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A Historical Walking Tour of A Coruña City

1. Historic centre walking tour

 La Coruña, Spain
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Coruna Old Town Walking Route

A Coruña possesses a favourable mild climate, a rich history, warm-water port access, a wide crescent beach, unique peninsular geography, a robust economy, and a welcoming community.

With so much to see and enjoy, we have prepared two short walking tours for a more relaxed and meaningful experience. Our first walking route is around and within the Ciudad Vieja or Old Town. This is a 3km loop full of historically significant destinations, noble mansions, museums, and squares. Let us start at the heart of the Old Town - the Praza de María Pita, a large square surrounded by impressive structures such as the grand Concello da Coruña or the City Hall, restaurants and cafes in well-preserved historic buildings, and the Oficina de Turismo ( Tourism Office). At the tourism office, you can also collect some free city maps, a list of must-see places, transportation routes, and business cards or discount vouchers of hotels and restaurants throughout the city.

This square was named in honor of Coruña’s heroine, María Mayor Fernández de Cámara y Pita, or María Pita. History tells of the bravery of María Pita who fought against English invaders, alongside her husband who was an army captain. The English had to abandon their siege and withdraw to their ships. A 9ft monument of María Pita stands in the southern part of the square.

Take the south exit of the square and follow Calle Ángeles. To your left is the iconic Casa Molina, a stunning residential building of the Molina Family, built by the famous architect Rafael González Villar.

Continue to Rúa Damas until you reach Praza de Azcárraga on your right. This park has plenty of aged trees, a central fountain, and has been a venue of several fairs and festivals during specific months of the year.

Exit to Rúa Santiago, and in the corner of Rúa do Parrote, you will see the Igrexa de Santiago or Church of Santiago. This beautiful 12th-century Gothic church is respectfully-preserved inside and out. This church is the starting point for pilgrims who begin their Camino to Santiago de Compostela from A Coruña.

Moving along the same street, on your left is the Palacio de Capitanía or Captain's Palace - a 17th-century Baroque military museum. Every last Friday of the month, there is a guided tour of the building premises and you can watch the ceremonial Changing of the Guard.

Leaving the Palacio, enjoy a relaxed and pleasant walk to the seaside promenade. Take the exit to Praza Parrote to your left. While walking down the Praza Parrote, you will find the landmark of Porta da Cruz ou do Parrote or Door of the Cross. This doorway is part of the old Medieval walls that protected the Old Town. Notice that you will be passing by the two decommissioned cannons on top of the old fortification.

Stay on Praza Parrote until we cross the land bridge to reach the Museo Arqueolóxico e Histórico Castelo de Santo Antón or the Archaeological and Historical Museum & Castle of Santo Antón - a 16th-century defensive fortress which used to stand on an island called L’ila da Pena Grande. The island has been since connected to the mainland by a concrete road. The castle is now a museum dedicated to weaponry, maritime warfare and prehistoric artefacts related to the city and the Galician region. General admission costs €2. 

Tracing our steps back to the Praza Parrote, you will see Porta de San Miguel on your right, another entry which was part of the old wall.

Turn right onto Paseo del General Sir John Moore, and to your right is the Iglesia Orden Tercera de San Francisco or the Third Order Church of San Francisco. Next to it is the must-visit Museo Histórico Militar da Coruña or the Coruña Military Historical Museum. The Military Museum has a vast collection of traditional and modern armaments, military uniforms, ammunition, and other interesting warfare technology.

Let's head north to Rúa San Francisco until we reach the Praza Santo Domingo or Santo Domingo Square, and opposite this small park is the majestic facade of Convent and Church of Santo Domingo. The church is Romanesque-Gothic, with glass dome transept, and Latin cross plan.

Take Rúa de Santa María, then turn right on Praza Santa Bárbara, and left onto Rúa de Herrerías, until you arrive at Casa Museo María Pita to your left. The exhibits in this museum tell the life of María Pita and the significance of her role in defending the city from the invaders.

Back on Rúa de Herrerías, take a left on Travesía Porta de Aires until you see Colexiata Santa María do Campo on your left. This 12th-century Romanesque church houses the Sacred Art Museum with an exhibit of valuable religious artefacts and silver items. The facade features an exquisite doorway and a Gothic rosette window. This Collegiate church is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the city.

Let’s continue on Rúa Porta de Aires, then to Rúa Xeneral Alesón, right to Praza das Atochas, and cross the street to Praza de España. Upon reaching Rúa Panaderas, you will find Casa Museo Casares Quiroga to your right. This museum was the residence of Santiago Casares y Quiroga, a Prime Minister of Spain during the 1930s. It is a well-preserved traditional Galician home, seemingly frozen in its period, giving the visitors an authentic experience of the old times.

Our next destination is Museo de Belas Artes da Coruña or Coruña Fine Arts Museum, and walking towards the museum by taking Rúa Panaderas, we will be passing by Iglesia de las Capuchinas or the Church of the Capuchins. The stunning façade is believed to be a work of Obradoiro at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Upon reaching R. Zalaeta, the Fine Arts Museum is located on your right. It was built by architect Manuel Gallego Jorreto and has won the National Architecture Prize. It houses an impressive collection of sculptures, paintings, and engravings of notable Galician artists from the 16th century up to the present.

Leaving the museum, exit to Rúa Corralón, continue on Plaza del Pintor Sotomayor, and Rúa San Nicolás until you reach Rúa San Agustín. At this corner, you will see the Parroquia de San Nicolás or the Parish of St. Nicholas - a 13th-century Baroque church. The main feature of the church is the sculpture of the Virgin of Sorrows at the altar.

Stay on Rúa San Agustín until you reach Plaza Marqués de San Martín, where the iconic 18th-century Baroque church of Igrexa de San Xurxo or Church of Saint George is found. It has etched its name in the pages of Spanish history as the church where the first same-sex marriage in Spain was celebrated. This church is described as small but elegant. In front of the church is an intricate cruceiro in a courtyard.

Leaving the church, you can see that we are back at the Praza de María Pita, where we started. Head to the east corner, towards Arallo Taberna, a Peruvian - Japanese fusion restaurant, awarded with The Plate Distinction by Michelin, for serving carefully-prepared food using locally-sourced fresh ingredients. Take one of the alfresco seats and enjoy the cool evening breeze.

2. Tower of Hercules Walking Route

 La Coruña, Spain
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Tower of Hercules Walking Route

The other well-recommended walking tour is the Tower of Hercules Sculpture Park. Prepare your most comfortable sneakers that can withstand moderate hiking on rolling hills. As this area is located a few minutes north of the city, it is best to take a bus, taxi, or drive your rental car to the Centro de interpretacion y atencion de visitantes de la Torre de Hercules or the CIAV. This is where you purchase a ticket to enter the Tower for €3.

The leisurely walk begins along Dr. Vázquez Iglesias and moves left onto Paseo Marítimo Alcalde Francisco Vázquez. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Agra de San Amaro/Rúa Regata Cutty Sark. To your right, you will see the pristine shores of Praia de Santo Amaro, a gorgeous fine-sand beach. Stay on the right, hugging the shoreline.

You will pass by Praia de Durmideiras, a small secluded beach. Take another right, following the dirt path closest to the shores. Passing another beach, the Praia dos Mouros to your right, and on the left, is the Monumento aos Fusilados da Republica or Monument to the Fallen of the Republic, a Stonehenge-like sculpture by Isaac Díaz Pardo in honour of Civil War victims.

Moving along the path, you will see the Menhires pola Paz, a group of upright stones, each with holes in a specific direction. The artist Manolo Paz intended for the visitors to look into the holes and interpret what they see through personal reflection.

Up ahead is an interesting sculpture by Gonzalo Viana, the Monumento Hércules en la nave de los Argonautas or Hercules monument in the ship of the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece.

The next artwork you will encounter is the A Copa do Sol or the Cup of the Sun by Pepe Galán. It is a goblet that holds the balm of immortality which Hercules wants to acquire.

Heading to the direction of the Tower, continue to follow the path hugging the shores to enjoy a calming and refreshing view of the Atlantic, with waves splashing against the rugged shores. Close to the Tower is the Rosa dos Ventos or Rose of the Winds, an artwork by Correa Corredoira, showing a circular mosaic with seven signs representing seven Celtic tribes.

Now, let us go inside the Tower and explore the interior of the oldest lighthouse in the world, believed to have been constructed in 415AD. Your ticket will give you access to the open turret at the top where you can enjoy the panoramic views of the city. The legend tells of Hercules killing a giant and burying the head at this location.

Nearby, along the walking path, is the Ara Solis, a door sculpture by Silveiro Rivas which represents the journey between life and death.

The sculptures of Guitar by Pablo Serrano; Hidra de Lerna by Fidel Goás Mendes; Ártabros by Arturo Andrade; Menhir Pentacefálico by Ramón Miranda; and Combat between Hercules and Gerion by Tim Behrens and Xosé Espona, are grouped in one area.

Leaving the Combat of Hercules, you are now a few steps away from the visitor's parking area. We have circled back on our starting point.

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Engel & Völkers
Licence Partner La Coruña
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    15004 La Coruña, Spain

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