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Top 10 Camino de Santiago starting points

What are are the most popular Camino de Santiago starting points? Where do most pilgrims start their journey?

sarria-caminowaysAccording to statistics released by the Pilgrims Office in Santiago de Compostela for 2016, these are the Top 10 Camino starting points (top 5 are in the French Way). These figures only reflect those walking to Santiago and registered by the Pilgrims Office (meaning they received their Compostela or certificate). These Camino statistics don’t take into account the number of pilgrims walking sections of the Camino but not finishing in Santiago or those walking to Santiago but not applying for the Compostela. However, the figures give us a good indication of the most popular spots to begin your Camino journey:

1 – Sarria

71,862 (25.83% of the total) pilgrims started the Camino de Santiago in Sarria in 2016. Sarria is just over 100km away from Santiago so it is the minimum distance required to receive the Compostela. Pilgrims walk from Sarria to Santiago in 5 days.


2 – Saint Jean Pied de Port

33,720 (12.12%) started over the French border, in Saint Jean Pied de Port, at the foot of the Pyrenees and starting point of the French Way / Camino Francés. Pilgrims walk from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago in 34 days.

3 – Porto

17,745 (6.39%) of walkers chose to start the Camino in the seaside city of Porto on the Portuguese Way. From Porto it takes pilgrims approximately two weeks to reach Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims walk from Porto to Santiago in 12 days.

4 – Tui

15,168 (5.45%) began their Camino de Santiago in the border town of Tui, separated from Portugal only by the River Miño. Tui is 100km from Santiago, on the Portuguese Way. Pilgrims will walk from Tui to Santiago in 6 days.

5 – León

12,038 (4.33%) chose the city of León, approximately 300km away. The Montes de León are one of the highlights along this section. Walking from León to Santiago de Compostela will take approximately 13 days but there are options to have rest days and make some of the longer days shorter walking distances.

6 – O Cebreirocebreiro-caminoways

9,874 (3.55%) started in the mountain village of O Cebreiro, Galicia. Walking the Camino from O Cebreiro to Santiago takes approximately 7 days.

7 – Ferrol

9,486 pilgrims picked the charming town of Ferrol on the English Way as their starting point for the Camino. Pilgrims can walk from Ferrol to Santiago in 5 days.

8 – Ponferrada

7,765 (4,03%) started in Ponferrada, capital of El Bierzo region, roughly 200km away from Santiago. From Ponferrada to Galicia, you’ll get some stunning (but challenging) mountain walking and you will pass the famous ‘cruz de ferro’ (iron cross). Pilgrims walk from Ponferrada to Santiago in 9 days.

9 – Oviedo

7,235,468 (2.60%) started from the colourful town of Oviedo, paying a visit to the medieval Cathedral before making their way through the Spanish countryside on the way to Santiago. Walking from Oviedo to Santiago will take approximately 14 days.

porto-caminoways10 – Valença do Minho

6,782 (2.44%) of pilgrims started out from this walled town with a Roman fortress to visit on the Portuguese Way.

For more information about any of our walking and cycling tours please contact one of our travel specialists.



Writer at
Marketing Manager Maria Golpe is from Viveiro, in the misty and beautiful northern coast of Galicia. She loves Santiago, where she studied Journalism at Santiago de Compostela University. She also loves good food, travel and all things arty crafty.
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3 Responses to “Top 10 Camino de Santiago starting points”


Dear Anne, thank you for getting in touch. Have a look at our full French Way itinerary to give you an idea of distances: We generally recommend taking rest days if possible. Taking this into account, as well as the split days available (to break down the longer days) it should take you 40 days approximately. Our stops are chosen to balance the distances covered each day as much as possible but they also adapted to accommodation being available locally. Let us know if you would require a quote or any additional information. Kindest regards.

Anne Nelson

If I leave from Saint Jean Pied de Port and traveled 15 miles per day, how long would it take me to complete “The Way” at Santiago de Compostela? Are there sleeping accommodations along the way?

Bill Hoopes

If I leave from Lourdes, France is the route as well marked as if I leave from St Jean Pied de Port?

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