The sheer variety of things to do in La Coruña may surprise you, given the fact that it’s not as well known as other Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Yet even with a population of over a million people, La Coruña feels decidedly approachable. Bike tours and beautiful beaches are symbols of a simpler life here. Fine arts and culture thrive in this hidden gem of a city, where you can walk in the footsteps of Picasso at his childhood home, or lose yourself for hours among paintings and sculptures dating back to the Renaissance at the Museo de Bellas Artes.
Like other cultural hubs of Spain, an evening out starts with drinks and tapas, and doesn’t end until the sun comes up. You’re sure to have an unforgettable time in La Coruña as part of classic European cruises, whether you’re exploring Old Town or catching a peek at the oldest lighthouse in the world, The Tower of Hercules.
The most iconic site in all of La Coruña is the Tower of Hercules, which is the oldest lighthouse in the world, and still in operation to this day. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is close to a quiet beach.
In La Coruña’s Old Town, cafes, bars, and restaurants wind across alleyways that make you feel you’ve stepped back in time. This part of the city embodies its history and its future, where young people go out for tapas or their morning coffee. Stroll the streets and you’ll feel like you live in La Coruña when you go.
If you’ve studied Picasso’s life and works, you’ll want to see the Picasso Museum in La Coruña. It’s the place where Picasso grew up as a child and into his early teen years. Modest but impactful, it’s a must-see for anyone who wants to understand the artist’s formative years.
The sheer number of historic churches in La Coruña is mind boggling. You can make a whole day of church hopping by visiting sites like the San Francisco monastery and Santa Clara, which are less than a 15-minute walk from the cruise pier. The area’s shining jewel is the Baroque-style Santo Domingo Church, built way back in the 17th century.
It’s practically a Spanish rite of passage to rent a bike and cycle along the picturesque coastal promenade called the Paseo Marítimo. There’s nearly eight miles of scenery to enjoy, plus modern, funky twists and turns that make it more fun than your average bike ride. It’s a good activity for all age groups and bicycling skills levels.
Art lovers can’t miss La Coruña’s most influential art space. You could lose track of time at the Museo de Bellas Artes, and for good reason. There’s art from the Renaissance period to more modern works, and both Spanish and international artists are featured. Note that it’s closed on Mondays.
The food in the Galicia region of Spain, where La Coruña is, offers some of the most incredible culinary experiences in the country. Adventurous eaters can try pulpo á feira, which is octopus cooked in olive oil and spices, then eaten with bread. The Galician empanada is bigger than in other parts of Spain, but you won’t be complaining when you see the size of these savory, delicious snacks. The local seafood of the region is all over restaurant menus across the city, so be sure to try Spanish mussels, clams, and shrimp while you’re here. Wash it all down with a cold cerveza.
Fishing and commercial trade make up the beating heart of La Coruña’s industry, and it’s been that way for centuries. Located in the region of Galicia in Spain, La Coruña switched hands back and forth between Portugal, Spain, the Romans, and other forces for centuries. Today, the population totals over 1 million people, and the city continues to grow. It’s well known in Spain for its medieval old town, the Tower of Hercules, and its beachy culture, but it hasn’t reached Madrid or Barcelona levels of popularity with international tourists.
On your La Coruña cruise, the brand new port will stand out as soon as you arrive, located near the marina where boats and fishermen operate. There’s a tourist information center, though there are not typically any tours or hop-on/hop-off buses that run from here.
It’s a short walk from the cruise terminal to the center of town, which is extra convenient for cruise passengers. You can reach most sightseeing destinations on foot. Taxis are available to hail from the cruise port as well, but it’s recommended to use those for destinations that are beyond walking distance. There is also a public bus system.
The area around La Coruña cruise port has some shops and a cafe. There’s also a shopping center called Los Cantones, where La Coruña cruise passengers can go shopping for fun or for necessities that might be lacking after days at sea. The main drag for shopping in the city is Calle San Andres. Note that many shops close on Sundays.
The official currency used in Spain is the euro, and you’ll find that debit and credit cards are widely accepted in this part of the country. Keeping some euros on hand is helpful for small, locally operated cafes and restaurants. In Spain, tipping is totally optional. Many leave 5% or less at restaurants. You can round up to the nearest euro when leaving a tip for a cab driver. Tipping your bartender is pretty rare here.