Set on the coast a few kilometres north of la Coruna city, Ferrol has a long seafaring history with civil and military significance. Although visited by only a few foreigners, this is one of Galicia’s major cities and it boasts a comparatively modern town centre.
In terms of sightseeing highlights, Ferrol is quite limited and the city as a whole is modern with little in the way of historic heritage. However, what Ferrol does have in its favour is location. It is close to both la Coruna and Santiago de Compostela and this means that it could be a good base from which to explore the upper parts of Galicia.
Some history connected with Ferrol
In the context of British and Spanish history, Ferrol is important because it is the port from which Spain’s massive Armada was launched against the English in 1588. The venture was not to be successful and the Spanish suffered massive loses in both lives and ships. Despite this naval low point the city has a history of ship building, ship launching and a famous naval academy. It was also the place where Spain’s former leader general Franco was born.
It is thought that the name Ferrol comes from an old word for lighthouse.
What to see and visit in Ferrol
Tip 1. The port and its historic symbolism attract many of the city’s day trippers. It remains one of the most important naval bases in Spain and its launch point for the Armada gives it a key role in naval history.
Tip 2. The area around Ferrol has numerous beaches and also some coastal castles or forts. Tthe Castillo de San Felipe coastal fort at the opening to the bay is similar to the one at Santa Cruz, a little further down the coast. Another castle in the Ferrol district is the Castillo de Nogueirosa. This has a large Keep style with high walls.
Tip 3. Like all of Galicia’s cities, Ferrol has a number of plazas and a cafe culture typical of the region. There is also a good shopping area in the city.
Getting to Ferrol city and the surrounding areas
Direct flights with Iberia airlines (now operating as Vueling) depart Heathrow, London and arrive at La Coruna international airport. Ferrol is only a few kilometres away by car, coach or train.
Seeing Galicia is best achieved with independant mobility and visiting the small towns and castles near Ferrol requires a car. Most visitors to this city will be based in la Coruna or Santiago de Compostela.
Ferrol is generally prioritised well down the list of places to see with most of Galicia’s tourists and has less to offer than bigger rivals, la Coruna, Santiago de Compostela etc. but it is a nice day trip through a lovely region of Galicia.