Should you travel during Holy years?

Some Camino pilgrims prefer to complete the Pilgrimage on a Holy or Jubilee Year, which are years that have July 25 fall on a Sunday. At the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the Puerta Santa, or Holy Door, is opened on New Year’s eve before the holy year and remains open throughout the next year.

One main significance of this is that if on that year you walk the Camino de Santiago, or at least a substantial portion of it, and reach the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, you will receive a plenary indulgence. A plenary indulgence absolves one of all their past sins and such punishments. This is an important tenet of the Catholic faith, which is why Holy years experience large surges of Pilgrims and hikers.


Based on the Gregorian calendar this condition is satisfied every 6, 5, 6, and all years in that order. Previous years have included 1993, 1999, 2004, 2010. Future holy years will occur in 2021, 2027 and 2032.

Depending on the traffic and the substance of the Holy year you have to ask yourself it is important to travel that year? For the most part, despite the traffic, there will usually be a substantial amount of people walking the Camino de Santiago during the common walking months. You will still have many moments to walk alone and the paths will still generally not feel crowded.

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2 Responses

  1. PGutz 09. Mar, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    When is the best and worse time to do the walk?

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    • CaminoDeSantiagoGuide 09. Mar, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

      the best time would probably be during the during the spring, early summer and fall. Winter is generally a bad idea.

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