It’s obvious at first glance that A Coruña is a city with strong links to the sea.This city even has a sculpture of an octopus on its promenade!
Today not only is it a port city but it is also a beach place, with a fine foodie scene, good shopping and a UNESCO site to see.Here are some of the city's highlights in the A Coruña Travel Guide.
A Coruña Spain-a unique setting
A historic city that is perched in an unusual spot, A Coruña’s centre is on an isthmus. To the north-west of the isthmus are the main beaches and to the south east lies the city’s port.
The unusually shaped peninsula continues out for around 2 km, where it reaches the UNESCO listed Torre de Hercules, which is a Roman lighthouse. The tower is symbolic of the city. The setting of A Coruña is unique.
Historic old quarter
The old quarter of A Coruña is home to interesting streets, medieval churches and squares. As in some other Spanish cities, the historic old quarter sits comfortably alongside a modern metropolis. Antique shops have made the old quarter, a setting that is perfectly in tune with their quaint offerings.
As the light fades…
As the light fades and the stars and moon search for their twins on the sea’s surface, the feel of the old quarter shifts into a different gear. The mood alters from history and culture and daily bustle, into an expectant one of a good night ahead.
The old city becomes A Coruña’s party place. The volume is noticeably turned up and the terraces are busy and buzzing with good-natured crowds. Is summertime, prime areas such as Calle Estrella (Star St.), the main tab has area, our busy even on a Monday evening.
A wonderful promenade
Add to the equation a wonderful promenade, which starts from the port and makes its way around the peninsula, by the side of the ocean, for 13 km. This is the perfect place to walk or cycle.
As you explore the port and the Paseo Maritimo (promenade) , the vistas stretch out over the sea and the two large bays, which have been carved out by the broad headland that curves along in both directions. One of the bays opens into the Atlantic Ocean, while the other faces towards the town of Ferrol.
Modernist inspired lampposts line parts of the promenade, with oodles of eye-catching red and enamel works by Julia Ares, the award-winning artist.
Located only 64 km from the famous Santiago to Compostela, A Coruña is a dynamic city, which makes a good base to explore some of Galicia‘s beauty spots.
A Coruña is a city that is elegant gentrified in some parts, but a little rough around the edges in others. Around the Plaza de Lugo modernism has left its mark on the facades of the early 20th century buildings.
Like Vigo, one of the hallmarks of the city are the striking glass fronted galleries, which rise up to a majestic six storeys, on the Avenida de Marina. Today a magnificent sight, these buildings were originally designed with the local seafaring folks in mind, enabling them to watch the activity in the sea and port, from a sheltered spot.
The medieval town was built up around the peninsula, with buzzing streets the post some fine Romanesque architecture. One that stands out is the oldest church of A Coruña – the Church of Santiago.
The Church of Santiago
Constructed in the 12th century, the church of Santiago is an interesting example of Romanesque architecture, although it does also include aspects which were added during the 14th and 15th centuries. The church has been listed as an official historic and artistic monument. The interior includes a 13th century polychrome statue of St James the apostle.
The Church of Santa Maria del Campo
Located in the upper part of the historic quarter, there is a similar church, which was constructed by the Sailors Guild, during the 12th and 13th centuries. Works from the 12th to 15th centuries can be seen in the Museum of religious art in the church of Santa Maria del Campo.
The Church and Convent of Santa Barbara
Both the convent and the beautiful square, which is also named Santa Barbara, are an official historic and artistic site. The 15th century complex was further in large during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Located in a beautiful setting is the aquarium which displays all elements of glitzy Maritime culture.
Fomus and Casa do Home
The world’s first ever interactive museum focused on human beings.
Casa das Ciencias – House of Sciences
The house of sciences is located in the Palace of Santa Margarita Park, and boasts three floors of exhibitions, scientific news and physical experiments. There is also a planetarium. It was the first interactive museum for the public in Spain.
MUNCYT is a museum which is sure to fascinate anyone who likes technical devices, industrial and machine tools, transport vehicles and scientific instruments. The collection has been assembled from donations, universities, schools and private collections, with over 15,000 objects, which date from the 16th century onwards.
Casa Museo Picasso – Picasso House Museum
In the Picasso House Museum there is a really creation of the time period when Picasso lived in the city.
Archaeological Museum and historic Castelo de San Antón
This Museum takes you on a journey through different era as from prehistoric, to Castros and the Roman period.
Museo de Arte Sacra da Colexiata – Museum of Sacred Art of the Collegiate Church
The exhibits in the Museum of Sacred Art go from the 15th to 20th century, and are superb examples of religious silverware.
Museo de Belas Artes – Museum of Fine Arts
Fine art displays from the 16th to 20th centuries, which includes both European and Spanish artists with exhibits from Picasso and Goya and many more.
Museo Histórico Militar – Military History Museum
In the military history Museum, there are over 1600 military objects from between the 18 to 20th centuries, which include uniforms, weapons, mobile equipment and flags.
Museo dos Reloxos- Watch Museum
The setting of the musuem is worth a visit in itself, as it is in majestic rooms in the Consistorial Palace. The watch collection is from the 17th to 20th centuries.
Some historical facts about A Coruña
It is believed that A Coruña was a Celtic settlement, however it was under Roman rule that the city grew in historical importance.
Did you know that the UNESCO listed tower of Hercules is the only remaining functioning Roman lighthouse in the world today? Built during the rule of Emperor Trajan in the early second century, the lighthouse has been restored from time to time over the years.
Another notable historical fact about the city is that the citizens resisted Francis Drake in 1589 in the port, under the road lead of Maria Pita.