7 reasons why people walk the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage

man, hike, sunset-1869135.jpg

In 2019 we conducted a survey at CaminoWays.com that threw up some interesting results regarding the reasons why people walk the Camino.

The popularity of the Camino has exploded in recent years, with 277,913 certificates of completion handed out in 2018 and 347, 578 handed out in 2019. While just 53, 905 pilgrims received their certifications of completion in 2020, we know that number will increase dramatically once we can travel again.


Historically pilgrims would have made the long walk to Santiago de Compostela for religious reasons.

The remains of St James are said to be buried in the Cathedral in the beautiful Spanish city. Santiago is an important symbol of Spanish and European society, based on its cultural and historical significance to the pilgrimage route.

Before you set off make sure to check out our blog on the 24 hours in Santiago.

But why do modern pilgrims walk the route?

Our 2019 research showed that just 28% of walkers today do the Camino for religious or spiritual reasons.

The trek is undoubtedly a unique experience and is known as a haven for self-reflection. In fact 17.8% of Camino walkers hit the trail to get away from their daily life and connect with nature.

We are surrounded and often bombarded by technology in our lives. The Camino offers an escape, an opportunity to disconnect and detox from digital habits.

Some of the natural sites and landscapes along the way are truly breathtaking. The Portuguese Coastal Way is loaded with pretty scenery and is perfect for a peaceful reflective trip.

The most popular reason for walking the Camino was people looking for a new challenge, 28.2% of walkers wanted to test themselves physically and mentally along the way.

The start of The Camino Frances goes over the Pyrenees, so if you’re looking for a challenge this is for you. The Camino is suitable for almost anyone and is as rewarding as it is challenging.

10.8% of people walk the trail specifically for health and exercise.

With constant media reports around the growing obesity issue in Europe and the US, a walking holiday is a great way to kick start a healthy lifestyle. It can be seen as a welcome alternative to the classic sun holiday, where the focus is often on eating and drinking as much as you can, and moving as little as possible!

The diverse experiences along the route convinced 4.6% of those surveyed to complete the Camino to learn more about culture. The pilgrimage is also a social experience and some people walk it for that reason. The best route to meet new people is The Camino Frances which is the most popular Camino Route.

7 Reasons why people walk the Camino pilgrimage

Thank you if you took the time to complete the survey and we hope to see you out on the Camino soon. In the meantime, check out this nifty little infographic:


For more information on any of our walking or cycling tours contact our Travel Specialists on the form below:


Leave a Comment

Join Our Newsletter

Plan your CaminoPlan
Scroll to Top