What to see to do in Galicia: seven places to visit in A Coruña
Summer is the best time for a trip to the Galician coastal city, which becomes a hive of leisure activities during these months.25 jul 2022 . Actualizado a las 17:12 h.
Summer is upon us! Are you looking for an urban and coastal destination all in one? It so happens that this is the best time of year for a trip to A Coruña. The Galician city becomes a genuine hive of leisure activities during the summer months. Concerts, festivals, fiestas, fairs, crowded streets, lively bars... and a whole lot of fun. Come to A Coruña for your holiday and discover the charms of this natural balcony overlooking the Atlantic. Here are seven essential places to see in A Coruña.
Beaches of Riazor and Orzán
When talking about a seaside destination, one inevitably thinks of sun loungers. A Coruña has a sprawling urban beach that splits in two when the tide comes in, creating the beaches of Riazor and Orzán. Aside from taking a dip, sunbathing or surfing, another great way of enjoying this wonderful setting is to walk along the seafront promenade, one of the longest in Spain.
Tower of Hercules
If you continue along the promenade past the beaches, you will come to the famous peninsula that forms the oldest part of A Coruña. There you will find the symbol of the city: the Torre de Hércules (Tower of Hercules). Standing 55 metres high and two millennia old, it is the oldest Roman lighthouse in the world and the only one still in operation today. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
In addition to the lighthouse, which is accessible for 3 euros (free on Mondays), we strongly recommend visiting the surrounding area. The Tower of Hercules also has a sculpture garden, featuring work by various artists within a magnificent setting. Along the cliffed coast, you can marvel at the huge Rosa dos Ventos (rose in the form of a compass), a giant conch shell, a field of menhirs, or the statue of the Celtic warlord Breogán.
Window to the Atlantic
If you head along the promenade, but this time in the other direction, towards the outskirts of the city, you will reach Portiño, a green oasis of peace in front of the sea, just a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of traffic. A place where you can listen to the roar of the ocean, stroll along the coast as you enjoy the sea breeze or sit and enjoy the waves as they roll in. It’s also an ideal spot from which watch the sunset, especially if you look out from the viewpoint of the Atlantic window.
The Marina and its glass façades
Aside from being known as the «balcony overlooking the Atlantic», A Coruña is known as the «city of glass». «Why’s that?», you ask. You will find the answer if you take a stroll around the Marina, one of the various port areas to be found in and around the city. The façades facing the quayside and the terraces of the bars feature huge glazed balconies to let in all the wonderful sunlight. Seeing all that glimmering glass on a clear day is really something to behold!
A short distance from the Marina is the old quarter of A Coruña, known as Ciudad Vieja. It stretches from Praza de María Pita, where the city hall is located, to San Antón Castle. The remains of the defensive walls soon give way to a maze of narrow streets, in the style of Santiago de Compostela. Romanesque churches, convents, squares full of statues and dreamlike gardens make up a truly magnificent area that takes visitors right back to the town’s medieval origins.
After all that walking, you’ll certainly need to recharge your batteries. Whether you like wine or beer ? and if you visit A Coruña you should definitely take the opportunity to try the local beer at the bodega, fresh from the brewery ? take note of these street names: Estrella, Olmos, Galera and Franja. Together with the perpendicular streets heading off them, these four streets form the best tapas route to be found in town. From Plaza del Obelisco to Plaza de María Pita, you can enjoy authentic Galician delicacies, modern cuisine, food from all around the world, mouth-watering sweets, seafood and much more besides, to cater to all tastes and preferences. All of this in an atmosphere which, while already quite something in winter, in summer becomes something else. Street musicians, conversations going on around you in dozens of languages and the sounds of clinking glasses accompany every delicious bite you take.
Museums: from fish to beer
What if it rains? Apart from going to bars or taking advantage of the busy cultural agenda to take in a show or two, rainy days are a great opportunity to visit some museums. A Coruña has a wide variety of exhibition spaces for all tastes, ages and budgets. You can check out the sea life on display in the Aquarium, do a beer tour at the Estrella Galicia brewery, visit the Muncyt science and technology museum, or explore the history of San Antón Castle.