Ferrol : The Start Of The Camino Ingles

Created by Colleen Sims * 12 May 2024

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The first stage of the Camino Ingles offers fresh sea air and historic charm.  This wonderful little Camino, often called the English Way, is a lesser-known pilgrimage route which (for most pilgrims) starts in the historic port city of Ferrol in northern Spain.

Having walked this route and read conflicting advice I decided to write a series of posts that explore each stage from Ferrol to Santiago. This post focuses on Ferrol, a fabulous little city and the start of the modern Camino Ingles.

Read on if you’d like to learn more about transport options to Ferrol, where to stay, what to see, the pilgrim’s office and the start of the Camino Ingles; and even a few ideas on where to eat.

wall art beside the pilgrim office in Ferrol showing 7 pilgrims at the marker for the start of the Camino Ingles

Where is Ferrol?

Ferrol is an historical port in Galicia, in Northern Spain.  The city offers a busy working port but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s industrial; it also offers a charming old quarter, lots of history, beautiful beaches and many fabulous restaurants.

Ferrol’s rich maritime history dates from Roman times but it gained prominence during the Middle Ages when it became a crucial naval base for the Spanish Armada as well as a landing port for ships carrying pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela.

How to Get to Ferrol

We travelled from France to Ferrol and struggled to find a quick, easy route.  Thankfully, most folks are not travelling from rural SW France and thankfully Ferrol is very well connected with transport links by air, rail, sea and land.

Buses and Coaches to Ferrol

Alsa and Monbus both have regular buses to Ferrol.  We took a Monbus from Santiago de Compostela back to Ferrol (and our car) and it cost us less than 5$ for the 1.5 hour direct trip.

There are buses running from across Europe but they are often night buses which whilst inexpensive, didn’t fit with our timescales.  Alsa, Flixbus, BlaBlaBus / OuiBus are all worth investigating.

Trains To Ferrol

There are excellent train links into Ferrol from across Spain.  You may find that you are first taken to A Coruña (so try search for this too).  From A Coruna you change for direct trains to Ferrol. 

Top Tip : We use trainline to search for and book train tickets across Europe (they also sell bus tickets)

Flights to Ferrol

A Coruña has an airport served by Iberia, Vueling and Air Europa. From the airport you can take a taxi or one of the regular buses to either the city’s bus or train station. 

Travel By Sea to Ferrol

Ironically, you are no longer about to travel from the UK to A Coruña or Ferrol by sea.  However, you can travel to Santander or Bilbao using International Ferries and from there use onward transport in Spain to Ferrol.

harbour boats along the beautiful Camino Ingles in northern Spain

Pilgrim Office in Ferrol

The tourist office of Ferrol serves also as a greeting point for pilgrims. There are two Tourism Offices in Ferrol so do make sure you visit the office at the waterfront; almost opposite the giant letters (Ferrol).

This office opens from 8:00am and we visited on our first morning for our initial sello.  Check the local tourist information website for the most recent information on opening hours.

If you need Pilgrim Credentials outside of office hours try the Pilgrim Albergue of Ferrol or the Co-Cathedral of Ferrol.

Address : Oficina Municipal de Turismo e de Atención ao Peregrino, Paseo da Mariña, 6, 15401 Ferrol

Pilgrim Albergue in Ferrol

There is a fabulous new albergue in Ferrol which opened in July 2023.  Galicia is keen to promote the Camino Ingles as a family friendly route and this new albergue is part of their efforts to make the route accessible to all.

There are 60 beds, making this this largest albergue currently on the Camino Ingles.  It is open only to pilgrims and does not accept reservations.

Address : Albergue Casa do Mar de Ferrol,  Estrada Alta, 25, 15401, Ferrol

Accommodation Options in Ferrol

Ferrol offers a range of accommodation options, apart from the new albergue, one of the most popular places to stay is the Parador Hotel but there are other less expensive accommodation options too :

  • Albergue Casa do Mar de Ferrol : I’ve not stayed here but I have seen this and it receives excellent reviews.  You cannot reserve in advance but for 10€ you can get a very clean and tidy albergue. Make your way to Estrada Alta, 25, 15401, Ferrol
  • Km 0 Camiño Ingles : If you’re travelling in a group this might be a good option.  We met some others who had stayed here and spoke very highly of this apartment.  it’s right on the waterfront as it says at kilometre zero. Click here to book the apartment
  • Parador de Ferrol : We stayed in the Parador and we were happy with the stay.  This hotel may not be as grand as other Parador’s but the price reflects this.  We had single rooms and they represented excellent value for such a prestigious hotel.  Click here to book your Parador Room
  • Hotel Alda El Suizo : I booked this simple hotel for my Camino Ingles in 2020 (which was cancelled).  It has great reviews across several sites and was recommended within the Ingles Facebook group. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a private room that doesn’t break the bank. Click here to book your room
Galician white wine in the lounge at the beautiful Parador Hotel in Ferrol

What To See and Do in Ferrol?

While Ferrol might not be as well-known as its neighbour A Coruna it nonetheless offers the visitor its own charm with plenty to see and do.

Ferrol is not an obvious tourist destination, which is a shame as it’s got a quaint city vibe and I really enjoyed exploring the streets and parks.  Allow some time to wander the historic old town, narrow streets, plazas, shops and old buildings all jostle for attention. 

Lesser Know Fact : Ferrol is famous as the birthplace Francisco Franco, the Spanish dictator who ruled from 1939 until his death in 1975

San Felipe Castle

San Felipe Castle (Castillo de San Felipe) is a historic fortress atop a hill overlooking the entrance to the Ferrol estuary, providing strategic defence for the city and its naval installations. Construction began in 1557 to defend the important naval base of Ferrol from potential attacks.

Today, San Felipe Castle is open to the public and you’re welcome to explore the fortress, walk the ramparts, and climb up to look out at the views of the surrounding coastline and maybe glimpse the trails (and hills) that you’ll be walking in the coming days.

Ferrol Beaches

Ferrol boasts several beautiful beaches along its coastline; including :

  • Praia de Doniños is one of the most popular beaches near Ferrol, known for its vast stretch of golden sand and excellent surfing conditions. The beach is backed by sand and is also a Blue Flag beach.
  • Praia de San Xurxois is a family-friendly beach with facilities such as showers, toilets, and lifeguard services during the summer season.
  • Praia de Esmelle close to town, is a picturesque beach surrounded by cliffs and pine forests. It’s known for its tranquil atmosphere and calm waters.

The Naval Museum of Ferrol

The Ferrol Naval Museum showcases the naval heritage of the region. It is considered one of the most important naval museums in Spain, offering insight into the maritime traditions, technologies, and achievements of the area.

The Magdalena Neighbourhood

Barrio de A Magdalena is one of the most historic districts of the city. Once the residential area for sailors and fishermen it became a bustling neighbourhood with a distinct flavour.  The streets are lined with traditional Galician houses and colourful facades, many dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Situated near the waterfront, this neighbourhood has a rich maritime heritage and is characterized by its narrow streets, colourful houses and shops and a lively atmosphere.

beautiful colourful shop, painted red,  in the old town of Ferrol

Take a Walking Tour And Discover the Historic Heart of Ferrol

If you read any of our travel blogs you’ll know that one of our favourite activities when we arrive in a new town is to search for a walking tour.  It’s the best way to explore and hoorah! there is a fantastic walking tour in Ferrol.

This 90 minute tour starts in the old quarter and tours the highlights of this historic city. It’s the perfect way to get over your journey, stretch your legs and warm up for the Camino

★★★★★

Discover The Historic Heart of Ferrol

  • Local guide will show you the hidden gems of Ferrol
  • Meander through the historic heart of the city
  • Get local tips on the best places to visit and eat

Great Places To Eat in Ferrol

When we visited Ferrol we stayed in the Parador Hotel and whilst we loved the bar menu we were disappointed with the restaurant.  So we searched for alternatives and found a few cracking restaurants. 

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat then the following all made our short-list :

Spanish tapas plate for sharing in restaurant in Ferrol

Is Ferrol Worth a Visit Before Starting the Camino Ingles?

Yes. I feel that Ferrol deserves a little more time. We spent a couple of nights in Ferrol and I’m so glad that we had time to explore.  On my next visit I’m going to allow more time to delve even deeper into some of the attractions.

Pros of visiting Ferrol

  • The city has a rich heritage and offers a few very interesting sites; the walking tour is a great idea too.
  • Ferrol has several beautiful beaches which I never had time to visit.  I love the coast of northern Spain and I’d be very happy to go exploring more of her shoreline.
  • Galicia is known for its fresh seafood and Ferrol is no exception. You’ll find many restaurants serving delicious local dishes, but try to avoid arriving on a Monday as many are closed.
  • It’s the start of the Camino Ingles and as you’ll be in town anyway, why not allow an extra day to explore?

Cons of visiting Ferrol

  • Ferrol is not as exciting as other Galician cities, such as the more popular A Coruña. However, it has its own charm and I liked that it was a real city and not just for tourists.

Ferrol is a great little city and worthy of the extra day.  There are plenty of sites to fill your time and it gives you a change to delve deeper before starting your Camino Ingles.

we found our first yellow arrow in ferrol at the start of the Camino Ingles

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Whenever you travel overseas it’s imperative to travel with a good travel and medical insurance policy.  None of us expect anything bad to happen, but in the event of an incident, you want to be sure that your insurance will be there for you.

I’ve had the mis-fortune to end up in hospital in Peru, Indonesia, Portugal, Japan and Ireland; every time my insurance took care of everything. I would never leave home without full and comprehensive insurance.

Globelink : We have used and recommended Globelink for years and we’ve not heard of any issues. They are a great choice for European and UK Residents.

TrueTraveller : We have this policy now for an extended global trip and we are very happy with the cover, especially considering our ages and pre-existing conditions

Safety Wing : Many of my travelling buddies from the USA have recommended this company to me, although we’ve not used them personally.

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