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The Camino Finisterre, a lovely extension to your Camino de Santiago, takes only an additional three to four days to complete the pilgrimage to the medieval "end of the world." This ancient medieval pilgrimage route, a total of 90 kilometers, was often taken after completing the Way of St. James and a visit to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Because Finisterre was considered to be the end of the known world in the Middle Ages, it held special spiritual and physical significance. And this significance seems to survive to this day...
"Sometimes we are called to dance on the wild edges of our lives and discover something new, or we have a sense that our lives have grown too small so we need to confront our fears of what is unknown, we need to welcome in strangeness to crack open unfamiliar parts of ourselves and of God." ~ Christine Valters Paintner, on Pilgrimage
After having completed our Camino Inglés, it seemed only natural to extend our pilgrimage onward via the traditional medieval pilgrimage route from Santiago de Compostela to Cabo Finisterre (Cape Finisterre).
As in the time of the medieval pilgrims, my desire for this part of the journey was part curiosity, part adventure and yes, part spiritual. I felt that I would pay homage by walking in the footsteps of those of another time, another place and another more mysterious faith.
By taking this extension of the Camino Finisterre, perhaps I would dance on my own wild edges and discover something new!
Take a look at our Camino Finisterre Guide, including the alternate Route to Muxía. This is an eBook in PDF format, for you to download to your device, that depicts our own personal journey. You can read our eBook anywhere and take it with you on your pilgrimage. Our eBook is packed with detailed information to help you have the most successful pilgrimage possible, plus entertain you with our story! Click here for more info!
The dialect of this Northwestern Spanish region or Galicia is called Gallego, which confuses us because Finisterre, or "Land's End" becomes Fisterra in the local dialect. So similar, yet so different! Whichever proper name you use, Finisterre in Spanish, or Fisterra in Gallego, you will be understood.
To add even more mystery and drama to Cabo Finisterre, when you arrive at the End of the World, you arrive on a coastline that is rocky and treacherous, and is known in Gallego as the Costa da Morte, or the Coast of Death. The northwestern coast of Spain, from Finisterre to Muxía is totally exposed to the violent Atlantic ocean. When you see the Costa da Morte coastline, as shown in the photo below, you can understand why so many sailors have perished in the storms that prevail here.
Cabo Finisterre itself, is a wild and unusual place, at medieval Europe's "End of the World" and often at the end of one's Camino. This place is most sacred and unlike any other place that I have visited. It is traditional to come here and reflect on one's journey and to watch the sunset over the dramatic Atlantic coastline.
The bronze boot sculpture, shown below, once an iconic landmark at the far end beyond the lighthouse, is now gone. This was very sad for me to see, so I continue to show my photo of it here.
The goal of the Camino Finisterre, is the lighthouse or faro, shown in the photo, below. If you have gotten your Credential stamped on the pilgrimage along the way, you can get another Compostela here, the Finisterrana, in the lighthouse, documenting your Camino Finisterre.
(If you make it to Muxía, you can also receive the Muxíana completion certificate, in the Muxía tourist office. Some accommodations have them too!)
You have two options to finish your Camino to the End of the World, either to Finisterre or Muxía. The overall mileage to Finisterre is 89.94 kilometers and to Muxía it is 87.75, by my GPS tracks. The Camino to Muxía is a little shorter, by two or so kilometers, but it is truly a matter of preference which end of the world you prefer. So, why not try both?
Here is our Google map of the entire route of the Camino Finisterre, uploaded with our personal GPS tracks.
For as many people as go to either Muxía or Finisterre, there are as many opinions on which place is the best, the most authentic "end of the world" or the most spiritual site!
It was fun when we came to Hospital, and the place in the road, below, where the Camino forks and you have to make a choice!
For me, personally, I had to go to Finisterre, the "classic" end of the world from the Middle Ages. However, it only adds a day to your Camino, if you go to Muxía as well as Finisterre. Plus, the walk to Muxía from Finisterre along the Costa da Morte is absolutely gorgeous.
Trust me, you will not regret seeing the most legend-ridden Muxía, where St. James' body is said to have actually arrived by boat to Galicia in a miraculous fashion, set adrift from Rome where he was beheaded.
Muxía is also the final leg of the Camino de Santiago in the movie, "The Way," and in my experience was a more intimate place than Finisterre, and less touristy. However, it truly is a matter of preference and you will not know your preference if you don't see both. I advise you to take the extra day or two if you are able, to see both.
Many pilgrims are walking to Muxía, some starting from Santiago who then go on to Finisterre, and others from Finisterre where they have walked first. The choice is yours, which direction you wish to travel.
Please see my article on Muxía (click the link) and on Finisterre and the Cape to help you make your own decision. I chose to go to both and I do not regret it.
Even better yet, if you have time, why not consider the entire loop, to and from Santiago? I was surprised in my walks to the coast, how many pilgrims were walking backwards towards Santiago. Why not? The medieval pilgrims had no choice in the matter, did they?
Below is the stunning coastline at the point in Muxía and its lighthouse, just beyond the famous Nosa Señora da Barca shrine.
I do hope you choose to continue your Camino de Santiago onward to the End of the World as the medieval pilgrims chose to do so many years ago. May you dance around your wild edges to find a bit more of yourself and give tribute to your personal pilgrimage.
To continue on with me and my personal pilgrimage, go to Day One on the Camino Finisterre to see how mine went!
May you metaphorically burn that which no longer serves you on the rocks at Cabo Finisterre. May you metaphorically build your cross of gratitude and discard your old boots as you watch the sun set on your Camino Finisterre and its amazing lessons learned.
You can purchase our digital guide book in PDF format. The new version includes the northern route to Muxía as well as recent route changes! Click here for your copy! Don't carry the weight of a book, carry our digital eBook instead!
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Many readers contact me, Elle, to thank me for all the time and care that I have spent creating this informative website. If you have been truly blessed by my efforts, have not purchased an eBook, yet wish to contribute, I am very grateful. Thank-you!
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Need suggestions on what to pack for your next pilgrimage? Click Here or on the photo below!
Carbon fiber construction ( not aluminum) in a trekking pole makes them ultra lightweight. We like the Z-Pole style from Black Diamond so we can hide our poles in our pack from potential thieves before getting to our albergue! There are many to choose from! ( See more of our gear recommendations! )
Gregory BackPack - My Favorite Brand
An ultralight backpack should serve you well for years, like my Gregory has - six Caminos in all! My 28L Women's pack gets a 5-star on Amazon (Ones for Guys too)!
Do not forget your quick-dry microfiber towel!
My absolute favorite book on how to be a pilgrim:
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