Ferrol and The Northern Coast of Galicia

Galicia in particular and Northern Spain in general have long been considered to be a hidden jewel in the entire Spanish tourist industry and hidden away within Galicia itself are some further jewels and we are going to examine Ferrol further.

If you look at all of the autonomous regions that make up modern day Spain, Galicia has to be the most remote and hidden away within that remoteness lies Ferrol.

Historically, always classed as the poorer cousin to some of the other richer regions Galicia had an economy that did not easily lend itself to modernisation and herein lies a paradox in that it is this very reluctance to embrace modernity throughout that gives the region much of its appeal as far as tourism is concerned.

The natives of Galicia if you trace them back far enough have origins very similar to their Celtic cousins in the north and are justifiably proud of their language and culture and these connections no matter how stretched or tenuous give them their sense of regionalism and uniqueness.

Galicia always seemed to be a very closed and inward looking area being fiercely resistant to any formal external invasion and in many ways this degree of isolation was very much driven by the geographical location of the region.

Slowly but surely in the 20th century, Galicia began to develop and today traditional lifestyles rub shoulders with modernity throughout the region whilst at the same time the region has lost none of its more traditional culture and within the tourism economy this is starting to show real benefits.

Ferrol can be found on the northern coast of Galicia and is mid way between the coastlines known as the Rias Altas and the Costa da Morte. It is located on the northern shores of the Ria de Betanzos.

Ferrol is perhaps better known for one of the towns most famous (or infamous) sons, a certain Francisco France y Bahamonde who later on in life became better known as just simply General Franco, leader of Spain between the between the 1930’s up until the ate 1960’s and extremely influential up until his death in 1975.

Perhaps it is something to do with the local approach to the whole General Franco association but Ferrol is very much a town that has possibly a schizophrenic approach to itself and its history.

As a naval port, Ferrol lost most of its influence (and Spanish fleet) in the peninsular war of the early 1800’s but it still retains quite some influence us fall as being a port is concerned and evidence of the Spanish Navy can be found throughout the town.

Sadly as an area of quite high unemployment many would view that Ferrol’s greatest days are behind it, however the streets around the harbour would tend to suggest otherwise.

Sadly the outskirts of the town have been described as some of most depressing urban landscapes in all of Spain but don’t let this distract you from visiting the city centre is this still retains a certain charm.

Yes, the waterfront is mostly dominated and taken out by naval buildings and dockyards but if you walk along the waterfront you can get a good idea of just how large Ferrols natural harbour actually is.