Already an important port since ancient times, the city on the north-western edge of the Iberian Peninsula, where land gives way to the Atlantic and spirits of the British Isles and the Americas waft across the sea air, is now also an important port of call for cruise ships.
Like the fishermen, explorers, traders and armadas that went before, these giant ships drop anchor amid the city sights, bays and green hills that surround them. A classically scenic cruise destination, A Coruña combines history, architectural beauty, cultural depth, fine gastronomy and a spectacularly scenic setting all in one. Importantly, it is on a much-crossed route between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean – a popular itinerary for European cruise ships.
Many of the American tourists that experience cities like A Coruña in this way fly over to London and join the Mediterranean-bound cruise from Southampton, but there are also ships that call on Galicia straight after crossing the Atlantic, as in the days of great ocean liners such as the Queen Mary and the Normandie. Even today the transatlantic crossing is regarded as the most authentic and classical of cruise experiences, and A Coruña is one of its main modern destinations.
Visitors to the scenically located port of the city will regularly spot famous cruise liners operated by such illustrious names such as Cunard, Fred Olsen, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean and many others. Thanks to the central location of the port it is no more than a few metres from the city centre, depending on where the ship docks, allowing passengers to easily reconnoitre A Coruña and get to know its sights, landmarks and culinary pleasures on foot.
American visitors, in particular, will be drawn to the fresh produce market, which for all its authenticity and spirited liveliness is immaculate and well organised. Others may be drawn to the many historic monuments and battle sites of a strategic port town, admire the architecture, soak up the culture, shop in the home region of the giant Inditex fashion concern or simply take in the atmosphere. Excursions to the nearby historic city and important pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela are also highly popular.
A beautifully preserved medieval town set in rolling green countryside, Santiago de Compostela is a fascinating town rich in atmosphere, spirituality and Celtic charm, the final destination of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage that starts in southern France and culminates before the imposing cathedral. For many who visit here, by cruise ship or otherwise, it will be a window on a new and unexpected part of Spain that is in many ways typically Spanish yet also very distinct.
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