A Coruña is a cultural city that occupies a significant amount of the Galician coast in the north of Spain. Besides the lively food scene and cultural sights, this city is the perfect getaway for some days under the sun—thanks to its beautiful beaches.
The city houses the world's oldest working lighthouse, the Torre de Hércules which dates back to the Roman era. Must-do activities include wandering in the Paseo Marítimo, a 13km walkway and bike path that starts in the port and runs alongside the beaches.
Of course, you can’t miss the delicious seafood and the local beer, Estrella Galicia. Follow our two-day itinerary below to discover the best things to do in A Coruña, including where to eat and where to stay.
A Coruña is known as the Ciudad de Cristal (City of Glass) thanks to boulevards like this one. When walking around Avenida de la Marina, it's impossible not to notice its striking glass galleries built in the 19th century. Designed by Juan de Ciórraga, the galleries were once home to local fishermen. As a see-through building, it allowed them to face the marina at all times. You can find another one of these galerías (enclosed glass balconies) at Avenida Montoto.
From Avenida de la Marina, head to the Igrexa de Santiago, the oldest church in A Coruña. Built in the 12th century, during the Romanesque period, it was later remodelled with Gothic elements, and today you can admire the façade's grotesque figures.
A few steps from the church is the Xardín de San Carlos. Located in the old town of A Coruña, this garden and its walls were part of a defensive castle built to protect the city around the 14th century. The British General Sir John Moore was buried here, after being killed in the nearby Battle of Elviña in 1809.
Since you're already around the old town, consider heading to Castillo de San Antón. This 16th-century castle sits on a small island, connected to the mainland through a bridge. Nowadays, it houses the Museo Arqueológico e Histórico (Museum of Archeology and History), where you can learn a bit more about A Coruña's history.
Next stop is the Museo Militar. This Military Museum displays a variety of pieces related to the city's past. The elements exhibited range from the 17th to the 20th century and include a collection of arms, uniforms, ammunition, flags, and so much more. The museum also hosts a fair number of temporary exhibitions, concerts, and military movies.
Just a few minutes from the Museo Militar, you’ll find the Igrexa de Santo Domingo. The original Santo Domingo convent was located outside the city walls, but it was destroyed by the British in 1589. It was only in the 17th century that the church moved to its current location. Today, the building stands out with its imposing Baroque design. The inside, in comparison, is fairly modest, with the exception of the gilded altar and the organ.
Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city’s old town. Also known as Casco Antiguo, this area is surrounded by important monuments, restaurants and cafés. It's the perfect place to stop for a drink or to have a bite of the delicious tarta de Santiago, a traditional almond cake. Make sure to pass by the María Pita square and head to its Casa Museo if you feel like learning a bit more about this famous local heroine.
From the old town, follow the road towards the seaside. The city’s 1.4km sandy stretch includes two beaches. The closest one to the centre is Playa del Orzán and further west is the Playa de Riazor. This last one is also a popular destination for surfers.
End the day with a stroll around the Parque Santa Margarita. Inside this large urban park is the Casa de las Ciencias, an interactive science museum. Occupying an old palace, it offers several exhibition rooms dedicated to science, technology and the natural world. The building's dome is home to a planetarium, where you can learn more about the planets and constellations.
Overlooking the ocean on the northeast coast of the city is Campo da Rata. Visitors head here for the views but also to see the collection of menhirs placed here in 2003. Known as the “Menhires por la Paz” or Menhirs for Peace, it’s a recent landmark designed by Galician sculptor Manolo Paz. Each of the menhirs has a small hole in the middle, creating a window to the sea. Alongside these, there’s another monument created by Isaac Díaz Pardo resembling prehistoric megaliths. It’s a homage to all the people who suffered during Franco’s repression era. The stains of red paint scattered across the granite columns represent the blood of the executed.
About 15 minutes away from Campo da Rata you’ll find Torre de Hércules, the world's oldest working lighthouse. Built by the Romans around the 1st or 2nd centuries, this important landmark has since become a city symbol. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the lighthouse offers spectacular views over the city—but prepare yourself to climb more than 200 steps to reach the top.
Playa de las Lapas is the closest beach to the Torre de Hércules. It's a lovely spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is surrounded by ample green space and lined by a beautifully illuminated promenade.
Continue walking along the Paseo Marítimo until you reach the Domus. Also known as Casa del Hombre, this building houses the Museum of Humankind. It's the first interactive museum focusing on human beings and all of their complexity. Designed by Arata Isozaki, a Japanese architect, here you’ll find exhibitions related to the study of senses, the brain, the heart, demography and the evolution of language.
In the afternoon head over to the Museo de Bellas Artes. This fine arts museum showcases a variety of paintings by famous artists like Picasso, Rubens, Sorolla and Tintoretto. Other highlights include a collection of Goya's prints and an exhibit of Galician Sargadelos ceramics from the 19th century.
The Igrexa de San Xurxo sits between the city market and the Plaza de María Pita. It has a Baroque façade featuring two twin towers and a statue of San Jorge above the main door. The church is famous for being the site of Spain’s first same-sex marriage, which occurred here in 1901 between Elisa and Marcela.
Close to the Igrexa de San Xurxo is the quirky Plaza del Humor. As the name suggests, this square is famous for its funny caricatures. Here you can find statues and drawings of famous personalities, from the Pink Panther to Cervantes.
Next stop is the Casa Museo Picasso. This is where Pablo Picasso lived from age 9 to 13, between 1891 to 1895. The apartment showcases copies of some of the painting's Picasso did while living there. You’ll need to ring the bell to enter.
Mirador Monte de San Pedro is one of the city's most special viewpoints. You should get there by sunset and hop on the Ascensor Panorámico, a huge glass lift that will take you to the top. Once there, you can dine at Restaurante Mirador San Pedro. The venue includes a fine dining restaurant, a café, a wine cellar and a cigar lounge.
A Coruña offers many family-friendly activities. Kids will enjoy exploring the grounds of the Castillo de San Antón and taking pictures at Plaza del Humor. During the summer, families can also take a trip down to one of the city’s beaches. Other attractions worth visiting include the Aquarium Finisterrae and the National Museum of Science and Technology. This museum showcases a variety of scientific instruments and transport vehicles like the front of a Boeing 747 plane.
A Coruña is home to a series of tapas bars. Pick your favourite and make sure to order some of the specialities: empanadas (pastry tarts filled with different savoury fillings), pulpo a Gallego (Galician boiled octopus) and local cheeses. To pair with your meal, ask for a glass of Ribeiro or Albariño, two famous local wines. Below are some of the best places to eat in A Coruña where you can sample these delicacies:
If you want to make the most of your visit to A Coruña, you should consider visiting during warmer months. This will allow you to enjoy all the cultural sights as well as the beaches. A Coruña experiences low rainfalls and offers pleasant warm temperatures all year round, so it’s hard to go wrong. The best time to visit the city is during July, August and September, with temperatures reaching around 23.9ºC and rarely dropping below 16.8ºC. In the winter, it can get a bit chilly and rainy, so keep that in mind when planning your visit.
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