The Camino de Santiago, Way of Saint James or Route to Santiago de Compostela has always had the same goal: reaching Santiago de Compostela. Although some pilgrims choose routes that do not lead to Santiago, most of them, sooner or later, decide to have their final stage reaching the Plaza del Obradoiro, facing Santiago’s Cathedral.
The Obradoiro welcomes pilgrims from the different Caminos, nationalities and backgrounds every day to share the emotion of having reached their destination. After that enthralling moment, the question is: What to do and see in Santiago? Here you have a list of ideas to inspire you:
1. GET YOUR COMPOSTELA
One of the first things pilgrims do when they reach Santiago is getting their Compostela (mistakenly named Compostelana by some). The Compostela is an official certificate that you will get at the Pilgrim's Office to certify that you have completed the Camino de Santiago. In order to do that, you have to prove with your Credencial or Pilgrim's Passport that you have covered 100 km on foot or horse to Santiago, and 200 km by bicycle.
The Pilgrim's Office is located at Rúa Carretas 33, some 200 metres away from the Cathedral, and it has different opening hours depending on the season:
On December 25th and January 1st, the office is closed and the Compostela is issued at the Cathedral Vestry (Sacristía).
You can also request a “Certificate of Distance” at the Pilgrim's Office. This document is issued by the church and shows how many kilometres you have covered. It includes the arrival date, as well as starting date and starting point, the amount of kilometres completed and the pilgrim’s chosen route.
2. VISIT THE CATHEDRAL
Santiago Cathedral is the symbol of the city and of pilgrimage. It is open all days of the year, from 07:00 to 20:30. Admission is free except for the Museum, the Archive or the Roofs, which you can visit on a guided tour.
Pilgrims usually enter the cathedral through the door at Praza de Praterías or Acibechería, except during Holy Years (when the day of Saint James, July 25th, falls on a Sunday), when the Porta Santa or Holy Door is open. This door is on the Praza da Quintana.
For safety reasons, you cannot access the cathedral with bags or rucksacks. Therefore, if you are carrying one, you can come to our lockers at Rúa do Franco 4, only 150 metres away from the Obradoiro, and we will store it for you.
If you want to go to mass, you have several options. At noon and at 19:30 there is the “Pilgrim's Mass”, but you also have masses:
The Cathedral was begun in 1075 by King Alfonso IV and since then it was shaped by different building masters: Bernard the Old, Roberto, Esteban or Maestro Mateo, the famous architect responsible for the Portico of Glory. It was consecrated in 1211 and different architectural styles throughout the centuries have given it its current shape. Thus, the Renaissance Cloister, the Baroque façade on the Obradoiro and the Neoclassical one on the Azabachería.
Although the whole Cathedral is a jewel, you should not miss some of the elements inside it:
If you want to have more information during your visit, you can go to the Crypt of the Portico at the Praza do Obradoiro and get an audioguide.
One of the most famous symbols of the Cathedral is the Botafumeiro: a 1.5-metre tall censer weighing 50 kg and moved by a pulley system swung by eight men (so-called “Tiraboleiros”) at high speed.
The botafumeiro can be seen at the end of some masses on significant dates such as January 6th, Easter Sunday, the Feast of the Ascension (a local feast day in Santiago), on May 23rd, the day of the apparition of the Apostle in the Battle of Clavijo during the Spanish Reconquista, on Whitsun, on July 25th (Saint James’ Day), on November 1st, December 8th, Christmas day and on the day the remains of the Apostle were brought here, December 30th.
Besides, every Friday of the year (except for Good Friday), it is used as an “Offering from pilgrims” during the 19:30 mass.
It may also be deployed upon request. In order to do so, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. SIGHTSEEING IN SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Santiago de Compostela deserves some time as there are many attractions: architecture, history, culture or leisure; the city has much to offer. It is the capital of Galicia with close to one hundred thousand inhabitants and comprises two distinct areas: the old and the new town. The old town surrounds the Praza do Obradoiro and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The new town, known as the Ensanche, includes the suburbs and the University campus. Depending on how much time you have, here you have some tips:
SANTIAGO IN 1, 2 OR 3 DAYS
DO YOU ONLY HAVE 1 DAY?
IF YOU HAVE TWO DAYS:
AND THE THIRD DAY...
We transfer your rucksack
So that you can travel light along the Camino de Santiago
We transfer your rucksack or suitcase from your accommodation at one stage to the next!! This way, your walk is more comfortable, your bag is lighter and you can enjoy every step of the Camino. We will take your luggage every day to your next hostel or hotel.
Bicycle transportation services
We send your bicycle to your starting or finishing point
Decide where you want to start the Camino and we will send your bicycle there from any branch of Correos. Once you finish the Camino de Santiago you can go to the nearest post office and send it back home again. Your bicycle will be insured and we package your bike without disassembling it.
For everything you want in or out of your rucksack
With our Paq Peregrino you can send suitcases or parcels to any point along the Camino (hostels, hotels, branches of Correos, etc) so that you have your personal belongings when you arrive. You can therefore have extra clothes or other items and not only the ones you carry along the Way. You can also send back whatever you have in your daily rucksack that you no longer need.
So that you have nothing to worry about other than just enjoying the Camino
Correos offers a prepaid card that is not linked to a bank account. In this way, you can defort walk the Camino without taking your credit or debit cards with you. You only have to put the money on the card that you are going to need and then top up again if your balance is low. This is a simple, safe and comfortable way of taking your money along the Camino.
Stamping Your Credential
So that you have the best stamps on your Pilgrim's Passport
Branches of Correos along the Camino de Santiago stamp your Credential or Pilgrim's Passport with our special stamps. Many of these stamps represent important tourist attractions from that particular place to help you remember your jorney.
Sending parcels along the Camino de Santiago
Send your parcels without having to go along to a branch of Correos!
You can send a parcel from any of the over one-hundred branches of CORREOS located along the Camino de Santiago and additionally from some of our “Tiendas Amigas del Camino”, a network of shops and accommodation from where you can send parcels any time of the day. This service will help you to get rid of things from your luggage that you no longer need. You can also buy souvenirs or some typical products without having to worry about carrying them with you.
Lockers in Santiago
So that you can freely visit the Cathedral or enjoy the city
Our Pilgrim's Office at Rúa do Franco, 150 metres from the Plaza del Obradoiro, has lockers. You can leave your rucksack, suitcase, bike or trekking pole before you go into the Cathedral or you can wander around Santiago without having to worry about your luggage.
To help you with anything you may need
We have over 150 branches of Correos along all the Caminos. We will be delighted to welcome you and help you with anything you need.