Links to other Camino Organisations:
Johnnie Walker-Santiago has walked thousands of kilometers on pilgrim routes in Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan. He writes guidebooks to Camino routes on a voluntary basis so that they can be provided at low cost to pilgrims. All proceeds are donated to the Confraternity of Saint James UK so that they can continue to provide help, information and support for pilgrims He has also written two Spiritual Companions for pilgrims:
Other guidebooks available on Kindle: A Pilgrim Guide to The Caminho Português (Part One Lisbon to Porto)
Religious Festivals and Public Holidays 2018
These feasts and holidays are observed in both countries except where otherwise indicated. Where the languages are different the names are given first in Portuguese then Spanish.
1 January: New Year’s Day and the Feast of Mary, Mother of God – Santa Maria, Mãe de Deus/Santa María, Madre de Dios.
6 January: The Epiphany – Dia de Reis/ Día del Reyes. In Spain this feast is celebrated as much as Christmas, and presents are often given on this day. There are street processions and celebrations.
Carnaval: This is the period before the start of Lent and is a time of partying and over indulgence.
14 February: Ash Wednesday – Quarta feira de cinza/Miércoles de Ceniza, and the start of Lent – Quaresma/Cuaresma
19 March: The Feast of Saint Joseph – São José/San José. This is when Father’s Day is celebrated in both countries.
25 March – 1 April: Holy Week – Semana Santa, when there will be many religious services and street processions.
25 March: Palm Sunday – Domingo de Ramos
29 March: Holy Thursday – Jueves Santo
30 March: Good Friday – Sexta-feira Santa/Viernes Santo
1 April: Easter Sunday – Domingo de Páscoa/Domingo de Resurrección
25 April, in Portugal: Freedom Day – Dia da Liberdade, celebrates the 1974 coup d’état that ended the oppressive Estado Nuevo government and established the Portuguese Third Republic.
1 May: Labour Day – Dia do Trabalhador/ Fiesta del Trabajo.
6 May: Mother’s Day – Dia da Mãe/Día de la Madre.
May/June (moveable dates):
10 May: Ascension Thursday – Ascensáo do Senhor/Ascensión del Señor (may be celebrated on Sunday 13 May)
20 May: Pentecost – Pentecostés
31 May: Corpus Christi (may be celebrated on Sunday 3 June), with religious street processions in many places
10 June, in Portugal: Portugal Day – Dia de Portugal
25 July: Feast of Saint James – Santiago Apóstol, Patrón de España, Spanish National Holiday
15 August: Feast of the Assumption – Assunção da Bem-Aventurada Virgem Maria/Asunción de la Virgen
5 October, Portugal: Republic Day – Implantação da República, celebrates the end of Monarchy and the beginning of the Portuguese Republic
12 October: Día del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar) – Fiesta Nacional de España|Día de la Hispanidad (National Day|Hispanic Day)
1 November: All Saints – Todos os Santos/Todos los Santos
2 November: All Souls – Dia de Finados/Todos los Difuntos.
Around these dates there may be local church services for those who have died in the community in the last year.
1 December: Portugal Restoration of Independence Day
6 December: Spain Constitution Day – Día de la Constitución
8 December: Feast of the Immaculate Conception – Imaculada Conceição da Bem-Aventurada Virgem Maria/La Inmaculada Concepción
24 December: Christmas Eve – Véspera de Natal/Noche Buena, when traditionally Spanish families gather together at home for a meal. Many restaurants close
25 December: Christmas Day – Natal do Senhor/Natividad del Señor
31 December: New Year’s Eve|Hogmanay – Noite de Ano Novo/Noche Vieja
Local Festivals and holidays in Portugal and Spain
Almost every village seems to have their own Feast or Feria, for example, the Feast of the Ascension, which is the annual festival in Santiago de Compostela with street theatre, bands, orchestras and the circus comes to town.
Arzúa Cheese Festival – February/March
Bread and Cheese festival in Sahagún – April
Fire water festival in Portomarín – early April
O Cebreiro cheese festival – April
May Festival – Festa do Maio in Villafranca del Bierzo – May
San Fermin running of the bulls and the city’s most famous festival in Pamplona – July
San Cristobo Festival in Palas de Rei – July
Estella festival – Estella/Lizarra – early August
Santa Marta festival in Astorga – end of August
San Zoilo festival in Carrión de los Condes – end of August
Rioja Harvest Festival in Logroño – September
Romaria Virxe do Cebreiro dedicated to the patron saint of O Cebreiro – early September
Fiestas de la Encina in Ponferrada, the city’s biggest annual festival – September
Music Week in Melide – November
In towns and villages all along the Camino Francés, you may encounter a local festival such as:
The running of the bulls in Pamplona
If you are walking the Camino Levante and find yourself in Valencia at the end of August head for the town of Buñol to take part in the world’s largest tomato fight. If it is a choice between running with the bulls or fighting with tomatoes, I know which I’d choose!
BLS MOVED in June! For Spanish (Schengen) Visa
7th Floor Mandela Rhodes Place
corner Wale Street and Burg Street
Tel: 021 526 0430
Here is the link for Spanish Visa Applications: BLS International
There is information available about:
When you apply for a visa the “Application for Schengen Visa” and the “Application for Schengen Visa, Supplementary Information” forms must be submitted together.
The Confraternity of Saint James, England:
The British Confraternity is a UK-based charity established to promote the pilgrimage to the shrine of St James in Santiago de Compostela. They provide a range of information services to assist prospective pilgrims, of all religions or none, who are planning a walking, cycling or horseback journey along one of the many Camino de Santiago routes.
Santiago Pilgrim’s Office, address
Pilgrim Office Website
Rúa das Carretas,
Santiago de Compostela
Telephone: (+34) 981 568 846
Fax: (+34) 981 563 924
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The office is open from Monday to Sunday 8.00 – 21.00 (In Easter Time and Summer from 1st April to 30th October). Monday to Sunday 10.00 – 19.00: In winter: from 1st November to 30th March. The Pilgrims’ Office is open during these hours every day of the year with the EXCEPTION of Christmas Day – 25 December, and New Year’s Day – 1 January. If you complete your pilgrimage on these days your Compostela Certificate can be obtained in the Cathedral.
The Camino Forum has been operational for over 10 years. Trending Topics, Announcements and Frequently asked Questions and other useful information submitted by pilgrims. Sign Up to this forum is free!
Camino Companions Santiago fcjsisters (Visited, June 2015 & 2016 by Chairman of CSJofSA, Andrée Lombard)
(above the Correo (Post Office and left corner Pilgrim’s Office Courtyard)
Meet Marion fcJ/Katherine fcJ
‘God of life and love, thank you for the companionship, beauty, mystery and the kindness of strangers we experienced along the Camino. You have filled our hearts with wonder, joy and gladness! May we take the Camino to the World!’
Terranova Pilgrim house in Santiago & facebook page, a lovely meeting place for pilgrims with useful services.
Rúa Nova, 19, Bajo
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
+34 981 58 57 88
Friends of Pilgrim House play a vital role in the sustainability and operation of the welcome center. Every annual gift provides support towards continuing the Camino spirit through conversation, community, and prayer. We welcome everyone who has an interest in providing a welcoming space for pilgrims when they arrive in Santiago to become a Friend of Pilgrim House.
– Free WiFi
– A living room
– A kitchenette with microwave and refrigerator
– Message board
– Quiet spaces: reflection room and patio
We also offer the following services for a suggested donation:
– Printing/ photocopying: 0,20€ per page
– Backpack storage: 1,50€ per pack, per day; 0,50€ walking sticks only
– Laundry: 5€
– Coffee, tea, or Cola Cao: 1€ per cup
American Pilgrims on the Camino
American Pilgrims on the Camino is a non-profit organization whose objective is to facilitate communication within the community of North American pilgrims, particularly those in the United States. American Pilgrims continually seeks meaningful ways to support the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
The Canadian Company of Pilgrims:
The Canadian Company of Pilgrims (CCoP) is a non-denominational volunteer-run association that supports Canadians planning the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. We share the Canadian representation with l’Association québécoise des pèlerins et amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques
Buddy System for Women on the Camino
The Buddy System is a Facebook page for women travelling the Camino.
Here is the CSJofSA pdf for safety tip for camino with useful and important telephone numbers, and the South African Embassy details for Spain, France and Portugal.