Top Camino Starting Points

Town on the Camino

Top Camino Starting Points

Over 300 thousands pilgrims received their Compostela certificate in Santiago each year, according to statistics from the Pilgrims Office. This reflects the number of pilgrims walking at least the last 100kms of any of the Camino routes and requesting their certificate, or cycling at least the last 200kms. We put together an article to help you understand what are Pilgrims favourite Camino Starting points. We also have made below a summary of Pilgrims favourite Camino de Santiago Routes.

How did pilgrims get to Santiago?

There are 4 official ways to start and complete your Camino. To be able to get your Camino pilgrim certificate once you arrive in Santiago de Compostela. 92.51% (278,490) of pilgrims arrived on foot, 7.29% (21,933) by bike, 0.14% (417) on horseback and 0.01% (43) did the Camino on wheelchair.


What are the top Camino starting points?

These are the pilgrims’ favourite Camino starting points:

1 – Sarria, Galicia

The market town of Sarria in Galicia is the most popular Camino starting point, it is 111kms away from Santiago on the Camino Frances. 26.48% of pilgrims start their journey here.

2 – St-Jean Pied de Port, France

This town at the foot of the Pyrenees in the French Basque Country marks the very beginning of the Camino Frances, some 800kms to go to Santiago! 11.02% of pilgrims walk the full route from St Jean each year.

2 – Porto, Portugal

Colourful Porto is the starting point of the Portuguese Coastal Camino. 22,335 pilgrims commenced their trip from Porto last year, 7.42%.

3 – Baiona, Galicia

Baiona is a lovely Spanish town coastal town, not far from the Portuguese border. It is the most popular Camino starting point for the Camino Portugues Coastal Way. Over 21,000 people start here every year.

4 – Tui, Galicia

The International Bridge over the River Minho separates Valenca do Minho, in Portugal, and Tui, in Galicia (Spain). Tui is another lovely town to start your Camino Portugues.

4 – Leon, Castilla

A fantastic historic city, Leon is another favourite starting point on the Camino Frances, approximately 300kms from Santiago. 3.86% of pilgrims chose Leon as their starting point.

5 – Ferrol, Galicia

The port city of Ferrol in Northern Galicia is a classic starting point for Camino pilgrims from Britain and Ireland taking the Camino Ingles.

6 – O Cebreiro, Galicia

Over 10,000 pilgrims start their journey from the scenic mountain village of O Cebreiro, in Galicia, on the Camino Frances.

 7 – Oviedo, Asturias

King Alfonso II was the first pilgrim to make the journey from Oviedo, capital of Asturias, to Santiago, on what is known as the Camino Primitivo, the original way. Over 7,900 pilgrims (2.63%) follow in the royal footsteps.

8 -Ponferrada, Castilla

Home to the impressive medieval Templars Castle, Ponferrada Camino Frances is 200kms away from Santiago and another popular point to start the Camino Frances. 2.54% of pilgrims, over 7,600 start the Camino in Ponferrada.

But which are the Pilgrims favourite Camino Routes?


The ultimate Pilgrims favourite Camino Routes is still the Camino Frances which is the classic Camino route, with 180,738 pilgrims, 60.04%.


With 19.68% or 59,235, the Camino from Portugal is the second most popular among pilgrims.


This route from the Basque Country and taking in the Northern Coast of ‘Green Spain’, the Northern Camino attracts 5.92% of pilgrims, 17,836.



13,684 or 4.55% of pilgrims took the Camino Primitivo, the oldest Camino route, coming from Oviedo in Asturias.


The Camino Ingles from Ferrol is the route traditionally followed by pilgrims from Britain and Ireland. In 2017, 11,321 (3.76%) chose this Camino to Santiago. You can also start from  A Coruña but you won’t qualify for the Compostela unless you take the newly established Celtic Camino.


The Via de la Plata which is the longest trail starting in Seville was the route chosen by 9,138 (3.04%) of the pilgrims. You can start from Ourense to qualify for your Compostela.


The Portuguese Coastal Camino route has only been official for a couple of years but its fantastic scenery has attracted 7211 pilgrims, 2.39% of the total.


665 pilgrims (0.22%) took the Camino to Fisterra and Muxia, the only Camino route starting in Santiago.


The Camino de Invierno or Winter Camino, an off the beaten track and fascinating trail, was the chosen Camino for 555 pilgrims, 0.17%

There are many more Camino routes further afield.

For more information about the Pilgrims’ favourite Camino routes, contact our travel specialists

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