Galicia’s Coast of Death (Costa da Morte in Galician language) is the wildest coast of this area of Spain. Situated in the northwest corner of A Coruña province, its unmistakable landscapes offer to the visitor an immersive experience in a land full of myths and legends about magic, witches and even the devil, starting with its most famous place: Cape Finisterre, (‘The End of The World’ in Latin language), a sacred place for most ancient people including the Romans. But there’s so much to experience at Coast of Death: desert beaches, cliffs, lighthouses, natural places, fishermen’s villages and a stunning combination of green and blue. Follow us in this little journey around the highlights of this bewitched area.
The origin of the name ‘Coast of Death’
This part of Galician Coast is considered, even today, the most dangerous area to sail, due the high cliffs, the countless hidden rocks under the sea and the power of wild Atlantic Ocean. Thousands of ships sank here along the centuries, that’s why the sailors called it The coast of the Death. You will see lots of crosses in the top of the cliffs along the coast, placed there as a remembrance of dead sailors and to protect the ships against heavy storms, so typical of this area.
The English Cemetery
The Cemiterio dos Ingleses (English Cemetery) is situated just beside the ocean at the small village of Xaviña, close to Camariñas. In this cemetery lie the earthly remains of 175 sailors who drowned on the 10th of November 1890 when the English training ship “The Serpent” sank. The priest of Xaviña mobilised people in the neighbourhood to ensure that their bodies were buried here. A small and peaceful place by the sea with a stunning landscape that worths a visit. Once you are there, you can’t miss a visit to Camariñas village, where they keep the ancient trade of bobbin lace crafts, that achieved international fame by its meticulous manufacturing.
This spectacular waterfall, where the river Xallas flow into the sea, is situated in the heart of the Coast of Death. A wooden path leads you to the waterfall itself, which is colourful illuminated during summer nights. You should go to Ézaro electric power plant, leave your vehicle there and follow the signs that lead to the waterfall in a short walk. You can also rent a kayak to arrive there by the water.
The prehistoric population of Costa da Morte left a rich heritage of megalitic monuments and engraved designs in stones (‘petroglifos’). Hundreds of places around the area show the footprints of our ancestors. We have selected two recommendations for you:
a) The Dolmens Route. This 40 km route connects 6 dolmens in Vimianzo. It can be made cycling or driving, and all of them are in the middle of natural spaces. You can ask for a map at Vimianzo Tourist office (the village has also a castle that worths a visit).
b) The Dolmen of Dombate. This is the biggest, better preserved and most famous dolmen in Galicia. Built by the 3.700 b.C, it is protected by a wooden building and has a small museum that will explain you the way of life of prehistoric people, the function of dolmens as sacred burial places and the features of this specific dolmen.
Lighthouses at Coast of Death
A wild and dangerous coast like this, is full of lighthouses, but we will recommend you two:
a) Cape Finisterre
As we said before, this is a very special place. Even before the Romans, it was a sacred place for ancient people, who came here to see the spectacular sunset in the ocean and worship the Sun. As it was considered the end of known world, pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela used (and they still do nowadays) to walk 4-5 more days just to come here. The landscape is unforgettable, and there’s magic floating in the air. This is the most visited place of Costa da Morte, especially in summer.
b) Cape Touriñán
Cape Touriñán is the western point of continental Spain, has also a lighthouse and is much more quiet and peaceful than Finisterre. It is really special because in summer this is the place to see the last ray of sun in continental Europe due its geographical position and the rotation of Earth. A place to see, watch the sunset and, if you are very lucky, catch the legendary green ray of sun at the end of the sunset. If you wait some minutes after the sun is gone, the lighthouse will be on and you can take beautiful pictures as well.
If you have enough time, there’s a trekking route called “O Camiño dos Faros” (Lighthouses Way) which connects all the lighthouses at Costa da Morte by a 200 km walking path, an immersive adventure by the ocean which offers you the chance of having an unforgettable experience in this wild and beatiful coast.
This hidden place is a big surprise: In the middle of corn fields, a narrow road goes down and down to reach the river, where a small paradise of trees, water, and stone is located, not so far from the village of Coristanco. Originally a conjunction of watermills, they were used as a refuge to stay overnight for fishermen. Now they have been restored as a picnic area where you can take a rest under the trees and surrounded by water and small stone bridges. Usually busy in the weekends of summer, you have stone barbecues where you can cook fish or meat if you wish to.
O Rostro Beach (Praia do Rostro)
Situated near Finisterre, it’s an absolutely virgin and wild beach open to the Atlantic Ocean. Far from highly-crowded beaches, this 2 km-lenght beach and its dunes is a great place to relax and a very well place to practice surf.
Fish and seafood
You’ll find charming fishermen’s villages all along Costa da Morte. If Galicia is internationally famous by its fish and seafood, here you’ll find hundreds of little restaurants and bars where you can taste their delicious and fresh fish dishes. There are two stars in the gastronomy of this area that you can’t miss: Razor clams, typical from Finisterre area, and the most famous product from Coast of Death: the barnacles, a very special delicatessen that grow where the ocean waves beat the cliffs. Collecting them is a very dangerous art and it’s only allowed to professionals, but you can taste them in most of restaurants. Of course, like in all areas of Galicia, you’ll find a wide range of seafood, fish and meat to taste.
There are a lot of other wonderful places to discover in this area full of unforgettable experiences. As well, at Breathingalicia we offer you a wide range of experiences to feel this country with all your senses.
Check out what we have for you to offer in our main page!