Santiago de Compostela

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Most people that arrive in Santiago de Compostela are walking into town on foot. I arrived by plane over 7 years ago, and have never left. Galicia and Santiago de Compostela has it all. Green nature, warm winters and of course the Camino de Santiago.

Arriving in Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrim

Hallway in santiago de Compostela
Hallway in Santiago de Compostela

When pilgrims walk into town they do the same things.

  1. Usually they go straight to the pilgrims office to get their compostela (also known as compostela certificate)
  2. Find a place to sleep, and that might be an albergue or a hotel in Santiago de Compostela. Santiago de Compostela offers a wide variety of lodging possibilities, all the way from the 5-star “Los Reyes Catolicos” hotel to 1-star hostals.
  3. Pilgrims mass
  4. After that there is nothing more to do than to enjoy Santiago de Compostela old town and the Santiago cathedral. Many just sit down at a street café and watch people go by, and meet up with old pilgrims friends that they have lost contact with during the walk.

About Santiago de Compostela

Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela
Photo taken from the Alameda park

Santiago de Compostela is located in the north west corner of the iberian peninsula, in the autonomous community of Galicia. Galicia is located just west of Asturias. It is well known for being the end of the various pilgrimage routes, also known as camino de Santiago (or el camino de Santiago in Spanish). The population of the town is about 100.000 people. Santiago de Compostela is an university town.

The reason for this pilgrimage is of course that it is believed that the remains of Saint James are buried in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Legend has it that the reamins of St James (apostle James) was brought to Santiago de Compostela for burial.

The name Santiago de Compostela is thought to came from Santiago (Latin: Sanctu Lacobu) and Compostela (Latin: Campus Estellae, meaning field of stars or Compositum, meaning burial ground).

Galicia is located in northern Spain and there are two oficial languages, Castilian and Galician. The galician language is a mix of portuguese and castilian.