A Coruña's Old Town is ideal for a stroll. Plaza de María Pita divides the Old Town from the newer city. María Pita, a local housewife, was said to have spotted the approach of Drake's troops. Risking her own life, she fired a cannon shot to alert the citizens to an imminent invasion. For that act of heroism, she is revered to this day.

You can take a stroll through the Jardines de Méndez Núñez, between the harbor and Los Cantones (Cantón Grande and Cantón Pequeño). Facing the police station and overlooking the port, the gardens are in the very center of town and make for a restful interlude during your sightseeing.

The cobbled Plazuela de Santa Bárbara -- a tiny, tree-shaded plaza flanked by old houses and the high walls of the Santa Bárbara convent -- also merits a visit.

Jardín de San Carlos, along Paseo del Parrote, dates from 1843 and is near the Casa de la Cultura. This garden grew on the site of an old fortress that once guarded the harbor. It contains the tomb of Gen. Sir John Moore, who fought unsuccessfully against the troops of Napoleon. He retreated with his British forces to A Coruña, where he was shot in a final battle. These gardens now make an ideal picnic spot.

Iglesia de Santa María del Campo, Calle de Santa María, is a 13th-century church with an elaborately carved west door, modeled in the traditional Romanesque-Gothic style. Beneath its rose window you'll see a Gothic portal from the 13th or 14th century. The tympanum is carved with a scene depicting the Adoration of the Magi.

Castillo de San Antón, a 16th-century fort, is now the Museo Arqueológico e Histórico (tel. 98-118-98-50), on the southeast side of the peninsula. It's open July and August Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 9pm, and Sunday 10am to 3pm. From September to June, it is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 7:30pm and Sunday 10am to 2:30pm. Admission is 3€ adults, 2€ for seniors and children 11 and under. In addition to a panoramic location on its own islet, the museum has many unusual artifacts from A Coruña province. Take bus no. 3 or 3A.

The second-largest port in Spain, A Coruña is a popular vacation resort that gets very crowded in July and August. Riazor Beach, right in town, is a good, fairly wide beach, but the best one is Santa Cristina, about 5km (3 miles) outside town. There's regular round-trip bus service, but the best way to go is via the steamer (catch it next to Club Náutico) that plies the bay.

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