2021 is set to be a memorable year for pilgrims around the world as it is the next Holy Year on the Camino de Santiago. Celebrated whenever the Feast of St James (July 25) falls on a Sunday, the last one was in 2010, and pilgrims who walk the Camino in 2021 will be able to enter the Cathedral by the “Holy Door” which is only opened during that year.
What will happen during a Holy Year?
As well as the Holy Door to the Cathedral being opened, pilgrims who visit the Apostle’s tomb at the Cathedral of Santiago during the Holy Year will obtain their “Jubilee” which means they obtain plenary indulgence, the complete forgiveness of all your sins. To obtain this they must also say a prayer and receive the Sacraments of Penance and Communion.
Extending the Holy Year into 2022 following the Covid-19 Pandemic
(Updated January 2021) Following the exceptional circumstances around the Covid-19 pandemic, Pope Francis has announced an extension to the Holy Year. This means that the Holy Door will remain open and pilgrims will be able to obtain forgiveness of their sins throughout 2022 also. This is great news, as it will allow anyone hoping to visit during the Holy Year added flexibility around their travel.
What if I want to walk the Camino during a Holy Year?
Because of this being a special year, many people who have walked the Camino previously return to do it again, and it can be busy, particularly on the final stages into Santiago. Due to the volume of traffic, we recommend getting booked as soon as you realistically can (for both 2021 and now 2022). Getting your requests in for your chosen itinerary as soon as possible gives us the best chance of being able to secure accommodations for your pilgrimage.
Other things to consider for Holy Year
Bear in mind that July 25th is the actual Feast of St James, so whilst it is special to walk the Camino at any time during the Holy Year, the time leading up to this date will be busiest. If you want to avoid the crowds, then perhaps consider other months.
Or another thing to consider is walking one of the lesser-known Camino routes such as the Camino Primitivo (the original and challenging route to Santiago) or the Camino Ingles. While these routes will still be popular during a Holy Year, they may offer a quieter experience than the more popular Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese and Camino del Norte. They are an excellent option allowing you to enjoy the spirit of the original Holy Year of 2021 with more opportunity for space and quiet contemplation throughout much of your walk. Of course, if you have your heart set on one of those, then just let us know as soon as possible!
The Camino attracts travelers from many backgrounds, for many purposes, and is a wonderful way to experience humankind on a journey with such historic meaning.
Regardless of which Camino you choose, the experience of walking into Santiago de Compostela in 2021 is sure to be a very memorable one! If you have any questions about any of the Camino routes you can download our Free Guide, head to our Camino YouTube Playlist or contact one of our specialists.