Finisterre, in Galician called Fisterra, is a mythical place on the rough Costa da Morte. The name of the village comes from the Romans who saw the village as ‘the end of the world’. Today, Finisterre is for many pilgrims the end point of their camino, where they celebrate their rebirth by watching the sunset and the ritual burning of their clothing. They all know it’s not literally the end of the world as the Romans thought.
Finisterre and it’s cape are part of the infamous Costa da Morta. Cape Finisterre is also the end of the Ría de Corcubión, the most Northern Ria of las Rias Baixas. The city is about an hour drive from Santiago de Compostela (and some days walk for a pilgrim).
Finis Terra, the end of the world
The name Finisterre comes from the Latin Finis Terrea, which means ‘the end of the world’. The romans gave this name to Finisterre, as the village is one of the most Western points. They saw the rocky place as the end of the world. By the way, we know by now that Finisterre is not the most western point of Spain.
I’m not a linguistic, but what if Finis Terrea didn’t meant ‘end of the world’ but ‘land’s end’. In that case it still would have been a correct naming.
Just to let you know, Galician Finisterre is not the only ‘Finis Terrea’. In France is also a region which names origines from this Latin word. It’s the department Finistère in Brittany, the westernmost department in France.
Camino de Finisterre
At Cape Finisterre – Cabo de Fisterra in Galician – you will find the milestone with the mytical distance: 0,00 km. How applicable to the ‘end of the world’! This milestone marks the end of the special Camino de Finisterre.
The Camino de Finisterre is an official Camino de Santiago. Nevertheless, this camino differs from all other camino’s. It is the shortest camino, but most remarkable, it’s the only camino that not ends in Santiago de Compostela. The Camino de Finisterre starts in Santiago and ends in Finisterre. For many pilgrims Finisterre is the real the end point of their camino, where they celebrate their rebirth by watching the sunset and the ritual burning of their clothing.
According the legend Finisterre was the first place where the Apostol James set foot in Galicia. Because of that history the place is special to pilgrims and convinced them to walk through to Finisterre. This is done for several centuries by now.
A common ritual of pilgrims arriving at Cape Finisterre is the burning of their clothes. By walking the camino to Santiago, pilgrims have already been delivered from their sins. Watching the sunset and then burning the clothes would the second relief and be like a rebirth.
Things to do in Finisterre
Turism is the main source of income for the village. Many pilgrims visit the village and the cape to end their camino. But also for regular turists Finisterre is worth a visit. However, the village is nice, but what’s really worth the trip is the rocky cape with its remarkable lighthouse.
At Cape Finisterre you will find one of earth’s most beautiful sunsets! As the sun goes down in the west it’s no surprise you will have an excellent sunset in one of Europe’s most western points. Moreover, Cape Finisterre is situated quite some metres above sea level. From the rocks next to the lighthouse you have a magnificant view over the ocean. It can happen you have to wait some time for the famous sunset. In June the sunset is around 11.30PM, just before midnight!
Even if you’re not willing, or able, to wait for the sunset, Cape Finisterre is still worth a visit. The walk from the village to the lighthouse is fantastic. Feel free to have a stroll. At the end of the cape you will find the famous lighthouse. You probably have seen this building and view someday on television. From this point you have a beautiful view over the mighty ocean.
Have a look at the drone footage below. What a beauty. Don’t you immediately feel like going for a walk?
Finisterre, the village
Finisterre is a lovely village, just as many other Galician villages. Small streets, bars where you can get a Spanish coffee and off course fish restaurants. Finisterre used to be a fishers town after all.
Around the village you can find several beaches as well. Praia de Ribeira is located at the village. Not the most ydillic beach off course. At the cape you can also find a beach, Playa Corbeiro. Like many beaches at the Costa da Morte is hidden between the rocks. When the ocean is not to wild you can get a refreshing splash over here.
Besides the beaches there are many places, like at the whole coastline of the Costa da Morte, where you can hear and see the ocean crashing on the rocks. That view and sound keeps impressing!
But, as mentioned before, the most beautiful spot at Finisterre is it’s cape. The end of the world, the far most western spot at Cape Finisterre.
Have a look at other interesting destinations in Galicia.