La Coruña in Galicia is a busy port town and historic city, famous for the Battle of Corunna during the Peninsular War, which juts out on a pretty peninsula into the Atlantic.
AN HISTORIC CITY
The city has seen some important events in Europe’s history including the notorious Battle of Corruna in 1809 - Napoleon’s forces chased the English to the coast, resulting in a daring escape back to England. Earlier still, Sir Francis Drake laid siege to A Coruña in retaliation for the city aiding the Spanish Armada. His forces were winning until, history says, a local woman called Maria Pita, standing atop the city walls, killed one of the English soldiers. Her actions are said to have rallied the locals and the English fled. Today, she is the city’s heroine.
History lovers truly are spoilt in this city. Be sure to head to the Celtic hill fort of Castro de Elvina on the outskirts of town. It’s one of the largest in all of Galicia and the archaeological finds that have been excavated from the fort are on display at the fantastic Castillo San Anton Archaeology Museum. You'll find artefacts from the Bronze Age and Celtic and Roman times as well as a host of other exhibits at the museum about the Armada, Maria Pita and more.
Take a trip out to the very tip of the peninsula and you’ll discover the oldest Roman lighthouse in the world – the Tower of Hercules – and the only one still in service. You can visit the tower as well as the sculpture park that surrounds it. Stick around to enjoy a stunning sunset.
Explore the city’s wonderful seafront by taking a walk along the 10km long promenade - the longest in Europe. You can walk, cycle or take the tram along this vast stretch, which is lit at night by hundreds of bright red modernist lampposts. From here you can find your way down to the popular beaches of Riazor and Orzan. Easily accessible, they are great for watersports such as surfing, sailing, fishing and yachting as well as family fun and sunbathing.
ATTRACTIONS TO EXPLORE
For those who love religious architecture, visit the As Barbaras monastery and the churches of Santiago and Ste Mary. To keep kids occupied, try some of the science museums. The aquarium is filled with seals, sharks and octopus, and it also has an area all about the local fishermen. At Domus, on the Orzan cove, explore the world's first interactive museum about human beings as a species, or, look up at the stars at the Casa das Gencias, a planetarium with 3 floors of exhibition space that was the first public museum opened in Spain.
Relax in the lush greenery of the Jardin de San Carlos or gain a better view of the city and bay by going up the panoramic elevator at the Monte de San Pedro. Visit the Cupula Atlantica at the top, a dome with a stunning 360 degree view. If you're visiting in June, the night of San Juan takes place on the 23rd. The festival welcomes the summer with bonfires and fireworks, music and dancing, and roast sardines cooked in the streets by sardiñadas.
SHOPPING AND EATING
There is much for shoppers to explore in A Coruña with antiques shops, fashion stores and jewellers as well as shopping malls and several markets. Why not buy some traditional local products made from jet or lace? There are many tapas bars with a selection of tasty snacks to try whilst seafood, especially octopus, is a local speciaility. Tetilla cheese is traditionally produced in this area so don't forget to try some of this mild and creamy cheese with some quince jelly. A glass or two of a Ribeiro or Albarino wine will make a fantastic accompaniment to your meal.
Holidays in Spain
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