Is A Coruña Worth Visiting at Christmas?

Is A Coruña Worth Visiting At Christmas
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Simon Kemp Camino de Santiago author

By: Simon Kemp, Editor

Before we begin, the answer is yes! Of course A Coruña is worth a visit over Christmas. In fact you should stay through January. Here’s why:

As the festive season unfolds, the Camino city of A Coruña, situated in the picturesque region of Galicia, Spain, evolves into a captivating winter wonderland filled with festive merriment.

Celebrated for its rich maritime heritage, remarkable architecture, and lively cultural scene, during Christmas it really is an awe-inspiring sight. The city’s avenues and plazas are splendidly decked out with sparkling lights and holiday decorations, creating an entrancing atmosphere that bewitches both tourists and locals.

More than its visual charm, the city presents a seamless mix of traditional Galician traditions and modern festive celebrations, making it an ideal spot for those in search of an authentic and memorable experience.

Whether meandering along the coastline, discovering the historic downtown, or delighting in the seasonal gastronomy, A Coruña at Christmas time embodies a festivity of joy, tradition, and communal spirit.

How to get to There

The city, is well-connected and accessible, making it an appealing destination for Christmas travelers. Great connections also make it worth a visit over Christmas.

By Air: A Coruña Airport (LCG), also known as Alvedro Airport, is the gateway to the city, offering flights from major cities in Spain and some international locations. The airport is conveniently located just 8 kilometers from the city center.

By Rail: For those who prefer a scenic route, A Coruña is served by the Renfe train network, connecting it to major Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona. The train journey offers a picturesque view of the Spanish countryside, enhancing the travel experience.

By Road: The city is also accessible by bus or car, with well-maintained highways and regular bus services from various parts of Spain. Traveling by road provides the flexibility to explore the rugged Galician landscape at your own pace.

Local Transportation: Once in town, visitors can easily navigate the city using public buses, taxis, or simply by walking, as many of the key attractions are centrally located.
Christmas Accommodation in A Coruña

The city offers a diverse range of accommodations catering to different preferences and budgets, especially during the festive season.

Map of A Coruña

Hotels

  1. Hotel Plaza Coruna: A modern hotel offering comfortable beds, excellent service, and a praised restaurant. It’s well-located near transport options and has good WiFi and a highly recommended breakfast.
  2. Avenida Hotel: Located near the train station and old city center, this hotel provides clean, modern rooms, good service, and varied breakfast options. It’s well-priced and offers convenient transport access.
  3. NH Collection A Coruña Finisterre: A scenic seaside hotel in A Coruña offering comfortable, clean rooms with beautiful sea views. Amenities include a sports center, outdoor pools, and gym. It is ideally situated and provides professional service.

Hostels

  1. Albergue de peregrinos de Hospital de Bruma: Known for its restful environment and hospitality, this hostel is a little jewel for those seeking a break after a day’s walking.
  2. Hostal Linar: A hostel that provides a perfect combination of affordability and comfort, suitable for various types of travelers.
  3. La Perla: Renowned for its great value and location, offering a convenient and cost-effective stay for visitors.

Vacation Rentals

The city offers 444 houses, 69 condos, and various other vacation rentals. Whether traveling with family or friends, these rentals provide amenities like WiFi and hot tubs, catering to diverse needs including accessibility and non-smoking options.

Rural Accommodations

For those looking to experience the countryside, rural accommodations offer a serene retreat. Booking.com lists some of the best rural houses, offering a blend of rustic charm and modern comforts.

These accommodation options ensure a comfortable and memorable stay, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the joy and charm of an A Coruña visit during Christmas.

A Store Building With Christmas Illuminations
A Store In A Coruña Spain Decorated With Christmas Illuminations

Exploring A Coruña’s Historic District

The historic district is a fusion of cultural and architectural marvels. This part of the city is steeped in history and offers a blend of ancient structures and modern facilities, all adorned with festive decorations and lights, creating a captivating holiday ambiance. It’s relatively safe for solo travelers and women on their own can enjoy their time without concern. What’s not to like?

Landmarks and Streets

A stroll through the old town reveals several significant landmarks:

  1. Tower of Hercules (Torre de Hercules): This ancient Roman lighthouse, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, provides insights into the city’s maritime history and offers panoramic views of the Atlantic.
  2. Monte de San Pedro: Known for its historic walking areas, this site offers spectacular views and is ideal for leisurely strolls.
  3. Praza de María Pita: The main square of the city, surrounded by impressive buildings and bustling with activity, especially during festive times. The narrow, winding streets are lined with unique shops and cafes, each offering a glimpse into the city’s rich heritage and lively contemporary culture.
A Coruna Christmas Festival Galicia Spain
A Coruna Christmas Festival Galicia Spain
A Coruna Christmas Market Galicia Spain
A Coruna Christmas Market Galicia Spain
A Coruna Historic District At Christmas
A Coruna Historic District At Christmas
A Coruna Spain At Christmas Artists Impression
A Coruna Spain At Christmas Artists Impression

Christmas Decorations

The historic district is illuminated with an array of lights and decorations, adding a magical touch to the already picturesque streets. The glow of these festive lights against the backdrop of historic buildings creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for evening walks.

  • In 2023, the City invested nearly 470,000 euros in Christmas lights, illuminating key areas like the Obelisco and Plaza de María Pita.
  • Noteworthy decorations include the bola de La Marina and the tree at the Obelisco, along with various street decorations that enhance the festive atmosphere.

Cultural Experience

The district is not only about visual splendor; it’s also a hub for cultural activities during the festive season. From street performers to local artisans displaying their crafts, there is an abundance of cultural experiences to be had.

The blend of history, art, and modern festivities makes this part of town a must-visit during the Holiday season. Here are some examples of what’s on offer:

  • Poetry Readings: “Poetas di(n) versos outono 2023” is one of the cultural events offering poetry recitals, some of which are free or require tickets.
  • Film Screenings: The Cines Fórum Metropolitano screens films like “OLMERT: HAISH SHERATZA YOTER MIDAI” and “ADVOCATE,” with ticket prices ranging from 1.50 to 3.00 euros and discounts for various groups.
  • Theatrical Performances: The Teatro Colón features performances like “Cuarentena,” with ticket prices from 12 to 18 euros and discounts available.

The historic district, with its blend of ancient architecture, modern Christmas traditions, and vibrant cultural activities, offers an unforgettable experience to visitors during the season.

The Historic Quarter Of A Coruna At Christmas Time
The Historic Quarter Of Galician City A Coruna At Christmas

Christmas Markets in A Coruña

The downtown area comes alive during the Festive season with its vibrant and colorful markets, offering a festive shopping experience and a chance to immerse in local traditions.

Locations of Christmas Markets

The markets are typically set up in central locations, easily accessible to both locals and tourists. Key areas like the Plaza de María Pita, and the streets around the old town and the marina, transform into bustling hubs of festive activity. These markets are usually open from early December until the beginning of January.

Types of Goods and Experiences Offered

Visitors to the markets can expect a wide range of goods and experiences:

  • Handcrafted Gifts and Decorations: These markets are a treasure trove for unique handcrafted items, including decorations, artisanal crafts, and local souvenirs. Artisans from around the region showcase their skills, offering beautifully crafted goods that make perfect gifts.
  • Local Gastronomy: The markets are also an excellent place to taste Galician culinary delights. Stalls offer traditional Christmas sweets, regional dishes, and warm beverages, giving visitors a taste of local flavors and festive treats.
  • Cultural Activities and Entertainment: Alongside shopping, the markets often host a variety of cultural activities and entertainment. These can include live music performances, workshops, and activities for children, making the markets a lively and enjoyable destination for all ages.

The markets not only provide a festive shopping experience but also serve as a vibrant celebration of Galician culture and tradition, making them a must-visit attraction during the holiday season.

Is A Coruna At Christmas Worth A Visit? Yes!
Is A Coruna At Christmas Worth A Visit? Yes it is!

Music and Entertainment

A Coruña transforms into a festive wonderland, offering an array of music and entertainment options that cater to all ages and tastes. The city’s historical and contemporary venues host a variety of concerts and music events that showcase both local and international talents.

Concerts and Music Events

  • Classical Music Concerts: The Holiday season is often marked by classical music performances. Venues such as the Palacio de la Opera host renowned orchestras and choirs, presenting traditional Christmas carols and classical compositions. These concerts are a treat for classical music enthusiasts, providing a sublime backdrop to the festive season.
  • Pop and Rock Concerts: For those who favor more contemporary beats, A Coruña’s music scene doesn’t disappoint. Various clubs and concert halls, like the Playa Club Coruña, often feature popular bands and artists, offering lively performances that are perfect for music lovers looking to dance the night away.

Other Entertainment Options

  • Film Screenings: The city also hosts film screenings, including Christmas-themed movies and international cinema showcases. The CGAI (Centro Galego de Artes da Imaxe) is a notable venue for film aficionados, offering a range of films that cater to diverse preferences.
  • Street Performances: The streets come alive with various performers during the season. From local musicians playing traditional Galician music to street artists and performers, the city’s lively atmosphere is palpable in every corner.

Unique Entertainment Experiences

  • Special Christmas Shows: The Rosalia de Castro Theater, a cultural landmark, often hosts special shows, including ballets, plays, and family-friendly performances that capture the essence of the season.
  • New Year’s Celebrations: The New Year’s Eve celebrations are a highlight, with spectacular fireworks and live music performances at the main squares like María Pita Square, offering a memorable way to ring in the new year.

Ticketing and Scheduling

  • Most events require tickets, which can be purchased online or at the venue. Prices vary depending on the event and seating choices.
  • It’s advisable to check the event schedules in advance as they tend to be popular and can sell out quickly. The official city website and local tourist offices provide up-to-date information on schedules and ticket availability.

The music and entertainment scene is diverse and vibrant, offering something for everyone. From classical concerts to lively street performances, the city ensures that its visitors and residents have a memorable and joyous festive season.

Christmas Markets In A Coruna Are A Must-see  Visitor Atraction
Christmas Markets In A Coruna Are A Must Visit

Artisanal Crafts and Workshops

The City not only dazzles with its festive decorations and musical events but also becomes a hub for artisanal crafts and creative workshops. These activities provide an opportunity for visitors to experience the rich cultural heritage of the region and to take part in hands-on creative processes.

Artisanal Markets and Craft Fairs

  • Local Artisan Markets: A staple of the holiday season in A Coruña are the local artisan markets. These markets feature a wide array of handcrafted goods, from traditional ceramics and textiles to contemporary art and jewelry. They offer a unique shopping experience, allowing visitors to purchase one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs.
  • Craft Fairs: Alongside the artisan markets, the city hosts several craft fairs. These fairs are not only a place to buy crafts but also a platform for local artisans to showcase their skills and traditions. The craft fairs often include live demonstrations, giving visitors a glimpse into the artistry behind the products.

Workshops and Learning Experiences

  • Craft Workshops: For those interested in learning new skills, various workshops where you can learn traditional crafts. These workshops, often led by local artisans, provide hands-on experiences in activities such as pottery, textile weaving, and woodworking.
  • Family-Friendly Activities: Many workshops are designed to be family-friendly, allowing children and adults to engage in creative activities together. These workshops are not only educational but also a fun way to create lasting memories.

Kids Christmas workshops in A Coruña

Location: Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, for the 2023-2024 season:

1. What’s in This Drawer?

  • Dates: 27th, 28th, and 29th December
  • Time: 11.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
  • Age Group: 4 to 6 years
  • Spaces Available: 12
  • Led by: Haya Blanco
  • Description: A creative workshop focused on constructing three-dimensional art from various objects, encouraging kids to explore and create.
  • Cost: Free
  • Registration: Open from 14th November to 1.00 p.m. on 18th December 2023, by email at [email protected]

2. Photo Fantasy

  • Dates: 3rd, 4th, and 5th January
  • Time: 11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.
  • Age Group: 7 to 9 years
  • Spaces Available: 15
  • Led by: Susana Varela
  • Description: This workshop is centered on photography, where children can create an artist’s book using their own images and creativity.
  • Cost: Free
  • Registration: Same as above.

Unique Craft Experiences

  • Customized Workshops: Some artisans offer the option to create customized workshops for groups. This can be a unique experience for families, friends, or team-building activities, offering a personalized introduction to local crafts.
  • Exhibition of Artisan Skills: Beyond the workshops, visitors can witness the skilled craftsmanship of local artisans. Demonstrations of glassblowing, lace-making, and other traditional skills are a common sight, offering a deeper appreciation of the region’s cultural heritage.

Access and Participation

  • Booking and Scheduling: It is advisable to book workshops in advance as they can fill up quickly, especially during the holiday season. Information on workshop schedules and booking can be found on the official city website or at local tourist information centers.
  • Costs: The cost for participating in workshops varies, with some being free and others charging a fee, depending on the materials and duration of the workshop.

Artisanal crafts and workshops during the Holidays provide a rich and immersive cultural experience. From browsing through artisanal markets to participating in hands-on workshops, visitors can engage with the local culture and traditions in a meaningful way.

Festive Streets By Day In A Coruna Spain
Christmas Streets By Day In A Coruna Galicia Spain

Culinary Delights and Local Cuisine

Known for its rich culinary traditions, becomes a gastronomic paradise during December. The city offers a wide range of traditional dishes and modern cuisine, making it an ideal destination for food enthusiasts.

Traditional Christmas Dishes

  • Seafood Delicacies: Being a coastal city, A Coruña is famous for its fresh seafood. Christmas is the perfect time to savor dishes like mariscada (assorted shellfish), pulpo a la gallega (Galician-style octopus), and vieiras (scallops), often prepared in traditional Galician style.
  • Turrón and Polvorones: No Christmas in Spain is complete without these sweet treats. Turrón, a nougat-like confection made from almonds, and polvorones, soft and crumbly shortbread cookies, are a must-try during the festive season.

Local Restaurants and Eateries

  • Michelin-Starred Dining: For a luxurious dining experience,the city boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant and a total of 25 dining establishments that have special mentions in the Michelin Guide. These establishments offer exquisite menus that blend traditional Galician ingredients with modern culinary techniques.
  • Tapas Bars and Local Taverns: For a more casual dining experience, the city’s numerous tapas bars and taverns offer a chance to sample a variety of local dishes in a relaxed, festive atmosphere.

Árbore da Veira: The Crown of A Coruña Cuisine

If you are looking for a restaurant that offers a stunning view of the city and the sea, as well as a creative and delicious cuisine, you might want to check out Árbore da Veira. This is a one-star Michelin restaurant located on top of Monte de San Pedro, near the historic artillery batteries. Here are some features of this restaurant that make it worth a visit:

  • Atlantic-inspired dishes: The chef, Luis Veira, is a native of the city and he uses local ingredients and flavors to create his dishes. He combines traditional and modern techniques to produce surprising and exquisite combinations. You can choose from his à la carte menu or his tasting menus: Raíces, Árbore (lunchtime only) and Semente (dinner only).
  • Panoramic setting: The restaurant has a spacious and bright dining room, with large windows that offer a spectacular view of the city and the ocean. You can enjoy the scenery while you savor your meal. The restaurant also has several rooms for private events, with different capacities and decorations.
  • Innovative tableware: The restaurant pays attention to every detail, including the tableware. You will find unique and elegant plates, bowls, glasses, and cutlery that enhance the presentation and the taste of the food. The restaurant also uses compact tables and bare tablecloths to create a minimalist and cozy atmosphere.
  • Address: Árbore da Veira, Parque Monte de San Pedro. Carretera Los Fuertes s/n, Monte de San Pedro, La Coruna, 15011
  • Phone: +34 981 07 89 14

Special Mentions: A Coruña’s Bib Gourmand Restaurants

The Bib Gourmand is an award given by the Michelin Guide to restaurants that offer good quality food at a reasonable price. The award was created in 1997 and is named after Bibendum, the friendly Michelin Man and the official company mascot for the Michelin Group.

Restaurants with a Bib Gourmand may not have a Michelin star, but they are recognized for their delicious food and value for money. The total cost for a three-course meal at a Bib Gourmand restaurant should come under a certain amount, which varies depending on the local cost of living.

If you’re planning a culinary adventure, here are three restaurants that have been recognized with a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide for their good quality and value:

  1. El de Alberto: This restaurant offers modern cuisine in a cozy setting. It’s located at Rua Comandante Fontanes 1, La Coruna, 15003. You can reach them at +34 981 90 74 11.
  2. Artabria: Known for its traditional cuisine, Artabria is located at Calle de Fernando Macias 28 Bajo, La Coruna, 15004. Their phone number is +34 981 26 96 46.
  3. Terreo Cocina Casual: This restaurant offers contemporary dishes and is located at San Andres, 109, La Coruna, 15003. You can contact them at +34 881 91 71 82.

These restaurants are sure to provide a memorable dining experience with their unique culinary offerings.

The Top 5 Tapas Bars in A Coruña

If you’re a Spanish food lover, you’re in for a treat! The city is known for its vibrant tapas scene, with a variety of bars offering delicious small plates that are perfect for sharing. Here are the top 5 tapas bars in that you should definitely check out:

  1. Meson El Serrano: This cozy and lively place is known for its home-style local cuisine. Their fried calamari is a classic.
    • Address: Rua Galera 21, Nuevo Local, La Coruna, 15003
    • Phone: +34 981 22 03 53.
  2. Deabejas: Known for its very good tapas and perfect service from the waiters.
    • Address: Calle de los Olmos 2, A Coruña, Galicia, 15003.
    • Phone: +34 881 96 65 75
  3. A Taberna de Cunqueiro: This Spanish restaurant is known for its amazing scallops, razor clams, and octopus.
    • Address: Calle Estrella, 22 – BJ, A Coruña, 15003.
    • Phone: +34 981 21 26 29.
  4. Taberna da Galera: This Mediterranean restaurant is known for its delicious food, especially tuna tartar and calamari.
    • Address: Calle de la Galera 32, A Coruña, Galicia, 15003.
    • Phone: +34 881 92 39 96.
  5. La Bombilla: This cozy little bar in the center of the city is known for its simple, but tasty tapas. Don’t forget to try their signature ‘bombas’ – deep-fried, crispy potato bombs filled with ground meat.
    • Address: Rua Galera 7, 15003 La Coruna, Spain.
    • Phone: +34 981 90 30 63.

Food Markets and Cooking Classes

  • San Agustín Market: This vibrant market is a focal point for local cuisine, offering fresh produce, meats, seafood, and more. Visitors can also find food stalls serving ready-to-eat meals, providing a taste of authentic Galician cuisine.
  • Cooking Classes: For those interested in learning how to prepare traditional Galician dishes, cooking classes are available. These classes often include a market tour and hands-on cooking experience, led by local chefs.

Specialty Food and Wine

  • Galician Wines: The region is renowned for its wines, especially the Albariño, which pairs wonderfully with seafood. Visiting local bodegas or wine bars is a great way to experience the variety of Galician wines.
  • Artisanal Cheese and Charcuterie: A range of local cheeses and cured meats, perfect for a gourmet tasting or as accompaniments to the region’s wines.

Festive Food Events

  • Food Festivals: The city often hosts food festivals and fairs during the Christmas season, where visitors can indulge in seasonal specialties and discover new flavors.
  • Gourmet Tours: Guided food tours are available, offering a curated experience of the regions best culinary spots, from historic taverns to modern eateries.

The culinary scene is a blend of tradition and innovation. From fresh seafood dishes to sweet treats, the city’s diverse food offerings cater to all palates, making it a must-visit destination for food lovers.

Busy Traffic A Coruña
Busy Traffic A Coruña

A Coruña Festive Shopping and Local Retail

The city turns into a shopping paradise, offering a mix of traditional and modern retail experiences. From bustling markets to elegant boutiques, the city caters to all shopping preferences.

Traditional Markets and Street Vendors

  • Christmas Markets: The markets are a highlight, offering a range of local crafts, gifts, and festive decorations. These markets provide a charming and lively shopping experience, often accompanied by live music and festive treats.
  • Local Street Vendors: The streets are lined with vendors selling a variety of goods, from handmade jewelry to local delicacies. This offers an authentic shopping experience, allowing visitors to find unique items while enjoying the festive atmosphere.

Modern Shopping Malls and Boutiques

  • Shopping Malls: For a more contemporary shopping experience, A Coruña’s shopping malls, like Marineda City and The Style Outlets, offer a wide range of national and international brands.
  • Boutiques and Designer Stores: The city is also home to numerous boutiques and designer stores, offering high-end fashion, accessories, and homeware. These shops provide a more exclusive shopping experience, with unique and stylish items.

Local Products and Souvenirs

  • Galician Specialties: This is the perfect place to buy Galician specialties, such as ceramics, textiles, and food products like cheese and wine. These make for great souvenirs or gifts.
  • Art Galleries and Bookstores: For those interested in arts and literature, the city’s art galleries and bookstores offer a selection of local art and literature, perfect for finding a special gift or keepsake.

Shopping Events and Discounts

  • Seasonal Sales and Promotions: Many stores offer special sales and promotions during the Holiday season, making it an ideal time for shopping.
  • Night Shopping Events: The city occasionally hosts night shopping events, where stores stay open late and offer special deals and entertainment, adding to the festive spirit.

The shopping scene during Christmas is vibrant and diverse, offering everything from traditional markets to modern shopping malls. Whether looking for local crafts, designer fashion, or festive gifts, the city’s retail offerings cater to all tastes and budgets.

The Top 5 Stores for Christmas Shopping in Coruña

Here are the top 5 stores that you should definitely check out, each offering a unique shopping experience:

  1. CARREFOUR LA CORUÑA: This is a large supermarket where you can find a wide variety of products, from food to electronics. It’s located at Avda. Alcalde Alfonso Molina, S/N, 15008 La Coruña. You can reach them at +34 981 13 54 07.
  2. La Tienda Que No Debe Ser Nombrada: This is a unique store specializing in Harry Potter merchandise. It’s located at Calle de Castro Chane 2 Bajo Derecha, La Coruna, 15006. Their phone number is +34 666 96 51 85.
  3. Meiga Celta Cultural Gifts Store: This store specializes in spiritual, mystical, esoteric and religious articles. It’s located at Rua Medico Rodriguez No 15, La Coruna, 15004. You can reach them at +34 660 21 95 74.
  4. Mercado de San Agustin: This is a market located in the city center with sellers offering fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and other local products. It’s located at Cuesta del Aguila 1 y 3 Plaza de San Agustín, 45001 Toledo. Their phone number is +34 696 10 43 08.
  5. Maow Studio & Shop: This is a specialty gift shop located at Rua San Andres 104, La Coruna, 15004. You can reach them at +34 635 53 16 58.

A Coruña Calendar of Christmas Events

Selected Christmas activities. If you are looking for events in December, here is a table with some of the most interesting ones:

Date Event Name Venue Time
Dec 3, 2023 El Fantasma de la ópera. Tributo musical Palacio de la Ópera 07:00 pm
Dec 15, 2023 MOCEDADES Y LOS PANCHOS Palacio de la Ópera 08:30 pm
Dec 16, 2023 X Papanoelada Coruña Torre de Hercules- La Coruña 03:00 pm
Dec 21, 2023 43† GRANDES DEL GOSPEL 2023 – CHICAGO MASS CHOIR “B.B. KING SPIRITUAL” Palacio de la Ópera 08:30 pm
Dec 28, 2023 Sala Mardi Gras – Sophie Simonds Sala Mardi Gras 10:00 pm
Dec 28, 2023 Candlelight: Tributo a Hans Zimmer en el NH Finisterre Hotel NH Collection A Coruña Finisterre 07:00 pm

Selected calendar of Christmas Events during the season Please note that this list does not cover all the events happening during the Christmas season. I recommend checking local listings, tourism websites, or social media closer to the date for a complete and up-to-date overview.

With its vibrant mix of traditional and modern festivities, A Coruña stands out as a magical destination for Christmas. The city’s unique blend of music and entertainment, artisanal crafts, rich culinary delights, diverse shopping experiences, and a range of activities for both adults and children make it an ideal place to experience the festive season.

Whether it’s through exploring the historic streets adorned with festive lights, enjoying the local cuisine, or participating in cultural and artistic events, the city offers a unique and memorable Christmas experience for visitors of all ages.

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