Many Camino pilgrims arrive in Santiago de Compostela with full hearts, and heads swirling with emotion. After walking for miles on end, day after day, the finish of a pilgrimage journey can seem somewhat bittersweet. There are always a few pilgrims that aren’t quite ready to stop walking. I found myself in this exact situation in 2012 after completing the 500-mile Camino Frances. I decided to continue walking, and like many, made my way to complete the 75-mile Camino Finisterre and arrive at “the end of the earth”.
Julia, Owen, and I weren’t quite ready to stop walking after completing the Camino Portuguese, but didn’t have the time to spend three more days on the trail. We decided to take a day trip to Finisterre and Muxia instead. After doing some research online, I found a great company called Ultreya Tours. My contact, Nellie, crafted a full day package that also included a few stops on the drive out from Santiago. This turned out to be a phenomenal day trip and the perfect ending to our Camino Portuguese adventure.
Day Tour Itinerary, Map, And Overview
9:00 am: Pick up at our hotel and begin 1 hour drive towards the Rias de Muros
10:15 am: Arrival in Muros for a 30 minute coffee break
10:45 to 11:30 am: Scenic drive by the coast to the Ezaro Waterfalls passing by the Ancoradoiro beach and the famous Horreo of Carnota
11:30 am: 30 min break at the Ezaro waterfalls
12:00 pm: 30 min drive to Finisterre Lighthouse
12:30 pm: 1h break at the lighthouse (or 30min at the lighthouse + 30min to discover Finisterre
1:30 pm: Lunch in Restaurant O Centolo in the Old Town of Finisterre or any other restaurant you prefer
3:00 pm: Drive to Muxia (35min) – 25 min break at the Sanctuary
4:00 pm: Drive back to Santiago via the interior route with a stop in Ponte Maceira
5:30 pm: Arrival at your hotel
A Post-Camino Day Trip To Finisterre And Muxia
After enjoying a nice breakfast at our hotel, we were greeted right on time by our driver for the day, José Manuel. José was born in England and spoke perfect English. He made it clear that he was a driver, and not a tour guide…but after spending an entire day with him, I can’t say enough about how knowledgeable he is on the entire region of Galicia. Our experience was so positive, that we also had him pick us up and drive us to the airport the following morning. If you’re looking for a reliable and friendly taxi service in and around Santiago, contact José Manuel.
Our first planned stop on the itinerary was slotted as a coffee break in Muros. José Manuel had commented on the unusually clear skies that morning, and asked if we’d be up for a short detour. We said yes, and he drove us up to a windmill dotted hill overlooking the town of Muros. The views from up high were breathtaking.
After leaving the windmills behind, we made a quick stop in Muros. We had planned on getting coffee, but Owen was starting to feel a little carsick from his big breakfast. José took us to a pharmacy in town and we were able to pick up a Dramamine equivalent that had him feeling better almost instantly.
After picking up the Dramamine in Muros, we continued on our way to the Ezaro waterfalls. On our way there, José Manuel made another quick detour stop at a beautiful secluded beach. Owen really enjoyed the fresh air and was happy to be out of the van for a while.
After our quick stop at the beach, we continued onward and made it to the Ezaro waterfalls. The Ezaro falls get their power from the Rio Xallas, and is a part of the Encoro de Santa Uxía hydroelectric power generation plant. Julia and I walked out with Owen to see the falls up close, but he was way more interested in a small pool filled with frogs and tadpoles.
After our visit to Ezaro falls, we got back into the van and made the drive out to Finisterre. We first stopped in town and grabbed lunch at the impressive As Baleas Fisterra. We had initially planned to eat at a seafood restaurant, but Owen decided that he once again wanted pizza! After he had been so accommodating on the Camino Portuguese, I wasn’t able to say no.
After lunch, we made our way out to the lighthouse. The sight of the lighthouse out at the end of Cape Finisterre brought back a massive flood of emotions for me. It had been six years since I had last stepped foot on this cape to see the final Camino post with marking “0,00km”.
The Finisterre area has a rich history dating back to Celtic tribes that once inhabited the land. Dating back to the 6th century, Finisterre was considered to be the end of the known world. This was popularized by Roman general Decimus Junius Brutus, when he conquered Galacia for the Roman Empire. Even before the time of the Roman and Celtic people, the Phoenicians had an alter in Finisterre to worship the sun. It is for this reason that many consider Finisterre the true end to a Camino de Santiago journey, as pilgrimages to this area pre-date the origins of Christianity.
I was taking a few photos of Owen at the “0,00km” waymarker, when I saw a very familiar face walking our way from the lighthouse. It was our Italian friend, Mauro! We walked alongside Mauro for a few days on our way out of Valença, and it was really nice to see him again. He didn’t speak much English and my Italian is equally limited. It didn’t matter though, as our smiles, laughs, and hugs conveyed all that we desired to say.
After parting ways with Mauro, we continued on towards the lighthouse and the end of the cape. The memories of my journey all came flooding back to me here. We passed by the lighthouse and walked down towards the stone cross where pilgrims burn their clothes, shoes, or other belongings to signify a rebirth.
Owen had a lot of fun hopping around on the rocks, until it was time for us to go. After visiting the lighthouse, José took us to a beautiful beach in Finisterre, and Owen finally got the chance to enjoy the water.
Our final destination for this day tour was in the town of Muxia. Muxia is quickly becoming a popular destination with Camino pilgrims, as it can be reached with just one extra day of walking from Finisterre. Legend has it that one of Christ’s disciples came to Muxia to prosthelytize for the new Christian faith. He wasn’t having much luck with his efforts and began feeling discouraged. At this point it is said that the virgin Mary appeared to him. The Celtic stones that sit near the church today are said to be stones from her boat.
From the lighthouse, we walked over to the church of Santuario da Virxe da Barca. Much like the cape of Finisterre, the location of this church is on a pre-Christian shrine of the Celtic peoples. This part of Spain was one of the last to convert to Christianity.
Getting to the Santuario da Virxe da Barca gave me a very good idea why this area is called the “Costa de la Muerte” or the “Coast of Death”. This rocky shoreline has played host to more than its share of shipwrecks throughout the years.
There are a number of very interesting rock features in front of the church. The first is a ‘pedra de abalar’ or oscillating stone. There are a few of these in the area, and can be moved by wind, water, or sometimes even hand. Stones like these used to play a role in determining the guilt of accused parties in times past. There is also an arch stone that has enough room for people to crawl through. It is thought that crawling through the arch space can be a process of cleansing.
On the hill next to Santuario da Virxe da Barca, we visited the monument to the Prestige Tanker that spilled 70,000 gallons of oil into the Atlantic Ocean back in 2002. This is also the place you can see a “0,00” marker, similar to the one found in Finisterre.
From Muxia, we began or return drive to Santiago. Owen had fallen asleep at this point, so we only drove by our final location of the day, Ponte Maceira. Ponte de Maceira is a beautiful Roman bridge located in the town of Negreira. I walked over this very bridge while walking the Camino Finisterre back in 2012. Ponte de Maceira is steeped in Judeo Christian history. I don’t remember the story exactly, but it is said that the apostles of St. James were making their way through the area along the Tambre River as they were chased by Roman legionaries. The apostles crossed the Tambre over a bridge and as the Romans followed, the bridge collapsed under their feet.
After visiting Ponte de Maceira, we had a pleasant drive back to Santiago as our driver played traditional Galician music to set the tone. This was officially the end. After spending ten days walking the Camino Portuguese from Porto, one day in Santiago for the pilgrim’s mass, and one day taking a day trip to Finisterre, it was time for us to go home. We walked around the main square in front of the Santiago Cathedral one last time and made a promise to return soon.
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