2013 Statistics for the Camino de Santiago


Each year the pilgrims office in Santiago publishes the number of pilgrims that have received the compostela for that year. Since there are pilgrims that does not care about the compostela, and never pick it up, it is difficult to know exact number. Even so, the numbers below is as close as we get to “official” pilgrim numbers.

See also 2012 Camino de Santiago Statistics.

Pilgrims in 2013 that received the compostelas at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago during 2013:  215.880 pilgrims

(The last holy year, 2010, the number was 272.412) 

  • Women:  98.008 (45,40%) 
  • Men: 117.872 (54,60%)
  • On foot: 188.191 (87,17%)
  • By bike: 26.646 (12,34%)
  • By horse: 977 (0,45%)
  • In a wheelchair: 66 (0,03%) 


  • Under 30: 61.114 (28,31%)
  • 30 to 60: 121.305 (56,19%)
  • Over 60: 33.461 (15,50%)

Top Nationalities:

  • Spain: 105.891 (49,05%)
  • Germany 16.203 (14,73%)
  • Italy 15.621 (14,20%)
  • Portugal 10.698 (9,73%)
  • USA 10.125 (9,21%)
  • France: 8.305 (7,55%)
  • Ireland: 5.012 (4,56%)
  • UK: 4.207 (3,82%)Canada:
  • Canada: 3.373 (3,07%)

What Camino was walked:

  • Camino Frances: 151.761 (70,30%)
  • Camino Portugues 29.550 (13,69%)
  • Camino del Norte 13.393 (6,20%)
  • Via de la Plata 9.016 (4,18%)
  • Camino Primitivo 6.854 (3,17%)
  • Camino Ingles 4.404 (2,04%)
  • Muxia-Finisterre  454 (0,21%)
  • Other Caminos 444 (0,21%)

Starting point:

  • Sarria  52.063 (24,12%)
  • S. Jean P. Port  26.569 (12,31%)
  • León  10.739 (4,97%)
  • O Cebreiro  10.722 (4,97%)
  • Tui  9.394 (4,35%)
  • Porto  8.859 (4,10%)
  • Ponferrada  8.365 (3,87%)
  • Roncesvalles  8.268 (3,83%)
  • Astorga  6.053 (2,80%)
  • Valença do Minho  4.380 (2,03%)
  • Pamplona  4.321 (2,00%)
  • Ferrol  4.286 (1,99%)
  • Oviedo  4.156 (1,93%)
  • Burgos  3.613 (1,67%)
  • Irún  3.389 (1,57%)
  • Le Puy  3.364 (1,56%)
  • Ourense  3.221 (1,49%)
  • Vilafranca  2.735 (1,27%)
  • Sevilla  2.292 (1,06%)
  • Triacastela  1.957 (0,91%)
  • France 1.955 (0,91%)
  • Lugo 1.704 (0,79%)
  • Rest of Portugal  1.602 (0,74%)


Guide books – and the sour taste they leave

Guide books - and the sour taste they leave


The comment was:

We all start out like this…

We buy a guide book, read excitedly about the Camino and its stages and often follow the recommendations about albergues and routes outlined in them because after all the author must know!

During my last Camino I decided to ditch the recommendations of the famous Brierley guide when I discovered that the little villages in between stages are often more beautiful, peaceful and welcoming then the ‘recommended’ stage destinations.

However, one day I got confronted with the reality of what these recommendations mean to locals and I was both shocked and saddened by it.

Walking out of Leon I decided to take the ‘grey’ route planning to stay in San Martin del Camino. It was a pleasant walk despite walking along the road. One of the locals, now in his 90s, had left out snacks and drinks in his front yard for pilgrims to enjoy as he used to walk the Camino many times when he was younger …. It was the nicest thing ever … except there were no pilgrims to enjoy it and this was in June!

Upon arrival in San Martin I stayed in Santa Ana … it was spacious, clean … and very empty! There were 4 pilgrims (including myself) and the other 2 albergues didn’t look any busier. When I talked to hospitaleira I discovered that since the route via Mazarife was recommended hardly any pilgrims came this way and a 4th Albuerge in town had to close down already. During the joined evening meal I discovered that 2 of the other pilgrims only had ended up there because they had ‘taken a wrong turn’ and they wanted to take the recommended route too. I felt very sorry for the owner of the Albergue as she was so welcoming, an amazing cook and we even got free cherries from a tree growing in the yard.

Make of this little story what you want but it really brought home to that the decisions we make, the guide books we follow (often without thinking too much about it) can have a profound impact on the locals. Perhaps we should start using our own head more, choose our routes and places to stay based on what feels right to us rather than following the trail like sheep.

Despite all this I had an amazing time and wish everybody all the joy and love there is to discover out there!

Read the full conversation on the good and the bad about using a guidebook.

Bedbug undersheet – worth it?

bedbug undersheet - worth it?

The question was:

Planning my first Camino in the spring, thinking about the dreaded bedbugs. Apart from spraying with Permethrin etc – and I don’t, please, want to re-open the debate about that, it has been well-discussed elsewhere! – I have a specific question.

Lifeventure (and probably other people too) sell a bed bug undersheet, like a mesh mattress cover, impregnated.

Is this worth purchasing? Part of me thinks yes, minimal weight, only costs a few £, added protection etc; but on the other hand, it presumably won’t prevent bedbugs from getting into my clothes, towel, backpack, boots etc unless they stay said on said sheet the entire time (ie once they are hanging on bedframes etc).

Views please – anyone used one? Did it help?

Read the conversation on bed bug undersheet in the Camino forum.

How much cash to carry?

Money belt on the Camino de Santiago
The question was:

I hope to start my Camino (Camino Frances) from Burgos on Sept 1st 2013. I was wondering how much cash I should carry with me. I have heard that there are some towns where ATMs are hard to come by. I would be grateful for any advice.

Read all about How much cash to carry in our Camino forum.

Thoughts on photography and camera selection for the Camino


The comment was:

For those of us who love photography, the Camino presents a dilemma. Leaving behind the large print and low light capabilities of an SLR can be stressful. There’s nothing worse than taking in the perfect sunset, only to have it rendered as a noisy mess on your point and shoot LCD. As someone who used to take my big DSLR everywhere, I urge you, leave it behind! You will not miss it. Trust me, you will miss so much of the beauty on the Camino if you have your face planted firmly behind the viewfinder all day.

As an alternative, there are two viable options. The first is to purchase a mirrorless camera with a compact prime. Second, I would suggest that you just use a smartphone and make the apps work for you. I used ProHDR and Camera+ for my iPhone and am really happy with the results.

Please read this long conversation on camera selection for the Camino de Santiago here in our Camino forum.