As I walked along the rugged cliff top road, with the waves crashing beneath and the sea breeze in my hair, I caught a glimpse of something. Eerily a white marble angel towering over some iron gates. One wave of relief was that I wasn’t travelling here alone at night. For I was about to go into a graveyard here in northern Spain in the town of Comillas. I was respecting the dead in the cemetery of Comillas.
Comillas is a popular destination for holidaying Spanish, and most go there to visit el Capricho or spend time on its beautiful beach. I was passing through Comillas as I travelled from Santander to the Picos de Europa national park when I was travelling through Europe and living in my car.
Graveyards are not high on my tourism list of things to do in Comillas but for some reason the cemetery of Comillas caught my eye. You will see the burial style which is common across Spain. Coffins are placed in a space in a wall, which is rented for a number of years. Once the rent is finished, the coffin is then moved to another burial area in Comillas. Most coffins are moved to the graveyard just up the road from the cemetery of Comillas.
This particular graveyard area is full of history. The cemetery was built on the site of Comillas’ old parish church (XV or XVI century) after it was abandoned by locals. In 1893, the modernist architect Lluís Domènech was given the task of extending the site making it into the impressive sight it is today. He kept some of the old temple, protecting some of its beautiful architecture , but also extended the area including giving the cemetery a face lift.
The archway at the entrance to the site is part of the 15th Century church which the cemetery was built over. On top of this archway is the guardian angel which was made by Josep Llimona, a Catalan Sculptor in 1895. Underneath are the large iron gates which beautifully capture the Gothic element of this spooky yet quaint place.
Tips for visiting cemetery of Comillas:
1/ The graves are still in use, and whilst I was there, I witnessed local people tending to the tombs and graves of their loved ones. Please remember this is a place of mourning and that you should be respectful at all times.
2/ There is very limited parking so please be respectful for those who are visiting loved ones and do not take up the limited spaces. Further along the headland there are lots of places to park on the road.
3/ If you fancy going for a walk following visiting the graveyard then there is a nice walk along the headland if you cross over the road from the cemetery of Comillas. Here you can look down at the waves crashing below.
4/ From the graveyard, you have lovely views over the town of Comillas.
So there you have it, my guide for cemetery of Comillas in Spain. Have you visited any interesting graveyards/cemeteries? Comment below. Make sure you check out my other posts on Spain and don’t forget you can subscribe to my blog (It’s free!) to keep updated each fortnight with what I am doing and for more posts like this one.
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I keep away from cemetries because I find them spooky. Also, I had no clue about this one in comillas. Its history has made me curious and I would definitely keep it in mind. Nissan X-Trail Camping Car looks interesting.
Interesting and had no idea the cemetery has so much of history too. We are also not too high on graveyard tourism but some places are worth the visit. We visited Milan cemetery last year and absolutely loved the artwork
Frankly, I am not a fan of visiting cemeteries. But lately, I saw some fantastic cemeteries in Ireland and Eastern Europe. I totally agree with you that when you visit a cemetery you need to follow the local rules and rituals. I’ll definitely keep these in mind if i ever visit this cemetry.
I love visiting cementery mostly because it so peaceful and a place to clear my mind. On my travels I never plan to go to cementeries I only have a visit if I happens to pass by. However, we did go to Sagada in the Philippines for the hanging coffins and to Sulawei in Indonesia for the Torajan’s burial ceremonies.
I agree it sounds macabre when one mentions visiting Cemeteries as part of travel! However I can see this is something different. Last summer during our #NiVaEuro European tour, we had visited a couple of beautiful and well manicured cemeteries that would put any garden to shame. I guess The Cemetery Of Comillas is defintely worth a visit.