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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?

According 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 Cebreiro

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.

10 – 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.

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  1. By Maria

    Dear Diane, we have a selection of Camino guided tours coming up, see all dates for Camino Frances, the classic route, here: We also have a number of departures on the coastal route: Let us know if you require a quote or further information. Kind regards. Maria

  2. By Diane Maag

    My husband and I are interested in the walk. We are in our sixties and early seventies, but in relatively good physical condition. Is there a guided tour group available for this walk?

  3. By Lisa

    Hi Ron, thank you for getting in touch with us and great to hear you are interested in walking part of the Camino del Norte. Once you start in Gernika, you can collect your stamps from there. Typically stamps are available at your accommodation, in some cafes and pilgrim shops and in churches or cathedrals. In order to receive your walking certificate, you will need to walk a minimum of 100km into Santiago de Compostela. I hope that this helps. If you would like to reach out to any of our travel specialists at they are always glad to help. Kindest regards, Lisa from

  4. By Maria

    Hi Ron, you can stamp your pilgrim passport in many places along the way not only albergues, also tourist office, hotels, restaurants, churches and many shops and bars/cafes will stamp your crecencial. You should start stamping it from your starting point, in this case Gernika. I hope this helps, let us know if you need any information or services provided for your trip. Kind regards. Maria

  5. By Ron Hunter

    My son and I are going to do the Camino del Norte beginning mid-May. We will be starting from Gernika (Stage 6), since we have limited time, and we will be starting from Lekeitio where I have a flat (short easy trip on Bizkaibus to Gernika). My question is, if we start there rather than Irun, how do we commence having our passports stamped? Will an albergue stamp it for us in Gernika if we haven’t been to the previous stage, or is there an office in Gernika that could stamp it to begin our pilgrimage? Please advise.

  6. By Maria

    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.

  7. By 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?

  8. By 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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