Santiago de Compostela:
And we have made it! For us it was an amazing experience and couldn't believe we had made it just like that. You think about your destination throughout the whole camino and then you are there…. you are done. Just rememeber, Santiago de Compostela is not where it ends. It's where it BEGINS!
Santiago de Compostela for Pilgrims:
You are done with the camino. What is next?
- Compostela: Well you have completed the camino and you want proof of it. If you arrive in the morning you can go to the Pilgrims Office to pick up your certificate. It will list your name and the distance you completed. Most of the time there will be long lines. The earlier you arrive the better. We probably waited in line for about 40 minutes and arrived around 10 a.m. The Pilgrims Office in Santiago de Compostela is located at Rua Carretas, No. 33, 15705 Santiago de Compostela. Hours can be found on the Pilgrims Office website: https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrims-reception-office/
- Cathedral Mass: Even if you are not religious this is a must do when ending the camino. A long tradition to attend this beautiful mass and a spiritual way to end the camino. Something that we enjoyed and looked forward to was the Botafumeiro. The Botafumeiro is one of the most famous thuribles that is swung from one side of the cathedral to the other. A tradition since the 12th century! Mass is every day at noon. The Botafumeiro tradition occurs every Friday at 7:30 p.m mass. We were lucky that we arrived on a Thursday where the Botafumeiro was used at the 12 pm mass. This happened because pilgrims can make a request and gather 300 euro donation to the church in order to enjoy the Botafumeiro. Some friendly and generous pilgrims allowed for us to enjoy this on the day we arrived.
- Find a place to stay: Some people choose to do this on the day of arrival. We had booked a hotel ahead of time using expedia and was nice not having to figure out where we would be staying. There are plenty of albergues, hotels and apartments you can book.
- Stay for a few days, enjoy the city and get some needed rest.
- On your rest day, visit the local farmer's market! Have wine, cheese, Jamon, Galician Octopus and other amazing foods!
- Finisterre/Muxia: Some people decide to take the extra 89 km to Finisterre ("End of the World") and then another 29 km to Muxia. Beautiful sites to the atlantic ocean. You can walk it like a true pilgrim but if you are tired you can book a bus trip (easily accessible and they leave daily).
We stayed a few days in Galicia and got to see the following towns and cities:
Galicia deserves a few days to wonder around and enjoy its many pretty sites. We visited in June which is great because it is sunny and warmer. Galicia is famous for its rain and cold weather so a trip here in the Summer is recommended (doesn't mean there won't be showers but it won't be so cold). Galicia has amazing beaches and a lot of history. Not so touristy which makes the experience so enjoyable. Mainly Spaniards travel here in the summer. If you have plenty of days we recommend taking a bus from town to town. If time is limited rent a car.