Among all the things to do in Ferrol, we recommend starting in the district of Magdalena, which is now the center of the city. Its construction was ordered in 1761 by the illustrious monarch Carlos III. Adjacent to the old fishing district, Ferrol Vello, it became one of the most intriguing urban proposals of the age. It took on the shape of a chocolate bar, a perfect rectangle. The attractions that stand out are the Plaza de Armas, where you’ll find the town hall; and the Plaza de Amboage, which is full of terrazas for eating and drinking with friends. The district of Magdalena is the epicenter of the tapeo and the shops.
The streets of Magdalena and Real conserve living remnants from Ferrol’s golden age, destined for the most wealthy. These buildings were constructed in the Classicist style, with wrought iron balconies and glazed galleries, which later would extend to all of Galicia to create a united image of the community. In the first decades of the 20th century, Modernist buildings were also incorporated, which are true masterpieces.
Within the district of Magdalena, there are two churches that stand out. The first is the Concatedral de San Julián, which reached this category by the papal bull issued by Juan XXIII in 1959. One of its defining characteristics is that it was not built with a floorplan in the shape of a Latin cross, but in that of a Greek cross. It was constructed in 1772, and it is undoubtedly one of the most important buildings for the lives of the Catholic Ferrolanos. The second church, the Iglesia Castrense de San Francisco of the Neoclassic style, conserves a magnificent altarpiece designed by José Ferreiro in the Neoclassic style and valuable wood carvings.
Adjacent to San Francisco are the Jardines de Herrera, which are owned by the military, but they are open to the public. Here, you can experience incredible views of the Ferrol Estuary and the Arsenal Militar. The gardens are very well cared for, and they even have magnolias. They are ideal for resting up after a walk through the city.
Another area you should see in Ferrol is the district of Canido, where the concept of the Meninas de Canido was launched. The facades of the district are filled with color with the different interpretations of the famous Velázquez painting.
The last stop you have to make in Ferrol is the Ferrol Vello (Old Ferrol). It has been there since the 11th century, and it is the origin of the city. Nowadays, due to mismanagement and difficulties with restoration paperwork (since they are protected buildings), the entire district is in ruins. But maybe that’s what gives it its special charm. We also recommend trying the tapas in this area.
We also recommend visiting the Castillo de San Felipe, which is a must-see in Ferrol. Built in 1577, it still remains in good condition today, dur to remodeling efforts in the 18th century. It is located next to the Castillo de La Palma, next to the estuary. Its strategic position at the entrance of the estuary used to defend Ferrol from invaders.