What is the Compostela Certificate?

Posted on March 27, 2019

Once you complete the Camino de Santiago tour, you will be given a certificate. This certificate is called the Compostela and is given to you right at the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago de Compostela once you have ended your journey. The Compostela certificate comes in two forms which are:

  • The Latin Compostela which is given to pilgrims that did the Camino based on religious or spiritual reasons. Pilgrims that received the Latin Compostela certificate will have their names written out in Latin.
  • A second Compostela certificate is issued to individuals that did the Camino de Santiago tour based on their cultural or historical reasons. They will have their names written out in Spanish.

These two distinct Compostela certificates serve as proof that a person has completed at least 100km of the Camino de Santiago. To receive the certificate, the first thing you need to do is to go to the Pilgrim’s Desk located in Santiago de Compostela (near the Cathedral) and state the reason why you are embarking on the pilgrimage filling out a form.

How to Qualify for the Compostela Certificate

In order to receive the Compostela, Pilgrims need to complete the final 100km of the Santiago de Camino tour for persons walking or doing so on horseback, and 200km for pilgrims riding on the bicycle. Its important to say that if you don’t go all the way to Santiago de Compostela you will ineligible to receive this credential. The officials consider the essence of the pilgrimage to be centered around reaching St. James’ tomb, which is in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.

The Pilgrim Passport

The Camino passport is where you collect your stamps each day to testament your journey. If you are travelling with Marly Camino, your welcome pack includes this passport issued by Santiago Cathedral.

You can also get your Pilgrim Passport at the beginning of your route. Its available in many shops, churches and establishments along the Camino.

If you start from outside Galicia you will only need one stamp per day. Once in Santiago de Compostela, you must show your stamped Pilgrim Passport at the Pilgrims Office to apply for your Compostela certificate and any other pilgrim certificate you might want to receive.

For those doing the last 100 or 200 kilometers, you are required to receive a minimum of 2-3 stamps every day in your Pilgrim Passport in order to receive the Compostela.

How to obtain the Compostela Certificate

As soon as you make it to Santiago de Compostela, head straight to receive your Compostela at the Pilgrim’s Office. Make sure to check the opening and closing hours of the office.

It usually doesn´t take too much time to receive although queues might arise in peak seasons. The Marly Camino guides will help you obtain your certificate quickly.

As soon as you enter the office, it is expected that you answer certain questions regarding your purpose for embarking on the pilgrimage after which you will be required to fill a form. Make sure you you’re your Pilgrim’s Passport ready as you will need to present it as proof.

Then you will receive your Compostela with a cylindrical container for protection for an extra charge.

At this point, the Pilgrims Office will forward details such as the name of your birth country and the date in which you arrived in Santiago de Compostela to the officials that are in charge of performing the subsequent Pilgrim’s Mass.

During the mass, a comprehensive list containing the number of countries and the number of persons that arrived on that day from the countries will openly be read out to the hearing of everyone who attends mass. The pilgrim’s mass takes place at 12 noon every day and pilgrims who get to the Pilgrims Office later than 12 noon will have their announcements made the following day. The Pilgrim’s mass is conducted at 12 noon every day. When the Holy years begin, mass is conducted more than once in a particular day.


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