Do the Camino de Santiago during the Holy Year 2021, now extended until 2022!

Xacobeo 2021

Xacobeo 2021. All the information to do the Camino de Santiago during the Holy Year.

The Holy Year, Xacobeo 2021, has finally begun and this time it has come with a special surprise. For the first time it will last two years instead of one, until 2022! This decision taken by the Holy See, as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, wants to allow all pilgrims who had planned their Way, to be able to undertake the Jacobean route in the greatest possible safety. In fact, this exceptional measure aims to avoid the large crowds of pilgrims that normally occur during a Holy Year.

Doing the Camino de Santiago during the Holy Year Xacobeo 2021 is even more special (if possible!). A journey full of spirituality, hope special events… Would you like to know what it means to walk the Camino de Santiago during the Xacobeo 2021? How to plan the Camino during a Holy Year? What should you bear in mind?

Please do not hesitate to read all this post, to be fully informed about walking the Camino de Santiago during the Holy Year. Let’s get started!

Xacobeo 2021

What is the Holy Year Xacobeo 2021? 

The Xacobeo (also known as Jacobeo, or Jubilee Year, among others) is celebrated when the 25th of July falls on a Sunday. 

Why the 25th of July? What is so special about this date? It is the day of Saint James the Apostle (also known as Saint James the Greater), who is the patron saint of Spain. It is also celebrated the Day of Galicia Region (where Santiago de Compostela is located). It might seem to be a trivial date, but the last Jacobean year was in 2010. A total of 11 years until 2021, the next. 

That is why 2021 will be a very special year, something that only happens about 14 times per century.

History of the Holy Year, or Ano Xacobeo

To understand a bit more the history of the Holy Year Xacobeo, we must learn the origins of the Camino de Santiago itself. 

After the death of Jesus Christ, Saint James the Greater (one of his 12 Apostles), travelled to Hispania (nowadays, Spain) to preach the gospel. Particularly in Galicia region, among others. 

Then, he went back to Jerusalem, where he was killed by Herod Agrippa (some time between the years 41 and  44 a.C.). His mortal remains were preserved, and sent back to Hispania, crossing the Mediterranean Sea on a boat made of stone.

His remains arrived in Padrón. In fact, the name of this town comes from the word “pedrón” (that means “stone”). This a reference to the boat that transported the Apostle. Once there, he was transported and buried in Santiago de Compostela, but then forgotten.  

Historia del Apostol Santiago el Mayor Galiwonders

His remains were discovered again in the IX century, and this event was the origin of the construction of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. King Alfonso II of Asturias, was the first pilgrim of the Camino de Santiago. This way, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is born, and this city becomes one of the most popular religious destinations in Europe. Together with Rome and Jerusalem. 

Thus, according to the Catholic Church, it is only possible to gain the Jubilee indulgence in five places in the world: Rome, Jerusalem, Santo Toribio, Caravaca de la Cruz and, of course, Santiago de Compostela.

But, what does it mean exactly to gain the Jubilee, or the Plenary Indulgence? Let’s learn a bit more about this.

Plenary Indulgence during the Ano Xacobeo 

Individuals can gain the Plenary Indulgence if they do the Camino de Santiago during a Holy Year. It means the full remission of al temporal punishment up to that point in a persons life. To do so, pilgrims must fulfill some requirements: 

  1. After finishing the Camino de Santiago, individuals must visit the Tomb of Saint James the Apostle
  2. Say a prayer: for the intentions of the Pope. 
  3. Receive the sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist, at least 15 days before or after visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
  4. It is also recommended to attend the Mass once in Santiago de Compostela

Why is the Ano Xacobeo so special?

We have already talked about the first element that makes a Holy Year special on the Camino de Santiago: the Plenary Indulgence

But there are others: the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is open during the Años Xacobeos. The last day before the new year starts (in this case, we watched it live on the 31st of December 2020), the Archbishop opens the Holy Door (that is located on the back side of the Cathedra, in Plaza de la Quintana). This way, the Holy Year is officially open. The Holy Door usually open the whole following year. However, as we saw before, this Holy Year, the Holy Door will be exceptionally open until 2022!

Historia del Camino de santiago galiwonders

During the Holy Jacobean Years, a larger number of pilgrims from all over the world, do the Camino de Santiago. For this reason, the Administration provides extra resources to the regions all along the way. Special activities and projects are carried out, related to culture, events, renovation of the facilities, etc. It is all done to enhance the  historic, artistic or cultural patrimony, that surrounds the Camino de Santiago

If you decide to walk the Camino during the Año Xacobeo, you may visit the special exhibitions, music festivals, performances, the creation of new business and projects related to the Camino, like the “Light Up the Xacobeo project“. A good example of this was shown by the end of 2019, the local authorities contemplated a Xacobeo of 700 days (as the year 2020 was considered a sort of pre-Xacobeo). This idea was based on the celebration of 7000 different activities, related to the Camino de Santiago (10 activities per day). The activities that couldn’t be celebrated last year, will be launched in 2021 or 2022, when the Xacobeo will end.

These are just some examples of how special the Holy Year is, and all the efforts required from the various sectors.  

Are you thinking about walking the Camino during the Holy Year Xacobeo?

If you are planning to do the Camino de Santiago during the Xacobeo 2021, it will be a very special experience (even more, if possible!). You will meet many other fellow pilgrims from all over the world, in a very social Camino. But there are different factor we would like you to have into account, to take the most of such a special journey. 


Año Santo en el Camino

We would strongly recommend you to plan your trip in advance. As we were saying before, during the Holy Years, a larger number of pilgrims decide to walk the Camino. For this reason, you should book in advance, to avoid any availability related issue. Particularly, if you plan to arrive in Santiago de Compostela on the 24th of July, and celebrate the Festivity of Saint James on the 25th of July

Accommodations in Santiago get fully booked really fast, and their rates increase a lot during those days. That is why we recommend you to plan this in advance. At Galiwonders, we are already receiving bookings for 2021 (we started to receive them in 2018!), and it won’t be a problem to organize your tailor made tour on the Camino de Santiago. But the earlier you book, the better. 

There are many pilgrim who ask us: how long in advance should I book my Camino de Santiago tour, if I want to travel during the Xacobeo 2021? And our answer is always the same: the earlier you can! The sooner you book, the best chance you will have to stay in the best accommodations along the way. Please note that hotels and guesthouses on the Camino are limited.

Which is the best Camino de Santiago route to walk during the Holy Year?

If you want to know which is the best Camino de Santiago route to do during the Xacobeo 2021, first you will need to ask yourself what kind of experience you are looking for. Please see more information about each Camino path on this link. Or you can even do our Camino de Santiago test to decide which is the best adapted walk to your needs. 

La historia del camino

However, our first recommendation if you plan to do the Camino during the Holy Year, would be to avoid the most popular routes, like the French Way. There are many alternative, less walked paths, where you will find nice accommodations and avoid the crowds. During the Holy Year, you may consider alternatives such as:

The Primitive Way

It is the oldest Camino de Santiago route (also known as Original Way). Despite this, due to its irregular terrain and its difficult access, the French Camino became more popular. 

This alternative path stands out because of its spectacular views. We would strongly recommend it if you are looking for some peace and serenity along the way. 

Those pilgrims looking to do the Camino de Santiago during a Holy Year, but still enjoy some tranquility, will find these elements on the Primitive Way

Vía de la Plata

Even if it’s a less known route, the last 100 km of La Vía de la Plata offers some magnificent landscapes, that are worth to enjoy. Those pilgrims looking to walk the last 100 km, and avoid the mass routes, can opt for the Via de la Plata, from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela. 

The Winter Way 

Although it’s called the Winter Way (Camino de Invierno in Spanish) this route can be walked all year long. This path started as an alternative to the French Way, to avoid the areas covered by the snow, where it was almost impossible to walk during the winter months. 

The Winter Way was recognized as an official Camino de Santiago route a couple of years ago, and it stands out as a very calm alternative. Those pilgrims willing to discover the Ribeira Sacra region, and some iconic spots of Galicia such as Monforte de Lemos, will find on the Winter Way the perfect alternative for the Xacobeo 2021. 

Galiwonders helps you to plan your Camino during the Xacobeo 2021

As we were explaining before, if you are thinking about doing the Camino during the Holy Year, we would strongly recommend you to book in advance. And you want to do it during the Xacobeo 2021-2022, more than ever.

Xacobeo 2021 con Galiwonders

Please do not hot hesitate to request your tailor made itinerary on the Camino (you can just fill in the form below). We will take care of  all the details, you can just focus on enjoying the walk. 

We will organize all hotel reservations, luggage transfers from one place the the next. You will receive your maps and walking notes. Moreover, we have a 24 hours emergency number in case you have any questions on the way. 

We are local Camino de Santiago experts, and we will adapt the itinerary to your travel needs. Discover your own way!


Xacobeo 2021

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