Galicia: Lighthouse Way – 5 nights
Along the wild Atlantic coastBack to Routes
Silver sands at Praia de Esteiro
Walking towards Penon
The tree-lined Lires estuary
Faro de Cabo Vilan
Cairns mark the way
A local speciality for the brave - goose barnacles!
Fishing boats at Lobeiras
Wild gorse in flower on the route (photo: hansentravel.org)
An inviting path between Lires and Cape Finisterre
Add a night or two in Santiago de Compostela
Leave only footprints
A lively sea
The pretty village of Camariñas
A refreshing paddle in the Atlantic Ocean!
The church on the Muxia peninsula
Journey's end - sunset at Cape Finisterre
Just really want you to know how very happy I am with our On Foot experience. The walk of lighthouses is an incredible bit of the world. On Foot was absolutely wonderful. I cannot recommend your service more highly!! The professionalism and attention to detail very much defined the success of our walk. Your detailed walking instructions and maps were right on. Your accommodations were great and our local contact, Aznar , was amazing. Bottom line is that you have acquired a devoted customer! Your service in all aspects was spectacular.
Thomas Stonecipher, Washington, USA - September 2023
We loved everything - the responsiveness of your staff in the months leading up to the trip, the reliability of the taxis and luggage transfers, the accommodations, the route descriptions and the Pocket Earth app. All of it could not have been better.
Nina Mutone, Indianapolis, USA - September 2023
Good communication and all went as planned. The 200km trek along the Lighthouse Way incorporating the stunning and varied Galician coast between Malpica and Finisterre was a fantastic experience both of us thoroughly enjoyed.
Ed and Sarah Neish, UK - September 2023
From the moment I first contacted On Foot I was impressed with your responsiveness and prompt response to any question. One always had the impression you were there for us and wanted to provide the best service possible. Your walking notes and detailed maps were thorough. Your instructions made us feel like pros and we really enjoyed the experience of hiking on our own. It pushed us out of our comfort zone and we all know we benefited from that. The charm of this trip was the exposure to an "unspoilt" Europe. The scenery was extraordinary and the trails uncrowded. As promised, Galicia is undiscovered and widely beautiful. We had never traveled without a guide before, but your detailed maps and instructions made us feel like pros.
Jean Smith, USA - September 2023
Just a quick email to thank you for an absolutely wonderful holiday in Galicia. Everything went super smoothly. Aznar was there if needed and we loved the whole experience. Accommodation beyond our expectations and of course the landscape, people and food were amazing. The variety on this holiday is excellent.
I. Davies, Hereford, UK - September 2023
We the idea of following the wild coast, and the beaches, and the expectation of fresh seafood and lovely wine ( fulfilled!). It is a Great walk in the best On Foot Holidays- style. We cannot imagine hos to improve. You are The best!
Merete Myklebost, Trondheim, Norway - September 2023
We loved the walks, the stunning scenery, the wide empty white beaches, and the variety of landscapes. We also loved staying in a different place every night and meeting lots of lovely, friendly and interesting local people. All of the places we stayed in were wonderful and we loved being pleasantly surprised and charmed by each one! We can’t fault this holiday so have no criticisms!
Mark Court, Dorking, UK - July 2023
Walked Lighthouse Way with my school friends, loved it so much we brought our wives.
Wonderful holiday in a superb location, expertly organised and made totally relaxing by On Foot and your first class organisation skills.
Tim Davis, Chepstow, UK - May 2023
The Lighthouse Way is a stunningly beautiful hike. We loved the variety: sometimes the sound of the waves crashing into the cliffs and the ocean spray, sometimes walking along gentle coves or white sand beaches, sometimes walking through small towns.
I want to mention the Walker's Pack, which was so comprehensive. We were very impressed with the beautiful maps and route descriptions, and so glad to never have to pull out our phones except to take pictures!
Laura Martineau, Colorado, USA - May 2023
We loved the incredible scenery and an opportunity to experience some things that we haven't experienced before. It is an interesting combo of being very remote, yet there were comforts provided that made it feel like a special experience.
Carol and Charlie Jung, Mercer Island, USA - May 2023
We loved the Atlantic ocean and beaches, we loved the vibe and camaraderie of the Camino walkers, we loved the Light House hotel in Finisterre. Great place to end our stay. Lovely rooms, good food and amazing sunset.
Roslyn Sutherland, London, UK - May 2023
Best bit - wildness of the sea, scenery superb, lack of people, lack of English speaking people, beautiful flowers, rock scrambling, challenging walking, variety of landscape and walking terrain across the week. A bit of the English coast to coast cameraderie. Worst bit - we didn't see one sunset - too cloudy in the evening - but other than that just perfection! Casal de Cereixo: A great place to stay, very friendly. Cosy family feel and lovely food. A definite plus on the holiday. We enjoyed trying to communicate!!!
Stella and Iain Mackenzie, Diss, UK - May 2023
Really enjoyed staying at the small guesthouses like Maricarmen's, Julio's and Casa Luz. Hosts very friendly and made every effort to communicate with us even though we do not speak Spanish and they did not speak English.
Susan Boyle, Winchester, UK - September 2022
We loved the route, the spectacular scenery and discovering a beautiful part of Spain we would never have found on our own. Navigation was generally easy and we were amazed that some of the paths, miles from villages, had been cleared or strimmed.
Lesley Fraser, Edinburgh, UK - July 2022
What a wonderful vacation this was! We felt welcomed wherever we stayed. The GPS tracks were easy to get used to and we couldn't have managed without them. We adopted a fellow who would have gone home to England without us, as he would have been lost!
Sheryl Millar, Ottawa, Canada - May 2022
The only place it did not rain in Spain was Galicia. I attribute that to buying rain pants prior to the trip.
Thomas Broderick, Madison, USA - September 2019
At a glance
Lighthouse Way 5-night option starting at Camariñas. Add a night in Santiago if you have time. See 'Prices' tab for what's included.
Suggested route pairing: Camino Primitivo or Northern Portugal
How much walking?
Full days: 15½-23½ km per day, 4-7¾ hrs walking
Using shortening options: 9½-15¾km, 2½-4½ hrs walking using taxi starts
Empty sandy beaches and fresh seafood on the Camino dos Faros
Welcome to the last unspoilt coast of Europe – the Costa da Morte. Grand cliffs, sweeping sandy beaches, lonely capes and iconic lighthouses from a time when this coast, with its fierce tides and dangerous shoals was rightly respected by mariners and feared by their loved ones at home. Fishing is still an important activity on this coast, witness the thriving little ports with their earthy pubs and seafood restaurants.
Our path winds along the “Camino dos Faros” – the Lighthouse Way – and sticks largely to the coast, with the occasional (On Foot designed) foray inland to include an attractive place to stay. In its pure form it is a long and tough walk, but we have arranged short cuts and, courtesy of local taxi drivers, drop-off and pick-up points for those who would prefer a shorter day, maybe to spend some time on the beach!
Hardy walkers could try the full length 10-night version, lesser mortals (or those with insufficient time) should start at Laxe (7-night) or Camariñas.
Cliff walking – not suitable for those with severe vertigo or acrophobia.
Some of the accommodation we use is quite small so please book as early as possible.
Walked by On Foot staff: Simon and Mary
Consider pairing this route with Camino Primitivo (simple transfer by taxi from Santiago to start of Lighthouse Way), or Ribeira Sacra (40 mins by train to Ourense plus taxi), or Northern Portugal (4 hrs by bus and taxi from Santiago) – for more details click here.
REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews of this route submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit AITO.com.
TRAVEL ADVICE: To find the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for UK citizens travelling to Spain, click here. Citizens of other nations will also find it useful, but should always check their appropriate local agency.
ARTICLES: Read an article about On Foot’s Lighthouse Way holiday from The Guardian newspaper here.
Here’s a short film about the Lighthouse Way walk, to give you a flavour of the landscape, local food, and the welcoming Galician people:
And a short clip of folk music in Santiago de Compostela, with singers, drums and traditional Galician ‘gaita’ bagpipes:
- The unspoilt Galician coast with its lighthouses
- Wild cliffs and windswept headlands
- Empty sandy beaches
- Fresh seafood from local fishermen
- Pretty fishing villages
- Finisterre – the “end of the world”
- Santiago de Compostela (add-on)
This route features the following characteristics and interests: Coast, Remote, Birdwatching, Drive to route, Food, Wine
Things you should know
- There are some very long walking days (with shortening options available).
- The glorious walk follows closely along the edge of the coast, so acrophobia can be a problem.
- Some accommodation is simple, but always with a warm welcome.
- Vegetarians and vegans may struggle. Pescatarians will have a ball!
A night or two at the end in Santiago de Compostela would appear sensible - or you could hire a car and explore the "Rias Baixas" - the indented coast south of Finisterre.
Food and drink
Galicia is a seafood lover’s paradise and the range available in the restaurants at night is extraordinary. We liked “navajas” (razor clams, often in a garlic or white wine sauce) and “percebes”, the oddly shaped goose barnacles that men and women take great risks to harvest, and which are esteemed the iconic delicacy of the region.
For wine lovers, Albariño is the best to have with seafood, though you might also try the more lowly Ribeira whites. There is an interesting red too (Mencia).
Foodies doing the 10-night version (only) can have dinner at two special restaurants – Michelin starred As Garzas at Barizo, adjacent to your accommodation, on the first walking day, and Mar de Ardora near Pontecesco on the third (taxi from and back to Laxe can be booked locally). Pre-booking is essential, but our local contact Aznar can help (Friday and Saturday only).
How much Walking?
Using shortening options: 9½-15¾km, 2½-4½ hrs walking using taxi starts
If done in its complete form without transfers this is a route for the true hiker, with some long and sometimes tough days, but we have arranged with local contact Aznar to be on hand to arrange shortening option taxis as and when required. Easy navigation with waymarked paths – the only difficulties come when trying to refind the route on the other side of a beach! Some of the paths are unimproved so can be challenging and slow-going.
Medium-hard: Average cumulative uphill stretched (CUSs) 596m (250m-940m) per day.
Easy-medium: CUSs 328m (250m-400m) per day using taxi shortening options on the longer days.
Acrophobia/vertigo warnings: Lots of high cliff walking. Not suitable for the severely acrophobic.
GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone App for complete route.
Important note: Times given for each day are walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops. “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb. See “Walk Grading” for more information.
When to go?
The best months to walk: May, June, September
Other possible months: April, July, August, October, early November
The 10-night version of this route can be done from April to July and from September to mid-October, when the accommodation closes. The shorter versions (7 and 5 night) can be walked throughout the summer (availability permitting) and into November.
Rainfall and temperature chart for Camariñas
Galicia's weather is not easy to predict, as you would expect with an Atlantic climate. So you have to be prepared for the worst - and the best. We can not guarantee cloudless days for swimming off the sandy beaches, but the likelihood is that you will have a bit of a mixture of sun and rain. The best times to go are May, June and September, though the better weather often continues into October. In April the sea may be chilly for some.
Day 1 - Arrive Camariñas
You reach Camariñas normally by taxi from Santiago or A Coruña airport. Settle in, have a look round and select somewhere to eat.
Day 2 - Camariñas to Cereixo (5 night start)
An easy day on good tracks and paths that wend their way inland to explore Galicia’s more rural side of life. There’s a chance for a swim at Ariño Beach which you cross on the way to A Ponte de Porto, where you should stop for lunch. Then follow the course of the River Porto to the fascinating site of Torres de Cereixo, before heading to Casal de Cereixo, a lovely converted farmhouse, for an excellent supper and a quiet night’s sleep. (4hrs, 15¾km, CUSs 250m)
For the time-poor, this day and the following can be combined, missing out the night in Cereixo.
Day 3 - Cereixo to Muxia
Having waved a fond “hasta luego” to your lovely hosts at Casal de Cereixo, today’s walk takes you quickly back to the Camino you left yesterday. Follow the Rio Porto to its mouth and you will suddenly realise how quiet the last day was, away from the crashing waves of the Atlantic. As you head to Muxia, you will visit the unspoilt village of Merexo and the deserted mills of Os Muinos. Swimming is definitely on the cards today too, with at least three beaches you could test out, conditions permitting. (Easy-medium: 4¾ hrs walking (allow 6¼ hrs), 15½ km (9½ miles), CUSs 375m)
Day 4 - Muxía to Lires
Let the drama begin again! After a couple of easier days, the excitement starts almost as soon as you leave your accommodation with a quick scramble up to the Monte Corpiño mirador with amazing views back to Muxia and beyond. Then explore the end of the peninsula and the Nosa Señora da Barca church and lighthouse before setting off for Lourido Beach and your first chance for a swim. Today is a long and quite tough walk (even though we have abridged it to keep it within the capabilities of most). Follow the coast and climb up to the top of Monte Pedrouzo before descending back to sea level at the beach of Moreira. After that, the going is easier and with a few more ups and downs, you will explore a more rural part of the coast before descending once more to the huge beach at Nemiña. Good roads and tracks then take you upriver to your much needed accommodation for the night in Lires. (Hard: 7¼ hrs walking (allow 9¾ hrs), 23½ km (14½ miles), CUSs 940m, or Medium: 2¼ hrs walking (allow 3 hrs), 9½ km (6 miles), CUSs 500m after a taxi start)
Day 5 - Lires to Fisterra
And so to the end of the world… And what an epic journey too! The day starts peacefully enough as you follow the path of the River Lires down to the point at which it disgorges into the Atlantic but then you climb up to the cliff tops and spend much of the morning following the coastline. Descend to the golden beach of Rostro – over a mile long and a perfect place for a swim.
It’s up to the cliff tops again after that and you’ll pass rocky coves far below but will sometimes feel the spray from the crashing waves even at this height. From the peak of Veladoiro you’ll be able to see Finisterre in the distance but it’s still quite a walk. A further chance for a swim as you pass the town of Fisterra and then, following a final climb to remind you that this is a pilgrimage, it’s onwards to the lighthouse where you may have chosen to stay for the night. (7¼hrs, 20¾km, CUSs 830m, or 3¾ hrs, 11km, CUSs 400m after a taxi start)
Depart for home
…or choose to spend a further night in Fisterra, or why not a night or two in either Santiago de Compostela or A Coruña?
ARRIVING BY TRAIN
Nearest railway stations:
Start and Finish: Santiago de Compostela or A Coruña
Santiago – Madrid ~4½ hrs
Santiago – A Coruña 1 hr
ARRIVING BY CAR
Parking is available in Malpica and Camarinas on quiet side streets for the 10- and 5-night versions; in Laxe (7-night), parking in the hotel car park is best (€6.50 per day). Returning, no supplement for taxi back to car (except Malpica, small supplement).
ARRIVING AND DEPARTING BY AIR
The best “local” airports are either Santiago de Compostela or A Coruña. Intercontinental flights would use Madrid – internal flights from there connect with both airports (or transfer by train – see below).
While transfers to the start by bus are theoretically possible, they are poorly timetabled and also involve a final leg taxi in any event. Buses between Fisterra and Santiago or A Coruna are also possible but they take a long time – therefore taxi transfers from and back to both airports (or railway stations/town centres) are included in the holiday price.
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Land by: 18:00 for taxi transfer to first hotel
Return flight earliest: 14:30 (no time limit with pre-booked taxi)
Land by: 18:00 for taxi transfer to first hotel.
Return flight earliest: 14:00 (no time limit with pre-booked taxi)
Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.
For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.
See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information.
Getting to the start of the walk
Start points are Malpica (full route), Laxe (7-night route) or Camariñas (5-night route). As the bus service is a little infrequent (and no buses on a Sunday), a pre-booked taxi to get you to your first night’s accommodation is included in the holiday price. For those wishing to make their own way to the start a discount will be available.
End point is Fisterra. Regular bus from Fisterra to Santiago de Compostela (2-3 hrs) and regular shuttle bus to Santiago airport. For A Coruña, regular bus from Fisterra to A Coruña bus station (2 hrs) then local taxi (easiest) or shuttle bus.
Further nights in Santiago: From Santiago centre, A Coruña airport can be reached by either train or bus, both involving a change in A Coruña to local bus or taxi.
Pre-booked taxis available for all return journeys. For pre-bookable taxi prices, see “Prices”.
Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.
Where You'll Stay
As can be expected on a long-distance trail, one has to a certain extent to accept what is available, but we have done our best to select the most charming. Small pensions, large family hotels and zany hosts are all in the mix, and you can end at the former lighthouse buildings at Finisterre – now converted into a boutique hotel and restaurant!
Camariñas – Hotel Puerto Arnela (B&B)
Comfortable hotel with good restaurant, just over the road from the port. Restaurant closed Sundays.Website
Cereixo – Casal de Cereixo (dinner, B&B)
Lovely old farmhouse in a rural setting where a warm welcome is guaranteed. Eat well in Julio's dining room and perhaps sample his (very strong!) orujo, a source of pride for him.Website
Muxia – Bela Muxia (accommodation only)
Very modern and spotlessly clean albergue with private rooms, near the harbour.Website
Finisterre – O Semaforo (B&B)
4* boutique hotel on the edge of the world with well-equipped rooms and good restaurant specialising in Galician dishes. No twin bedded rooms but can put an extra bed in a double room required (supplement).Website
Fisterra – Hotel do Banco Azul (B&B)
Newly renovated, very comfortable and friendly hotel in the heart of Fisterra, on the edge of the port.Website
Santiago de Compostela hotels:
For those taking a further night or two in Santiago de Compostela either before or after the walk, we have a choice of two lovely hotels to offer you.
Choose either the Hotel Rua Villar (left), a centrally located hotel just 100m from the Cathedral, or celebrate in style at the Parador de Santiago (right), an ornate former pilgrims’ hospital built in 1499, situated in Santiago’s main square.
A Coruña hotel:
Alternatively, make a stop in A Coruña before or after the walk. The Eurostars Blue Coruña Hotel has been suggested by one of our clients (who also wrote this blog about the town). It’s a modern, 4-star hotel, conveniently located within the central commercial district.
Total 5 nights in double/twin room, 4 breakfasts (nearby café when not provided), 1 evening meal, 1 picnic lunch, taxi from Santiago or Coruna (town or airport) to Camariñas at start, taxi from Fisterra back to Santiago or Coruna (town or airport) after the walk, luggage transfers between all hotels on walking route; full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.
All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated, and are based on a standard booking in May. Prices may vary seasonally and stays at O Semoforo at weekends and during holidays are subject to a supplement. A fixed price will be given to you before you commit.
Single Room Supplement (SRS): From £210
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS): From £230
Large Party Saving (LPS): Groups of more than 2 people (on an identical itinerary, on the same booking and booked at the same time) – discount of at least £20 per person
Maximum party size: 10
Discount of £60 total for those making their own way to the first hotel in Laxe.
Extra nights in Laxe, Camariñas, or Fisterra: Contact On Foot – seasonal pricing
Nights in Santiago de Compostela or A Coruña: Contact On Foot – seasonal pricing
Sending Walkers Packs to addresses outside the UK: £20-£60 (per pack, location dependent)
Our local team
Aznar Fernandez de Pinedo
Aznar was born and grew up in Bilbao, where he soon developed his love for nature (he is a keen naturalist), hiking and the rural environment in general. He studied Business and has worked for many years in multinational corporations in the IT sector, living in both Barcelona and Madrid. But in 2014 he decided to change his career to work on what he loves most.