There are places where you can clearly perceive that the earth is at its border: from there on, there are only boundless expanses of ocean, ice – or perhaps nothing at all. Once upon a time they were the boundaries of the known world marked by mythology.
They were the limit that great explorers felt irresistibly compelled to reach and cross, to see what was “next”. Here are some of these amazing places at the end of the world.
Strait of Gibraltar, Spain and Morocco – Mythological End of the World
According to classical mythology, here were the Columns of Hercules, an impassable limit that marked the end of the world, beyond which there was no return. In addition to being a geographical boundary they were also the symbol of the finiteness of human knowledge, which Ulysses felt compelled to cross, as Dante writes in the Divine Comedy.
Cape Finisterre, Spain
The name derives from the Latin expression “Finis terrae”, i.e. “boundary of the earth“. In fact, it is one of the westernmost points of peninsular Spain. It is located along the Coast of Death. This sinister name is related to the numerous shipwrecks that have occurred in these dangerous waters, both in the past and in recent times.
Cape St. Vincent, Portugal
This promontory, located at the south-western end of Portugal, is the last offshoot of the Algarve facing the Atlantic Ocean. According to the Greek geographer Strabo, it was considered in ancient times as the boundary of the known mainland.
It is an island of Brittany which, together with the Isles of Scilly on the British side, marks the western limit of the English Channel. On the island, the westernmost point of France, currently live about 800 inhabitants. The saying “Qui voit Ouessant voit son sang”, (in English: whoever sees Ushant sees its blood), says a lot about the danger of this stretch of sea, sprinkled with treacherous rocks and beaten by the currents.
Land’s End, Great Britain
Here again the name refers to the mainland: we are in Cornwall, in the far west of the continental part of England. Here too, the earth literally ends and gives way to the Atlantic Ocean.
North Cape, Norway – Actual End of the World
This imposing cliff is the northernmost point of the European continent. It is located more than 500 kilometers beyond the Arctic Circle so, from May 11 to August 10, you can admire the phenomenon of the midnight sun. On the other hand, in winter, the sun never rises on the horizon for about two and a half months.