Noche de San Juan

The 23rd of June is the Noche de San Juan, or the night of San Juan.  This evening coincides with the Summer Solstice or the Midsummer Night. As most celebrations here in Spain, San Juan is full of rites and rituals from past times. In 2024, we will run our first Festival of San Juan, Last 100Km Camino Tour.

This tour is just like our Last 100KM Tour but finishes in Santiago on the 23rd June so you can enjoy all of the festivities.


San Juan has both Christian and Pagan roots. The Pagans would celebrate the entrance of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. This symbolised leaving the dark winter behind and the struggles that came with the colder weather and less crops. It is thought that at this festival, the Pagans lit bonfires to celebrate the beginning of this new stage. The flames of the fires were also a way to ask the sun for more strength.

For the Christian traditions related to the celebration of San Juan, the evening of the 23rd June was the night to celebrate the birth of Saint John the Baptist, whom was born on June 24. His father – Zacarías – lit several bonfires to warn the neighbours that his wife was pregnant.

Today’s Festivities

Here in Santiago de Compostela, the local saying in Gallego for San Juan is: “En San Xoán, meigas e bruxas fuxirán. ” Translated to English, this line is saying “in San Juan, meigas and witches will flee.” A meiga is a woman with magical powers. These power can be used to help heal or to cast evil spells.

The night of San Juan in Galicia is often celebrated on the beaches with bonfires, fireworks, sardines and merriment. All of these activities will take place following our San Juan, Last 100Km Camino Tour!

Fire Jumping

Jumping over a bonfire on the eve of San Juan is the most popular way to celebrate. Historically, the bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to wander freely when the sun was turning southward. Here in Galicia, where the event is considered an International Tourist Interest, we have to jump 3 times. In some parts of Spain (presumably in warmer waters), the locals do not jump over fires but rather jump the waves back into the sea at midnight.

In Santiago de Compostela, you can find small bonfires which allows children and those less daring to jump. On other streets, you can find bonfires meters high! Don’t worry, the height of the fire has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the tradition.

Herbal Washing

In Galicia, the tradition is to submerge a mix of local herbs in water and leave it to sit overnight. These vary from area to area, but mostly include fennel, fern, rue, rosemary, dog rose, lemon verbena, St John’s wort, mallows, foxgloves and elder flowers.

In the morning, you wash your face with the herbal water. This ritual is thought to cleanse and purify the soul and bring good fortune. However, if you look into a mirror while doing it, the spell doesn’t work!


A century ago, the menu for San Juan’s night varied from one town to another. More recently, the custom of roasting sardines (possibly due to the high amount of fishing towns here) spread in Galicia. Today, you will see the streets of Santiago de Compostela filled with restaurants grilling and serving recently caught local sardines at a low cost. They will hand you the crispy fish on a piece of local, hearty Galician bread.

San Juan, Last 100Kms Camino Tour

Highlights of the San Juan, Last 100Kms Guided Walk:

  • Discovering Northern Spain by walking through its small towns and experiencing first-hand the culture, food and traditions.
  • Great camaraderie with other pilgrims as you walk the most popular section of the Camino de Santiago.
  • The rolling, bucolic scenery of Galicia and a chance to see myriad churches and chapels dedicated to St. James.
  • The chance to try great Galician food such as pulpo (octopus with paprika), empanada (hearty savoury pastry), tetilla (cow’s milk cheese in the shape of a woman´s breast), albariño (Galician white wine) and caldo gallego (ham broth with chard and potatoes).
  • Arriving at the Plaza de Obradoiroto see the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, along with the familiar faces of all the other pilgrims who have, like you, walked to get there!
  • Private guided walking tour of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela by a local expert guide.
  • Be in Santiago de Compostela for all of the San Juan festivities.

Support on our San Juan, Last 100Kms Camino Guided Walk 

All of our fully guided walking Camino trips have at least 1, though normally 2 English/Spanish speaking guide/s.

There is never a set time to arrive for our checkpoints or our lunches on our guided walking tours. We ensure you can walk your pace and our guide will be there to check in with you.

There is never a set time to finish your walking day on our guided walking tours. If we drive to our home that night, this means we may do 2 or 3 shuttles to our hotel at the end of the day. Or you may have a short wait at the end of the day if someone is shortly behind you.  Our guides will have a good idea of the walking paces of your fellow pilgrims to plan the day out that is best for the group.

Checkpoints: Our guides check in with you during your walking group tour about 2-3 times a day along the trail. These check-ins will include time to fill up your water bottle and/or pick up a snack. One of the check-ins will be at lunch time, whether that be a picnic lunch or our recommendation location to help with ordering. At all of the check-ins, we will have our support van if you need to shuttle ahead.

Daily maps: Each day our guides will  give you a daily map and overview of the walk ahead. This map will include information such as the daily terrain, checkpoint locations, lunch spots, and highlights to see along the way.

Luggage: We take care of all luggage handling and transportation. This means leaving your bags with your guide and starting your walk. We handle the details of getting them into the next hotel room.  We also find it handy to keep a small bag in the van with stuff you might need throughout the day. We have our support vehicles which means being able to take a rest by shuttling ahead to the lunch spot, or if the need arises to get you straight to your room.

Food on our San Juan, Last 100Kms Camino Tour

We include all breakfasts and all dinners including wine on this guided walk. We provide all but 1 lunch on this Camino group guided walk. This gives you the opportunity to try out your Spanish and order from a local bar.

We provide some picnic lunches prepared by your Andaspain guides on the Camino. Our picnics include fresh salads and lighter options, all taking into consideration any food allergies or lifestyle choices as vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, etc.   We use local products so you are always tasting the typical foods of the area. We also ensure you are discovering any fresh vegetable and/or fruit that are in season at the time of  your Camino walk.

San Juan, Last 100Km Guided Tour

Our Last 100Km guided walk starts in the small town of Sarria, Galicia. We walk through oak woodlands, fragrant eucalyptus forests and traditional Galician villages covering the last 113KM (give or take) of the Camino Frances. We do this in 5 walking days. On average, we cover 23 KM per day.

Our San Juan Last 100KM Tour starts the 17th June 2024 and finishes on the morning of the 23 June 2024. This means you are in Santiago de Compostela to experience and partake in all the festivities!

Contact us now for more information about our San Juan, Last 100Kms Camino Tour!