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Discover the proud maritime heritage of Ferrol on your next ultra-luxury cruise around Spain. Situated in the Galicia region on the Atlantic coast, the climate here is much more moderate compared to other Spanish cities – but there's no lack of typically bold, enduring Spanish architecture to be found during your time ashore.
Ferrol and surrounding Galicia brim with medieval history, and many excursions can take you further out to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela to see the famous cathedral. Alternatively, make for the Naval Museum and the restaurants around Ferrol, and try some of the fresh local catch with a glass of wine.
Ferrol and San Felipe Castle
With such a rich history, there are plenty of things to see during your time in Ferrol. Excursions to the city might include a tour of the Naval Museum – filled with early diving equipment, scale models of galleons, weapons and tools used by sailors in centuries past, and much more modern naval weaponry and equipment. After your time in the museum you could be travelling on to see the coastal fortress of San Felipe, a large complex which still stands in incredible condition in its position overlooking the estuary. Here you can walk along the battlements and find out about the fort's history – or just relax and enjoy the views of the water and the surrounding hills.
Board a coach for a drive through the neighbouring city of La Coruña, home to towering period buildings covered in ornate windows, which has led to the nickname ‘The City of Glass'. Before it lies a beautiful harbour and the spectacular Orzan beach, while at its heart the city boasts some equally glorious baroque-style architecture in the form of the arched Church of St George, and the elaborate spires of the casino. Further out at the mouth of the harbour, you'll also catch sight of the Tower of Hercules – a lighthouse built by the Romans in the first century, and still in use today.
Santiago de Compostela
Shore excursions from Ferrol often involve a trip to Santiago de Compostela, one of Spain's most historic cities and a major site of Catholic pilgrimage. Here you'll be able to wander the narrow streets of the beautiful old town on an informative walking tour, before seeing the magnificent Cathedral of St James, which blends the finer points of several architectural styles to create a unique city landmark. The cathedral was built on the supposed burial site of St James, the third disciple of Christ who was once a fisherman – hence the scallop shell, which has become the symbol of the saint for pilgrims travelling here.
Ferrol's carefully planned city centre offers great open squares and high streets for keen shoppers to wander, with no shortage of boutiques and galleries. Spend some time in Santiago de Compostela on the other hand, and you'll find yourself surrounded by shell-shaped pendants, walking sticks, keyrings and incense burners, adorned with crosses to commemorate St James.
If there's one distinctive hallmark of Spanish cuisine, it's delicious seafood – and you'll find yourself spoiled for choice in this regard during your time in Galicia. Ferrol and the surrounding area is well known for the quality of its octopus dishes – try it with rice or pasta in one of the local restaurants, accompanied by a good bottle of wine from the region.
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