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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in La Coruna

The port of La Coruña, traditionally known in English as Corunna, lies in the northwestern corner of Spain on a peninsula in the bay formed by the rías of El Ferrol, Ares, Betanzos and La Coruña. It is the largest city in Galicia, an important international port, a garrison town and a fishing port, with large fish-canning plants. The numerous glazed galleries (miradores) on the house-fronts have earned it the name of the ciudad de cristal ("city of crystal"). Although the first impression of La Coruña is of a not particularly attractive port and industrial town, there are many romantic nooks and corners in the hilly old part of the town.

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The New Town

Town HallTown Hall

Avenida de la Marina

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The multi-lane motorway which leads to the city center runs through unattractive industrial districts and suburbs and into the Paseo de los Cantones and its continuation the Avenida de la Marina, the busiest streets on the new town, which grew out of a fishing village (La Pescadería) on the peninsula. The miradores of the houses in the Avenida de la Marina are among the finest in the city. Between these two streets and the harbor are the Jardines de Méndez Núñez, in which are a number of monuments.

Town Hall

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Off the Avenida de la Marina to the left lies the spacious Plaza de María Pita or Plaza Mayor, on the north side of which is the large Palacio Municipal. In addition to the municipal administration this also houses a gallery of contemporary pictures, a watch and clock museum and the archives of the Real Academia Gallega (Royal Galician Academy).

San Nicolás

To the west of the Town Hall is the church of San Nicolás, which has an image of the Virgen de las Coruñenses, the Virgin of the Women of La Coruña.

Museum of Art

From San Nicolás it is a short distance north to the Museum of Art in the Plaza del Pintor Sotomayor, which has a fine collection of pictures, including works by Goya, Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo, Morales, Brueghel and Rubens, as well as ceramics, coins and exhibits illustrating the history of the city.

House of Science

In a pavilion in the Parque de Santa Margarita, southeast of the city center, is the Casa de las Ciencias, which was opened in 1985. This is a museum designed to introduce visitors in popular fashion to physical laws and scientific knowledge. Thus much space is given up on the ground floor to personal computers, on which visitors can play or can be initiated into the mysteries of programming. On the first floor the dominant theme is physics, and here visitors can experience on their own bodies the force of gravity, centrifugal force and other natural laws. The second floor is used for special exhibitions, while on the third floor, in addition to a collection of stuffed animals, there are stereo-microscopes which visitors can use.
Address: Parque de Santa Margarita, E-15005 La Coruña, Spain

Old Town

Door Detail of Santa Maria del CampoDoor Detail of Santa Maria del Campo Yellow.Cat
The old town with its narrow and irregular streets lies on a spur of the promontory above the harbor, to the east of Plaza de María Pita. Its central feature is the Plaza de Azcárraga (Plaza de la Harina). To the south of this square, in the Plaza del General Franco, is the Capitanía General (1748).

St James

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From the Plaza de Azcárraga can be seen the apses of the church of Santiago, the oldest church in the town (12th-13th C.), with fine doorways. Notable features of the interior are the stone pulpit and a figure of Santiago Matamoros (St. James the Moor-Slayer).

Santa María del Campo

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North of the Plaza de Azcárraga, on the highest point in the old town, is the church of Santa María del Campo (13th-15th C.), with a 14th century tower. It has beautiful doorways decorated with sculpture, the finest of them being the main doorway, with the Adoration of the Kings, and a large rose window. In the square in front of the church is a Gothic prayer column.

Santo Domingo

Southeast of Santa María by way of the quiet and picturesque Plazuela de Santa Bárbara, with the convent of Santa Bárbara, we come to the Baroque church of Santo Domingo, which has a number of fine chapels and a Churrigueresque altar.

Casa de María de la Pita

Near Santa Domingo, in Calle de Herrerías, is the house of La Coruña's 16th century heroine María de la Pita, marked by a commemorative tablet.

Jardín de San Carlos

A little way downhill from Santo Domingo, beyond the Casa de la Cultura, is the Jardín de San Carlos, laid out in 1834 on the site of an old defensive work. From here there is a good view over the harbor. In the gardens is the tomb of Sir John Moore.

Castillo San Antón

At the tip of the breakwater sheltering the harbor stands the Castillo San Antón, a massive 16th century fort which now contains the Museo Arqueológico (Archeological Museum), with antiquities mostly from the surrounding area.

Torre de Hércules

Torre de HerculesTorre de Hercules View slideshow
On a crag 2km/1.25mi north of La Coruña is the Torre de Hércules, the oldest lighthouse in the world which is still operating; it is reached on a well signposted road skirting the old town. It was built by the Romans in the second century A.D., as a tablet at the foot of the tower records. There was originally an external spiral staircase to the top. The tower was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century. Both from the tower and from the tip of the promontory there are magnificent panoramic views of the sea, the city, the Ría de la Coruña and the bathing beaches of Playa Riazor and Playa del Orzán to the west.

Surroundings

Upper Rias

The Rías Altas are the fjord-like inlets cutting deep into the land to the north and northeast of La Coruña. The principal ones are the rías of La Coruña, Betanzos, Ares, El Ferrol, Cedeira and Ortigueira. Strictly speaking, the stretch of coast between Viveiro and Ribadeo in Lugo province is also part of the Rías Altas.

Coast of Death

The stretch of coast extending south from La Coruña to Cabo Finisterre is known as the Costa de la Muerte because so many ships have been wrecked on this rugged coast. The attractions of this area, for visitors who are not discouraged by the prospect of rain, are its grandiose, austere scenery, its long lonely beaches and its sleepy little fishing villages.

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