Tourist area that comprises A Coruña and 17 surrounding municipalities...
Top ten: Ten unrivalled destinations
The Tower of Hercules
So we continue our journey to “10 unrivalled destinations in Galicia“, jumping from one city to the next. This is none other than A Coruña, where we can marvel at the Tower of Hercules, which dates back to Roman times and is the oldest working lighthouse in the world, the reason why it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Farum Brigantium was built by the Roman Empire at some time between the end of the 1st century AD and the beginning of the following one. Located at the entrance to the harbour of A Coruña, this magnificent lighthouse was designed as an aid to navigation along the rugged Galician coast, a strategic point on the sea route linking the Mediterranean to northeast Europe.
Legend has it that the Greek demigod Hercules came to Spain in search of the giant Geryon, with the mission of freeing these lands from the latter’s tyrannical yoke. Their struggle lasted three whole days and nights, and ended when Hercules defeated the giant and cut of his head, which he buried next to the sea. To commemorate his victory, he built a lighthouse on the spot, close to place where a city was founded with the name of Crunia, in honour of the first woman to live there and with whom Hercules himself had fallen in love.
Inside, climb up the steep spiral staircase to the top, where you can enjoy the breathtaking view of A Coruña and the Atlantic Ocean, with wind whistling around you. But try not to make too much noise, in case you wake the giant...After this bird’s-eye view of the city, why not go for a stroll along its seafront promenade, taking in the popular Orzán and Riazor beaches, where the breaking of the waves is quite a sight. Going the other way, after passing O Parrote you come to the Porta Real, or Royal Gate, and the Avenida da Mariña, with the covered balconies to which A Coruña owes its nickname, “The City of Glass“.
Take time to discover this part of the city, where you can stop and relax at one of its traditional cafés, whilst you enjoy a delicious homemade ice-cream. Wander through the Méndez Núñez Gardens and then back along the pedestrian thoroughfare of the Rúa Real, which leads into the city’s best-known square, dedicated to María Pita. Here you can admire the statue erected in honour of the city’s best-loved heroine whilst nibbling at a tempting appetizer at one of its many outdoor cafés.
For your information... - Tower of Hercules opening times: October – March (Monday to Sunday): 10:00 to 18:00. April – September (Monday to Sunday): 10:00 to 19:00. July and August (Monday to Sunday): 10:00 to 21:00. Find out more at www.turismocoruna.com.
Say au revoir to this charming “balcony over the Atlantic“, with the feeling that you have been welcomed not only by the smell of the sea and the salt wind, but also by its inhabitants, because as the old saying goes, A Coruña is a city in which no one is a stranger.