Dawn breaks on the third day of our journey and we start off taking a stroll across Langosteira Beach. From here we can head to the Cee Lighthouse, which offers us a privileged view of the stretch of coast between the Fisterra Lighthouse and Carnota Beach, and also the Lobeiras Islands, home to large colonies of cormorants and gulls.
From Cee we head to Carnota, right on the edge of the Costa da Morte, where we can visit the Archaeological Open-Air Museum, a natural area that stretches for more than 10.5 km and with seven archaeological sites of different periods and types, selected from the great cultural richness of the territory of Carnota. This open-air museum houses, among other treasures, a set of petroglyphs – drawings engraved in rock in prehistoric times – that represent the movement of the sun, the moon and the stars. Before lunch, we’ll still have time to have a walk on Carnota Beach which stretching nearly seven kilometres is the longest in Galicia.
In the afternoon we’ll retrace our steps so as not to miss out on a visit to Ézaro, in the municipality of Dumbría. Here the River Xallas gives way to a dramatic descent of the river that plunges into the sea forming a colossal waterfall. Also recommended is going up to the Ézaro scenic viewpoint, from where we can enjoy the extensive, beautiful, coastal landscape.
We’re heading to Monte Pindo, a huge granite mass shrouded in beliefs and legends. After a demanding climb, we’ll reach the vast granite rock known as A Moa, which surprises visitors with its extensive, magical, panoramic views of the landscape. Here, perfectly aligned with the city of Santiago de Compostela and Cape Fisterra, the sun sets in the sea, bathing the entire horizon with the glow of its golden light. We are standing before the last sunset on mainland Europe.
The Aldea de Olveiroa in Dumbría is a picturesque town that nowadays receives many pilgrims from the Way of Saint James.
Caneliñas Beach in Cee isn’t far from Ézaro, and a visit is like travelling back to bygone times, when this small cove was one of the most important sites of the whaling industry.
The Lariño Lighthouse. located at Punta Ínsua (Carnota), stands on the edge of the ocean, alongside a vast sandy beach.
The last sunset on mainland Europe. From 24 March to 23 April and from 18 August to 19 September.
Between the end of spring and the end of summer, a common phenomenon known as Milky Seas can be observed on the beaches of the Costa da Morte, especially in Carnota.
The numerous watermills dotted throughout Galicia bear witness to the wealth of rivers and watercourses in this land. The use of these mills was normally shared out among the neighbours or commoners during milling hours. The power of water was the source of energy needed to start up the heavy stone machinery that made up the mill and converted the grains of corn and wheat into precious flour. They are normally associated with the banks of mighty rivers in the heart of forests; however, in this case the location is unusual, as the five mills of Ardeleiro are built on a steep area by the ocean, using the waters of the Rego dos Muíños stream.
It forms part of the Carnota Open-air Archaeological Museum. The best time to see it is at sunset in the light of the sun’s last rays. This is a group of engravings that combine concentric circles cup marks, associated by some authors with the representation of the cosmos, water or the sun itself. In addition to these elements, we can identify figures reminiscent of weapons.
The Pedra Moura Dolmen is located in the town of Aldemunde. It is dated to between 3500 and 2700 BC, at the height of the megalithic culture. Its origin is linked to a legend that tells that the slabs forming the tumulus were carried from the Calvelo cliffs on the shoulders of a moura (moor), while she was nursing a baby and operating a spinning wheel. The name given to this funerary monument has to do with this legend, which is very common in Galician popular tradition. Close to the dolmen there’s an outstanding natural area called Ribeira da Pena, one of the most important native woodlands in the Costa da Morte.
This viewpoint, between San Mamede and As Paxareiras, offers views of the spectacular landscape of the parishes of Lira, Carnota, the marshes of Caldebarcos and Cape Fisterra. Here you can see beautiful ocean sunsets. The scenic viewpoint is home to a sculptural work by Nando Lestón, consisting of several burnt trees that have been given a second life, thanks to the intervention converting them into pieces of art.
It forms part of the Carnota Open-air Archaeological Museum. Located on top of a hill in the parish of Lira, from the summit we can enjoy an impressive, 360-degree panoramic view encompassing everything from Monte Louro to Cape Fisterra. It’s a fortification whose origins lie between Late Antiquity and the High Middle Ages. It has a double wall system, two internal enclosures and an entrance facing the harbour of Lira. In the beginning its purpose was to defend, but over time it was used for agricultural and livestock purposes. During the 20th century it was once again used as a refuge for the persecuted during the Spanish Civil War.
It forms part of the Carnota Open-air Archaeological Museum. The hillfort dates back to between the 6th century BC and the 1st century AD. It has an oval structure with two separate walls, reinforced by a third wall on the southern façade. It has been shrouded in numerous myths and legends over the years. The best-known is that this hillfort was the residence of the Queen Lupa and, as proof of this, her throne is still conserved in the centre – a stone with a chair-like appearance.
It forms part of the Carnota Open-air Archaeological Museum. The best time to see it is at sunset in the light of the sun’s last rays. With the open sea on the horizon, the petroglyph of Rego Lamoso features weapons, cup marks, squares and concentric circles. These engravings, like the rest of the petroglyphs in this museum, are located in a privileged spot with scenic views.
It forms part of the Carnota Open-air Archaeological Museum. The best time to see it is at sunset in the light of the sun’s last rays. It consists of two engraved stones with multiple sets of cup marks of different sizes. There are also circular combinations, palettes, anthropomorphs and crosses.
It forms part of the Carnota Open-air Archaeological Museum. The best time to see it is at sunset in the light of the sun’s last rays. This large rock constitutes a canvas displaying engravings from different periods: prehistoric concentric circles and cup marks, medieval crosses and boats of undetermined dating.
This petroglyph forms part of the Carnota Open-air Archaeological Museum. The best time to see it is at sunset in the light of the sun’s last rays. It seems to represent the figure of a woman with a child in her arms. Although its meaning is still an enigma today, the most evocative hypothesis points to the representation of the figure of a mother goddess associated with numerous fertility rites.
The German artist Manfred Gnädinger, better known as Man, the German from Camelle, moved to live in the town of Camariñas in the 1960s, where he led an anchorite life at one with the landscape and nature. His home on the coast and the area around it were where Man built his artistic universe, making the most of the resources nature provided him with and creating this sculpture garden that today forms part of his legacy.
When in 2002 the accident of the oil tanker Prestige covered the Costa da Morte in an oil slick, his sculptural work was also dyed black. Shortly after Man died in his house and for all intents and purposes was the first victim of this natural disaster.
In contrast to the urban beach of A Concha, the beach at Caneliñas is a small cove in a stunning unspoilt enclave. Boats carrying huge whales to be quartered and processed in a now abandoned factory used to dock in this sheltered spot. It reached its heyday in the middle of the 20th century, becoming an activity of great economic and social impact in the region. For more information, we recommend you watch the documentary A Costa das Baleas, where some people who lived at the time tell their experiences first-hand.
This is the urban beach at Cee, formed after the port was enlarged by reclaiming land from the sea in the 20th century. Its name derives from the curious semicircular shape of the sandy area that forms, together with its promenade and park, a comprehensive recreational area for the residents of the town where they can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the old town of Corcubión.
Declared a Site of Historical and Artistic Interest in 1984 and a Galician Tourist Municipality in 2000, the town has both a seafaring and bourgeois character. Seafaring for its port dotted with small traditional fishing boats and tackle engaged in the daily routine of work at sea. Bourgeois, because of the large number of emblazoned mansions and pazos (manor houses), among which the most outstanding are the Casa de Castrexe, the Pazo de los Dios y Pose or the Pazo dos Condes de Altamira, former lords of these lands. Noteworthy is the Pilar Chapel, today a dynamic element of the cultural life of Corcubión, where locals organise different activities. To enjoy a complete visit, stopping by the tourist office, located in the old prison that was in use until the 20th century, is recommended.
The Cape Cee Lighthouse, dating from 1860, protects the entrance to the Corcubión Ría from A Laxe de Fóra with its beacon. Thanks to its setting, it’s a unique scenic viewpoint where you can see the Castillo del Príncipe and the former whaling port of Caneliñas, in Cee, Monte Pindo and the Lobeiras Islands, in Carnota, and finally the beach at Langosteira and Cape Fisterra. During the equinoxes we can follow the path of the sun throughout the day over the Corcubión Ría, observing the sun rise behind Monte Pindo and the impressive sunsets over Cape Fisterra.
This natural area stretching 500 metres along both banks of the River Anllóns is a magnificent exhibition of natural and ethnographic heritage. From the Posemill to the As Sangueiroas mill, 13 other watermills have served the residents of the parishes of Verdes and Cereo by milling wheat and maize, a reflection of the agricultural importance of these lands. The route offers bridges and recreational areas where you can relax at one with nature and the sunlight that streams through the trees at the river’s edge.
This small village on the stretch of the Camino as it passes through Dumbria is a fine example of popular architecture, and its most outstanding feature is the hórreo (stone granary). They serve as storehouses for farm produce, especially maize. The villagers measured time by observing the movement of the stars in the sky, which indicated not only the beginning and end of the working day, but also the sowing and harvesting cycles of the crops. Walking among the hórreos gives us the chance to reflect on the traditional way of rural life.
The geological wealth of the Costa da Morte, together with the force of the water and wind that batter the landscape, is full of surprises, creating impossible rocky forms that at times seem to defy the laws of physics. This is the case of Pedra do Brazal, a huge rock held on a narrow fulcrum in an impossible equilibrium. The pilgrims that travel to Dumbría in search of this mythical sunset in Fisterra pass close by this natural monument located at the foot of Monte Castelo at an altitude of 339 metres.
This museum space was built in 2015 to protect, conserve and disseminate the personal and artistic legacy of Manfred Gnädinger, popularly known as Man, the German from Camelle.
The exhibition displays a series of works made from objects the sea brought to the coasts of Camelle, the so-called crebas (beachcombing finds), which Man assembled, shaped and painted for his creations. The exhibition space is completed with photographs, drawings by visitors and documents with aphorisms and reflections by the artist himself.
The journey through the life and work of Man culminates with the visit to the museum garden and other places in Camelle that conserve some of his works.
Arou is a small fishing port far from the bustle of tourist areas and with one of the most beautiful beaches of the entire Costa da Morte. A sandy area in the form of a half-moon, with white sand and calm waters suitable for bathing. You can reach Arou and its beach by taking an enjoyable walk along a cobbled path that connects this place with Man’s garden of sculptures in Camelle.
The unique mouth of the River Xallas, on its way through O Ézaro, gives rise to a beautiful inlet sheltered by Monte Pindo. Its fine sandy beach stretches for about two kilometres in a crescent shape, forming an idyllic landscape enhanced by the rays of the setting sun.
Stretching over seven kilometres, Carnota Beach is considered the longest in Galicia. It’s a sandy area of great beauty at the foot of the ocean that on some summer nights from the end of spring to the end of summer becomes the ideal spot to contemplate the “Milky Seas” – a natural phenomenon that tinges the water with fluorescent blue. The beach ends at Caldebarcos, with its dunes and marshes accompanied by an inland lagoon. This spot provides shelter for a great number of migratory birds and native flora.
The best view on the Carballo coast can be found on this point of the road that joins Carballo and Caión. Here we have privileged views of the entire Razo-Baldaio Natural Area and Monte Neme, a former wolfram mine that was used during World War II to supply the German arms industry with this metal. At present, the passage of time and lack of activity have created a landscape worth visiting.
This scenic viewpoint has a panoramic interactive table for visitors to explore all the natural and heritage resources of the coast.
The Razo-Baldaio Natural Area is the most outstanding part of the coastline of the municipality of Carballo, and consists of a large sandy area and the Razo dunes, in addition to the lagoon and marshes of Baldaio. This area of great ecological value is one of the most beautiful and outstanding in Galicia, and is included in the Natura Network and has been declared a Special Protection Area for Birds. The diversity of the flora and fauna found in this natural area comes from a variety of ecosystems that converge here: marshland, lagoon, sandy area and cliffs.
Razo Beach is of outstanding value, as it’s a fossil beach formed in the quaternary period, the origin of one of the most important geological phenomena of Galicia– the Meridian Depression that crosses it from north to south.
The Lariño Lighthouse is located at Punta Insua, gateway to the Corcubión Ría. Its construction dates back to the early decades of the 20th century, and currently is a hotel. From here you can see the impressive sunsets on Lariño Beach.
Ponteceso was the birthplace of the bard of Galician literature, Eduardo Pondal, creator of the Galician anthem and advocate of the Celtic legacy of Galicia. Pondal passionately wrote about the legendary sun of the Costa da Morte and turned the toponyms of the region into authentic Celtic warriors. To discover his legacy and take part in the wide-ranging cultural programme at Ponteceso, a visit to the Eduardo Pondal Foundation is recommended.
Monte Pindo is an impressive, extensive granite mass that culminates at 642 metres on the summit of A Moa. It’s geological, ecological, cultural and historical wealth is unparalleled. Among other plant species, the mass is home to a unique colony of dwarf oak (Quercus lusitanica).
Throughout history, those who populated its lands have seen in the curious shapes of its rocks the living image of animals and fantastic creatures, members of a mythological universe that culminates in the name of Celtic Olympus. Legend has it that the remains of the Queen Lupa rest in this mass, along with her treasure, protected by the rock giants on the sides of the mountains, where there are even caves belonging to meigas (witches).
Popular tradition says that from A Moa, at the top of Monte Pindo, on clear, cloudless days you can see the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago. But one thing is for sure, from A Moa, located at over 600 m above sea level, you can see the inlet of O Ézaro, Carnota Beach and Fisterra, while enjoying the last sunset on Continental Europe.
The Caión Fishing Archive is an ethnographic museum promoted by the fishermen’s guild of this town, which forms part of the Rede de Espazos Museísticos Atlánticos (REMA) (Network of Atlantic Museum Spaces). The ground floor of the guild houses this exhibition space, which takes us on a journey through the seafaring history and fishing tradition of the town of Caión.
The Trece inlet is one of the wildest, most unspoilt areas of the entire Costa da Morte, and which has been witness to countless shipwrecks and tragic sailing incidents. One of the most outstanding natural resources of the area is the highest climbing dune in the Iberian Peninsula, which is located on the east side of the inlet on the flanks of Monte Blanco. This dune conserves the biggest colony in the northwest of the peninsula of the Portuguese crowberry (Corema album), a bush that is currently in danger of extinction and that lent its name to the town and the municipality. The crowberry blooms from the end of March to the end of April, coinciding with the last sunset of Continental Europe, which at this time of year can be enjoyed at the Costa da Morte, making it the perfect moment to visit this place.
This interpretation centre located in the Golmar Rectory provides comprehensive information about the watermills. Through informative panels, photos, documents and pieces on display, we can discover the different types of mills, how they work, and the social and ethnographic significance of these structures throughout Galicia – in particular, the Costa de Morte.
Also known as A Cibdá, the Borneiro Hillfort is one of the most important archaeological sites of Castro culture. The site follows the traditional layouts of these settlements, which have a strategic and elevated location, a fortified perimeter for defence, and are close to a river.
The top of the hillfort is where the main enclosure or “croa” can be found. Here the domestic constructions are located, most of which are circular in shape and about five metres in diameter, as well as the antecastro, an area outside the walls where there is a space set up as baths for ritual purposes.
The enclosure was inhabited between the 6th century BC and the 1st century AD and there are no signs of it being Romanised. Between 300 and 400 people may have lived in Borneiro, working mainly in agriculture, livestock farming and possibly metallurgy.
Considered the cathedral of Galician megalithism, Dombate is the best-preserved corridor-style dolmen in the whole of Galicia. The building consists of two superimposed tumuli measuring up to 25 metres in diameter and 1.80 metres in height. This burial construction dates back to the Neolithic Period, approximately 6,000 years ago. Not only is the dolmen of great value, but also numerous archaeological campaigns have unveiled several paintings and engravings in the monument’s interior.
The entrance to the corridor faces sunrise, which is a common feature in other Galician megalithic monuments. During the winter solstice, the first rays of sun flood the corridor of the tumulus, bathing the central area with light.
The Dombate Dolmen Archaeological Centre opened in 2011 as an architectural space to protect and conserve this Site of Cultural Interest, as well as serving as an interpretation and visitor reception centre.
Camariñas is one of the most charming fishing villages on the Costa da Morte and boasts one of the biggest harbours on this coast. Strolling round its streets is an invitation to take it easy and relax, above all if the walk coincides with the palilleiras (lace makers) coming out into the streets to carry out their tasks. After all, the town is famous thanks to this craft, which possibly has links with lace making in Flanders. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation by the women of this area and to date, it’s one of the most important local resources. There is a Lace Museum dedicated to this craft and during Easter, the Mostra do Encaixe de Camariñas (Camariñas Lace Exhibition) is held, where this traditional skill is paired with the most avant-garde fashion.
This shrine to the Virgin Mary is located on the summit of Monte Farelo, and is popularly known as the little brother of the Virxe da Barca sanctuary in Muxía. The current building is from the 18th century and stands on the ruins of the former mediaeval chapel. The location of this chapel on the top of this promontory offers spectacular views of the entire coastal landscape of Camariñas. It’s a place of strong devotion to the Virgin Mary, and every Monday before Easter the romeria (religious festival) in honour of the Virxe do Monte is held, with a procession that takes the statue of the Virgin Mary from Camariñas to the sanctuary. For many years a celebration has taken place here during the night of the solstice to welcome summer.
The rocky mass of Cape Vilán is catalogued as a Place of Nacional Interest. This is not surprising since, among other things, the site is home to numerous seabirds including the kittiwake, which nests solely on the Sisargas Islands and Cape Vilán. Between March and April, the Portuguese crowberry (Corema album) in bloom tinges the area in white.
In 1896, the current lighthouse was built on the cape. Its construction was triggered by the shipwreck of the Serpent and was the first lighthouse in Spain with electricity. From this building, today converted into an Interpretation Centre for Shipwrecks, Lighthouses and Maritime Signals, we can enjoy privileged views of the sun sinking into the ocean horizon.
In 890, the British battleship HMS Serpent was wrecked off the coast of Camariñas, making history with one of the best-known shipwrecks of the many of the Costa da Morte. Only three survived this accident, and 172 members of the crew perished. Days later, and thanks to the hard work and efforts of the locals, the bodies of the dead were buried in a cemetery built expressly to bury the British sailors, opposite the coast where the event had taken place. The cemetery has a double concentric structure, with the officers buried on the inside and the sailors on the outside. To date, this cemetery forms part of the European Cemeteries Route, a European cultural itinerary declared by the Council of Europe. Because of this tragic event, the lighthouse was built at Cape Vilán which can be reached via an impressive route along the coastline.
Para a corrente artística do neoplasticismo, a arte forma parte da vida, polo que é escusado imitar a paisaxe; abonda con unir liña e cor nun mesmo espazo, tal e como sucede no Cemiterio de Cores, en Dumbría, proxectado pola arquitecta Rosana Pichel. Os amantes da arquitectura contemporánea gozarán visitando esta obra, que racha coa tipoloxía tradicional de cemiterio e convérteo nun espazo amable, no cal a luz do sol fai vibrar a cor dos paneis cadrados en homenaxe a Piet Mondrian.
The O Ézaro scenic viewpoint is located on top of Cruz de Pao at a height of 243 metres, with a privileged view of the inlet of the mouth of the River Xallas, Monte Pindo, the Lobeiras Islands or Cape Fisterra.
This place forms part of the history of national and international cycling. In 2012, the scenic viewpoint hosted the finish line of the twelfth stage of the Tour of Spain, with the winner being Joaquim Rodriguez “Purito”. Since then, this point has become a landmark for this sport, with many enthusiasts venturing to overcome the 30% difference in altitude between the inlet and the viewpoint. Such that currently an annual race is held – the Gran Fondo Ézaro.
Built in 1853, the Fisterra lighthouse is the perfect setting to enjoy an exciting sunset. A heartwarming sunset charged with symbolism and content that brings together dozens of people at the same time. This is the goal of many pilgrims that reach the Costa da Morte. At the feet of the lighthouse we can see an overwhelming image of the endless sea. This Mare Tenebrosum of Decimus Junius Brutus Gallaicus, the same rough sea that has left many shipwrecks in the history of the Costa da Morte.
It’s a privilege to be able to contemplate such a unique megalithic monument as the Casota de Berdoias. It’s unique for several reasons – for its rectangular shape and for the different petroglyphs that have led researchers, such as Emilio Fonseca Moretón, to discover a stellar calendar inside. At the time of its construction, it would have depicted the midnight sky at the autumnal equinox. Remember that the autumnal equinox marks a key moment in the cultivation and harvesting of farm produce. On the north slab, we can also see a cup mark facing east, which is deeper and larger than the others and may represent the rising sun. For this reason, at dawn on the winter solstice, the sun shines on the inside of the west wall, illuminating this cup mark from the corner of the slab.
Unlike typical constructions of this type, As Barreiras is not located in a high and difficult-to-access area, but in the middle of the valley, in order to benefit from the cultivated areas and control the territory. The immensity of its walls bears witness to the importance of the settlement, dating to the late Iron Age and also inhabited during the Galician-Roman period. Successive archaeological digs have uncovered different constructions, homes, many ceramic objects and several surprises. Among them was the discovery of a baetylus, a popular idol in Phoenician culture.
In his poem “Á hora en que o doce luceiro”, the writer Eduardo Pondal placed the tomb of his legendary Celtic warrior Brandomil, central character in part of his work, in the dolmen of Arca da Piosa. It’s one of the most impressive dolmens on the Costa da Morte and the main corridor is oriented towards sunrise.
Dating from the 15th century, it’s considered to be one of the oldest pazos in Galicia. The estate includes the impressive manor house of the Riobóo family, with its rich ethnographic ensemble consisting of granaries, dovecotes, fountains and even a small bandstand. The pazo is reached through a fascinating tree-lined tunnel, planted by the illustrious biologist Víctor Seoane. Inside visitors can see an exhibition on rural Galicia over the last few centuries. Particularly interesting is the section on clothing made from linen, a fabric produced and worked following a long tradition in Galicia, and in particular by local associations. The sun played a key role in artisanal flax processing.
Walking through inland Zas, among white willows and alders on the banks of a river that cascades into a waterfall at several points, we come across a marvellous group of watermills that are well worth a visit. The O Rabiñoso mills form part of the Zas Water Route.
The Costa da Morte is dotted with iconic islands, bastions of the capes and inlets. O Centulo (demon) is a rock that juts out into the sea at 700 metres from Cape Fisterra and 25 metres above sea level. O Centulo witnesses the most stunning sunsets daily, but it has also been, throughout history, the site of several shipwrecks – such as the vessels Captain, Blas de Lezo or Bitten.
This parish church is located in Duio, at the foot of a hillfort in a spot closely linked to the history of the Way of Saint James. We´re walking on the land of the mythological Dugium where, according to the Jacobean legend, the Queen Lupa asked the king of this city to bury the remains of Saint James the Apostle in his lands. However, he refused, and so received divine punishment – the city was washed away by the ocean.
Roman historian Lucius Annaeus Florus states that General Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus, after conquering Gallaecia, arrived at what the Empire considered to be the end of the known world (Finis Terrae) to see the sun sink into the Mare Tenebrosum. This was clearly the Promontorium Neriumi, i.e. Cape Fisterra. This scene highlights the importance of sunsets in this landscape dotted with myths and beliefs surrounding the cult of the sun. The top of the cape, on Monte Facho, is the location of the San Guillerme Sanctuary, a possible site of the Ara Solis; but also the Pedras Santas (Holy Stones), two large round stones attributed with magical powers. Between Monte do Facho and the lighthouse at Fisterra, the views are astounding as we can see as far as the Corcubión Ría, Monte Pindo, the tip of the capes and the O Centolo Island.
El dolmen de Regoelle o también llamado Pedra da Arca tiene su origen probablemente en el tercer milenio a.C. Llama la atención sus losas colosales y el buen estado de conservación del túmulo, en cuyo interior aún podemos percibir grabados y pinturas rojas prehistóricas. En las proximidades se encontraba un castro que lleva el mismo nombre. En Vimianzo encontramos un buen número de dólmenes que podemos visitar a través de una ruta.
After Cape Touriñan, Cape Nave is the second most western point on the Costa da Morte. It is, therefore, a landmark in the search for the last sunset in Continental Europe. Opposite the tip of the cape, we can see the Berrón da Nave Island with its impressive cliffs.
From the top of the cape, at the Monte Veladoiro scenic viewpoint, the views of the ocean with Cape Fisterra on the left is truly picturesque.
This beach of fine sand is a haven of peace and tranquillity. It’s on the ocean shore so its waters are dangerous. A stroll along this immense unspoilt sandy beach, sheltered from the sun, is a perfect way to connect with nature and the essence of the Costa da Morte.
Located between Cape Nave and Fisterra, the Mar de Fóra Beach is on the shores of the ocean, hosting a beautiful show during sunset. Although close to the town, its scenery is completely unspoilt and is included in the Natura Network. At the end of the beach there is a very attractive viewpoint where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the sandy area.
George Borrow, a 19th-century British pilgrim, wrote about his visit to this beach. He described it as a “beach of dazzling white sand” where “the sun was shining brightly, and every object was illumined by his beams”. This sandy area stretching nearly two kilometres hosts the ritual bathing of pilgrims in the waters at the end of the world.
The top of Monte Facho, towards the summit of Cape Fisterra, is the site of the ruins of a chapel destroyed in the 18th century. Its entrance faces sunrise during the equinoxes, in a constant dialogue with Monte Pindo. The sanctuary is shrouded in a world of myths, legends and pagan rituals. It’s unsurprising that the Ara Solis is claimed to be in its whereabouts. The interior houses a large slab, popularly known as the “cama do santo” (saint’s bed), where barren couples used to lie in search of fertility.
These remains are closely linked to the Jacobean tradition, as their origin is possibly linked to a pilgrim called Guillerme, Duke of Aquitania, who would have made a pilgrimage to this place to spend the last years of his life.
This church of Romanesque origin is a place of devotion for thousands of pilgrims who come to Fisterra. Its location marks the ascent to the cape and is a must-stop for all visitors. In its interior Santa María das Areas and the Cristo de Fisterra are worshipped, giving rise to many legends recorded by pilgrims since the 15th century. One of them tells that long ago, during a storm, a ship was struggling to exit the inlet so the crew decided to throw overboard a large box that seemed to be the cause of its distress. When the box reached the coast, they discovered the statue of Christ who had thus decided to stay on this land and not to continue the ocean voyage.
Fisterra is both a fishing and tourist town. Life revolves around the fishing port, its fantastic fish market and the numerous tapas bars, restaurants and cafés lining the narrow streets, where you can find the best local cuisine, while enjoying views of the Corcubión Ría and Monte Pindo. The Ara Solis square and street are in the heart of the town, and are a reference to the legendary altar of Phoenician origin, which is said to have existed in Cape Fisterra.
This is an ethnographic complex of great value, consisting of two buildings. One houses mills and is located on the river, and the other is home to mills and fulling mills. A visit to discover the interesting work in the mills, and especially the fulling mills, is recommended. They were the last mills to be abandoned in Galicia and are of the few that still work.
Fulling mills use water power to beat the woollen blankets to make them more compact and therefore stronger.
The Castillo de Vimianzo, which dates back to the 13th century, is now one of the must-see sights in the Costa da Morte. Since it was built it’s been the residence of nobles and archbishops, a centre of power and justice and even a romantic holiday home. It has lived through struggles between nobility and clergy, and the Irmandiño revolts. At the start of the Spanish Civil War it was a symbol of Republican resistance. You can now visit it privately or take a guided tour. It houses an interesting live craft show.
The River Xallas is one of the few rivers in Europe that enter the sea as a waterfall. In this case, in the Atlantic Ocean between the towns of O Pindo (Carnota) and O Ézaro (Dumbría). Its waters fall from a height of 80 metres, caressing the red granite of Monte Pindo, which prevents a calmer outfall.
Although during the last century the course of the river has been altered by various dams and the power of the waterfall has been harnessed for electricity production, today the natural flow of the water, which is particularly torrential during the winter months, is respected.
Can you imagine watching the sun rise and set from the same point on the same day? Well don’t just imagine it, experience it, from the scenic viewpoint at Santo Hadrián in Malpica between 22 May and 21 July. Between these dates the sun rises in the East in the direction of Cape Prior and sets in the West towards Punta Nariga. This is caused by the movement of the sun relative to the Earth and the distance to the horizon, depending on the altitude of the observation point. The scenic viewpoint at Punta Nariga also offers fantastic views of the Sisargas Islands, home to many seabirds.
The views that can be seen from the Laxe lighthouse stretch from the Roncudo Lighthouse to Punta do Boi in Camariñas. Near the lighthouse, the A Espera sculpture, designed by Iria Rodríguez, stands on the top of Punta Insua as a tribute to the families of the sailors who perished at sea. Alongside the sculpture there is a picnic area perfect for a break while enjoying the best views.
Declared Protected Landscape, this geologically interesting mass is located between the municipalities of Laxe and Vimianzo. Walking among its large rocks takes us into a dreamlike universe of eroded stones, impossible balances, a magical landscape created by zoomorphic and anthropomorphic features. Following the hiking route featuring large boulders that you’ll encounter between the peaks of Torre da Moa, Galla da Pena Forcada and A Cachucha is recommended.
The glass and crystal remnants dumped here over the years return to the shore, eroded by the action of the sea, resulting in a beach sparkling with brilliant colours in the sunlight. A picturesque image that is repeated in different sandy areas all over the world, but one that’s particularly beautiful from the Baleeira inlet at sunset.
This rock art station is located on the boundary between Vimianzo and Laxe. This is an extraordinary collection as it’s the first on the Costa da Morte where hunting scenes have been found. The vertical panel shows different animals interpreted as deer, hunted by humans and dogs. In the shelter, the site is completed with a large circular combination. The best time to observe the petroglyphs is at sunset.
The marvellous outline of the lighthouse at Punta Nariga, silhouetted against the sunset sky on the western façade of the Malpica, is an image never to be forgotten. The building was designed by the Galician architect César Portela, who integrated the lighthouse perfectly into nature, both in terms of the materials used and the shapes. It mimics the prow of a ship breaking the waves, with a beautiful bronze figurehead facing the ocean.
PEDRA DA ARCA DOLMEN
Dating from between 3500 and 2700 B.C., the Pedra da Arca Dolmen was built at the heydey of Megalithic splendour in Galicia. Its entrance, facing sunrise during the summer solstice, leads to a large polygonal chamber, whose stone cover was removed by stonemasons and prehistoric treasure hunters.
In the town of Buño (Malpica), a traditional craft that is an important economic activity for the area still survives: ceramics. This activity continues today thanks to the work of more than 20 pottery workshops. The Forno do Forte ecomuseum is a magnificent ethnographic ensemble that recreates the life of a family of craftsmen in the mid-20th century. To learn about their way of life and ceramic production, you can visit the house, the workshop, the kiln, the storehouse and the granary. In addition, every year a pottery exhibition is held where you can discover the work of the craftsmen and also try your hand at turning a pot on the potter’s wheel.
At a height of 550 metros above sea level, the top of Monte Aro is a great place to enjoy the scenic views of the Xallas area on the Way of Saint James to Fisterra-Muxía. From here you can see the valley of the River Xallas, whose waters end by flowing into the big lake formed by the A Fervenza reservoir. This wetland is of great interest to birdwatchers, as it is a major resting place for migratory birds.
The Costa da Morte coastline is dotted with wild points where lighthouses protect ships that come dangerously close to its cliffs. The loud and violent roar of the sea has inspired its name, Roncudo, the roaring sea that overwhelms the listener. This area has witnessed numerous shipwrecks that have inspired the names of the rocks. For example, the Petón do millo is so named because it was here that a ship loaded with corn was shipwrecked.
These rocks are precisely the fishing grounds of one of the delicacies of the Costa da Morte, the prized Roncudo goose barnacle. The men and women who catch goose barnacles risk their lives every day facing the battering waves and wind. Today we can see several crosses on the cliff that have already become icons of this wild landscape at sunset, as a tribute to those who have perished carrying out this heroic work.
The Dolmen of Mina da Parxubeira, dating from between the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, is located in the parish of San Fins de Eirón surrounded by green pastures, an image evocative of the agro-livestock farming character of the town of Mazaricos. The dolmen corridor, like most of the dolmen corridors on the Costa da Morte, is oriented towards the east, and important archaeological remains such as flint blades, amulets and bell-shaped pottery were found during excavations. In addition, four aligned anthropomorphic stelae were found outside, enclosing what was considered to be the sacred area of this Neolithic monument.
Cape Touriñán is the most westerly point of peninsular Spain. Did you know that from the tip of the cape, 5,200 km of ocean separate us from New York? From here you can contemplate never-ending, breathtaking sunsets – the last in continental Europe for two months of the year. The oceanic view from this natural viewpoint is so wide that it disappears into the horizon, merging the sea with the sky.
Settled in the vicinity of a Roman villa and necropolis, the origins of the monastery of San Xiao de Moraime date back to the 12th century, at the height of the Benedictine order. Until the 15th century, Moraime was a leading religious centre in the Costa da Morte – key to understanding the Jacobean pilgrimage to Muxía. Its Romanesque façades display biblical scenes of the Last Supper and the Last Judgement. Inside, there are some beautiful 16th century paintings depicting the mortal sins.
Alberto Buñuelos-Fournier is the sculptor of the A Ferida monument standing in the vicinity of the sanctuary of Nosa Señora da Barca. It was built in memory of the ecological disaster following the sinking of the oil tanker Prestige in 2002 on this coast. It’s a large monolith weighing 400 tonnes with an opening in the centre like a crack through which the sun shines brightly at sunset. Visiting the Museum of the Volunteer is recommended to better understand what the catastrophe meant for Muxía and the Costa da Morte as a whole, but above all to acknowledge the importance of the volunteers who joined efforts to save the coast.
Legend has it that the Virgin Mary arrived at this part of the Muxía coast on a stone boat to encourage the Apostle St. James in the evangelisation of Galicia. The supposed remains of the boat are scattered around the sanctuary, which is a pilgrimage destination to harness the healing and divinatory properties of these rocks. The Pedra de Abalar (Balancing Rock), Pedra dos Cadrís (Rock of Hips) and Pedra do Timón (Rudder Rock) would be respectively the boat, the sail and the rudder. The arrival of saints in stone boats is a tradition that is repeated in other parts of Galicia and other Atlantic cultures. Sitting at this ancient pilgrimage site to watch the sun set into the Atlantic is a unique experience.
What do Muxia and the Aragon municipality of Calatayud have in common? Dried conger eels. In the Middle Ages, Muxia imported lines and ropes for the boats, brought by the Bilbilitans. As payment for this, pieces of conger eel were taken from the drying sheds in Os Cascóns and As Pedriñas. The last places where this traditional work was carried in Galicia out is in Muxia. The drying process is completed by wind that blows along the coast and the sun. If you want to sample this delicacy, every Easter a Conger Eel Festival is held where the town’s restaurants offer different eel recipes.
Located on a peninsula sheltered by Monte do Corpiño, this fishing village is the perfect spot to enjoy the traditional seafood-based gastronomy. Octopus and conger eel pasties are some of the star dishes. Behind the maritime façade, you can stroll through its historic narrow streets with interesting examples of traditional seafaring architecture. In the harbour, large murals portray the seafaring essence of Muxía and the hard work of the women fishers and shellfishers.
A Pedra da Serpe is a unique stone cross, as it comes from a rock transformed into a winged serpent. Although its origin is not clear, there are authors who situate it in medieval times. It is said that many years ago Saint Hadrian struck the ground with his foot to rid the land of a powerful plague of snakes. This legend echoes that of Saint Patrick, who freed Ireland from snakes.