Its history begins many centuries ago, when the Romans were convinced that the earth was flat, a kind of solid plate floating on a mysterious and enigmatic ocean, the so-called Mare Tenebrosum. Finisterre, or Finis Terrae, was considered the last place on Earth.
But this Way was already considered a place of pilgrimage for the Celts, who chose it as an important place of worship to the sun, the Ara Solis. Here the sun was seen for the last time each day, giving beginning to the great mystery, the world of the dead or the island of eternal youth.
Therefore the route was born as a pagan path that had nothing to do with Christianity. However, with the discovery of the remains of the Apostle St. James and the Christianization of the peninsula, it soon became part of the network of roads frequented by pilgrims on their way to Compostela. After the consolidation of the Camino de Santiago in the Middle Ages more and more pilgrims decided to continue their journey to Finisterre, in search of the supernatural mysticism that surrounded A Costa da Morte.
But Christianity is also part of the history of the Way to Finisterre. It is said that the apostle himself destroyed the altar of the Ara Solis on his pilgrimage through the peninsula, building in its place the hermitage of San Guillermo, now disappeared.
The Codex Calixtinus also records that the remains of the apostle were taken to Duio, a village near Finisterre, in order to request the king’s consent to bury them. According to legend, the passage of the apostle’s disciples through this place was a trap that Queen Lupa designed to prevent the saint from being buried in Galicia.
Like the other Ways of Saint James, the Way to Finisterre underwent a great development in the Middle Ages. However, it also recorded a significant decline from the 16th century onwards.
From the 20th century onwards, the administrations, associations and regional entities gave new value to the Way to Finisterre. They carried out important dissemination and promotion tasks and created their own pilgrimage certificates, such as the Fisterrana and Muxiana, which accredit the pilgrim with the completion of the route.