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Is there a free meal in Santiago?


New Member
I have gleaned lots of wonderful advice from this forum. I thought I read somewhere that there was some place in Santiago that gave pilgrims a free dinner/ lunch if had proof of completing the journey.Does anyone know about this? We 4 fly out tomorrow, so time is short. Thanks for any info. Suzanne
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Veteran Member
the last I heard it is the Hotel Reyes Catholicos - the fancy 5-star parador to the left and behind you as you enter the main door of the cathedral - you have to provide a copy of your compostella and queue up at a side entrance and you get a basic meal similar to that enjoyed by the staff

I can't imagine that it's really worth the indignity just to get such a meal


Staff member
Hi Suzanne,

I had not head of this meal offered by Reyes Catolicos...

All over town "regular" restaurants offer is what is called a "pilgrim menu" that is a typical Spanish lunch deal. Choice of one first, then choice of a 2nd course + Desert and/or coffee. These meals are usually about 6-7 to 10-12 euros, depending on the place. Most meals that are aimed at pilgrims, are in the lower end of this range.

And the food is goood!!! :)

Buen camino,


Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Hi Suzanne,
Yes - you can have a free meal in the Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos. It is in the Praza do Obradiro a few meters from the cathedral.
Building on the hospice and shelter was begun in 1500 on order of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel. They had made the pilgrimage to Santiago and and were not impressed with the pilgrim hospice there so ordered a new one to be built.
Guidelines written in 1524 specified that the hostal had to house not only pilgrims for three nights but also the sick - so it was a hospice and a pilgrim shelter until the last century.
When it was turned into a hotel in the 1950's they retained the tradition of feeding pilgrims (only ten at a time though) and provide a meal to the first ten pilgrims who show up at 9 am, 12pm, and 7 pm. You will be given a little piece of paper, led through the complex to a room (not the hotel dining room) and will share a simple meal with 9 other pilgrims.
My friend "Little John" has a meal at the Hotel every time he walks to Santiago and it is a highlight of his pilgrimages.

PS: If you have watched the video "Naked Pilgrim" you will have seen Brian Sewell having his free meal after he arrived in Santiago.


Active Member
I met one of my son's walking pals, who did his walk on a shoestring budget. He got his free breakfast before he went on to Finisterra. I think this is a wonderful service that pilgrims in need can enjoy.
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Active Member
Past OR future Camino
THe few days I spent in Santiago I seemed to have other plans that didn't coincide with mealtimes but my friends/fellow pilgrims went for dinner and breakfast. They really enjoyed it. I'll go the next time. If it isn't a crowded time of year, there shouldn't be a crowd at all. I can't remember the mealtimes--dinner was something like 6 p.m. or thereabouts. I'd give it a go.

John Hussey

Active Member
I don't believe that "pilgrims in need" should be the operative phrase here. Any pilgrim can attend that special meal offered at the Parador (so long as they or the first ten or so who ask for it-I was #12 when I did it, as I recall for my delightful breakfast) and it is not specifically for those who might be "needy" of it. I had come to know quite well most of those at that table that November morning in Santiago and none were really needy of the meal. It is a quaint custom for anyone to enjoy, as I understand it, and most are not even aware of the custom. After a fine breakfast I left by the front entrance, then turned to my right just outside the door, walked down the stone steps and followed the yellow arrows on to Finisterre.


New Member
So I really did read about this somewhere!! It sounds like it might be a fun way to finish off the walk. Thanks for the info. Last night of sleeping in my own bed for awhile. Suzanne

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