The Camino Finisterre
The Camino Finisterre or Camino de Fisterrais a unique route from Santiago de Compostela to Cape Fisterra, once believed to be the “Edge of the World”. This route is unique because it is the only trail starting in Santiago de Compostela and takes pilgrims west to the stunning Atlantic coast of Galicia.
Over 4 days you will join many pilgrims in continuing their journey to the traditional end of the Camino at Cape Finisterre (Fisterra). Once in Fisterra, you can enjoy a well-earned swim in the sea.
For a really special experience, we recommend continuing your walk for another 2 days along the rugged coast to Muxia. This quaint fishing village is famed among pilgrims for its picturesque sanctuary of the Virgin by the ocean and ‘magic’ stones.
The Camino Finisterre pre-dates Christianity, as pagans would head to the mythical Cape Fisterra on the Costa da Morte (Coast of Death), where they believed the sun died and the worlds of the dead and the living grew closer. Prayers would be said and offerings would be made to please the gods. It was a place rich in pagan rites, myths, and legends. Fisterra is also believed to be the location of Ara Solis, a magical place and altar dedicated to the dying sun.
Highlights Of The Camino Finisterre
The Camino Finisterre from Santiago to Muxia takes you through rural Galicia, along a wonderfully rugged coastline. Highlights of this experience include:
- Leave Santiago behind and join the 1% of pilgrims on another spiritual journey.
- Stand at the top of the cliffs at Cape Fisterra just as pilgrims have done for over 5,000 years.
- Allow yourself the freedom to experience a moment of awakening at the stunning sanctuary of Muxia.
- Indulge your senses and taste the incredible seafood on offer in the coastal town of Cea.
Camino Ways Route Planner
For over 1000 years, pilgrims from all over the world have walked the Camino Ways across Europe in their quest for spirituality. Making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, they encountered a variety of people, cultures and beliefs, leading to friendship and new experiences. This continues today with the Camino de Santiago being the most well known and well-loved walk in the world. More than just a walk, the Camino de Santiago is an unforgettable and unique journey for the body, mind and soul.
Why Should You Travel To Cape Fisterra?
Fisterra was believed to be the most westerly point in Europe by the Romans, the place where the sun disappeared into the ocean and they named it accordingly: Finis Terrae, land’s end. This was the place also believed to be the final destination of a route marked in the sky by the Milky Way.
As they arrived, pilgrims used to burn the clothes they had walked in for so many days, as an act of closure and purification. You should no longer do this, however, as the practice has been banned. Many also went for a swim in the sea, which we recommend, as a much more eco-friendly activity!
From Cape Fisterra, you can continue your Camino journey along beautiful coastal paths to the sanctuary of A Virxe da Barca in Muxía, a traditional pilgrimage destination in a stunning location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
When To Go On The Camino Finisterre
Although you can walk or cycle the Camino Finisterre route year-round, the most pleasant times of the year to visit the Camino Finisterre are March to November. This is due to the weather on the Camino being much more pleasant for a walk or cycle.
- While winter is mild due to the Atlantic wind’s effect, it is also quite wet.
- Summers are also mild, with an average of 25 degrees celsius in the height of summer.
- April to June and September to October are popular times to experience the Camino and the weather is very pleasant. You will see many pilgrims on the routes at these times.
What To Bring On The Camino Finisterre?
Our Camino packing guide ebook is free to download. This will help you decide what to bring on your Camino.
Camino Finisterre Route Description
Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre over 4 days
You can continue your Camino de Santiago adventure by heading west from Santiago de Compostela to Fisterra, the end of the world! The quiet Finisterre Way, part of the famous Camino de Santiago, the Way of Saint James, is the only one of the Camino routes that starts in Santiago. The Camino Finisterre passes through quiet villages, remote farmland, and unspoiled landscapes before reaching the sea cliffs of the westernmost point in Spain, at Cape Fisterra.
Finisterre to Muxia +2 days
After Fisterra, the trail follows the stunning craggy coastline of Atlantic Galicia to the fishing village of Muxía. This beautiful region of Galicia is known as Costa da Morte, the ‘Coast of Death’, and Fisterra (Finis Terrae) was once considered to be the end of the world! See Santiago to Muxia.
History Of The Camino Finisterre
From the 12th century, the Codex Calixtinus associated these lands with the pilgrimage tradition. This medieval Camino ‘guidebook’ tells the story of how the disciples of Saint James travelled to the city of Dugium, in present-day Fisterra, seeking authorisation from a Roman legion to bury the apostle at the site where Compostela stands today. The Romans, suspicious of their motives, threw them into prison. However, they eventually managed to escape, and just as the Roman troops were about to catch up with them, they scurried over a bridge that collapsed just as the Romans were attempting to cross in pursuit.
According to medieval tradition, the Virgin Mary came to this beautiful spot in a ‘stone boat’ (hence its name ‘Virxe da Barca’, our Lady of the Boat) to support Saint James.
The Fisterra Camino is frequently referred to in odeporic literature. The oldest story is that of George Grissaphan, a Magyar knight from the 14th century. The story recounts his adventures as a pilgrim and hermit in Fisterra. In the late 15th century, Polish pilgrim Nicholas von Popplau journeyed to Muxía after having visited Compostela. He described the remains of the “wrecked ship, made of genuine stone” belonging to the Virgin Mary.
On his pilgrimage from Italy, the Venetian traveller Bartolomeo Fontana (16th century), visited Fisterra and reported that those who were free of mortal sin could move the stones of the ship of Muxía with just one finger. Domenico Laffi (17th century) the clergyman and scholar from Bologna, journeyed to Fisterra as well. He wrote of the lighthouse guiding the sailors to safety through the turbulent waters in the area. Many of these stories mention the Mount of Saint William, who was a legendary hermit in the area. This hermitage, no longer standing, was associated with fertility rites.
To learn more about the myths, legends and traditions along the Camino Finisterre, make sure to read our latest Camino Finisterre articles on our blog.