Almost there! The last phase of the Camino Francés begins in Pedrouzo (O Pino) and heads towards Santo Antón, on a hilly ascent to A Lavacolla. This point, 9.5 kilometres from the beginning of the day’s journey, means accessing Santiago de Compostela, and so from there you head towards the Monte do Gozo, which was remodelled during the Xacobeo 93 as a spacious area for pilgrims. Those who spent the night here begin their day now.
The Monte do Gozo offers wonderful views over the city, with the Cathedral’s towers crowning the old town. In fact, that is why it is called “do Gozo” (of joy), as this is precisely what pilgrims feel when they finally see Santiago. A few metres away from the Camino is a viewpoint where with two sculptures of pilgrims overlooking Santiago de Compostela.
The rest of the walk is through the city itself, across the neighbourhoods of San Lázaro and San Pedro, to arrive finally at the Porta do Camiño.
In the old town, a few minutes away, the Praza de Cervantes leads to the cathedral through Acibechería Gate (so named because this was the area where masters worked on el azabache, the jet stone so typical of Santiago’s medieval architecture). You access this area at any time except during Holy Years (when the day of Saint James, the 25th of July, falls on a Sunday). If it is a Holy Year, the Porta Santa in the Praza da Quintana* will be open. The impressive Praza do Obradoiro awaits pilgrims with the façade of the Cathedral, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, the University and the Town Hall.
* It is important to keep in mind that you cannot access the Cathedral with rucksacks, but you may leave them in a left-luggage. Correos has luggage storage service on its premises, 100 metres away from the Cathedral, at Rúa do Franco.
Here 10 things to do in Santiago.
Tips from our postmen and women
What to do and see in Santiago de Compostela?
"In Santiago, apart from the Cathedral and all the other historic squares and monuments you can find in any guide, you may enjoy taking a walk around the Alameda, with its centuries-old trees, statutes of famous Galicians and wonderful views over the old town.
In fact, one of its trees, a type of fir, an Abies known as “La Perona”, was said to have been planted there by Eva Perón in 1947, and is 25 metres tall. At the end of the Paseo de los Leones is the so-called “Eucalipto del Amor” (Eucalyptus of love), over 40 metres tall and 100 years old, encircled by a wooden bench with spectacular views of the Cathedral.
Please also save a couple of hours to go to the Plaza de Abastos, the market where you can see and buy the best and freshest local specialties. Stroll along Rúa da Raíña and Avenida do Franco, streets where you can enjoy fine foods enhanced by good wine. And when you walk around the old town, do not forget to take a look at the roofs, to stare back at thebeautiful gargoyles and faces watching you from above”.