Go and see the Galerías along Avenida de A Mariña. Enclosed glass balconies, the galerías have become an iconic symbol of A Coruña – giving the city the nickname of ‘Ciudad de Cristal’ – City of Glass. Designed by the architect Juan de Ciórraga, they were built in the second half of the 19th century and were the old homes of the local fishermen, allowing them to see the marina and protect the façade from rain.
When you’ve finished admiring the glass balconies, walk into the city’s Casco Antiguo (Old Town), past the impressive María Pita square and stop for a coffee and a slice of tarta de Santiago almond cake at one of the many cafes.
Continue to the end of the Old Town to reach the Castillo de San Anton, a 16th century fortress set on a small island, connected to the mainland via a bridge. Today the castle houses the Museo Arqueológico e Histórico – Museum of Archeology and History. Explore to learn more about the city’s fascinating past.
Head back to the centre for lunch at one of A Coruña’s top tapas bars, where you can try and variety of local dishes, from pulpo a Gallego (Galician octopus) to local cheeses and empanadas (pastry tarts filled with a variety of savoury fillings). After lunch, spend the afternoon relaxing on Orzán beach, if the weather is nice, if not, head to the Casa Museo María Pita to discover all about the heroine who fought against Francis Drake and his fleet in the 16th century.
Make your way up to the Mirador del Monte San Pedro look-out point, where you’ll ride in a glass lift to the top of the hill and be rewarded with spectacular city views. Time it so your visit coincides with the sunset and you’ll get a truly special sight. Dine at the Restaurante Mirador de San Pedro for dinner, overlooking the sparkling city lights below.
Make your way to the peninsula of land sticking out to the northeast of the city, where you’ll find many interesting sites and museums. Your first stop is the Domus Casa del Hombre – the museum of humankind. Domus was the first interactive museum focused on human beings and is housed in a building designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. Here you’ll discover everything about identity and demography, your senses, the heart, the brain and the formation of language.
Visit the nearby Restaurante O Fado for lunch, specialising in Galician seafood and offering beautiful sea views. Try the clams in marinera sauce, baked scallops or percebes – a local delicacy of goose barnacles. After lunch, get more acquainted with the sea by visiting the Aquarium Finisterrae – the museum of the ocean. Here you can learn about local species of fish, as well as the history of the fishing industry and Galicia’s unique relationship with the sea.
When you’ve finished at the aquarium, make your way to the Torre de Hércules, an old lighthouse built by the Romans in the 1st or 2nd centuries. According to the inscription at the bottom, it was designed by the architect Gaio Sevio Lupo, and thought to be attributed to the Roman emperor Trajan, who ruled between 98 and 117 AD.
In the evening, make your way back to the centre of town to sample some of A Coruña’s best restaurants, where you can feast on gourmet Galician cuisine to finish your 48 hours in style.