48 Hours in A Coruña

If you only have two days to spend in A Coruña, Spain, you’ll want to make the most of your time by exploring the best this beautiful city in Galicia has to offer. To help you plan your itinerary, here are some pro tips and suggestions for what to do during your stay.

Must-haves:

Reliable footwear: A good pair of walking shoes is essential for exploring the city, as you’ll want to take advantage of the seaside promenade (the longest urban promenade in Europe) and the highly pedestrian-friendly old town. If you have a waterproof or weather-resistant option even better, as rain is a frequent companion in Galicia.

Basic rain gear: It doesn’t always rain in A Coruña, but why risk it. A decent rain jacket paired with an umbrella will usually be enough for the light drizzle typical in Galicia, however if you plan to spend significant time outside you might want a heavier raincoat. It also can get quite windy, so umbrellas may be rendered useless at times.

And, of course, a comfortable place to stay: These are our hotel recommendations for spending a night or two in A Coruña.

The height of luxury: Hotel Meliá María Pita is the fanciest hotel in A Coruña. There you’ll be steps away from two beaches, museums and fine dining.

A nice, reasonable choice: Hotel Riazor overlooks the Playa Riazor beach and is 5 minutes walking distance to Plaza Pontevedra where you will find plenty of shopping.

Ballin’ on a budget: Hotel Almirante is humble, clean, and gets the job done. It’s above a restaurant so it might get loud during dinnertime, but the price is unbeatable considering you’ll be walking distance from the beach, the Riazor stadium, and numerous restaurants.

Day 1:

Start your day by visiting a neighborhood market (mercado) to grab some breakfast and perhaps pick up some local treats or souvenirs. Definitely also check out a local bakery (panadería) for rosquillas, empanada gallega (Galician empanada), or whatever looks good.

If you want to do a more in-depth food run or just want to see a Galician grocery store, you should find a Gadis or a Froiz. Both are supermarket chains based in Galicia. We’re partial to Gadis, and I’ll always have a soft spot for their bocadillo de tortilla (a sandwich of tortilla española) and their empanada de pollo y champiñones (chicken and mushroom Galician empanada).

During the siesta hours many smaller businesses will close, so consider renting a bike or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the Paseo Maritimo (a seafront boardwalk) to enjoy the sea breeze and take in the views of Playa de Riazor and Playa de Oza.

From the beaches you can easily follow the paseo to the historic Torre de Hercules (the Hercules Tower) which is the oldest known lighthouse still in operation. Anyone can walk right up to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and explore the grounds for free, and for a small fee you can climb the steps to the top of the tower.

For anyone who likes hiking or jogging in nature or has a dog, the park surrounding the Torre de Hercules could be a great place to spend a few hours. And any time you need a break you can almost always find a picturesque spot to sit on one of the many benches sprinkled throughout the well-maintained plazas and parks of A Coruña.

Now, it’s time to make your way to Plaza de Maria Píta. Many restaurants in Spain won’t begin dinner service until 7 (at the earliest) or even 8 as in Spain it’s customary to sit down for dinner anywhere from 8-10:30. That said, in urban centers there will almost always be options that open earlier, they just may be more limited.

If you’re in the mood for some shopping before dinner, check out the original Zara store location in the city center or browse the local shops all along Calle Real in the old town. 

For dinner, try some traditional Galician dishes such as pulpo (octopus), navajas (razor clams), and any other locally-caught seafood. Don’t forget to sample some Padron peppers and caldo gallego, a hearty vegetable broth. End your day at Plaza Maria Pita and treat yourself to some churros con chocolate or Bico de xeado for dessert.

Day 2:

On your second day in A Coruña, find a cafe near your lodging and spend a little time exploring the corner of Coruña you’ve ended up in. This is how I’ve found some of my favorite bakeries, restaurants, and other spots. Order churros con chocolate or tarta de Santiago (also called tarta de almendras or almond cake) and your beverage of choice.

Before starting your day in earnest, take a walk along the Avenida de la Marina to view the famous galleries that give A Coruña the nickname of “City of Glass.” These structures are a must-see during your visit.

The next stop is Monte de San Pedro, where you can ride the funicular crystal ball for panoramic views of the city and the coastline. To get there, you’ll return to the Paseo Maritimo, but this time you’ll head in the opposite direction. On the way there you’ll pass several permanent art installations, so give yourself time to stop and take photos.

For a small fee, you can ride the funicular from the base of Monte de San Pedro to the top, where you’ll find beautiful wide open green space and impressive coastal views. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed in the funicular, so keep that in mind when planning your journey. You can also get to the top of Monte de San Pedro by car, and dogs are allowed on the grounds as long as they are leashed.

Even if you don’t end up visiting the Torre de Hercules or Monte de San Pedro make sure to walk at least a portion of the paseo to experience a taste of the local life and enjoy the stunning views of the sea and unparalleled people-watching.

If you’ve had enough time outdoors and shopping isn’t your thing, consider visiting one of A Coruña’s three science museums – Casa de las Ciencias, Casa del Hombre, or Aquarium Finisterrae. These museums are an interactive and educational indoor option that’s fun for folks of all ages.

For the evening, head to the old town, where you’ll taste various media raciones (small sharing size portions) of local favorites. Find a restaurant that looks interesting and put your name on the list or find a spot with an open table and simply claim it (as is customary in Spain). Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter for their recommendation or the house specialty, and limit yourself to one or two items at each stop so you’ll be able to sample several different dishes across 3-4 restaurants.

Finally, finish the night with some ice cream from Biofactory, a local organic ice cream shop that makes their own ice cream in-house. I suggest the frutas del bosque con chocolate(mixed berry ice cream and chocolate ice cream), although you can’t go wrong with any of their flavors. They also have vegan options, so just ask when you arrive if that is a consideration.

El fin:

And here we are at the end of our suggestions for how to spend 48 hours in A Coruña. With these tips, a good pair of walking shoes, and rain gear you should be all set to enjoy a fun-filled 48 hours in A Coruña. If you’re still looking for ideas for how to spend time in A Coruña, keep an eye out for our article on how to spend 4 days in A Coruña coming soon.

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