La Coruna

Situated on the northwestern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, the city of La Coruña (or A Coruña, its official name) is the closest European port to New York. And perhaps in keeping with its location, the coastal city itself is charming blend of old and new, filled with culture, splendid architecture and fascinating museums, along with pristine beaches and open spaces. La Coruña is also the gateway to Galicia, one of the most verdant and scenic regions in Spain.

Why cruise La Coruna

La Coruña is a fascinating port city, rich in history, culture and architecture. For those of you with time, it is well-worth venturing further afield in Galicia to Santiago de Compostela, one of the world’s great pilgrimage destinations. Of course, you could easily spend your time enjoying the bountiful charms of the city itself, filled with cultural attractions and museums to suit all ages, including the interactive House of Mankind as well as an aquarium and planetarium. Cruise lines including Princess, NCL and Azamara all offer sightseeing tours of the city.

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What to see and do in La Coruna

Tower of Hercules

The 2,000-year-old functioning Roman lighthouse is the oldest in the world and is La Coruña’s most famed attraction. Today it stands as a National Monument of Spain and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Head to the top to enjoy spectacular 360º views of the city and the North Atlantic coast of Spain.

Plaza de María Pita

The heart of the medieval old town, the colonnaded square is named after local heroine María Pita, who saved the city in 1589 by sounding the alarm when English invaders, led by Sir Francis Drake, scaled the walls. Along with a statue of her, the square is also dominated by the Ayuntamiento, the magnificent early 20th century town hall.

Picasso House Museum

The apartment where 20th century artist Pablo Picasso lived with his family from the age of nine to 13 while his father taught art at a nearby school has been turned into a fascinating museum in La Coruna. Free to visit, the rooms have been kitted out with period furniture and several artifacts connected with the painter, including copies of the paintings and drawings that Picasso did while here.

San Carlos Gardens

Enjoy a stroll through San Carlos Gardens, declared a Historic-Artistic sight. Located inside the battlements of the fortress of San Carlos, the beautiful gardens date back to 1843 and are the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre. This is also where Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore – who heroically died fighting the French at the Battle of Coruña during the Peninsula War in 1809 – was laid to rest. From here you can spy the 16th century San Antón castle, which today houses the city’s archaeological and history museum and is also well-worth a visit.

Santiago de Compostela

The final stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, and the alleged burial site of the Biblical apostle St. James, Santiago de Compostela is a must-visit for those of you with time on your hands. Located 74km away from La Coruña, you can either head there under your own steam by train, taxi or bus or book a shore excursion (cruise lines such as Celebrity and Princess offer this).

Praia de Riazor

If you’re tired of sightseeing, then why not head to Coruña’s urban beach? The beautiful crescent of sand is known as Praia do Orzán at its east end and Praia de Riazor at its west end, and is popular among locals and tourists alike. From here, you can enjoy a relaxing stroll or cycle along the promenade, which is one of the longest in Europe.

Need to know when travelling to La Coruna

Getting around in La Coruna

Cruise ships dock close to the centre of town. The majority of the city’s main attractions are within walking distance of your ship. Should you wish to venture further afield, there are taxis at the port gates and the railway station – situated roughly 1.5 miles from the cruise terminal – is where you can catch a train to the pilgrimage site Santiago de Compostela if you’re not going as part of an organised excursion.

When to go to La Coruna

La Coruña enjoys a pleasant climate all-year round, but for the warmest weather, visit between June and September.

Currency

La Coruña uses the euro.

Visas

If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don't need a visa to enter Spain unless you're planning a stay of longer than three months.