San Felipe castle

Continuing our visit, we follow the wall around the military facilities and we head towards our next destination where we can find the magnificent SAN FELIPE CASTLE.

But don´t forget to stop at the natural viewpoint halfway along the route to admire the spectacular views of the Ferrol estuary and its arsenal!

We arrive at San Felipe castle. Opening hours from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 20:00. Tel.: 981 372422.

In 1557, construction of the castle began, supported by Felipe II from whom the castle takes its name. It was between the years 1726 and 1755 that the engineers Francisco Montaigú, Juan de la Ferrière and Juan Vergel were commissioned to design a series of renovations which, in the 18th century, led to the castle being considered an example of a bastioned battery. This design boasted an area of cannon batteries aimed at the sea which was complemented by those at the San Martín and La Palma castles, and whose function was to defend the entrance to Ferrol port. A chain was drawn between La Palma and San Felipe castles in the event of enemy attack to prevent the entry of ships into the estuary. It also had a system of bastions, or protruding walls, covering the flanks of the curtain walls (front walls). These bastions were used to defend attacks from land.

The castle perfectly covered three defensive areas:

The coastal area (west – south – east), which formed a broken line with the low and high batteries and covered all the threatened areas. The small windows, merlon walls, watchtowers and shoulders from the 18th century are conserved as well as the renovations to the casemates in the 19th century.

The land area (north) has a bastioned system based on a hornwork in the shape of a kite tail. At the ogee there is a large parade ground which is adjacent to the old 16th century castle, and there are two coops (east and west) which cover the flanks to the low battery.

The external constructions have different defensive elements such as moats, covered paths and curtain walls, and glacis.

Admiral Pitt is attributed with saying that if Great Britain had an estuary like this one with its castles, they would protect it with a wall made of silver.

Recently a monographic study of this castle including a complete description has been completed. The castle is open every day of the year from 10am to 9pm.

In the 18th century, with the navy now established in Ferrol, the coastal defences were extended and simpler, small defensive forts were built. We will be visiting these as we follow our route along this same road.