The traditional finale of the Camino de Santiago is the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been a major destination for pilgrims for more than a millennium. But even though it can be easy to wander in the dazzling collection of abbeys, cathedrals, and shrines that makeup the city, Santiago de Compostela also doesn’t have to be the end of the road either. Both Cape Finisterre and Muxia are terrific add-ons to Camino that are easy to get to and beautiful in their own right, giving you plenty of reasons to overshoot Santiago de Compostela and continue all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
The coastal gem of Cape Finisterre.
Originally considered to be the literal end of the world, Cape Finisterre is only a little more than an hour northwest from Santiago de Compostela by car and is the perfect place for self-reflection at the end of a journey. Of the destinations worth inspecting in Finisterre, most visitors are happy they made their way to Monte Facho, a mountain that extends 238 meters above sea level and hugs the Atlantic Ocean, known by ancient inhabitants as the Dark Sea (Mare Tenebrosum). At the top of the mountain, the famous Faro de Fisterra lighthouse showcases sprawling, panoramic views of the ocean which make it an amazing place to spend a morning, an afternoon, or an entire day of tranquility.
Although the lighthouse is certainly relaxing, the area is also known for the quaint port town of Fisterra as well as a series of sensational white sand beaches to rest your feet after weeks of walking. Playa Langosteira is generally considered one of the best beaches in the area, with wide stretches of sand that are isolated from the hustle of the modern world. Only lightly busy during the summer, Langosteira is known for its white sand, sunsets, and for being a must-see stop for pilgrims finishing the Camino. Langosteira isn’t the only beach in the area either, you will walk by Sardineiro, Estorde and Talon beaches on your way to Fisterra. Arnela, O’Rostro, and Mar de Fora beaches all are great places to enjoy on the west side of the peninsula. Even prior to reaching Finisterre, within a day’s walk, a quaint old town of Corcubion also boasts a quiet white sandy beach. It’s neighboring town of Cee is located on a harbor with many colorful fishing boats.
The road to Muxia.
For those who haven’t quite had enough walking along the Camino de Fisterra trail (also called the Finisterre Way), one last unforgettable part connects you to the town of Muxia from Finisterre. About 30 kilometers north from Finisterre, Muxia is another place of intrigue and visual splendor that tends to end up on the radar of pilgrims extending their trip beyond Santiago de Compostela. Typically about a two-day walk, Camino de Finisterre has a natural stopover in Lires, a sleepy small town with a few good accommodations for travelers.
In Lires, one of the highlights is a beautiful long white sand beach split in two by rio Castro. Neighboring Praia de Nemiña is just north of Lires beach. This a great place to dip those weary traveler feet into the Atlantic and feel the soft sand. Another refreshing experience is to take a break at the cafe on the top of the hill near the beach and to watch a stunning sunset while enjoying tasty local delicacies.
Once in Muxia, a small colorful fishing port, there is a nice blend of local landmarks and natural sights to explore. Hugging the magnificent coastline, the Santuario da Virxe da Barca is a famous stone church built in the 17th century, considered a holy spot since the ancient Celts lived in the region. The interior of the church was unfortunately lost in a fire on Christmas Day in 2013, but the exterior is intact and remains one of the most revered landmarks in the region. Large flat rocks on the coast in front of the church are said to have special healing powers.
A lighthouse is situated at the edge of the harbor quite near the church. This is a great place to relax at sunset and contemplate an impressive journey you just accomplished. You will have unobstructed views of the ocean looking directly west at the setting sun. Also well-known in the area, but outside of town, Caldeiras do Rio Castro is a family-friendly nature area with a variety of waterfalls and green areas, making it a great option for a picnic or daytrip and another wonderful stop to relax and connect with the nature.
Ways to get there.
An inspiring way to get to Finisterre and then Muxia is to walk along the Camino de Fisterra, a hike that’s over 100 kilometers in total. You can receive your pilgrim certificate both in Finisterre and Muxia, but make sure to place at least two stamps a day in your pilgrim passport (credential). For cycling enthusiasts, it’s a breathtaking bike ride over to Finisterre and up the coast to Muxia. There also also various transportation options from Santiago de Compostela that make for an easy trip. Even though Finisterre is best glimpsed for the first time on foot or bike, wary travelers finishing the Camino might be happy to find an array of day tour options at affordable rates.
For more details and information about Finisterre, Muxia or Camino de Santiago, contact us for everything you need to turn the trip of a lifetime into a reality.