04 Aug 20
Cape Finisterre. Pilgrimage to the end of the world
Cape Finisterre is a rockbound peninsula in the province of A Coruna in the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain. It’s worth spending at least one night in this spectacular coastal destination, reflecting on your pilgrimage before returning home.
The pilgrimage from Santiago to Finisterre is a wonderful walk in its own right or can be added on to an existing Camino pilgrimage. Walking this section of the Camino evokes a wonderful feeling of walking to “the end” and offers another point of difference on your Camino experience as you walk through to the Atlantic coast on a much quieter section of the trail. Many people consider this final part of the walk one of their Camino highlights for the scenery, peace and food.
You can walk from Santiago to Finisterre as a 3–4 day, 80km walk through to the rugged Atlantic coast where there are many picturesque beaches. This Camino commences from the Cathedral in Santiago and follows a reasonably direct line through the mountains via Negreira, Cée and Corcubión to the fishing port of Finisterre and then on to the lighthouse at Finisterre.
The well-marked walk follows an undulating path with many ups and downs through the rolling green hills of a more authentic Galicia. Like the section from Sarria, much of the route is shady, passing through forests, farmlands and quaint hamlets, however, this part of Spain is much more peaceful and rural and away from sizeable towns and large groups of pilgrims. You will also see a number of historic churches, bridges and wayside crosses as you pass through quaint villages, lush farmland and forests before reaching the rugged Atlantic coast.
You are eligible for a Finisterre passport if you walk from Santiago to Finisterre. To obtain your Finisterre passport for your Compostela, you will need to go to the Galicia tourist office in Santiago prior to your walk. Alternatively, you can use John Brierley’s Camino Finisterre guidebook, which has space for the cellos/stamps for this section.
Finisterre is also an easy bus trip from the local bus station in Santiago and the journey takes between 2 and 2½ hours and leaves up to 6 times per day during the usual Camino months of April to September. You can purchase a return ticket from the bus station in Santiago, and the bus will drop you off in the centre of Finisterre and you can return the following day. Most people elect to stay overnight so they can watch the awe-inspiring sunsets from the Finisterre lighthouse.
The 3km walk up to the Finisterre lighthouse follows the Atlantic coast and is the traditional walk to complete your final steps on the Camino. This point was considered to be the “end of the world” by Romans and medieval pilgrims (Finis Terrae comes from the Latin ‘end of the earth’) and was also a destination prior to Christian times. There are several rocks in this area with Celtic significance.
As a prominent landfall on the sailing route from northern Europe to the Mediterranean, several battles were also fought here and the coast, known locally as the Costa da Morte (Death Coast), has been the site of numerous shipwrecks and battles.
What else is there to do?
- Relax and reflect with the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Stroll on the surrounding clean and rugged beaches.
- Eat wonderfully fresh seafood – this town is an active fishing village rather than a coastal resort and is a seafood basket for the rest of Spain.
- Visit the 12th century Church of Santa Maria and the 16th century Fort San Carlos built to defend Finisterre from pirates.
- Continue 29km up the coast to Muxía.