The Global Solo Challenge
invites you to discover
The staggered departures of the Global Solo Challenge, which will take place from the end of August to December 2023, present the chance to explore a location that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime: the city of A Coruña, the start and finish port of this round-the-world challenge.
There is no need for an excuse to visit the beautiful A Coruña, but as host of a non-stop solo round-the-world sailing event — the Global Solo Challenge — it is even more inviting.
What more can you ask for from a city bathed in the untamed Atlantic, which combines the greenery of its surroundings with the blue of the sea and has an urban centre full of magic? Well, much more than anyone can imagine.
The city, where no one feels like a stranger, offers spectacular landscapes and views of the Atlantic Ocean that will help you disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether arriving by car, plane, or after a pleasant sea journey, this city with a salty taste never disappoints.
The 30 sailors expected to take part in the Global Solo Challenge already have the opportunity to enjoy their new home in Marina Coruña and its surroundings, while preparing their boats for their departure.
A weekend or short break in A Coruña to see one of the departures will give you an opportunity to experience the city with all five of your senses.
The Global Solo Challenge is the ideal excuse to enjoy A Coruña. Leave the boat well moored and your car well parked: A Coruña is a city best enjoyed on foot.
If you decide to travel there by boat, you will be astounded by the stunning scenery of Portus Magnus Artabrorum (bay of A Coruña), which will welcome you with open arms. It has a history of providing a safe haven for sailors seeking refuge from the storms that frequently batter the north west coast of Spain.
The Tower of Hercules will guide you to the modern Marina Coruña.
A visit at sunset to this lighthouse is a must, as it is the oldest functioning Roman lighthouse in the world (built in the first century A.D.), has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also the third tallest lighthouse in Spain (55 meters). From there, you can head to the Aquarium Finisterrae.
In A Coruña, a new adventure awaits you at every turn; start by crossing its seafront promenade to reach the old city or “Ciudad Vieja”. Its medieval and baroque streets will transport you to another era. You can’t miss churches like the Iglesia de Santiago or the Colegiata de Santa María do Campo. Other noteworthy buildings include Casa de Rosala de Castro or Casa de Maria Pita (both are open to visitors) or Pazo Cornide, headquarters of the Royal Galician Academy, an institution dedicated to the study of Galician culture and especially the Galician language. Other stops include the Luís Seoane Foundation, with contemporary art and culture exhibitions, or the beautiful Azcárraga square, with the Fountain of Desire at its centre.
If you are a true sea lover, after a visit to the Tower of Hercules, you should head towards the promenade and the Orzan beach, one of the favorite spots among local surfers.
You won’t have a hard time finding magnificent restaurants in this city, where you can indulge in some of the best seafood dishes of incomparable quality. Along with the six Michelin-starred restaurants (2022) in the province of A Coruña, there are a large number of small eateries where you can savor freshly caught seafood from the fish markets, the delicious scallop pie, octopus a la gallega, or hearty stews that will satisfy anyone’s palate — just to mention a few local specials that will not fail to impress you.
Anyone who hasn’t yet been to A Coruña should schedule a visit. The Global Solo Challenge’s staggered starts, from August to December, are the ideal excuse to be part of this incredible adventure whilst feeling at home in this mesmerizing seaside city.
Text “The Global Solo Challenge invites you to discover A Coruña” by Helena de la Gándara
Visit A Coruña in 3 days
It is undeniable that A Coruña is a city that has a lot to offer and is a perfect destination for a long weekend getaway. So, to answer the question “What to do in A Coruña?”, we offer you a three-day itinerary to discover unique corners that will make you want to return for more.
Day 1: Date with Hercules and the seals
The Marina, Parrote and San Antón Castle: To start our itinerary, we recommend that you begin with the Marina and Parrote, a wide esplanade next to the port where you can admire the typical Galicinan galerias (encolosed balconies).
If you keep walking with the sea on your right, you will reach San Antón Castle. This building was constructed in the 16th century for defensive purposes and was key in the defense against the Drake-Norris Expedition. Since 1964, it has been the city’s Archaeological Museum.
Seafront Promenade: Heading towards the Tower of Hercules, we’ll continue along the seafront promenade, which at night is illuminated with striking red streetlights.
These modernism-inspired luminaries boast more than a thousand enamels by artist Julia Ares, with scenes representing the history of A Coruña. Among the images are references to Pablo Picasso School of Higher Art and Design, which faces the promenade and is where the painter studied.
Sculpture Park: Once we pass San Amaro beach, we will arrive at the sculpture park, an open-air museum in the surroundings of the Tower of Hercules that covers about 74 hectares.
Various sculptures reflecting the history and symbols of the area, as well as unique flora and fauna, can be found at Punta Herminia, O Acoroado, Cabal de Pradeira, and the peninsula of the Tower.
Tower of Hercules: We end the morning with a visit to the Tower of Hercules, the iconic symbol of A Coruña. This lighthouse, built in the 1st century AD, is the solo Roman lighthouse still serving as a maritime signaling device today.
Before we continue, we advise you to take advantage of the chance to have a picnic in the Tower of Hercules’s natural surroundings, where there is a picnic area with unbeatable views of the lighthouse.
The House of Fish and the House of Man: In the afternoon, you can’t miss visiting the House of Fish, or Aquarium Finisterrae, and the House of Man, or Domus.
The aquarium is located at the foot of the Tower. Among its main attractions is the Nautilius room, where the shark Gastón is located, and the outdoor area, where you can visit the seals.
Also facing the Paseo Marítimo, but nearly at the Ensenada, is the Domus. The building, designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, has nearly 150 interactive modules to learn about the human being.
Sunset with surfers: We suggest ending the day by enjoying a magnificent sunset from the Paseo Marítimo, at the height of the surfers’ fountain, which separates the Matadero and Orzán beaches.
At night, you can’t miss the wine district of A Coruña. Between Estrella street and María Pita square, you can find numerous bars, restaurants, and cafes where you can taste tapas such as raxo or zorza, or the famous cocodrilo.
Day 2: A stroll through history
The Obelisk and Méndez Núñez Gardens: For the second day, we start at a place where generations of A Coruña locals meet: the Obelisk. Don’t think of a typical Egyptian construction. This obelisk is a column crowned by a clock and a weather vane that was built in 1895.
Right next to the Obelisk are the Méndez Núñez Gardens, where you can find the music pavilion and two modernist buildings: the Terrace and the Alfonso Kiosk. In this landscaped area, you will also see statues of important Galician figures such as Emilia Pardo Bazán or Curros Enríquez.
Calle Real: Walking back towards the Obelisk through the Cantones, we arrive at Calle Real. This pedestrian street is part of A Coruña’s history, and besides shopping, you can enjoy unique buildings that blend modernism and typical Galicinan galerias (encolosed balconies).
At the end of Calle Real, you will see the Rosalía Theater, which hosts multiple performances and events throughout the year. Here begins street Riego de Agua, which leads directly to the Maria Pita Square.
María Pita: In A Coruña, we don’t have a main square. Our Town Hall is located in a square dedicated to one of the heroines of Coruña’s history, María Pita, whose statue faces the Municipal Palace, a modernist-style building.
The terraces of the restaurants and cafes, which are located under the arcades, are another characteristic of the Maria Pita square. We recommend that you stop at one of them to taste products such as “polbo á feira” (Galician-style octopus).
Ciudad Vieja: After lunch, cross the square to access the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town). Its medieval and baroque streets will transport you to another time. You cannot miss churches such as the Iglesia de Santiago or the Collegiate of Santa María do Campo. Also noteworthy are buildings such as the House of Rosalía de Castro or the House of María Pita, both of which are open to visitors, or the Pazo Cornide, home to the Real Academia Galega. Other stops include the Luís Seoane Foundation, with contemporary art and culture exhibitions, or the beautiful Azcárraga square, where the Fountain of