Costa da Morte, looking out to the Atlantic
Cape Vilan. Costa da Morte
Cliffs in Malpica
The immensity of the Atlantic Ocean, the traditional way of life in small fishing villages, cliffs, lighthouses, the scent of salt, the unmistakable flavour of shellfish, mysterious legends… You will find all this and much more on the Costa da Morte coast in A Coruña province, Region of Galicia, northern Spain. Here there is a unique, easy route that will take you to edge of the Atlantic.
Facing the Atlantic Ocean, in the Region of Galicia, in the area known as Green Spain, you will find the Costa da Morte coast: a stunning natural viewpoint with amazing cliffs, green landscapes, beaches and, of course, the ferocity of the sea. This is a destination ideal for quiet strolls through fishing villages and to discover what made the Romans think of it as the doorway to the “Great Beyond”. When you see the incredible spectacle of the sun “drowning” in the Atlantic Ocean, your questions will be answered.
The whole Costa da Morte lives life looking to the sea. Proof of this are fishing villages like Malpica, whose houses cling to the rocks over the harbour. We would recommend you head to the fish market first thing in the morning to see the auction of fish recently brought in from the sea.
Just four kilometres away there is another privileged Atlantic viewpoint – the San Adrián do Mar Sanctuary. From here there are beautiful views of Malpica and the Sisargas Islands. Furthermore, it is worth knowing that in September and October it is the ideal place to watch migrating birds.
If you like beaches, then head for Laxe, around 25 kilometres from the sanctuary, and you will enjoy a broad expanse of sand and calm waters ideal for children to swim.
The Costa da Morte is a land of traditions, especially those related with the sea. One of these is the life of “percebeiros”, shellfish collectors who pick delicious barnacles (“percebes”) off the rocks. You can see them at work at the cliffs in O Roncudo, very close to Corme, a beautiful village with narrow streets and brightly coloured houses. Pottery and bobbin lace making are two more ancient crafts that are still practised on the Costa da Morte. The former, in Buño, where besides buying something by way of a souvenir, you can also take part in workshops to learn how it is done. Bobbin lace making, meanwhile, is focused in Camariñas, where skilful craftsmen and women have revitalised this ancestral tradition.
The Costa da Morte has maritime flavour. See for yourself by sampling Galicia’s famous shellfish, particularly abundant in this area, with barnacles, cockles and mussels. Some say that combining these with the local wine, called “albariño” by the locals, provides a small taste of the divine.
Land of legends
The Costa da Morte is a land of legends. A host of legendary myths have lived alongside the local people from time immemorial. One of them is the supposed appearance of the Apostle Santiago de la Virgen (Saint James) in a stone boat guided by angels. Two of the stones that made up the vessel can be seen today in Muxía and many people attribute miraculous properties to them. This is the very origin of the pilgrimage held in Muxía in honour of the Virxe de la Barca.
The Costa da Morte has many mystical associations. As with the one mentioned above, many are linked with the Way of Saint James. In fact, 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 pilgrims still burn their clothes here as a sign of purification to begin their joyful return having successfully reached “the end of the world”.
Countryside, living tradition, mystical legends and delicious gastronomy in small fishing villages on the Atlantic coast. This is what you will find on the Costa da Morte. If you want to be sure not to miss a thing, then head for the region’s tourist office.