Camino de Santiago to Finisterre
Contrary to what many think Santiago de Compostela is not the end of the road, but the pilgrim route continues to Muxía along the Costa da Morte, passing by Cape Finisterre.
The difference between the Camino de Finisterre and the other routes of the Camino de Santiago is the one known as the Route to the End of the World, does not go to the Cathedral of Santiago, but leaves from it to set course towards Cape Finisterre.
In the distant past, it was thought that this area of the Galician Province of La Coruña was the end of the world, hence its name: Finisterre or Fisterra (in Galician). Which derives from the Latin finis terrae (the end of the Earth). If you want to know more about the origins of this route, you can read our article on the history of the Cape Finisterre route.
The distance from Santiago to Finisterre is 86.6 kilometres. In this locality, you will be able to collect the Fisterrana, an accreditation to show that you have completed the route up to Cape Finisterre.
If from Cape Finisterre you continue towards Muxía (Mugía), the route totals 114.6 kilometres. In that case, when you get to Muxía do not forget to pick up the Muxiana, another certificate that proves that you have completed the entire route.
Another option is to complete the Camino de Santiago from Muxia to Santiago de Compostela. In that case you will get the Compostela upon your arrival at the Cathedral of Santiago. See our article on how to get a pilgrim credential in order to do the Camino de Santiago. Less than 1% of the pilgrims opted for this method last year, but to us, it seems an excellent alternative if you only have a few days.
Stages on the Camino de Santiago to Finisterre
The Camino de Santiago de Finisterre can be divided into 6 stages. These are characterized by being quite long, but that no longer poses a great difficulty for most of the pilgrims who attempt to traverse this route, since much of them already have many kilometres travelled and are in very good physical form.
You should know that in the distribution of stages that we indicate below, the direction of the route is Santiago-Fisterra-Muxía. However, you could also do the reverse route, ie, Santiago-Muxía-Fisterra, or go only to Finisterre or only to Muxía (Mugía).
The Route to the End of the World is an almost circular route, so it is very versatile. Some stages of the route between Finisterre and Muxía you will find signposted in both directions.
First stage: leaving Santiago behind
Stage 1 of the Camino de Santiago de Finisterre runs between the Cathedral of Compostela and Negreira. The 21 kilometres on this stage are made through a mountain environment, full of pines and eucalyptus.
This is not a difficult stage, but it does face continuous, moderate-level climbs. The main challenge is the ascent to the Alto do Mar de Ovellas, with a climb of 215 metres.
The route crosses several localities in the Councils of Santiago and Ames. At the end of the tour, you cross the River Tambre over a Roman bridge, to finish the stage in Negreira.
Second stage: from Negreira to Olveiroa
The second stage of the Camino de Santiago to Finisterre is reputed to be one of the most beautiful sections on the route. From Negreira to Olveiroa there is a distance of 33.4 km. On this stage, the pilgrim path runs between thick oak groves, dotted with chestnuts, beeches, granaries and stone crosses.
During the day, you’ll pass through various localities such as Camiño Real, Vilaserío, Santa Marina or Abeleiroas, among others. Stage 2 of the Route to the End of the World ends in the medieval village of Olveiroa.
Stage 3: to Cape Finisterre or Muxía?
In the third stage on the Camino de Finisterre, it is time to decide whether to go towards Cape Finisterre or Muxía. 6 kilometres from the beginning of the stage, once past the village of Hospital, you will find a stone landmark that warns you of the fork in the road.
We, always, since the Costa da Morte is so charming, and that most pilgrims have already travelled many kilometres and also that the visit to Cape Finisterre has more tradition, recommend going to Finisterre first. And from there, if you still have energy left, continue to Muxía on foot, by bicycle or by means of transport.
The stage that separates Olveiroa from Cee, on the route to Cape Finisterre, is only 20 kilometres long. Some pilgrims go directly to Finisterre from Olveiroa completing 32.2 km.
However, given that the route on these stages is near the sea, in Santiago Ways we recommend that you enjoy this pleasant feeling. Therefore, we recommend dividing the Finisterre section to Olveiroa into two stages.
The day concludes in Cee, a former whaling port. In this locality, you will find the beach of La Concha and the Relleno zone, to relax and to enjoy the Costa da Morte.
Fourth stage: arrival in Finisterre
The fourth stage on the Camino de Santiago to Finisterre is very short and only is 12.2 kilometres long. But that distance is measured from Cee to the centre of Finisterre.
The tradition is to reach the Finisterre Lighthouse, where kilometre 0 is located. So between coming and going, pilgrims still have to complete the corresponding 20 kilometres in the day. Watching the sunset from the lighthouse at Cape Finisterre is a classic ending.
This stage is for many, the end of the Camino de Santiago. Although there are many pilgrims who continue to Cape Finisterre, there are not so many who from there head towards Muxía.
However, although if you decide to continue towards Muxía, Finisterre is considered the land of the endings. It is at this point where, according to the customs on the Camino de Santiago, pilgrims performed various rituals to leave behind all the loads that accompanied them at the beginning of their route and to experience a rebirth.
From Finisterre to Lires: on the way to Muxía (stage 5)
On the fifth stage of the Route to the End of the World, you will find pilgrims walking in both directions. The distance from Finisterre to Lires is 13.6 kilometres.
A short and simple tour that allows you to enjoy the scenery of the impressive Costa da Morte. In the small village of Lires, you will also find the pilgrims who are doing the Route of the lighthouses.
Muxía: the end of the Camino de Finisterre
The sixth stage of the Camino de Finisterre is the end of the tour for the vast majority of pilgrims. However, some who have engaged with the pleasant feeling and balance that walking provides, decide to continue along the Camino de Los Faros.
This last stage of the route to Muxía is 14.4 kilometres in length. The day begins facing a descent of 250 metres and then drops down to the Costa da Morte to reach Muxía. There, the tradition is to visit the Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Barca, to conclude the pilgrimage.
What to see and do on the Camino de Finisterre
Without any doubt, one of the main attractions on the Camino de Santiago to Finisterre is the landscape of the Costa da Morte (Costa de la Muerte). Its name comes from its steep cliffs and its rough seas, with intense waves. A coast that has taken the lives of many sailors and has swallowed countless boats throughout history.
But, in addition to the beautiful scenery of the Costa da Morte, as we have told you in the description of stages, on the Camino de Finisterre you can visit medieval villages, seaside towns and Roman bridges. Next, we suggest a visit on each stage.
The Negreira shield (stage 1)
On the façade of the Town Hall, you will find a shield on which you can see the image of a bridge split in half. This image refers to one of the legends of the Camino de Santiago which mentions the transfer of the remains of Santiago the Apostle.
If you want to know what happened, you can read our article on pilgrim legends. In it, we tell you about this and other incredible anecdotes.
Ézaro waterfalls (stage 2)
If, at the end of the second stage you have energy left, you can take the afternoon to visit the Ezaro waterfalls, located in the neighbouring Dumbria. The visit is recommended because it is the only waterfall in Europe where its waters flow directly into the sea.
Parish Church of Santa María de Xunqueira (etapa 3)
The Church of Santa María de Xunqueira is located in Cee. According to popular tradition, this temple was erected over reeds where the Virgin appeared.
Corcubión (stage 4)
On the route, you will pass through Corcubión. We recommend that you stop to visit this emblematic town of Celtic origin. It has many places of interest such as the Church of San Marcos, the Pazo (country house) of the Counts of Altamira, the Cardenal Castle, the Maritime Museum, the Chapel of Pilar and the José Carrera Building.
Playa de Lires (stage 5)
Lires Beach is curious because it is divided in two by the mouth of the River Castro. Next to it is Nemiña, an ideal space for bird watching.
The magic rocks of Muxía (stage 6)
The set of stones located in Punta de la Barca are popular for its legend-filled spaces. Of all of them, the best known is the Abalar Stone, being the largest and by, according to the locals, to be the one in charge of looking after the town.
Another of the things that you can not forget to do on the Camino de Finisterre is to enjoy its gastronomy. In this article on tapas routes in Galicia we suggest some places to eat in Finisterre.
Best time to do the Camino de Santiago to Finisterre
The Finisterre route can be made at any time of the year. However, the most advisable months are those of spring and summer, given their pleasant temperatures.
If you think that bathing in the beach of Langosteira de Finisterre is a tradition, it is advisable to do the route in summer, because, as a general rule, the water in that area of the Atlantic is usually quite cold. However, you should know that it is a fairly crowded route, so in high season you will find it full of pilgrims.
Signalling on the Route to the End of the World
The Camino de Finisterre is signposted like other routes on the Camino de Santiago, with arrows and stones. The most controversial point of the signalling of this route is at the beginning of the route, around the Cathedral of Santiago, as there are various traces of arrows that can confuse you.
The two stages that separate Finisterre from Muxía can also be confusing, given the double signalling. However, losing yourself on this stretch of the Camino is not easy.
Accommodation on the Camino de Finisterre
Accommodation on the Camino de Santiago to Finisterre is not exactly abundant. The first hostel was inaugurated in 1997, so it is not possible to say that nowadays the network of hostels in this area of Galicia is very wide. However, it has to be recognized that it has improved considerably over the last few years.
The offer of other types of accommodation is much wider. In many of the villages that cross the route, it is possible to find cottages or charming hotels in which to spend the night. Finisterre is the centre that has the best selection of accommodation.
How to go from Santiago to Finisterre: alternatives
If you do not want to continue on a pilgrimage on foot or by bike, but everything we have told you is very attractive and do not want to miss the opportunity to visit the “End of the World”, an option is to take transport to Finisterre and Muxía.
You can go by car or by bus. If you decide to go by car you have two options, or you rent a car to visit Cape Finisterre or you do the tour in a taxi.
If you decide to go by bus, the company Monbus connects Santiago with Finisterre between 3 and 5 times a day. The duration of the trip is 2 or 3 hours, depending on the route that the bus takes.
This same company travels every morning (9:45) from Monday to Friday from Finisterre to Muxía. The journey lasts about an hour.
To return from Muxía to Santiago you can take one of the Ferrin group buses. The company has two daily departures from Monday to Sunday. You can check the schedules here.
Have you been to Finisterre? How did you do the tour? Tell us about your experience in the comments section. We’re sure that all the pilgrims who follow our blog will be delighted to read your contributions.
As always, before saying goodbye, we remind you that if you want to use the services of an agency specializing in the Camino de Santiago de Finisterre, do not hesitate to ask us for a quote. We’d love to help you get to the “End of the World”.