiful buildings.
Time for lunch don’t you think? Anywhere in this area is a good place to eat. Local specialities include octopus Galician style, mussel, pork shoulder, galician turnover and galician beef, all of which accompained by a chilled glass of Albariño or Ribeiro wine (white) will marvel your tastebuds into oblivion.
To walk down the incredible experience your lunch break was, walk along the glazed houses known as the “Galerías“, down the promenade (longest in Europe with 13 Km) to the Jardínes de Méndez Nuño (Mendez Nuño Gardens) with the magnificent “Obelisk” and the modernist exhibition center “Kiosko Alfonso“.
A Coruña is a stunning little city well worth the trip and possible bad weather because in spite of the rain (or thanks to the rain) we get to witness things like this.
Talking about rain, don’t forget to pack rain clothes, chances are it’ll rain at one point or another. Welcome to the North (of Spain!)