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Going through the Pórtico De Gloria this Holy Year

ktchnofdngr

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2013, June 2016, and July 2021(hopefully!)
Hey, All!

I just wanted to let all of you know that there is only a limited number of tickets each day to go through the Porto de Gloria at the Cathedral here in Santiago, and you have to register for your ticket in advance. I went looking yesterday for a ticket, and wasn't able to find one until July 30th!

If this is a priority for you, please keep this in mind and plan ahead!

Blessings!

Ruth
 
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SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
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RobinK*

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi Ruth,
What a pity you can not enter this entrance right now. But you did walk a camino though, that must be worth a lot! You say you have to register in order to be able to enter through The Portico. Can you let us know how one would register for such? Thanks a lot for your post regarding the subject on this forum.

(Edit: @SabineP, gracias!)

Best of luck, Robin
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Can you actually enter the Cathedral through the Portico de la Gloria? Aren't these free tickets to visit only the space in front of the Portico de la Gloria for about 25 minutes to view the sculptures, without access to the actual Cathedral space behind it?

Entrance into the Cathedral is through the Puerta de Platerías and through the Puerta Santa which is only open this year and next year.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Can you actually enter the Cathedral through the Portico de la Gloria? Aren't these free tickets to visit only the space in front of the Portico de la Gloria for about 25 minutes to view the sculptures, without access to the actual Cathedral space behind it?

Entrance into the Cathedral is through the Puerta de Platerías and through the Puerta Santa which is only open this year and next year.

I was wondering the same but the website is not very clear about it.
I hope the Puerta Santa will be open freely for everyone who wants to enter?
 
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There are no tickets for entering the Cathedral through the Puerta Santa/Holy Door during this Holy Year and next year. Just queuing may be necessary when there are too many people.

As to the Portico de la Gloria, according to news reports, they have started to dismantle the wooden boards that separated the Portico from the Cathedral space, down to a height of 1,80 m. They plan to remove the rest on the 22th of July for the Apostle's feastday on the 25th so that the Spanish king can walk through for the ceremony. And presumably also the procession.

But it sounds as if access to the Portico de la Gloria for the public will remain restricted afterwards, and the reasons have to do with conservation/humidity, apparently. No touching allowed.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
There are no tickets for entering the Cathedral through the Puerta Santa/Holy Door during this Holy Year and next year. Just queuing may be necessary when there are too many people.

As to the Portico de la Gloria, according to news reports, they have started to dismantle the wooden boards that separated the Portico from the Cathedral space, down to a height of 1,80 m. They plan to remove the rest on the 22th of July for the Apostle's feastday on the 25th so that the Spanish king can walk through for the ceremony. And presumably also the procession.

But it sounds as if access to the Portico de la Gloria for the public will remain restricted afterwards, and the reasons have to do with conservation/humidity, apparently. No touching allowed.
For more on the conservation/humidity see this
earlier thread
 
Last edited:

Sam - AU

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Apr/May 2018, Feb/Mar 2019 .... upcoming Nov/Dec 2019
May be completely outdated information now - but I was in Santiago in the dead of winter in Dec 2019, one of the last months the camino was truly open.
At that time they had a special 'out of hours' visit session at night for pilgrims only, you had to have arrived that day, the sign up sheet was behind the desk at the pilgrims office, although the volunteers weren't particularly advertising or offering it to people, I was lucky to have an overly excited guy who told me and asked if I wanted to sign up.
It was a truly memorable experience.
As I said this was immediately pre-covid (which was forever ago now) so might have just been something they were doing at the time, but maybe someone who has connections to the pilgrims office can confirm or deny if its still happening?
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
When I walked the CF about 4-5 years ago, for some reason the year was declared holy and the Portico de la Gloria was open for anyone who wanted to pass through it. I understand it absolves sins? I'm not sure about that. Anyway, since I have NO sins, I figure I now have credit toward future ones.
 
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When I walked the CF about 4-5 years ago, for some reason the year was declared holy and the Portico de la Gloria was open for anyone who wanted to pass through it. I understand it absolves sins? I'm not sure about that. Anyway, since I have NO sins, I figure I now have credit toward future ones.
2016 was declared as Extraordinary Year of Mercy by Pope Francis. Worldwide, Catholic cathedrals and some other Catholic churches either opened their Holy Door if they traditionally had one or assigned one of their portals as Holy Door. You probably referred to the Plenary Indulgence of Catholic teaching and Catholic faith when you erroneously wrote “absolve sins” and "future credits".

People walk through Holy Doors because they are open and not closed as they usually are, and that is the attraction. Catholics may walk through it because they have performed the required tasks and have the intention to gain a Plenary Indulgence. However, walking through the Holy Door is merely a tradition in Compostela Holy Years. It is symbolic. The door doesn't have spiritual or magic powers. What counts is visiting the tomb of the Apostel and being in the Cathedral for that purpose, no matter where you entered.

In any case, if you did indeed walk through the Portico de la Gloria - was it even accessible in 2016? - you walked through the wrong door.
 
Last edited:
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
When I walked the CF about 4-5 years ago, for some reason the year was declared holy and the Portico de la Gloria was open for anyone who wanted to pass through it. I understand it absolves sins? I'm not sure about that. Anyway, since I have NO sins, I figure I now have credit toward future ones.
It can, but there are a few other prerequisites to get the absolutions. Some might say that the assertion that you have NO sins might be indicative of the sin of Pride, chief among the mortal sins.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
2016 was declared as Extraordinary Year of Mercy by Pope Francis. Worldwide, Catholic cathedrals and some other Catholic churches either opened their Holy Door if they traditionally had one or assigned one of their portals as Holy Door. You probably referred to the Plenary Indulgence of Catholic teaching and Catholic faith when you erroneously wrote “absolve sins” and "future credits".

People walk through Holy Doors because they are open and not closed as they usually are, and that is the attraction. Catholics may walk through it because they have performed the required tasks and have the intention to gain a Plenary Indulgence. However, walking through the Holy Door is merely a tradition in Compostela Holy Years. It is symbolic. The door doesn't have spiritual or magic powers. What counts is visiting the tomb of the Apostel and being in the Cathedral for that purpose, no matter where you entered.

In any case, if you did indeed walk through the Portico de la Gloria - was it even accessible in 2016? - you walked through the wrong door.

I did indeed walk through the Portico de la Gloria in 2016. (I have a picture of the door somewhere.) And yes, I agree; all of it is just symbolic.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I don’t know if things have changed, but here are some suggestions for how to get in. I wrote this in 2019 on another thread. I am not sure if the pilgrims’ office is still giving out free tickets as I describe, but I would not be surprised if they discontinued this option given the fact that a large number of the pilgrims to accept one of the free tickets never showed up.

It would be great to get an update and correction to this, @t2andreo do you have any inside info?

Having just been to Santiago and almost unable to visit the Pórtico de la Gloria, I have some suggestions for pilgrims who wish to visit.

The safest way is to book online in advance. The guided tours are sold out weeks in advance, so that could be a problem for those who don’t know their arrival date into Santiago until a few days ahead of time.

A second way to get a ticket is to show up at the museum office in the early morning when they open and see if new tours have been scheduled. That happened several of the days when I was there; a few additional tours were scheduled throughout the day, in both English and Spanish. The office is to the left as you face the main (now closed) cathedral entrance in Obradoiro.

The third way is the cheapest but the least certain. The museum has given the Pilgrims Office 25 free tickets for unguided pilgrim visits, Monday through Saturday, always at 7 pm. (Note there are none on Sunday). It’s the Pilgrims’ Office that is in charge of handing out those tickets. The office has decided to offer them to the first people arriving at the pilgrims office to get their compostela. You MUST be in line to get your compostela to be eligible for these tickets; having gotten the compostela the day before will disqualify you. So if you’re not very very early in the line, you won’t get one of these. Problem is, many people who take the tickets don’t use them. The night I went up to the Pórtico at 7, only 12 of the 25 people even showed up. So you might be able to get in by just showing up at the Pórtico entrance, with your compostela, and seeing if someone will let you in if there are no-shows (the people at the desk told me there are usually many who don’t show). That is not, obviously, a sure way but it may work.

In any event, seeing the restored Pórtico is one of those jaw-dropping opportunities. I read that all of the paint that you see is paint that was uncovered from the cleaning, and it dates to a 17th (?) century re-painting, not the original Romanesque painting. No new paint was added; that seems to be a no-no in restoration.

Even though it may be somewhat of a hassle, perservere in your quest for a ticket. And remember our pal @jerbear who waited 11 hours (yes that’s right 11 hours) in line to see it during the brief stint when it was open to the public for free. He described quite a chaotic and aggression-laden long snaking line, so we can be glad we have alternatives to that!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I don’t know if things have changed, but here are some suggestions for how to get in. I wrote this in 2019 on another thread. I am not sure if the pilgrims’ office is still giving out free tickets as I describe, but I would not be surprised if they discontinued this option given the fact that a large number of the pilgrims to accept one of the free tickets never showed up.

It would be great to get an update and correction to this, @t2andreo do you have any inside info?

Having just been to Santiago and almost unable to visit the Pórtico de la Gloria, I have some suggestions for pilgrims who wish to visit.

The safest way is to book online in advance. The guided tours are sold out weeks in advance, so that could be a problem for those who don’t know their arrival date into Santiago until a few days ahead of time.

A second way to get a ticket is to show up at the museum office in the early morning when they open and see if new tours have been scheduled. That happened several of the days when I was there; a few additional tours were scheduled throughout the day, in both English and Spanish. The office is to the left as you face the main (now closed) cathedral entrance in Obradoiro.

The third way is the cheapest but the least certain. The museum has given the Pilgrims Office 25 free tickets for unguided pilgrim visits, Monday through Saturday, always at 7 pm. (Note there are none on Sunday). It’s the Pilgrims’ Office that is in charge of handing out those tickets. The office has decided to offer them to the first people arriving at the pilgrims office to get their compostela. You MUST be in line to get your compostela to be eligible for these tickets; having gotten the compostela the day before will disqualify you. So if you’re not very very early in the line, you won’t get one of these. Problem is, many people who take the tickets don’t use them. The night I went up to the Pórtico at 7, only 12 of the 25 people even showed up. So you might be able to get in by just showing up at the Pórtico entrance, with your compostela, and seeing if someone will let you in if there are no-shows (the people at the desk told me there are usually many who don’t show). That is not, obviously, a sure way but it may work.

In any event, seeing the restored Pórtico is one of those jaw-dropping opportunities. I read that all of the paint that you see is paint that was uncovered from the cleaning, and it dates to a 17th (?) century re-painting, not the original Romanesque painting. No new paint was added; that seems to be a no-no in restoration.

Even though it may be somewhat of a hassle, perservere in your quest for a ticket. And remember our pal @jerbear who waited 11 hours (yes that’s right 11 hours) in line to see it during the brief stint when it was open to the public for free. He described quite a chaotic and aggression-laden long snaking line, so we can be glad we have alternatives to that!
Wow, it wasn't busy at all in 2016, at least when I was there. I walked through a couple of times, admiring the special doors.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
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There is still confusion in this thread between the Portico de la Gloria and the Puerta Santa.

We visited the Portico de la Gloria in late 2019. I got the tickets beforehand but cannot remember whether it was free of charge or against payment. I had reserved our spots online. After all the anticipation following the reports and photos that I had seen after the completion of the amazing restoration work, the viewing left us with a feeling of disappointment. We were obliged to join the guided tour and our time in front of the Portico was limited (20 minutes or so). I was left with the feeling of not having seen anything at all. It was all so rushed.

The conditions for a viewing of the Portico de la Gloria have apparently changed since then. Judging by the Cathedral's website, you can now get an audioguide. You can either apply for the free tickets, which they call "invitation" or you can buy a ticket for €12 with access to the Cathedral museum and the Portico. In each case, you will be assigned a time slot. This being the summer months, both the free tickets and the paying tickets are sold out for up to a week and longer.
 
Last edited:
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
There is still confusion in this thread between the Portico de la Gloria and the Puerta Santa.

We visited the Portico de la Gloria in late 2019. I got the tickets beforehand but cannot remember whether it was free of charge or against payment. I had reserved our spots online. After all the anticipation following the reports and photos that I had seen after the completion of the amazing restoration work, the viewing left us with a feeling of disappointment. We were obliged to join the guided tour and our time in front of the Portico was limited (20 minutes or so). I was left with the feeling of not having seen anything at all. It was all so rushed.

The conditions for a viewing of the Portico de la Gloria have apparently changed since then. Judging by the Cathedral's website, you can now get an audioguide. You can either apply for the free tickets, which they call "invitation" or you can buy a ticket for €12 with access to the Cathedral museum and the Portico. In each case, you will be assigned a time slot. This being the summer months, both the free tickets and the paying tickets are sold out for up to a week and longer.
I was just noticing the confusion. I have to admit that it had slipped past me when I first responded to JillCat's post #9.

The Portico de la Gloria is the entry that is directly on the Plaza del Obradoiro (where you see all of the pilgrims congregating and looking up at the cathedral facade). It is at the top of those immense stairs, between the two tall towers. It isn't a special door, it is a special entrance, filled with marvelous Romanesque sculptures. In times past, it was where the pilgrims entered the cathedral. (It's where I entered after my 1989 Camino). It is no longer used as an entrance, but it seems it is now accessible only from inside the cathedral. In 2016, it wasn't accessible as it was still under renovation.

The Puerta Santa (Holy Door) is on the opposite side of the Cathedral, not too far from where you go up the stairs to hug the Apostle or go down the stairs to visit the casket. It is open only during Holy Years, when the plenary indulgence is available. This is a special, sculpted door (rather than large entrance, like the Portico). 2016 was one of the years it was open.

They are both special entrances, but in very different ways.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I hadn’t notice the confusion, so I am sorry if I contributed to it. I was talking only about the Pórtico de la Gloria, from which you can’t enter the cathedral now, and which you only enter via the Palacio Gelmirez (which is another gem for those who love Romanesque, in fact the most spectacular example of “civil romanesque” in Spain, apparently).

But I would love to hear from people in Santiago to see if my second and third options are still viable:

1. If you check at the ticket office early in the morning, you may see they are adding tours for that day.

2. Is the pilgrim’s office still offering 25 tickets to the first pilgrims standing in line for compostelas in the morning?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
The conditions for a viewing of the Portico de la Gloria have apparently changed since then. Judging by the Cathedral's website, you can now get an audioguide. You can either apply for the free tickets, which they call "invitation" or you can buy a ticket for €12 with access to the Cathedral museum and the Portico. In each case, you will be assigned a time slot. This being the summer months, both the free tickets and the paying tickets are sold out for up to a week and longer.
I deleted the last sentence, after having actually checked availability again. At the moment of writing, there are spots available for the booking of free places to view the Portico de la Gloria on the 24th, 26th and 28th of July. Access to the Portico is closed to the public on the Apostle's feastday on the 25th. The Cathedral's website currently says this about bookings for the Portico de la Gloria:
  • For paid tickets: can only be made with a maximum of 60 days in advance.
  • For free tickets: can only be made with a maximum of 7 days in advance.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
At the moment of writing, there are spots available for the booking of free places to view the Portico de la Gloria on the 24th, 26th and 28th of July. Access to the Portico is closed to the public on the Apostle's feastday on the 25th.
Also, it looks like both the Cathedral's museum and the Portico de la Gloria are closed to the public on Mondays. Can someone confirm or correct this?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The Cathedral's website currently says this about bookings for the Portico de la Gloria:
  • For paid tickets: can only be made with a maximum of 60 days in advance.
  • For free tickets: can only be made with a maximum of 7 days in advance.
I had a hard time finding the link that provided information about the difference between paid tickets and free tickets/invitation. I’m putting it in here in case others had that problem, too, and also so that the next time I am headed for Santiago I will be able to come to this thread and find the link to reserve!


And I saw that buying a ticket to either the Cathedral Museum or Pórtico also entitles you to visit Santa María de Sar for free. That is a wonderful little place, right on the entrance from the Sanabrés into Santiago and really worth a visit.
 
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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I had a hard time finding the link that provided information about the difference between paid tickets and free tickets/invitation
It took me a while before I realised that there are two calendars, one for purchasing a paid ticket and one for booking a free ticket.

Portico tickets.jpg
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I was just noticing the confusion. I have to admit that it had slipped past me when I first responded to JillCat's post #9.

The Portico de la Gloria is the entry that is directly on the Plaza del Obradoiro (where you see all of the pilgrims congregating and looking up at the cathedral facade). It is at the top of those immense stairs, between the two tall towers. It isn't a special door, it is a special entrance, filled with marvelous Romanesque sculptures. In times past, it was where the pilgrims entered the cathedral. (It's where I entered after my 1989 Camino). It is no longer used as an entrance, but it seems it is now accessible only from inside the cathedral. In 2016, it wasn't accessible as it was still under renovation.

The Puerta Santa (Holy Door) is on the opposite side of the Cathedral, not too far from where you go up the stairs to hug the Apostle or go down the stairs to visit the casket. It is open only during Holy Years, when the plenary indulgence is available. This is a special, sculpted door (rather than large entrance, like the Portico). 2016 was one of the years it was open.

They are both special entrances, but in very different ways.
Ok Puerta Santa is what I passed through.
 
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For free tickets: can only be made with a maximum of 7 days in advance
So the trick is to book right after midnight local time - or at least early in the morning - when you get the largest choice because the slots for the seventh day from the current day are made available.

Right now, on the 22th of July at 45 minutes past midnight: there are 69 free slots available for a visit of the Portico de la Gloria between 5 pm and 7 pm on the 29th of July.
 
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Currently, you access the Portico de la Gloria through the crypt (arrow on the right) and no longer through the door for the tickets desk (arrow on the left), as we did in late 2019. Below is a screenshot from the webcam this morning. I saw a few people go through the gate and through the door behind it around 11:15 which is one of the time slots for paid visits. There are no hour long queues, unlike two years ago when the Portico space was opened for the public again.

Entrances.jpg
 
Last edited:
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Two photos that were published yesterday. The wooden encasing of the Portico de la Gloria has been dismantled. The area is roped off and guarded. You cannot walk from the Portico into the cathedral, and those who have entered the cathedral through the Puerta Santa or through the doors on the Praza de Platerias cannot walk towards the Portico to view it from the front. It seems that this situation will remain for the foreseeable future.

(Click to enlarge)
Portico de la Gloria.jpg
 
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