Camiño Dos Faros revisited

I've just finished re-walking the Camiño dos Faros ('Walk of the Lighthouses), an 8 day, 200km, trek around Galicia's north-west coastline. I first did the route in April 2016, and after persuading Cicerone that the world deserved an English language guide I went back to finish the research needed to write it. The trip was incredibly successful and, even better, I completed the week's walking without feeling a single drop of rain.
Starting out from Malpica

The route is relatively new and has been put together by a small group of locals, friends who had known each other since childhood. Enthusiasts for all things Galician, they decided they wanted to establish a walk that went as close to the sea as possible, all the way from Malpica to Fisterra. Their dream of the walk is now a reality. Their efforts have produced a well defined way-marked route backed up by a brilliant website and Facebook page. More important, the route is now being really well used by hundreds, perhaps thousands of walkers from all over the world.
Faros Nariga - the first big lighthouse

The stretch of coast from Malpica to Fisterra is known as the Costa da Morte and has witnessed more shipwrecks than any comparable coastline in the world. The lighthouses, the 'faros', that feature on every major promontory have been built to make it safer but the storms, huge waves and off shore reefs means the long list of ship wrecks is still growing. It's a lovely coastline however and in addition to huge cliffs and an often noisy sea, includes more tranquil stretches of walking around sheltered rias. The beaches, usually totally empty, are particularly beautiful.
There is something on my bag!

The walk has been designed to make the very best of the coastline and stays as close as possible to the sea. As the coast is rarely a straight line this can be frustrating at the end of a long day, but design principles are design principles and this is applied with rigour.
Faros o Roncudo and a noisy sea

So what did I learn on my second trip and how will these lessons be built into my guide?

The first thing is the schedule. The recommended 8 day makes sense but walking every step of the Camiño in 8 days is tough. One of the days took me 10 hours. Fortunately not every headland has to the walked round and so shortcuts which work for the less purist through walker is both essential and not easy.
Corme-Puerto - the Percebes capital of Galicia
The amazing Praia de Trece

Secondly walking in July was completely different to walking in April. The walk was dry, easier in many respects, but I missed the fabulous rain washed light I got walking earlier in the year. Apparently the dry weather I experienced in July is not at all unusual and if anything it wasn't quite as warm as it might have been. Although it doesn't get particularly cold in Galicia in the winter I think you would need a tough walker to cope with the wet. This makes the optimum walking season April through to October with May/June probably the best months.
Friendly locals at Laxe

The third thing I've decided to do is find out a bit more about the fiestas. It was pure luck but I happened to be in Camariñas when a fiesta was taking place. My schedule meant only minimal participation but I subsequently met some French people who had had a great time and timing a trip to hit a fiesta would be icing on an already sumptuous cake.
Dressing up in Camariñas

Talking of food, is a special trip for anyone with an interest (I walk and cycle to eat) and, as well as featuring a very reasonably priced Michelin starred restaurant, provides the chance to experience a dazzling array of sea food. There is a particular stretch of coast, near Corme-Puerto, where fishermen clamber in wetsuits across rocks amongst crashing waves to harvest the Percebes or Gooseneck Barnacle. It's absolutely delicious, quite unique, and eating it is a drama itself. There is even an annual festival where everyone eats nothing but Percebes for a whole weekend.
A fabulous beach on the approach to Muxia

I was lucky enough to meet 2 of the small group of friends who made the Camiño dos Faros a reality and learnt from them what is happens next for the route.

Firstly the walk is to be turned into a Spanish GR and the provincial government has agreed to make a grant of 100,000 euros to rewaymark the route in line with GR standards. Given the shortage of public money getting a sum like this is an enormous achievement and a recognises the importance of the route in bringing visitors to a poor and remote part of Spain.
My favourite beach - the Praia de Soesto

Secondly, the council's along the route, 8 different councils I think, have all committed to working to keep it open and free from invasive vegetation. This is a big task as the coastline is no longer farmed and, left to its own devices, bracken and gorse would soon make a foot path impassable.
At Fisterra with my little friend

I met lots of people on the trip, all enthusiastic supporters of the Camiño, but meeting some of the original gang behind the walk was the highlight. It was great to meet them face to face, establish a relationship,  to discover that they welcomed the idea of an English language guide, and were willing to help me with it. It's going to be my project for the winter and I'm looking forward to writing it.


  1. Perfect text! No doubt May and June are one of the best months to walk, because of long daily hours, a landscape full of colouful flowers and an usually changing sky. Last years, anyway, rain and heat were very inpredictable, more than usual. Anyway I should have in mind September and October (the first half of Octuber). September usually is a fairly good month in Galicia, with ocassional showers, but the sunsets are gorgeous, incredibly beautiful. We wait of the guide. Miguel