Faro de Playa Lago, Costa da Morte, Muxia, Galicia, Spain
© Carlos Fernandez/Getty Image
Faro de Playa Lago
This solemn beacon atop a rocky outcropping is in a country usually associated with sand and sun, making this a side of Spain many do not often see. We’re looking out at the sea on the Costa da Morte, or Coast of Death, an appropriate name for a dangerous (but beautiful!) stretch of Galician coastline in the extreme northwest of Spain.
The Costa da Morte is known for its lighthouses, like this one, called Faro de Playa Lago, one of many along 200 kilometres of coast from Finisterre in the south to Malpica in the north. This corner of Spain lies at the southern end of the Bay of Biscay, also known for its rough waters. (The famous big-wave surf break at Nazare, Portugal, is only a few hundred kilometres to the south.) Deep waters turn to shallow waters quickly near this rocky coast, known for its strong currents and hidden rocks. The fog can roll in quickly. Storms form frequently. And hurricane-force winds are not uncommon. Adding to this reputation is the fact that, long ago, when Europeans believed the world was flat, they also believed the world ended beyond the peninsula’s westernmost cape, Cape Finisterre.
Hiking along this coast, you might feel like you’re Scotland rather than Spain. To visit the lighthouses of Costa da Morte, you can walk a trail appropriately called Camino dos Faros (Road of the Lighthouses). While satellite technology and electronic instruments changed how safely we can now navigate the seas, lighthouses are still vital to boating and the maritime industry.