The pilgrim route through Galicia ends at glorious Santiago de Compostela – but travel further and you’ll be amazed by Spain’s very own Land’s End
So this is where the road to nowhere ends, I thought, eyes scrunched against the glare of a shimmering slick of melted sapphire: Cape Finisterre, Spain’s Land’s End. This rocky peninsula jabs into the Atlantic nearly 10 degrees west of the Balearics, meaning the sun sets here about 40 minutes later than on the island of Menorca. Until the discovery of the Americas, Finisterre was – as its name suggests – the last outpost of the known world. The place is filled with legends and stories of cults who came here to watch the sun die at night. Gazing out from the pinnacle of rock into the vast ocean I felt a sense of empathy with those who thought the world ended at that dissecting horizon.
The Church insists the Camino de Santiago ends in the city of the saint but pagan pilgrimages predating St James continued to Finisterre. Many modern-day pilgrims choose to follow their footsteps and the geographical logic of finishing when you can’t walk any further.
Once on the coast it pays to explore more of it. Galicia boasts of more than 700 miles of Atlantic border and the same number of beaches. North of Finisterre the coastline is infamous for its treachery and is often called the Costa da Morte.
Myth, mist and melancholy have created a region with a compelling identity – one of extraordinary architecture, superb cuisine – and an intimate relation with the ocean and the heavens. Standing at the end of the world amid a symphony of rock, cloud and wave I was able to understand why.
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