As the second-largest city in the community of Galicia, A Coruña has a lot of things to offer. What most people don’t know is that the city’s history goes back to Roman times. If you are visiting northwestern Spain, don’t miss all the wonderful sights and attractions in A Coruña!
This guide intends to inform you of the best things to do in A Coruña so you can properly enjoy your trip. It is possible to see most of them in just a few days, but we definitely recommend staying as long as you can.
- 1 Arriving in A Coruña
- 2 Cultural entertainment
- 3 The old A Coruña
- 4 Walking around the port area
- 5 The Tower of Hercules
- 6 Museum & Aquarium
- 7 Coruña’s two central beaches
- 8 Watch a football match at Estadio Riazor
- 9 Discover the hidden gems yourself
- 10 If we could recommend 10 attractions in A Coruña… (list)
- 11 Visit places near A Coruña
Arriving in A Coruña
Most travellers arrive in A Coruña at the main train station, Estación da Coruña. The bus station is about 100 meters away and that is also a hotspot for arrivals and departures. If you are arriving by car, try to find a central parking spot – there are several options, although you obviously have to pay to park a car.
But let’s assume the journey starts at the train station. We would then advise you to head straight through the residential part of the city and go north!
The first hours should be spent exploring the streets of the city, and we can assure you that there are many good opportunities for shopping!
When you get around a kilometer north of the station, you are entering the interesting parts of A Coruña. Here we find Parque de Santa Margarida, a decently sized park, and the highlight is located right in the middle. Here we have Casa das Ciencias, a science museum with many cool exhibitions. It allows you to explore the solar system through images, models and interactive systems. It only costs 2 euros to get inside.
Just a few minutes north of the park and the science museum, you will quickly notice the large opera house of A Coruña. Palacio da Ópera is another popular attraction in the city, and if you have the time for it, we would certainly recommend you to get tickets to a show. Check their website for news and schedule.
It would then be wise to head northeast through Rúa Ferrol or Rúa Notariado. These two streets quickly merge into Rúa Cantón Pequeño, one of the major streets of A Coruña. This is where all the big businesses and banks are located. You can cool down by taking a seat at one of the benches in the park Xardíns de Mendez Nunez, on the eastern side of the big street. That will allow you to calmly take it all in – one on side, you can look at the impressive architecture on Rúa Canton Pequeño, and on the other side, you have a view of the harbour.
If you continue walking up Rúa Cantón Pequeño, you will see several interesting things. At the north end, the street will become Avenida Marina – a big boulevard. Now you should be noticing that the architecture is suddenly getting more traditional.
The impressive facade of the buildings on Avenida Marina has become somewhat of a trademark for the city. On the other side of the road, at Avenida Porto de Coruña, you have the tourist office, Casino Atlantico, and Los Cantones Village – a small shopping centre. The popular theatre, Teatro Colón, is also to be found between these two streets.
From here, you can go east and walk along with the port. Sometimes, really beautiful boats are resting here. On a sunny day, it can be nice to sit down for ice cream. But we will get to that soon.
Because first, you should walk through the old part of A Coruña. That would be north, and you will then be entering the peninsula (check how the city looks on a map!).
The old A Coruña
The old A Coruña is incredibly charming. Most streets date back to the Middle Ages, and there is certainly a traditional vibe. The historic city centre on the peninsula is full of cute streets, interesting architecture. You will find many great restaurants in this area and many local shops.
If you go directly north from Teatro Colón, you will eventually get to the Fine Arts Museum (Museo de Bellas Artes da Coruña). Definitely worth a visit.
Take your time to walk around and get some impressions. This is the most important part of travelling.
There are some churches you should pay attention to while discovering the old parts of the city – namely Igrexa de San Nicolás and Parroquia de San Jorge.
In the eastern part of the historical centre, we find one of A Coruña’s most impressive sights. At Praza de María Pita, which is a huge square, you get a perfect view of Casa do Concello, the city hall of A Coruña. This is a majestic building, one of the most important pieces of architecture you will see.
At this point, if you feel like it, you can walk further east. This is the port district, but it has several places of interest as well.
Walking around the port area
Just near Praza de María Pita, check out Parque da Mariña. This is the spot where all the boats are docked. If you are into boats, enjoy the view! If not, then sit down for a small rest and prepare for more sightseeing in the area. Many hotels are located in this part of the city, so this might actually be where you are staying.
At the far edge of the port district, there is a castle. It is called Castelo de Santo Anton. Aside from being impressive visually, it is also an archeological museum with interesting exhibitions. Like many other cultural attractions in A Coruña, it only costs 2 euros to get in!
Nearby there is also the Military Museum of Coruña. Worth a visit if you are into military history.
At the point where the port ends, you can head north. There are several private sports clubs in this area. It is quite beautiful to walk around the raw coast.
You can also go a bit inland again. Very near the port, just a few hundred meters north (and that is just a few hundred meters east of the old centre), there are some nice churches to see. Igrexa de Santiago is arguably the most impressive one (founded back in the 12th century!), but don’t forget to check Venerabale Orde Terceira de San Francisco (right next to the Military Museum), Iglesia de Santo Domingo, or Colexiata de Santa María.
There are also some cool parks in the area, for instance, Xardín de San Carlos.
What to do next? Probably the most important sight of them all…
The Tower of Hercules
At the very northern tip of the peninsula of the city, we have the most famous landmark in A Coruña.
The Hercules Tower is the top sight in A Coruña. It was built by the Romans in the first century, and it is known as the oldest extant lighthouse in the world. The Tower of Hercules was previously called Farum Brigantium. It is in perfect condition, although it is important to note that the Spaniards did renovate it in 1791.
The tower is a national monument in Spain. Since 2009, it has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many mythical stories are related to the tower, and it has played a very important role in the history of A Coruña. Naturally, the tower has become a symbol of the city.
Between 100,000 and 200,000 people visit the tower every year. It is 57 meters tall (the second tallest lighthouse in Spain). It only costs 3 euros to visit the Tower of Hercules, so you get amazing value for the money.
You can do a free virtual visit on the tower’s homepage!
Near the tower, there is another famous sight – the statue of Breogán (read more about it here).
If you’re coming from the old city centre or the port district, it will probably take you 30 minutes to walk there. On the way, you will first see the old buildings with many cute streets. You will then pass through a more residential area. There are many shops and cafés in the northern part of the city, in case you get hungry or thirsty. You can also just drive. With your own car, you can get from the city centre to the Hercules Tower in minutes. If you’re not bringing or renting a car, simply take a bus or a taxi to get there, in case you don’t want to walk.
If you are walking back and forth, we recommend you to walk back to the city centre through the western coast of the small peninsula. The reason is that you will pass through some other interesting attractions!
Museum & Aquarium
Two other major attractions in A Coruña are located right near the Hercules Tower.
The first one is Aquarium Finisterrae, just a few hundred meters west. As you would expect, it is right near the coast.
It is an aquarium that contains over 600 species. The main focus is the science of marine biology and oceanography. The impressive part is that some of the pools are connected to the Atlantic Ocean. There are 7 different sections, so if you intend to visit, it can easily become a long stay! It is a highly interesting aquarium though. The entry price for visiting is 10€. Slightly higher than most other attractions in the city, but very reasonable considering the experience you’ll get. Reduced rates apply to students, kids and seniors. In that case, you would pay just 4€ to enter. If you love the sea and the fish, it is an absolute must. Find more information before your visit here.
Located a bit south, but also right off the coast, there is the Domus Museum. It is a science museum, focusing on human science. If you want to learn about evolution, genetics, the structure of the body, and everything else related to us humans, you will most certainly be fascinated by a visit to Domus.
Even the building of the museum is quite unique. Designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki in collaboration with Spanish architect César Portela, its facade has 6,600 pieces of Slade, which gives it a rough, modern look. The walls on the inside are even made of granite. Most of the exhibitions are interactive modules. There are over 150 in total, and the museum also has a cinema. It only costs 2 euros to get in, so it is very affordable to visit this major attraction. Definitely one of the best things to do in A Coruña if you are interested in science and the human body. It can be a relatively short trip when going into Domus. The museum is nice, but not huge, so you can see the most important exhibitions in less than an hour.
If you’re in the mood for more, do a detour to Spain’s National Museum of Science and Technology a bit more west, on the opposite side of the bay. Yet another nice museum, but that will be a long experience that should be scheduled in advance. So let’s see what you can do after coming from the Tower of Hercules, the Aquarium and the Domus Museum.
Coruña’s two central beaches
If we continue down the western coast of the peninsula, you will get to A Coruña’s most central beach right after exiting the Domus Museum.
Praia de Orzan is a beautiful beach area right in the middle of the city, facing the bay A Coraza which is part of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s plenty of space on the beach. In the summer, it will be incredibly crowded (so crowded it will be hard to get a spot), but during the rest of the year, there is a lot of space. You will see people taking walks, playing around, etc. This even happens in the winter, which is a mild season in A Coruña. There can be moderately strong waves at times, allowing people to surf.
Right next to Playa del Orzan, there is another beach – Praia de Riazor. In reality, the two beaches are one beach since they are right next to each other and facing the same coast, but there is made a separation between them, and they are each named after different sections of the city.
The best part of these beaches is simply the beautiful view. No matter which direction you look, you get to see the sand, the ocean, the curvature of the bay, and the beautiful architecture down both ways of the coast. Obviously, it is the most fun to go to the beach in the summer, but a city beach like this is amazing at any time. It gives A Coruña a calm, cool vibe. Due to the presence of such central beaches, it is also reminiscent of other Spanish beach cities on the northern coast, like Gijón, Santander and San Sebastián.
The neighborhood of Riazor has more than just the beach though. It also has a legendary sports stadium which allows you to…
Watch a football match at Estadio Riazor
A Coruña is home to a popular football team – Deportivo de La Coruña.
The club once won La Liga, the top flight in Spanish football. Now, unfortunately, Deportivo has been relegated to Segunda División B, but surely it is just a matter of time before the old giant rises to La Liga again.
Estadio Riazor is the home ground for Deportivo La Coruña, with space for 32,600 visitors. That makes it one of the largest stadiums in Spain. It is an old stadium built in 1906 but major renovations were made in 2018. It has previously hosted a handful of Spanish national matches, and even a few World Cup matches back in 1982.
At the moment, Deportivo La Coruña mostly plays against lower-level teams, but that makes tickets easier to get. If you’re a football fan, Estadio Riazor is definitely a place worth visiting in A Coruña. It has a very central location, just west of the popular Riazor beach!
We have now been through the main attractions of A Coruña.
But undoubtedly, the city has a lot more to offer. You just have to find it.
And that is part of the charm when travelling – not knowing everything. It is possible to know a lot from guidebooks and articles, and we definitely hope you can use our tips to make your trip fantastic. But we also hope that you are able to discover even more highlights, perhaps even some hidden gems that only locals know about in A Coruña.
The best way to do that is by exploring the city as much as possible. Spend time roaming the streets. Feel free to stop up every time you see something interesting. Talk to the locals, or other travellers, if you are the extroverted type. Go to random restaurants, visit the bars. Get some experiences in A Coruña that goes beyond seeing the famous sights and landmarks.
If we could recommend 10 attractions in A Coruña… (list)
… it would be these:
- Tower of Hercules
- Aquarium Finisterrae
- Domus Museum
- Riazor & Orzán beaches
- María Pita Square & City Hall
- Castelo de Santo Anton
- Fine Arts Museum
- Avenida Marina
- Igrexa de Santiago
- Casa das Ciencias
We will give a bonus attraction here that hasn’t been mentioned yet:
Near the main train station, check out Mundo Estrella Galicia. A beer museum where you can do beer tasting! Estrella Galicia is one of the most popular brands of beer in Spain. If you love beer, this is a solid visit. Read more about it here.
Visit places near A Coruña
If you are staying in the region for a long period of time, you should also visit some of the nearby cities and towns.
On the other side of the bay, we find Ferrol, another historical Galician city. It is famous for its highly advanced port, and as the birthplace for famous Spaniards such as Francisco Franco and Pablo Iglesias.
To the south, we find the popular tourist city Santiago de Compostela. Santiago is famous for being the final destination on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. It takes a little over a half hour to reach Santiago from A Coruña. You can either drive or take a train.
About an hour and a half inland to the southeast, we find Lugo. Just like A Coruña, it was a Roman city. Lugo has some decent sights and attractions as well, although it is a much smaller city. You will see some magnificent nature on the drive between the two Galician cities.
If you’re not intimidated by a longer trip, you can also drive further south to Vigo, or follow the northeastern coast to the region, Asturias.
This content was first published on scopetrip.com on March 3rd, 2021.
A Coruña is a really cool city. It is full of tradition and history, offering several world-class attractions. But at the same time, it is a down-to-earth city with a calm and pleasant vibe. This might be due to the presence of a beautiful central beach, or it could be due to the friendliness of the locals.
The one can’t-miss attraction has to be the Tower of Hercules. No matter what you do in A Coruña, don’t miss this! As for the rest of the attractions, you can pick and choose depending on your interests.
We wish you a great trip. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with some useful knowledge on what to see and do in A Coruña. Now it’s time to do your own exploring – and if everything goes right, you will see all of these amazing sights, plus the hidden gems you will discover on your own!
Looking for suggestions on where to stay in A Coruña? Check our guide to hotels in the city where we recommend the top accommodation options!