July and August are so hot in Madrid that you can barely leave the hotel. Though in the evening as the sun begins to drop the heat becomes less distressing, people are willing to leave the city and move to coastal towns. Northern Spain and especially Galicia is an ideal travel destination for sightseeing, its culture, cuisine, friendly climate in summer, its green, its people, its hidden places and beaches. It also has the advantage that is not as crowded as its neighbors Cantabria and Asturias. The Costa da Morte -Coast of Death- is facing the Atlantic Ocean in Spain’s northern province of Galicia.
from madrid to a coruña
The option of taking a plane to get from Madrid to A Coruña is good, but if you have time is better to go by car. Sure, it’s rather longer and tiring, but I think it is worth it because you go through places that otherwise would be overlooked. Despite being a long distance drive (about six hours), the driving along the highway is not boring at all, you can have some extra fun by adding some sightseeing and half way stops on the road. Anyway if you prefer to travel by plane, Iberia Express, Air Europa or Vuelling are the best options.
The city of La Coruna is located on a peninsula surrounded by sea, the historic harbor has over six miles of docks and the seafront promenade is one of the loveliest of Spain. As a base to the tour around the Costa da Morte there is the option of staying in the city itself or in some other place a little bit more quiet and rustic.
Hesperia Finisterre Paseo del Parrote 2-4 The location of the hotel is highly recommended, a two minute walk from the center of the pedestrian streets of shops and Plaza Maria Pita. Has wonderful views of the harbor from the rooms and the breakfast room.
O Bebedeiro Ángel Rebollo, 34. This restaurant is one of the classics of A Coruña. The dishes are delicious, has very good value for money. After dinner and before going to sleep is imperative to take a drink in one of the taverns in the alleys of the old city.
costa da morte
This region is a land of traditions, has a breathtaking landscape, a deep blue sea, impressive rugged cliffs, green landscapes, fishing villages and wonderful beaches. Is a land of numerous myths and legends related to the sea, to shipwrecks, to the Camino de Santiago, to the end of the world.
The route begins in Malpica and covers about 250 km visiting every village and back. You could also, and would recommend, make one or two stops and take three full days to explore the region in depth.
malpica de bergantiños
Malpica is a charming fishing village. To the south is the picturesque and colorful harbor where every morning you can buy all kinds of fish at the market auction. If you wish to enjoy one of the most interesting habitats in the region ask in the harbour for a boat trip. The Sea Festival is held in late August and is the tribute to their patron saint, the Virgen del Carmen, in honor of those who died at sea and all sailors.
As Garzas Porto Barizo – Malpica. Best thing about this place is the restaurant and its food without detracting from the accommodation and its location. There are four bedrooms available, all of which were completely refurbished in 2009. This small hotel is located oceanfront in the village of Barizo (Malpica) 40 minutes from A Coruña and 1 hour from Santiago, in the heart of the “Costa da Morte”. I real enjoyed every moment spent there.
from malpica to fisterra
This route links Malpica to Finisterre, about 120 km by the edge of the sea. The village of Corme, facing the sea, will be our first stop, 17km from Malpica. Corme is the typical fishing village where the main activity is fishing the “percebe” (barnacle), very expensive and highly valued and which I dislike enormously because it looks more like an alien than a luxury bite, although I must say it tastes great!
The center of the village is the sheltered harbor, the fish market and its narrow streets. From the port we took the road to the Roncudo Cape Point where the Roncudo Lighthouse is and near which are the best Galician barnacles today.
This is a “percebe” -barnacle-
Drive from Corme to Finisterre, through Laxe, Camarinas and Muxia. Laxe has a superb beach, and also an excellent fish market. I suggest to visit the port around 5pm, when the fishermen arrive and start to unload and sell their catch. Camarinas, 26km away from Laxe, has very nice beaches and incredible views. Like all the villages of the region is an important fishing center and is also renowned all over Spain by the bobbin lace work of its women (the palilleiras), which is made and sold in the village. At the Museum of Lace, Praza de la Insuela, you can see old designs and examples of Camarinas lace dating from the 17th Century and up to present times.
Muxia is another charming fishing village, 26km away from Camarinas. Has great beaches and marine style stone houses with galleries and patios, you can enjoy good local cuisine in any of the taverns next to the port. The Restaurante O’Coral , Calle de la Rua Marina, 22, is the best option to try the typical “pulpo gallego” prepared in different ways, all of them delicious.
“Santuario da Virxe da Barca” . This sanctuary is within walking distance from town and offers a spectacular view of the sea. According to a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, the Virgin Mary came to this beautiful place in a ‘stone boat’ to give encouragement to Santiago in his preaching.
Finisterre, the Finis Terrae of the Romans. According to the Romans land ended at the Faro de Finisterre and there began the mystery of the unknown. Fisterra is a typical seafaring village of narrow streets that descend to the sea. The population´s economic and social center is the port. many pilgrims finish their route on the Costa da Morte, in Finisterre, where there is a lighthouse 17 metres tall that guides thousands of boats that sail along the coast. In ancient times this place was known as the doorway to the Great Beyond and many of the pilgrims on the Way of Saint james still burn their clothes here as a sign of purification to begin their joyful return having successfully reached “the end of the world”.
O Semaforo Faro de Finisterre. For those who really want to feel at the end of the world, the hotel is part of the restored Finisterre Lighthouse, located 3 km from the village of Finisterre. Built over 143 meters over the sea, the hotel faces the Atlantic Ocean. Its lights have witnessed shipwrecks, legends and a raging sea. It has five simple rooms, a small coffee shop and a small restaurant. A good plan is to stroll through the historic streets of Finisterre and try the fresh seafood at the restaurants nearby.
Lighthouse and hotel at Finisterra
from fisterra to muros
The route links Finisterra to Muros, going through Carnota and Monte Louro. There are about 55km, one hour and a half travel, that if we do not stop along the way, which surely will.
At a distance of 35 km from Finistère is Carnota, a town that does not have much appeal if not for two things: its beach and its unusual “horreo”, the longest of Galicia and National Monument.
Horreo in Carnota
monte louro and muros
After seeing the huge “horreo” in Carnota, you can follow the road along the coast to Muros, one of the best preserved and more attractive coastal towns in Galicia. As in all other fishing villages, the port is the most important part of Muros and at the many restaurants and taverns of the promenade you can try the fresh and flavorful cuisine based on fish and seafood. Monte Louro is located on the northern shore of the estuary of Muros and Noya, a privileged scenic area declared of natural interest.
Casa Rural San Cibran San Mamede, Carnota. Rural house at the foot of Monte Pindo, has three buildings, a lounge and dining area, breakfast is included.
end of the journey
From Muros we can get back to Malpica (78km) or continue further south to Santiago de Compostela, which is also about 70km away.