A city hardened by a thousand battles, Ferrol is a wise mixture of culture, urban elegance and military power.

To enter the atmosphere take a walk around the Magdalena quarter, laid out exactly like a bar of chocolate following the rationalism of the Enlightenment, and with stunning modernist buildings such as the Jofre theatre.

If you are into naval history, visit the San Felipe castle, lthe fortresses and particularly the Dockyards (Arsenal). Built in the 18th century under the influence of the Enlightenment, the Dockyards are a set of hydraulic works and buildings that are unique in Europe and which include the Naval Museum, a must see that is also very entertaining.

But Ferrol has other surprises in store, such as its  Holy Week, Galicia's oldest and most spectacular… And a taste for good food which can be seen in its markets, bakeries and cafés. In the words of Napoleon: "A toast to the brave people of Ferrol!"


One experience visitors should not miss is to visit the Castle of San Felipe, which transports us back to the past with a vision of the importance of the military presence in the construction and development of the city.

It is a fortress built outside the city on the coast, at the mouth of the ría or estuary. It offers beautiful and strategic views of the city, and a sweeping panorama of the estuary.

Its origins date back to 1589, when the city was visited by the monarch Felipe II and his military engineers. In 1732, under the direction of La Ferrière, the fortress was extended, with work finishing in 1775.

Recommended route

A perfect opportunity to discover a city from the eighteenth century that differs from the rest of Galicia's main cities. The route can be made on foot, and in a morning without rushing.


Leaving the port, close to the quay of Curuxeiras, laid out in the eighteenth century, we may see the characteristics of military engineering from the period: functionality and geometry with sombre lines. From here we walk along the attractive boulevard of A Mariña towards Espírito Santo Street and the Praza Vella Square, noting the traditional buildings with galleries that are so typical of Galician towns and cities. Here we have entered the old town or Ferrol Vello, which existed prior to its urban development in the eighteenth century, with its typical winding streets. From the Praza Vella we continue on to the nineteenth-century Porta do Parque, which links this older district with the Arsenal, an impressive military complex built in 1750 according to a design by Julián Sánchez Bort.

By the Arsenal...

Within this area we have a clear idea of the importance of the Navy during the construction of the city. Here there is a square with an arcade that leads to the docks; the Hall of Arms, which leads through from its northern end to the Training Barracks; the 'Sino' or 'Campá' docks, from the nineteenth century; the Ferrerías building, which contains the permanent National Exhibition on Shipbuilding; the Naval Museum and the Cantabrian Admiralty Zone Library, installed in the former prison of San Campio. Once this part of the route is complete, we leave through the gateway known as the Porta do Dique from the same period, which includes a fine coat of arms of Carlos III.

By the Jofre Theatre to the Military Government building...

This leads us into Galicia Square and the Jofre Theatre, a modernist building greatly admired by local inhabitants, built in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, with very attractive architecture and offering a wide range of cultural and artistic events. At the back of the theatre (in A Coruña Street) is the pro-Concatedral of San Xiao, a neoclassic building dating from the second third of the eighteenth century, which contains a series of interesting carvings and paintings. At the end of our visit, we may then continue on via Iglesia Street to the Alameda de Suances park and Constitución Square, one of the largest and most inviting green zones within the city, where we may relax for a while and admire the Military Government building, also dating from the eighteenth century, originally the town jail and today the Caixa Galicia Foundation’s centre in the city.

By the neighbourhood of Esteiro...

The Alameda de Suances and the Cantóns de Molíns are the remnants of a wide, busy boulevard that connected the port with the neighbourhood of Esteiro earlier this century. We continue along the boulevard and through Pardo Baixo Street until reaching the elegant neoclassic church of As Angustias, dating from the mideighteenth century and initially a military parish. From here we continue along Taxonera Street, where we find the impressive gateway
leading to the Navantia shipyards, built in the middle of the twentieth century. From here we continue until reaching the Cuartel de Dolores, built in the mid-eighteenth century to the south of the Esteiro neighbourhood, which serves as the barracks for the Northern Marine Infantry Brigade. On one side is the Archway of Fontelonga, the only remaining gateway of the three that once led through the city walls to the sea, and which has been recently restored. Following the road north, close to the Ferrándiz Square is the old, neoclassic Porta do Estaleiro.

In the University Campus...

We are now close to the university campus. It is a highly valued institution as a result of the dynamic atmosphere it has recently brought to the city, in terms of urban growth as well as in the economic and social fields. The campus is located in what was the former Hospital de Mariña, dating from the eighteenth century. Next to it is the Casa do Patín, built in the same period, which currently houses the University library.

In the neighbourhood of Magdalena...

At this point we start to make our way back to the city centre, along the interesting Carlos III Street, the last remaining thoroughfare from the old neighbourhood of Esteiro, created in FERROL 25 the eighteenth century for the workers who built the Arsenal, and which was demolished in the 1970’s. We continue through Espoz e Mina and San Amaro streets, then reaching the Callao Square, which leads into the neighbourhood of A Magdalena, the historic and artistic centre of the city and its emblem, as it is a complete urban development following the guidelines of the geometric and rationalist architecture of the eighteenth century. A fine example of town planning following the plans approved by Carlos III in 1761, it is quadrangular in shape and only interrupted by the Amboaxe and Armas Squares.

We cross the neighbourhood following the straight line of Magdalena Street, with fine examples of civil  architecture from the period, such as the Ateneo Ferrolán, and numerous buildings with galleries. We continue along Méndez Núñez Street, which leads into the Amboaxe Square, which has best conserved its original layout. We then walk down Real Street until reaching the Port Authority building, which contains the Herrera gardens, the Churruca obelisk and the neoclassic church of San Francisco. From here we are offered one of the finest views over the city and the ría or estuary. Visiting this district at night is particularly recommended, as a result of its excellent lighting, picking out the most important buildings in its straight streets, with the resulting effect producing an atmosphere that takes us back to former times. All that remains is to walk back to Ferrol Vello and end our visit at the Fortress of San Xoán, set in the remains of the old city walls, offering us a new and truly delightful view over the port and the ría or estuary of Ferrol.

Where to eat

Although the city offers a wide variety of eateries, the best area for eating out is in the Magdalena district, around María and Sol streets. Sol Street offers more in the way of tapas, with numerous typical bars offering the traditional fare of the region, mainly based around seafood.

Don't miss

    Held on 7 January, to celebrate the patron saint of the city, with a free tasting of rice pudding, Ferrol’s most typical dessert.
    Held on 18 March. A festival dedicated to adoring the female form through music. In the Amboaxe Square, the women of Ferrol (known as ‘Pepitas’) are serenaded by musical groups and choirs, who travel around the city to sing beneath their windows..
    Held during the first fortnight of August. Typical summer festival with concerts and other events. Ends on 31 August with a firework display dedicated to Ramón Plá, the Marquis of Amboaxee.
    Held on the closest Sunday to 25 August. Commemorates the defeat of the English troops who attempted to take the city in 1800, repelled by forces from the city and neighbouring towns in the hills of Brión. Includes a trek of 12 kilometres and a series of events held next to the Castle of San Felipe and the monument to the heroes of Brión.
    The most unique series of processions held in Galicia, declared of National Tourist Interest. Dates vary. Further events take place related to Easter throughout the city alongside the processions, such as exhibitions, religious music, etc
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