(CNN) — Packing four bathing suits for a one-week vacation might seem like overkill. Especially when the trip involves a 50-plus-mile hike through one of Spain’s rainiest regions.
The trail snakes atop soaring, rugged cliffs that drop precipitously to the sea, and our trek would be along a portion of shoreline known as the Coast of Death (Costa da Morte), which fronts the Atlantic Ocean in Galicia, a region in the northwestern corner of Spain.
It’s no wonder, considering the particular mix of conditions that makes sailing these waters so menacing. Cliffs pepper the coastline where the waters are laced with strong currents, with some sections very shallow and others dotted with rocks hidden not far from the surface.
The area is frequently hit with fierce storms; fog can roll in suddenly, and winds often bluster at more than 75 miles per hour. What’s more, this coast’s association with death dates to ancient times when the world was thought to be flat. Locals believed that Finisterre (which literally means End of the Earth) was nothing but darkness and doom beyond the westernmost cape.
For those who sail these treacherous waters today, a multitude of lighthouses strung along the cliffs offers some modicum of security, guiding them to a safe port. Appropriately, the hiking trail navigating the 125 miles from Malpica to Finisterre is named the Camiño dos Faros (Way of the Lighthouse).