Faro de Playa Lago, Costa da Morte, Muxia, Galicia, Spain
© Carlos Fernandez/Getty Image
A deadly coast. International Lighthouse Weekend
Welcome to the Costa da Morte, or Coast of Death, an ominous name for a deadly (but beautiful) stretch of Galician coastline in north-west Spain. We’re here on International Lighthouse Weekend because mariners are always happy to see a lighthouse on this coast, known as the Bermuda Triangle of the Eastern Atlantic.
This lighthouse, Faro de Playa Lago, is one of many along 125 miles of coast from Finisterre in the south to Malpica in the north. The Costa da Morte has a reputation as a devourer of ships. Since the 14th century, more than 600 shipwrecks have been documented, with thousands of lives lost. This corner of Spain lies at the southern end of the Bay of Biscay, known for its rough waters. The Costa da Morte faces the open North Atlantic and takes the brunt of big ocean swells. Deep waters turn shallow quickly near this dangerous coast, known for its strong currents and hidden rocks. The fog can roll in quickly and hurricane-force winds are not uncommon. Long ago, when Europeans believed the world was flat, they also believed the world ended beyond the peninsula’s westernmost cape, Cape Finisterre.
Cool, rainy and rocky, the Galicia region of Spain is more ‘Lord of the Rings’ than Club Med. Hiking here, you might feel like you’re Scotland, not Spain, and Galicians themselves are considered a Celtic ethnic group. To visit the lighthouses of Costa da Morte, you can walk the Camino dos Faros (Road of the Lighthouses). While satellite technology and electronic instruments vastly changed how safely we navigate the seas, lighthouses still have a vital role to play.