Camino de Santiago itinerary : shall you go to Fisterra?
Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? This is definitely a bucket list experience. But what about the itinerary on the Camino de Santiago?
You want to do the Camino de Santiago but you don’t know if you want to go as far as Fisterra? We had heard that the road between Santiago de Compostela and Fisterra is the most beautiful and wildest from the entire Camino. Indeed, it’s a breathtaking area but I can assure you that there are other equally impressive parts of the Camino as well. However, it is also one of the most difficult stretches to hike if you respect the steps. We decided to take up the challenge and hike between Santiago de Compostela and Fisterra, meaning approximately 110 km in 3 days. When I think about 110 km that’s one hour spent in the car, I realise how fast our lives go! And how many things we miss on the way going that fast. It is the way that matters, not the goal. If you want to know what to expect doing the Camino de Santiago, you can read our other article here.
It’s rather hilly with small slopes from time to time, but mostly bare places without anything but a few cows as Galicia’s economy is mostly related to agriculture. And the area is suffering from climate change with longer dry season which is worrying the inhabitants of the region.
Day 1: Santiago de Compostela airport – Santiago de Compostela town : 16 km
No big climbs, paved roads
So yes, you start the walk as you exit the plane! It’s approximately 16 km from the airport. The road is relatively well signaled. At the terminal exit you go right alongside the airport! You will start seeing the marked arrows not long after.
On the road there are plenty of paved routes – the arrival in Santiago is rather deceiving as the city is not exactly pretty. Only the historical centre which is beautiful is worth a visit!
There are quite a few restaurants and inns in Santiago de Compostela but I advise you to book the accommodation well in advance as the city is mostly fully booked. As far as restaurants are concerned, you will find all sorts but the ones in the historical centre are more on the expensive side…
Day 2: Santiago de Compostela – Pena 32 km
Between Santiago and Negreira the route is relatively easy. And you will also have the option to stop for coffee on the road. There are villages quite often along the way. The path is relatively paved, but you will also have lovely forest crossings and the opportunity to go through the town of Negreira. You can sleep there but we preferred to hike a couple more kilometers in order to have less to walk over the last 2 days. Negreira is an ideal spot for a break!
At night we stayed at the inn (known as albergue in Spanish) in Pena. Right at the exit of a forest road, a small climb on the left side, this inn is new so not exactly well marked therefore you should look for the restaurant De Pena. After 32 km we were exhausted and we only had one desire – to find accommodation. After Negreira you won’t really encounter villages anymore, so the remaining 8 km up to Pena will be difficult if you are already tired. The inn is pleasant; the owners will prepare for you a pilgrimage menu for 9 euros that will make up for the calories lost on the road! And a bit of wine after 32 km will put you to bed quickly! It was one of our best evenings
Day 3: Pena – Hospital 34 km
It’s a long hike, not exactly difficult but there aren’t really villages where to stop on the road so plan for snacks and water. Not like we did!
There I couldn’t take it anymore; it was cold, grey, misty and rather rainy. The road itself is pretty, a bit paved and rather quiet. The only inconvenience? For 15 km there are no bars, restaurants or any other spots for a small warm break! We wanted to stop in Oliveira, a cute little village but we decided instead to walk 8 km more in order to reach Hospital. It was a strategic choice since we knew that a big climb was waiting for us upon departure from Oliveira and we decided to leave for Hospital. You will see upon arrival in Hospital that the inn (there is only one) is not very well signaled. You have to cross the village and climb a bit for about 1 km. There you will find the restaurant of the inn and the owners will take you to the accommodation point that is 1.2 km from the village. The owners are more or less friendly and the bedding is ok. The water is warm and the pilgrimage meal fair. Plan for 10 euros for the food and for 16 euros per person per nuit including breakfast (comprising bread, butter, jam and coffee or tea).
Day 4: Hospital – Fisterra : 30km
That morning, a torrential rain came to Hospital. How to manage this? My jacket is rainproof of course but up to a certain point! After breakfast we waited for the rain to ease up in order to finish the last 30 km. During the first hour luckily there was no rain! But during the next 2 hours, before arriving to Cee, strong rainfall made me regret my outfit. Wet to the bone, cold and exhausted we sat in a café in Cee after 4 hours of non-stop walking in the rain and we tried to dry our clothes. The most annoying thing? The hike between Hospital and Fisterra is magnificent. It’s truly a spectacle worth your time. I was really sad to have had to experience this in the rain…But ok, Galicia has gone through an unusually dry summer which is quite dramatic for this agricultural region, so a bit of rain is rather welcomed!
It continued to rain intermittently between Cee and Fisterra. The hike is very pretty and it was my favorite part of the road despite the rain: beautiful passage ways in the narrow little paths, crossings in dirt roads that reminded you of the way it all used to look like back in the day. I reserved an evening at a hotel to celebrate the finish line of the Camino for my mother and also her birthday! After a month of shared accommodation, my poor mum was a bit tired of the poor sleeping conditions and roommate snoring. The Alen Do Mar Hotel was very pleasant and the owners adorable! The hotel is situated 3 km from Fisterra, so if you want to go to the town you can either walk or take bikes from the hotel (pay attention there are no lit up roads at night) or go by cab. We choose to bike and the route is very charming alongside the beach to downtown. The only challenge was returning at night as there are no lights outside, so make sure that you have front lighting on your bike.
The city of Fisterra is very nice, you could easily spend there one or 2 days.
Day 5: The consecration at the lighthouse in Fisterra: 12 km crossing the town then a small but long climb of 3 km to reach the lighthouse.
In itself, the lighthouse is not exceptional, but the surroundings are incredible. Magnificent cliffs, the perfect spot to finish your Camino. The water coming to break on the walls of the rocks, the never-ending ocean and this famous Km 0! We stayed there until sunset, contemplating the water, not really talking, simply enjoying this moment of pure joy.
Some people decide to go to Murcia from Fisterra, meaning 40 km more and apparently the city of Murcia is even lovelier. We were pressed by time unfortunately, but you can add this step to your Camino if so feel inclined to do. SO yes, it is totally worth it to go to Fisterra if you are wondering where to end your camino. It is representing 110 km more, but the landscapes are really beautiful.
Translation & Copy Editing by Liana Marinoiu
One last word: Buen Camino!