A “short” 90-km walk from Santiago de Compostela, where the famous Camino (Way of St. James) ends, is Finisterre. Finisterre is a town but the more famous Finisterre is the cape that signifies “the end of earth.” Back when folks assumed this was the end of earth, hence the name. (Note: It is also known as Fisterra in the local dialect, Galician or gallego).
Many pilgrims who do the Camino, keep going past the end point, the city of Santiago de Compostela. I did not when I went because the end goal of the Camino, in my book, is entering the Plaza del Obradoiro and then going to Mass at the massive and old Cathedral.
However, I highly recommend hiking or somehow making it to Finisterre. I personally loved walking the rugged terrain past the lighthouse.
It reminded me when I went to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa (check it out here), maybe just a little less spectacular here but impressive nonetheless.
If you drive from Santiago, there is an inland route, more direct, and a route that hugs the shoreline. I recommend the latter on the way over to Finisterre so you can see Finisterre from the distance and see the beautiful coastline. I am sure in other times of the year this coastline is slightly less hospitable but on the beautiful July day I went, it was nothing short of spectacular. On the way back, we did take the fast route back – and that was fine with me.
On the way over, before getting to the coastline, we stopped at a small village by the Rio Tambre to visit a charming town right of CP-0201, not far from Santiago. The Ponte Maceira crosses the river into the village and forms part of the Camino as witnessed by the many pilgrims we saw cross it. The village is graced not only by the bridge but by a chapel, an old mill, and a very approachable riverside. Definitely a “must stop.”
The only bummer for my visit was that there was a small festival (for the Feast of St. James) going on near the Cape and we could not stop. I would have so loved to eat fresh seafood and mingle with the locals. I hear any of the towns along the shore will have incredible fresh seafood. I believe it!
If you do have time to explore the area, don’t just go to the cape. Not that it is overly touristy or that it isn’t spectacular, but there are other parts of the coast that are well worth exploring. The Rias Baixas (which you may know if you know Spanish wine…), just south of Finisterre, are a series of estuaries/inlets from the Atlantic Ocean that create a mini-ecosystem rich in marine life and with many beaches and water activities, a magnet for tourists from Spain. While certainly not the French Riviera, it also lacks the over-touristed ambience of places like that, making it more relaxed. So, give yourself an extra day or two and enjoy Finisterre and all that the area around it offers in the region of Galicia!
Doing the Camino to Finisterre (or driving to it!) should make it to your travel board!!