La Coruna in Spain is a popular cruise destination, with 140 cruise ship visits in 2023! If you’re heading here on a cruise and want to know what to do whilst you’re there without spending a fortune, keep reading to discover some of the free things to do in La Coruna.
This guide could be particularly handy if you are visiting on a Sunday because many things are closed on this day.
Plus, we’ll be sharing some things we think are worth spending a small amount of money on.
How to get from the cruise port to La Coruna
The good news is that cruise ships dock in the downtown area of La Coruna and it’s a short, flat, five minute walk into the city. No need to get a shuttle bus or taxi.
It’s a very walkable city, which makes it an easy place to explore on your own.
Can you visit La Coruna for free?
If you’re visiting La Coruna on a cruise, you could easily spend a day exploring the port without spending any money. There are many free things to do in La Coruna.
We’re big advocates of supporting local businesses in cruise ports so we do visit local cafes, restaurants and attractions but you don’t need to spend lots of money to enjoy yourself.
Spain is very affordable so you can quite easily find a cappuccino in one of the cafes for just €2.
Stroll around the Marina of La Coruna
The nearby marina is a great place for a leisurely stroll with the family. There are plenty of little boats and yachts to stop and admire and the water is very clear. Around the marina are benches to sit and take in the view.
Here you’ll also find a small play park for young children to climb, slide and swing.
If the sun is shining this is certainly a good free thing to do in La Coruna.
Maria Pita Square: one of the best free things to do in La Coruna
Maria Pita Square is close to the cruise port and is one of the top places to visit during your day in La Coruna.
This huge 10,000m2 square was built to honour the bravery of one woman who stood up to English forces.
Towards the end of the 16th Century, Queen Elizabeth ordered a fleet of galleons (headed by Sir Frances Drake) to take control of the waterways from England to Portugal. La Coruna was a key port that the English wanted to control but Maria Pita was determined to stop this from happening.
Maria Pita was one of the few women to fight alongside men and after killing a British soldier, Maria inspired the people of La Coruna to fight back and defend their city.
It’s said that she climbed on to the city walls and cried Quen teña honra, que me siga (Whoever has honour, follow me!). This moment is captured with a bronze statue of Maria Pita in the square.
In the square you can also see the grand City Hall building. Inside, you can visit its Clock Museum for free.
See the Monumento a la Marina
If you stroll to the far side of the marina, you’ll find the Monument of the Marina.
This sculpture depicts Lady of Carmen, the patroness saint of people of the sea. She faces out towards the sea and is surrounded by a small fountain.
In Spain there is a festival in honour of this saint every year on 16th July. The Día de la Virgen del Carmen is celebrated in many coastal towns and villages throughout Spain, including La Coruna.
Get a good view of your cruise ship in La Coruna
Near the Monumento a la Marina is a great viewing point to see your cruise ship in port.
This scenic view point is the Mirador del Parrote and is a popular spot for locals to fish from.
If you look into the water around here, you’re bound to spot some fish.
Walk to the Castle of San Antón
If you carry on walking past the Monument of the Marina there is a very pleasant short walk along a promenade to the Castle of San Antón.
This 16th century fortress has served as a defensive building, prison and a hospital. Now it’s a museum open to the public.
FOR A LITTLE MORE: You can get a good view of the castle without going inside but entry is only €2 if you want to learn more about it’s history.
If you’re looking to stretch your legs, you can carry on to Dique de Abrigo, which is a long walkway stretching out towards the sea.
Just head towards the the large H-shaped structure.
Take a free tour of the Old Town
The Old Town dates back to 1208 when it was re-founded by Alphonse IX of León. La Coruna was originally founded by the Romans and called Crunia.
Take a free self-guided tour of this area download here to help you take in all of the key historical sights.
If you walk along the promenade to Castle of San Antón you can do the free tour in reverse order and make your way back to your cruise ship.
Admire the Gallery Windows
Something to look out for in La Coruna are the buildings that have the gallery windows. There are a lot of these around the marina and in Maria Pita Square.
La Coruna is known as the ‘City of Glass’ because it has the largest expanse of glass gallery windows in the world.
These glass galleries act as conservatories to the buildings, providing light and heat from the sun as well as ventilation. These galleries were built on to the existing buildings in the 1800s.
The ones near the marina are in the Fishermen’s Quarter, as they were used to shelter fishermen on stormy days.
Tower of Hercules
Take a 40-minute walk from the cruise port to the Tower of Hercules – the only Roman lighthouse still in operation.
FOR A LITTLE MORE: Take a taxi for around €8.
This lighthouse was built around the second half of the 1st century AD. by the Romans. The tower has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in recognition of its exceptional value.
It’s completely free to view the Tower of Hercules from outside.
FOR A LITTLE EXTRA:Tickets are €3 to visit inside and climb to the top. This entrance fee is waived on Mondays and public holidays so this is a bonus if you’re cruise calls on one of these days. There is a small museum with Roman artefacts.
Tower of Hercules Sculpture Park
Near the Tower of Hercules is a sculpture park including the Rose of the Winds and a singular version of Stonehenge located on the coastline. Entry to the sculpture park is free of charge.
Many of the sculptures are close to the tower but you can do a circuit of the entire sculpture park in 1.6 miles. Take a look at the route.
La Coruna Beach
You can certainly choose to spend some time on the beach in La Coruna. There are a few to choose from but the closest beaches to the cruise port are Praia de Riazor and Playa del Orzán.
Riazor is less than a mile from the cruise port and has a long promenade along the crescent-shaped sandy beach. Playa del Orzán is right next door.
Simply take your sun bed towels from the cruise ship with you and enjoy some relaxation time.
Something a little extra
If you fancy a little treat during your visit to La Coruna, we’d recommend finding the Bonilla a la Vista Churrería for churros with chocolate!
We visited the one on Rua Real and enjoyed 6 churros and a cup of chocolate for just €4.15!
Now we’ve shown you some of the best things to do in La Coruna. One thing that’s clear is that you can see a lot of this Spanish port city without spending a fortune. You can explore the area easily on foot as it’s a very walkable place.
There are a few things we’ve included but they all cost less than €10, with most costing less than €5!
We hope you’ve found this guide useful. Enjoy you’re time in La Coruna!