Camino Statistics: Most popular routes and starting points

camino-statistics-2016-camino-de-santiago-caminowaysThe latest Camino statistics from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago are out, giving us a very interesting insights into the Camino de Santiago in 2016. An impressive 277.854 people received their Compostela certificates in 2016. The Camino statistics reveal the top nationalities on the Camino, the most popular routes taken and the starting points that people chose.

The statistics review the number of Compostela certificates, hence taking into account only those pilgrims finishing in Santiago and completing at least 100kms walking (or 200km by bike). They don’t account for pilgrims who do not finish in Santiago.

The statistics reveal that the vast majority of people chose to walk the Camino with 91% of all pilgrims walking the routes. The remaining 8% cycled the Camino.

Let’s take a closer look at the most popular routes and the favourite starting Camino points in 2016.

Most popular Camino routes

1-French Way, Camino Frances, remains the most popular Camino route with 176.075 (63.37%) pilgrims.

2-The Camino Portugues, Portuguese Way stays as the second favourite, with 49.538 (17.83%) pilgrims choosing this route in 2016.

3-Northern Way, Camino del Norte, is the third most popular route with 17.289 (6.22%) of pilgrims making it all the way to Santiago.

4-Original Way, Camino Primitivo, was the chosen route for 12.089 (4.35%) pilgrims.

5-English Way, Camino Ingles, is increasing in popularity with 9.703 (3.49%) Compostelas issued for pilgrims following in the footsteps of British and Irish pilgrims.

6-Via de la Plata accounted for 9.067 (3.26%) of the total of pilgrims to Santiago.

Favourite Camino starting points

  • Sarria on the Camino Frances remains the most popular Camino starting point with 71.766 (25.83%) pilgrims starting their journey in 2016.
  • Saint Jean Pied de Port, starting point of the Camino Frances, was chosen by 33.656 Camino pilgrims or 12.11% of the total.
  • Porto (Camino Portugues and Portuguese Coastal Way) was the starting point for 17.726 (6.38%).
  • Tui (Camino Portugues) was the starting point for 15.158 (5.46%) pilgrims.
  • León was chosen by 12.022 (4.33%) pilgrims.
  • O Cebreiro was the starting point for 9.856 (3.55%).
  • 9.478 (3.41%) pilgrims started their journey in the town of Ferrol on the English Way.
  • Ponferrada was the starting point for 8.195 (2.95%) pilgrims.
  • Oviedo was the starting point for 7.227 (2.60%) pilgrims.
  • Valença do Minho, on the Portuguese Way, was the starting place for 6.773 (2.44%) of all pilgrims.
  • 6.746 (2.43%) of pilgrims chose to start their Camino journey from Roncesvalles.

We’ll have some more interesting Camino statistics coming soon.

For more information about the Camino de Santiago routes or to book your Camino trip, contact our travel specialists



  1. By Maria

    Hi Kate, the Camino Ingles and the Camino in general are very safe routes and many pilgrims walk solo each year. August will be a popular month so you will encounter fellow pilgrims along the way. Buen Camino!

  2. By Kate

    How safe is the solotrip of English Way in August?

  3. By Lisa

    Hi Cynthia, this would depend on the time of the year that you are looking to go. Ponferrada to Santiago, the last 200km on the French Way would be the most popular Camino route and will take you up to 2 weeks. Another stunning trail in the Portuguese Coastal Camino from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. This is a nice option if you have two weeks. You will find more details here: Our travel specialists are always happy to help and you can get in touch with them at Kind wishes, Lisa from CaminoWays.

  4. By Cynthia

    Looking for a two week, self guided tour perhaps starting the France’s route. Any suggestions on a good starting point? Difficulty medium, only want to carry a day pack during the day and would like to have lodging all arranged.

  5. By Maria

    Hi Eileen

    The Camino Portuguese Coastal route would be the trail with lower elevation as it follows the coast for most part: Let us know if you need anything else. Kind regards.

  6. By Eileen

    What route has the least elevation changes!

  7. By Maria

    Have a great Camino Liga, it sounds like a great adventure. January might be a bit cold (and snowy, depending on the route) for a tent.

  8. By Liga

    Hi. I’m planing to do France way in January. Will do it aloneand with very little money. Probably will sleep in tents. Any good advice?

  9. By Maria

    Dear Renate, thank you for getting in touch. We would suggest starting from Ponferrada and taking a rest day after the first week, as well as splitting the longer stages into two to make it easier (into O Cebreiro and the stage into Arzua for instance). That would allow you to spend a couple of days also in Santiago and Ponferrada, which is a lovely city. Our Customer Care team will send you an itinerary suggestion by email. Would you have any dates in mind? Kind regards.

  10. By Renate Tonks

    We are looking at a 2 week self guided walk along the Frances route through Sarria any ideas of where we should start and any thoughts of those who have already travelled this route

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