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Reopening of the Pórtico de Gloria

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
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!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Burgos-SdC (May-June 2016); CF, SJPDP-SdC (April-June 2018); Norte (June-July 2019)
[QUOTE="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. [/QUOTE]

Good advice. We bussed back from Muxía this morning, went to the office around 10:45, and got tickets for a 4:00 tour with an English-speaking guide. It was fabulous!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Hi all,
Phil and I were able to get an English tour on a Sunday quite easily last week. We paid the full rate since we were students and not pilgrims this month. Phil did get the retiree discount. It was a good tour, but I was a little disappointed. Not sure why. Guess I thought it would be bigger than it was for some reason. Here is a tip...there is a bathroom on the second floor up from where the tour starts in case you are in need...seems the older I get the more I am looking for a bathroom 🥴.
Janet
 
Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019: Six weeks in Northern Spain.
Apr 2018 Asturias
May 2016 CP: Portuguese
Perfect timing @peregrina2000. Was looking at this just yesterday. This morning I've been trying to buy tickets but no luck (so far), their website is really fussy. I'll keep trying.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
[QUOTE="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.
Good advice. We bussed back from Muxía this morning, went to the office around 10:45, and got tickets for a 4:00 tour with an English-speaking guide. It was fabulous!
[/QUOTE]

Unless the cathedral widely broadcasts the fact that they will be adding more tours to the ones already sold out on the internet, this tactic seems to me it seems like a bad way to do it. And I think that many of the people who don’t get to see the Pórtico will be the ones who wanted most to see it. Presumably, those who go to buy online are those who really want to see the Pórtico, and when they see all those red “sold out” indicators, it’s not immediately obvious to me that they would be likely to go personally to the museum to check upon arrival in Santiago.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
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!
Thanks for this info. The Portico is most special! An intensely moving experience for this pilgrim.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019: Six weeks in Northern Spain.
Apr 2018 Asturias
May 2016 CP: Portuguese
@Peter Fransiscus and @peregrina2000, thank you both! The Portico was unavailable to view when I was there in 2016 (cordoned off and covered with scaffolds). This is very exciting for me to now believe it will be possible to see it. I succeeded in making reservations via the website and am super happy that my Father's birthdate was available!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
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.
Thanks for this, Laurie! It is so worth it. They also have a very nice small guide for purchase that is good to read before you go.

Like @Laurie Sanantone , I obviously lucked out, since I easily got one at about 10AM for an English-speaking tour at 4 PM that same day. I had no idea at the time they were so hard to get.

I sure wish I had known about the freebies from the Pilgrim's Office!
 
Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for this, Laurie! It is so worth it. They also have a very nice small guide for purchase that is good to read before you go.

Like @Laurie Sanantone , I obviously lucked out, since I easily got one at about 10AM for an English-speaking tour at 4 PM that same day. I had no idea at the time they were so hard to get.

I sure wish I had known about the freebies from the Pilgrim's Office!
Well, what I was unable to find out was whether they ALWAYS open up same-day tours if the online site is sold out, or if it just depends. From my small sampling, everyone I know who went for a same day ticket in early July was able to get one. And these were days for which the online tickets had been sold out for a long time.
 

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