Reasons to Visit A Coruña in Galicia
A Coruña is a city that does the things Spain does best
It is true that ‘No one is a stranger in La Coruña,’ an urbane and bustling metropolis and one of the top attractions in Galicia. The city is blessed with the natural beauty of its stunning peninsular surroundings, its historic port and some of the most beautiful beaches right in the doorstop of the city centre. Its long mercantile history of over 2,000 years has shaped the city’s cosmopolitan reputation which continues to this day. There is a developed financial services and administration sector, and it is one of the wealthiest Northern Spanish cities, but it’s also famous for its fashion houses: Zara, Mango and Caramelo.
An affluent middle class mean there are no shortage of great places to stay, things to do and places to eat. It’s geographical prominence on the coastline means it can also be used as a base to explore the rest of Galicia, as it’s less than an hour to Santiago and within easy reach of many fishing villages along the infamous Costa de Morte, where many men have lost their lives on the rocks. Above all else La Coruña is a city that does the things Spain does best. Come here to eat and drink well and relax and mix with the locals who will always give you a warm welcome.
All of La Coruña is easy to explore on foot and the Paseo Maritimo which runs around the coastline is a must, from the Riazor Beach or Plaza Maria Pita, as is walk to Torre de Hercules. This is the only Roman lighthouse in the world still functioning (though it has been heavily restored and altered in the 18th Century) and is testament to the strategic importance of the peninsular as well as the perils of the rocky coastline.
FOOD AND DRINK
You can enjoy al fresco drinking and dining all over the city, but one of the best places is at the Avenida da Marina. This piazza faces Darsena de la Marina, the longest harbour promenade in Europe, and site of the original glass fronted fishermen’s quarters that gives the city its nickname la ciudad de cristal (the city of glass). The centre of the city has some of the best restaurants in Galicia.
La Coruña is the gastronomic centre of the region, in a country where eating is the main preoccupation of its citizens. With the Atlantic on its doorstep, and a thriving culture of fishing villages nearby, there is really no better place in Galicia to eat shellfish and seafood. This is of course prime tapas country, so head to Calle Barrera for the best in the city, if not all of Galicia. Those brave enough can try the cocodrilo (that’s right, crocodile) roasted on a kebab skewer and served with fried Galician potatoes at Tasca a Troula. Calle Barrera is crammed with tapas bars, so stroll around until you find the perfect one for you. You could eat at a different restaurant every day. You’ll no doubt be treated to the famous Galician hospitality wherever you eat, as this is very much a local’s area, but as ever they are always open and warm to tourists.
Our favourite Tapas Bar is something of an institution. La Bombilla has been serving up dishes of legendary quality for years on the Calle de la Galera 7, winning the hearts of locals and visitors alike with its signature dish, a fillet steak with red pimento pepper and fried potatoes. No visit to the city is complete without visiting this landmark establishment.
If you’re looking for something awe-inspiring and upscale, Mirador de San Pedro will meet and exceed all expectations. It is worth the trip alone to see the cunningly designed Cliffside hydraulic lift and the sweeping front that affords you the best sea vistas in town.
The best place for a cold one has to be the huge bar at the Estrella de Galicia brewery in Concepción Arenal 10. This is truly the Cathedral of Galician bars!
THINGS TO DO
Not far from here is the large department store El Corte Inglés a great place to buy a straw donkey for the relatives or any other necessary souvenirs.
If you’re looking for a quiet beach in summer head to Santa Christina only 10 minutes from the centre, or go 20 minutes in the other direction to the Santa Cruz Island castle built to defend the town from the English invaders.
A trip to the Aquarium Finisterrae (Latin for the Earth’s End, this was the limit of the Roman known world) is not to be missed, not least for its famous outdoor seal environment right on the Atlantic seafront.
Casa del Hombre Domus as the building has a striking modern design thanks to the Japanese architect, Arata Isozaki. This science and technology museum is home to explorations of humanity and the self, reinvented through interactive exhibits.
Football fans already know that Deportivo call La Coruna their home. Deportivo were relegated last season, but with their fanatical fan base they should regain their rightful place in La Liga. There is always an electric atmosphere in the stadium.
PLACES TO STAY
There are the typical Spanish seaside resorts here, but look closer and there are some very special places to put your head down in this bustling town.
The Hesperia Finisterre five star luxury hotel can cater to all your needs with its three outdoor pools, two gyms and a host of amenities as well as the flagship presidential suite to make your stay in Coruna supremely comfortable. However, the Melia Maria Pita cannot be beaten for location. Across the road from the beach and seconds away from the port and the town centre, it’s a perfect base to explore the city, and even has its own piano bar if you don’t want to stray too far from your room.