Next year, in 2021, it will be another Holy Year in Santiago de Compostela. For many pilgrims, it is an extra reason to Camino walk or bike a pilgrimage route to Santiago. And that is reflected in the figures. In the last Holy Year in 2016, as many as 278,041 pilgrims arrived in Santiago and in the Holy Year of 2010, 272,417.

What is that a Holy Year?

Santiago de Compostela celebrates a holy year whenever July 25 falls on a Sunday. The rhythm of the sacred years is eleven, six, five, six, eleven, and so on. The previous holy year was 2010. The following will be 2021, 2027 and 2032. For the first time in the history of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela since about 800, this has been deviated from. The Pope has also named 2016 as a holy year for Santiago de Compostela. For many pilgrims, Saint James is better known by his Spanish name: San Tiago.

A tradition of Camino Walk

In a century, there a 14 Holy Years. So it’s special, that’s clear! But why is it special to do a Camino Walk in a Holy Year? In Santiago de Compostela people started with the celebration of a holy year around 1426. The immense cathedral has many doors, but one of them is something special. The Puerta del Perdón at Plaza Quintana is always closed, except in a holy year. The opening and closing will take place on December 31 at 5 pm during a ceremony led by the archbishop. Also known as the Way of Saint James, the Camino de Santiago has the distinction of being one of the most important Christian pilgrimages in history. In the past 1000 years, many pilgrims have done a Camino Walk to the city of Santiago de Compostela.

The holy door after your Camino Walk

During a Holy Year in Santiago de Compostela, the pilgrim can earn a full indulgence if he enters through the holy door after the Camino Walk. According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, after confession and penance, there remains a temporary debt, payable in purgatory. Full or jubilee indulgence grants the believer complete remission of all temporary penalties provided he has confessed and taken Communion.

What you need to know if you plan a Camino Walk of Bike in 2021

Because the Holy Year is special, many pilgrims are planning to walk or bike a camino. Keep in mind that it can be busy on the road. For example on the last 100 kilometres to Santiago, from Sarria or Tui.

Our most important tips for your Camino Walk you:

Tip 1: Be on time for Camino Walk

Are you planning to go hiking or cycling a Camino in 2021? We advise you to book your accommodations now. Feel free to ask us for advice. Let us know which Camino you want to walk or cycle and receive a quote.

Tip 2: Take into account July 25th

As you may have read, July 25 is Saint James name day. Many pilgrims choose to arrive after their Camino Walk to Santiago de Compostela on that specific day. So this can be a very busy day in the city. And accommodations are difficult to find or very expensive. Isn’t that a problem? Then plan your Camino so that you arrive on July 25 and book already your accommodation in Santiago de Compstela. There are all kinds of festivities in the city during that week. Definitely worth experiencing. Do you want to avoid the crowds? Then you can arrive in Santiago on any day you want.

Tip 3 The best time to do a Camino walk or bike

Would you prefer to avoid Santiago for the whole month of July? No problem. You can cycle or do a Camino Walk from March to October. The weather conditions in this period are great for a Camino Walk or bike. Of course, you can also d the pilgrimage route between March and October. You then have the Camino all for yourself 😉

Tip 4 Choose a more unknown Camino

In 2021, many pilgrims will walk or cycle the well-known pilgrimage routes, such as the Camino Frances, Camino del Norte or Camino Portugués. You can choose to go on a Camino Walk on more unknown Camino’s. Think for example of the Cami de Cavalls in Menorca. Camí de Cavalls is a Camino around the island of Menorca, an old path of 185 km long. In the past, the path was used by knights to guard the safety of the island. Now it is a beautiful walking route of 20 official stages, ideal for a walking holiday in Menorca. The route is perfectly signed and follows the entire coast of the island of Menorca. You will discover authentic fishing villages, the most beautiful deserted beaches and all this in ultimate tranquillity. Ideal for a walking holiday in Menorca!

  • During the 8-day walking holiday in Menorca South, you will discover the south side of the island. Here are beautiful beaches. The walking route runs along bays and beautiful beaches where you can relax and take a swim.
  • The North of Menorca is rough and pure. During the 8-day walking holiday in Menorca North, you walk in 6 stages along the north coast of the island. And passes, among other things, the S’Albufera des Grau nature park and the lighthouses of Favaritx, Cavalleria and Punta Nati.

Tip 5 Camino Walk or bike other parts of the pilgrimage route

Another idea: walk or cycle other parts of a Camino. You will not arrive in Santiago. For some pilgrims, arriving in Santiago is the goal. Understandable! But in a Holy Year, consider walking part of a Camino to avoid the crowds in the city of Santiago. Or maybe you’ve already been to Santiago and you don’t necessarily have to be there again. Some options:

  • Part of the Camino Frances from Pamplona to Leon. This route has everything: an authentic atmosphere, picturesque villages and beautiful nature in Spain’s best gastronomic regions. This part of the Camino de Santiago is very varied and absolutely commendable.
  • The first part of the Camino del Norte. The Camino Walk from Irun to Bilbao and/or from Bilbao to Santander. This one is hard, but so authentic and beautiful along Spain’s north coast. This famous coastline has beautiful beaches with cliffs, great restaurants, idyllic fishing villages and fantastic cities.
  • Another idea is to start your Camino walk in Santiago. Yes, why not? The Camino de Finisterre is a pilgrimage route that does not end in the Galician capital but begins. You literally walk or cycle to the “end of the world”. A Camino Walk never to forget!

2021 a new Holy Year in Santiago. These tips will help you prepare. If you have any questions or if you would like tailor-made advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Buen Camino!