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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