The Camino de Santiago in numbers

Camino Santiago numbers

Below are the statistics for the Camino de Santiago that refer to the years 2019, 2018 and 2017.

The year 2019 was a record in terms of the number of pilgrims who made the Camino de Santiago.

Here you have the statistics for 2019 and a summary of the ones from 2018 and 2017.

 

First of all, the Camino de Santiago (or the Way of Saint James) can be described as a network of pilgrimage routes towards the tomb of Saint James the Apostle, in Santiago de Compostela. According the the Christian tradition, the remains of the Apostle are buried there.

There are many pilgrims who take on this trip for spiritual reasons, retreat, and self growth. There are different motivations to walk the Camino de Santiago: religious, cultural, spiritual… and even physical challenges! This trail is also very popular among hiking and cycling enthusiasts, and walking groups.

Let’s find out a bit more about the key figures related to the Camino de Santiago in 2019, collected by the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago de Compostela. But please bear in mind that the Pilgrim’s Office only takes record of those pilgrims who get the Certificate (Compostela); which means those who end up in Santiago de Compostela. These figures do not take into account those walkers who choose a different Jacobean route or section of the Camino that does not finish in Santiago; nor those who do not request the Pilgrim Certificate.

 

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Evolution of the number of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago: from 1986 to 2019

In 1986, the number of pilgrims was 1,801. Since then, this figure started to increase, particularly in 1993, because of the Holy Year and French Way being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Even if during the Holy Years the number of pilgrims is always higher, the amount of people that do a peregrination to Santiago increases year by year. It is prevented that in 2021, the next Holy Year, all the records will be broken.

In the last Holy Year (2010) the barrier of the 200.000 pilgrims was beaten: 272,165 people asked for the Compostela. That means that around 100,000 pilgrims more compared to the previous Holy year (2004) decided to live the experience of the Camino.

In 2018, the record was broken with 327,378 pilgrims while in 2017 there were 301,036. That means that the number increased in 26,342 in just one year.

In 2019, the Compostelas given by the Pilgrim’s Office were even more.

 

Evolution and pilgrim profile in 2019

The Jubilee Year will be in 2021 and it seems that many people will enjoy it. For now, we know that the numbers of 2019 broke the record: 347,578 pilgrims went to the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago de Compostela. That means that around 20,000 people more than in 2018 (327,378) decided to do the Camino de Santiago in 2019. This makes us think that every time there are more people enjoying the magic of the Way, looking forward to new experiences.

Also, 2019 was the second consecutive year and also the second year among the information provided by the Pilgrim’s Office that more women (177,801) than men (169,777) decided to walk or ride the bike to Santiago.

➡ Number of pilgrims by means of transport: walking, cycling or horse riding

As usually, most of the pilgrims that went across any of the official routes of the Camino de Santiago chose to do it by walk. Concretely, 327,281 people (94% of the total) walked, almost the same number than the total of pilgrims in 2018. The second favorite way to arrive to Santiago was riding the bike, with 19,563 (5.6%). The other ways chosen by the pilgrims to reach the Obradoiro Square represent less than the 1%, according to the information provided by the Pilgrim’s Office.

So, how did the pilgrims arrive to Santiago?

  • By walk: 327,281 (94.16%)
  • Riding the bike: 19,563 (5.63%)
  • Horseback riding: 406 (0.12%)
  • Sailboat: 243 (0.07%)
  • Wheelchair: 85 (0.02%)

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➡ Pilgrims’ Nationality along the Camino de Santiago in 2019

From the 347,578 pilgrims that got their Compostela in 2019, 146,350 were Spanish, while 201,228 came from another countries.

The Spanish pilgrims came from:

  • Andalucía: 33,115 (9.53% of the total)
  • Madrid: 27,683 (7.96%)
  • Comunidad Valenciana: 17,830 (5.13%) santiago galiwonders
  • Cataluña: 13,183 (3.8%)
  • Galicia: 8,309 (2.4%)
  • Castilla La Mancha: 7,855 (2.26%)
  • Castilla León: 6,918 (2%)
  • Canarias: 5,435 (1.56%)
  • Extremadura: 4,846 (1.4%)
  • Murcia: 4,618 (1.33%)
  • País Vasco: 4,523 (1.3%)
  • Aragón: 2,891 (0.83%)
  • Asturias: 2,817 (0.81%)
  • Baleares: 2,005 (0.58%)
  • Navarra: 1,128 (0.33%)
  • Cantabria: 1,044 (0.3%)
  • La Rioja: 629 (0.18%)
  • Foreigners living in Spain: 465 (0.13%)
  • Ceuta: 188 (0.05%)
  • Melilla: 137 (0.04%)

On the other hand, and as it happened in 2018, most of the foreigner pilgrims came from Italy, Germany, USA and Portugal. These are the most common nationalities among the people that year after year walk any of the official routes of the Way. Nevertheless, the people with Spanish nationality that make their mind up to follow any of the Caminos represent more than the 40% of the total.

According to the nationality of the pilgrims, those are the ten countries with more arrivals to Santiago:

  • Spain: 146,350 (42.1% of the total)
  • Italy: 27,749 (7.98%)
  • Germany: 26,167 (7.53%)
  • USA: 20,652 (5.94%)
  • Portugal: 17,450 (5.02%)
  • France: 9,248 (2.66%)
  • United Kingdom: 9,132 (2.63%)
  • Korea: 8,224 (2.37%)
  • Ireland: 6,826 (1.96%)
  • Brazil: 6,025 (1.73%)

➡ Pilgrim’s Age

From the almost 350,000 pilgrims that arrived to Santiago de Compostela in 2019, 189,505 were between 30 and 60 years old. The percentages are very similar to the ones from 2018. So, in 2019 the ages of the pilgrims that arrived to the Pilgrim’s Office were:

  • Between 30 and 60 years old: 189,505 (54.52%)
  • Less than 30 years old: 92,970 (26.75%)
  • Over 60 years old: 65,103 (18.73%)

➡ Motivation

What inspires a person to walk the Camino de Santiago? What are the motivations of the pilgrims to walk or ride the bike until they reach the Obradoiro Square? Most of them claimed doing it because of religious and cultural reasons. Last year there was a light increase in this category, while the amount of people that had only religious reasons to follow any of the official routes until reaching Santiago decreased.

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➡ Which were the most popular Caminos in 2019?

The French Way was, as usual, the most popular among the pilgrims that arrived to Santiago de Compostela, followed by the Portuguese Way. Nevertheless, in 2019 the third favorite route was the Portuguese Coastal Way, that in 2018 was in the sixth position. In this way, the path that goes from Porto to Santiago near the sea leads the Northern Way, the Primitive Way and the English Way.

According to the available information from 2019:

➡ TOP 10 STARTING POINTS along the Camino de Santiago in 2019

Choose where to start the Camino de Santiago is, sometimes, one of the most difficult decisions for pilgrims. However, year by year, the most common starting point is the same: Sarria, in the province of Lugo. Two of the reasons why this happen are that from here to Santiago there are more than 100 kilometers and it is also part of an official route, the French Way (that at the same time is the most popular). These two requirements, with the fact of stamping twice a day the Pilgrim’s Passport, are enough to obtain the Compostela. The ten favorite places to start the Camino de Santiago in 2019 were:

Other popular places among pilgrims to begin this adventure were Ponferrada, Irún, Roncesvalles, Astorga, Lugo and Ourense. The rest of the starting points were chosen by less than 4,000 people in 2019.

➡ The professions of the pilgrims along the Camino 

A curious information that the Pilgrim’s Office provide every year is the profession the pilgrims claim to have when they arrive to Santiago. The most common one is the employees (82,758 pilgrims), followed by the students (62,681), liberals (49,458) and the retired people (45,970).

Other common occupations are technicians, teachers and public workers. In addition, with a bit more of 6,000 people in each category, there were the housewife or househusband and the managers, followed by the unemployed and the laborer that were more than 4,000.

 

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Evolution and pilgrim profile in 2018

 

➡ Number of pilgrims by means of transport: walking, cycling or horse riding

As previously mentioned, 2018 was a record-setting year: the barrier of 320,000 pilgrims was exceeded.

How did these pilgrims arrive in Santiago de Compostela?

  • Walk: 306.064
  • Bike: 20.787
  • Horse: 318
  • Wheelchair: 79

 

Camino de Santiago statistics

The number of pilgrims always increases from April to October. Winter time is not a very popular period to walk the Camino, because of the weather. But there are also options for this time of the year, like the Winter Way.

➡ Pilgrims’ Nationality along the Camino de Santiago

In 2018, there have been more international pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago (183.237) than nationals (144.141).

Spanish pilgrims came from:

  • Andalucía:  30,833 (9.42% of the total) pilgrim santiago galiwonders
  • Madrid: 28,680 (8.76%)
  • Comunidad Valenciana: 17,243 (5.27%)
  • Catalonia: 13,626 (4.16%)
  • Galicia: 8,780 (2.68%)
  • Castilla la Mancha: 7,722 (2.36%)
  • Castilla León: 7,264 (2.22%)
  • Canarias: 5,330 (1.63%)
  • Basque Country: 4,619 (1.41%)

International pilgrims came from:

  • Italy: 27,009 (8.25% of the total)
  • Germany: 25,296 (7.73%)
  • USA: 18,582 (5.68%)
  • Portugal: 14,413 (4.40%)
  • France: 8,775 (2.68%)
  • United Kingdom: 7,624 (2.33%)
  • Ireland: 7,548 (2.31%)
  • Korea: 5,665 (1.73%)

➡ Pilgrim’s Age

  • Under 30 years: 87,843 (26.83%)
  • Between 30 and 60: 179,450 (54.81%)
  • Over 60 years: 60,085 (18.35%)

➡ Motivationstatistics camino 2018 galiwonders

➡ Which were the most popular Caminos in 2018?

  1. French Way: 186,199 pilgrims
  2. Portuguese Way: 67,822 pilgrimsPorto Galiwonders
  3. Northern Way: 19,040 pilgrims
  4. Primitive Way: 15,038 pilgrims
  5. English Way: 14,150 pilgrims
  6. Portuguese Coastal Way: 13,841 pilgrims
  7. Vía de la Plata:9,127 pilgrims
  8. Muxia – Finisterre: 1,131 pilgrims
  9. Winter Way: 703 pilgrims
  10. Other Caminos:326 pilgrims

➡ TOP 10 STARTING POINTS along the Camino de Santiago in 2018

  1. Sarria: 88,509 pilgrims
  2. Saint Jean de Port: 32,899 pilgrims
  3. Oporto: 26,839 pilgrims
  4. Tui: 21,308 pilgrims
  5. Ferrol: 13,335 pilgrims
  6. León: 10,915 pilgrims
  7. O Cebreiro:9,189 pilgrims
  8. Oviedo: 8,799 pilgrims
  9. Valença do Minho: 8,726 pilgrims
  10. Ponferrada (Winter Way): 7,209 pilgrims

What do you think about the statistics of 2018? Any figure caught your attention?

 

Evolution and pilgrim profile in 2017

 

➡ Number of pilgrims by means of transport: walking, cycling or horse riding

As previously mentioned, 2017 was also a record-setting year. The barrier of 300,000 pilgrims was exceeded (which meant surpassing the last Holy Year in 2010).

In 2017, the Vía de la Plata Way was officially recognized as the first route for horse riding.

How did these pilgrims arrive in Santiago de Compostela?

  • Walk: 278,490
  • Bike: 21,933
  • Horse: 417
  • Wheelchair: 43

Camino de Santiago statistics 2017

➡ Pilgrims’ Nationality along the Camino de Santiago

In 2017, there have been more international pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago (168.558) than nationals (132.478).

Spanish pilgrims came from:

  • Andalucia: 27.472 (9.13% of the total)
  • Madrid: 24.983 (8.3%)
  • Valencia: 15.926 (5.3%)
  • Catalonia: 13.604 (4.52%)
  • Galicia: 9.166 (3.04%)
  • Castilla-la Mancha: 7.133 (2.37%)
  • Castilla León: 7.065 (2.35%)
  • Basque Country: 4.542 (1.51%)

International pilgrims came from:

  • Italy: 27,073 (9% of the total)
  • Germany: 23,227 (7.72%)
  • United States: 17,522 (5.82%)
  • Portugal: 12,940 (4.3%)
  • France: 8,835 (2.94%)
  • Ireland: 6,643 (2.21%)
  • United Kingdom: 5,768 (1.92%)
  • Brazil: 5,113 (1.7%)

➡ Pilgrims’ Age

  • Under 30 years: 84,064 (27.92%)
  • Between 30 and 60: 164,625 (54.69%)
  • Over 60 years: 52,347 (17.39%)

➡ Motivations to walk the Camino de Santiago

motivations 2017 Galiwonders

➡ Which were the most popular Caminos in 2017?

  1. French Way: 180,737 pilgrims
  2. Portuguese Way: 59,233 pilgrimsRedondela Galiwonders
  3. Northern Way: 17,836 pilgrims
  4. Primitive Way: 13,685 pilgrims
  5. English Way: 11,321 pilgrims
  6. Vía de la Plata: 9,138 pilgrims
  7. Portuguese Coastal Way: 7,329 pilgrims
  8. Muxia – Finisterre: 665 pilgrims
  9. Winter Way: 555 pilgrims
  10. Other Caminos: 537 pilgrims

➡ TOP 10 STARTING POINTS along the Camino de Santiago in 2017

  1. Sarria: 79,717 pilgrims
  2. Saint Jean de Port: 33,177 pilgrims
  3. Oporto: 22,335 pilgrims
  4. Tui: 20,139 pilgrims
  5. León: 11,614 pilgrims
  6. Ferrol: 10,882 pilgrims
  7. O Cebreiro: 10,130 pilgrims
  8. Oviedo: 7,903 pilgrims
  9. Ponferrada: 7,656 pilgrims
  10. Valença do Minho: 6,982 pilgrims

And you?

Are you ready to walk the Camino de Santiago?

Please keep in mind that, at Galiwonders, we organize tailor-made tours! Don’t hesitate to contact us.

”There are as many ways as pilgrims”

Buen Camino!

 

 

2 Responses
  1. Boris

    Hi,

    I would like someone to look at the pie chart of Camino de Santiago in numbers 2018 and explain how is it possible that 44% of visitors made it on horse and 11% in wheelchair when real numbers are low. The same chart shows that only 42% of people walked so according to your chart more people did it on horse than walked??? At the same time your numerical analysis clearly shows that high majority of pilgrims walked. You should maybe remove the pie chart and correct it before putting it back.

    1. Paula

      Hi Boris,
      We just did the corrections of the pie chart, the right information was the one that appeared on the numerical analysis.
      Thank you very much for telling us and buen camino!

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