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Rooftop Tour of the Cathedral

2020 Camino Guides

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
Just thought I'd remind you that one of the highlights of my Santigo de Compostela experience was the rooftop tour of the cathedral. It is part of the cathedral museum package and should not be missed. The tour takes you through hidden passageways, first to the gallery level and then to the roof. It gives you lots of history of the cathedral and how it was used. I didn't know about this tour on my first trips to Santiago, so if you are planning a few days there, here is my post, with photos and all the info you need to include it in your own plans! Rooftop Tour of the Cathedral of Santiago
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I did the rooftop tour of the cathedral in 2015 and loved it! The views were spectacular on a warm sunny day in late May. I will be on that roof again this coming spring with the added company of my husband, two sons and daughter in law!
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
Just thought I'd remind you that one of the highlights of my Santigo de Compostela experience was the rooftop tour of the cathedral. It is part of the cathedral museum package and should not be missed. The tour takes you through hidden passageways, first to the gallery level and then to the roof. It gives you lots of history of the cathedral and how it was used. I didn't know about this tour on my first trips to Santiago, so if you are planning a few days there, here is my post, with photos and all the info you need to include it in your own plans! Rooftop Tour of the Cathedral of Santiago
I did this tour in 2011 and it is definitely seeing the cathedral from a different point of view. I especially liked seeing the old butofumerio and realizing it was as tall as I was! and looking down on the people beginning to gather for the noon pilgrim's mass.
 

Joanna Wivell

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French route - 1 week in 2007
Thanks for these useful comments. I had heard that with the building work going on, this tour is more limited than usual, has anyone done the tour in the last couple of months? Thank you!
 

julia-t

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015-17
Kumano Kodo March 2018
Camino Portuguese Valenca-SdC April 2018
I took the noon tour early in May. It was in Spanish, and I can't advise what times the tours are in English. I don't know if the tour was limited, but we were up there on the roof for around 45 minutes. Some of the time we were sitting on the sloping steps part, other times standing alongside towers. Mass was going on during this time, and we didn't come down until after the botumafeirio (sp?) had swung.

I was rather hesitant to take this tour because I have a fear of heights and suffer vertigo, but actually it was fine. I had a couple of slightly 'wobbly' moments, and one where I sat down and shuffled a couple of steps on my bottom to others' amusement, but my feeling of safety.

It is definitely worth taking, whether limited or not, and is not too challenging for those like me who normally never dare to take rooftop tours or climb to the top of monuments.
 

Joanna Wivell

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French route - 1 week in 2007
I took the noon tour early in May. It was in Spanish, and I can't advise what times the tours are in English. I don't know if the tour was limited, but we were up there on the roof for around 45 minutes. Some of the time we were sitting on the sloping steps part, other times standing alongside towers. Mass was going on during this time, and we didn't come down until after the botumafeirio (sp?) had swung.

I was rather hesitant to take this tour because I have a fear of heights and suffer vertigo, but actually it was fine. I had a couple of slightly 'wobbly' moments, and one where I sat down and shuffled a couple of steps on my bottom to others' amusement, but my feeling of safety.

It is definitely worth taking, whether limited or not, and is not too challenging for those like me who normally never dare to take rooftop tours or climb to the top of monuments.
Thanks for this, very helpful!
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
This tour is very demanded When I got there last week (tuesday) at 11 a.m it was complete, also at 13. It was possible at 16 p.m but I had my train to Madrid at 15, so I missed it.:(
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
LePuy, Frances, Aragones, Ingles, Vezelay, Toulosana, Muxia, Fisterra, Portugues, Sanabres
This tour is very demanded When I got there last week (tuesday) at 11 a.m it was complete, also at 13. It was possible at 16 p.m but I had my train to Madrid at 15, so I missed it.:(
Schedule the tour when you first get to the Cathedral, if you really want to take the tour. It does fill up fast!!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I did the rooftop tour of the cathedral in 2015 and loved it! The views were spectacular on a warm sunny day in late May. I will be on that roof again this coming spring with the added company of my husband, two sons and daughter in law!
Well I'm back and yes, I did the rooftop tour again last month. Once again our weather was beautiful. The scaffolding and exterior work on the cathedral towers definately scarred the appearance up top even more this time. However, don't let that detour you as it's still a very cool experience with great views in other directions. Last time we were able to have an English speaking tour guide, but this year the ticket office ordered us to buy our tickets online for the following day. We did not see an option for a tour in English. When we arrived the next day I asked if they offered it in English and the man mumbled "no". Not sure if that is true.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
We had a pilgrim last week say the same thing, that she tried to buy tickets in person at the cathedral visitor's center and was asked to book tickets online instead. No English option online could be found.

I suppose if you have limited time in Santiago, the recommendation would be to book tickets even before you get to Santiago.
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CFx2, CPx1
I did the tour about a week ago.
Utilised a combined Museum/Rooftop ticket 12E - Seniors discount 10E.
Booked in advance, but only the same morning, thru the door to the immediate left of the main Cathedral entrance. The tour starts there.
The English language tour was at 1.30pm.
After missing it on previous visits I was determined.
It was well worth the effort and expense.
Next time I'm determined to do that big, modern looking Museum of Galacia (or whatever it's called) up on the hill.
And that market everyone talks about.
Perhaps one day I'll be determined to walk on to Finisterre and Muxia.
I hope not.
Regards
Gerard.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 CF;
Hospitalera, Zamora 2017, Hospitalera Grañón 2018, Hospitalera Estella 2019
My husband and I signed up for the rooftop tour, but I chickened out and had to go back down after the choir loft part where we got to see the parade "giants". I have a terrible fear of heights and edges. He said it was a wonderful tour and he took many photos. It was an English speaking tour last summer. The tour leader said she did the English tour twice daily at that point.
 

julia-t

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015-17
Kumano Kodo March 2018
Camino Portuguese Valenca-SdC April 2018
My husband and I signed up for the rooftop tour, but I chickened out and had to go back down after the choir loft part where we got to see the parade "giants". I have a terrible fear of heights and edges. He said it was a wonderful tour and he took many photos. It was an English speaking tour last summer. The tour leader said she did the English tour twice daily at that point.
If you find yourself in Santiago again, don't chicken out but go for it. It really isn't as scary as you might imagine. As I wrote above, I hate heights (couldn't do the Sagrada Familia in barcelona, crawled round Sacre Coeur in Paris on my hands and knees) and get horrible vertigo, particularly when looking UP, that totally does for me even on the first floor of anywhere! But I did the rooftop tour, and as I wrote above, it's actually OK. At one point I held someone's hand, at another I sat down and bottom-shuffled down a short slope, but it was OK. I loved seeing the city landmarks around me, the carvings on the towers and roofs. I didn't look up too much, and if I did I then sat down to stabilise myself.

Now, I told myself that it was part of my Camino, and something that as part of my Camino I had to do, like crossing the Pyrenees, eating pintxos in Pamplona, walking the Meseta at dawn, negotiating that awful descent into Molinaseca, climbing O Cebreiro, drinking that one-too-many glass of wine at dinner, going to Mass and seeing the Botafumeiro swing. Going to Fisterra and Muxia. Just something that I had to do to complete it, and I think for me that made all the difference to my attitude.

When I was up there and feeling wobbly, I thought, if this was in the guidebook as part of stage of the Camino, something we had to do to get from one place to another, we'd all do it without questioning it. So why not?

And you'll feel fantastic afterwards for challenging yourself and succeeding!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 CF;
Hospitalera, Zamora 2017, Hospitalera Grañón 2018, Hospitalera Estella 2019
And you'll feel fantastic afterwards for challenging yourself and succeeding!
Thanks, Julia=t for the pep-talk, but I sometimes have embarrassing panic attacks and was feeling one starting up in the choir loft just thinking about going up further. I was happy just to look at his many photos.
 

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