The goal of every pilgrim walking the routes of the Camino de Santiago is to finally reach Santiago de Compostela, where it is said that the remains of St James, The Greater are interred. The Camino de Fisterra or the Finisterre Way is a little different though having its traditional starting point in that ancient city. For this reason, it does make this short route very unique.
It is common for pilgrims who have walked any of the other routes to Santiago de Compostela, to continue onto the edge of the world. As history will tell us, this is what the ancient pilgrims would have done too.
The ancient symbol of the pilgrimage
For all who are familiar with the Camino de Santiago, the shell worn by modern pilgrims symbolizes that we are on a pilgrimage. Not only is the shell worn by pilgrims but all along the various routes, this symbol of the shell is a waymarker to keep us on track towards our eventual goal. As long as you have a sign of the shell pointing you in a direction, there is no reason to question your progress. You simply follow it onto your next waymarker. It is what epitomises the simplicity of life on the Camino.
Since the scallop shell is natural to the coast of Galicia, in ancient times pilgrims would walk to the coast to retrieve their own shell to demonstrate the completion of their journey. Unlike modern pilgrims, our predecesors completed this pilgrimage as a penance so it was paramount for them to reach the coast. Today, although there are many pilgrims who undertake this journey for religious purposes, many also take to the trails for their own personal reasons. Whatever the reason, this pilgrimage is beloved by the majority who venture out to their respective adventures.
The references to the scallop shell are many, and for more information on this interesting subject please refer to:
The facts about this route, in a “scallop shell”
For those pilgrims short of time, this route is another great option.
Time to end: 4 / 5 days
Endpoint: This Camino includes Muxia as an option for an official endpoint for your journey. Both towns have the 0km marker. Many pilgrims choose Finisterre as their endpoint, and tourists visit the site too making Finisterre a busy little hub. If you prefer the quieter option, then Muxia is for you.
Circular Route: Although many pilgrims will continue their journey from Santiago de Compostela to join the Camino de Fisterra since it is a circular route (Santiago de Compostela – Finisterre – Muxia) it can be started at any of these sites
Distance Certificate: The great news for all pilgrims is that whichever route you choose, whichever direction you walk, your Distance Certificate can be issued at any of the sites too. The Information Centre in Finisterre and the Municipal Albergue in Muxia can issue these. Of course, the Pilgrim Office in Santiago de Compostela is the “head office” for this task.
There is no better way to experience a Camino than to have a visual of it. If you are planning a walk or waiting for the time to start your walk check out Efren’s Vlog on this very special historical route.