C/ Hórreo 1, 15701 Santiago de Compostela. A Coruña – España

Visiting the Cathedral of Santiago

Visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a main and important objective for pilgrims and travelers. Here you can find the tomb of the Apostle James and many other sacred places that are worth visiting. Here are the visiting hours for the Basilica and Museum, as well as the schedule for Masses and information about the famous Botafumeiro.

Visiting hours for the Cathedral of Santiago and the Tomb of the Apostle James

The Cathedral and the Tomb of the Apostle James are open every day of the week from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. To access them, you must use the Puerta de Platerías, which is located on the side of the cathedral facing the Platerías or Caballos fountain. The exit must be made through the Puerta de Azabachería in the Plaza de la Inmaculada. You can also exit through the Cathedral Store, located near the entrance by Platerías.

Pilgrim Mass Schedule

Masses are celebrated in different places in the Cathedral and at different times of the day. Pilgrim Masses are all those celebrated at the main altar of the Cathedral, but this does not necessarily mean that the Botafumeiro will fly. Here are the schedules:

  • 07:30 a.m.: Main Altar. Pilgrim Mass.
  • 09:30 a.m.: Main Altar. Pilgrim Mass.
  • 11:00 a.m.: Parroquia de la Corticela.
  • 12:00 p.m.: Main Altar. Pilgrim Mass.
  • 07:30 p.m.: Main Altar. Pilgrim Mass.

When does the Botafumeiro fly?

The Botafumeiro is an iconic censer located in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Placed in the central dome of the Cathedral, it moves by means of a system of pulleys towards the side naves. Eight people, called “tiraboleiros”, are required to move it. The Botafumeiro weighs 53 kg, measures 1.50 meters and is suspended at a height of 20 meters. It can reach speeds of up to 68 km/h!

This censer is used for liturgical purposes on the main solemnities of the Cathedral, during the entrance procession or at the end of the Eucharist. The Botafumeiro symbolizes the attitude of the believer. Just as the smoke of the incense rises towards the highest part of the temple naves, the prayers of the pilgrims must rise towards the heart of God. And just as the aroma of the incense perfumes the entire compostelan basilica, Christians, with their virtues and testimony of life, must permeate society with the fragrance of Christ in which they live.

The first documentary reference to the Botafumeiro is an annotation in a leaf of the Codex Calixtinus, in which it is called “Turibulum Magnum”. Throughout history, there have been several Botafumeiros. Currently, there are two examples: one in brass, dating from 1851 and the work of José Losada, which replaced the one that was stolen during the French occupation and is the one that is usually used. The second Botafumeiro is a silver replica of the previous one.

Solemnities in which the Botafumeiro is operated:

  • Epiphany of the Lord: January 6
  • Easter Sunday
  • Ascension of the Lord
  • Apparition of the Apostle-Clavijo: May 23
  • Pentecost
  • Martyrdom of Santiago: July 25
  • Assumption of Mary: August 15
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • Christ the King
  • Immaculate Conception: December 8
  • Christmas: December 25
  • Translation of the Apostle James: December 30.

In addition, the Botafumeiro flies on special occasions, such as when a group of people, parish, pilgrimage, or congress pays for its flight. In this way, visitors can enjoy the show for free, thanks to the payment made by another group.

It is important to highlight that the flight of the Botafumeiro is considered a very special and unique activity in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and is one of the most popular attractions for tourists visiting the city.

Museum and guided tours in the Cathedral

The Museum of the Cathedral of Santiago is open from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is one of the most emblematic and visited places in Spain. If you are planning a visit to this imposing monument, it is important that you know the different visiting options it offers, as well as the opening and closing times of the museum.

Visits to the Portico de la Gloria

The visit to the Portico de la Gloria is one of the most recommended experiences in the cathedral. The entrance includes an audio guide, headphones, and brochure, as well as access to the Permanent Museum-Collection and the Collegiate Church of Sar and Museum. The approximate duration of the visit to the Portico de la Gloria and the Gelmírez Palace is 45 minutes, with the maximum stay allowed in the Portico de la Gloria being 30 minutes. The visit to the Permanent Museum-Collection lasts around 60 minutes.

The basic rate is €12, but there are reduced and free rates for different groups, such as members of large families, the unemployed, students, accredited pilgrims, those over 65 years of age, and children under 12 years old. There is also a joint rate that includes a visit to the Portico, Tower, Roofs, and Museum for a price of €20.

Visits to the Roofs of the Cathedral

If you want to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and explore the roofs of the cathedral, you can opt for a visit to the Roofs and the Tower of Carraca. The entrance includes a guided visit to the roofs of the cathedral and access to the Carraca Tower and the Gelmírez Palace. The approximate duration of the visit is 60 minutes. The rate is similar to the visit to the Portico de la Gloria.

Night visits to the Cathedral

In addition, night visits to the cathedral are offered from Tuesday to Sunday at 10:30 p.m., 10:45 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. The duration of the visit is 90 minutes and the price is €25 per person. Access and exit are through the Platerías door, and it is recommended to arrive 5 minutes before the start of the visit. These visits are guided by official tour guides.

In short, visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela offers multiple visiting options for all tastes and budgets. Do not hesitate to plan your visit to be able to enjoy everything that this impressive monument has to offer!

At the reception of Hotel Compostela, we will be delighted to inform you about the different ways to visit the Cathedral of Santiago and help you make the most of your time with recommended visits. Do not hesitate to ask us any questions you may have, as our goal is to make your stay a unique and unforgettable experience in Santiago de Compostela. If you want to know about the offers to visit the city and stay with us, click here