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When are the busy periods on the Camino Frances?

When are the busy periods on the Camino Frances? 2014-03-08

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This Excel workbook models published pilgrim statistics from the Pilgrim Office in Santiago de Compostela to estimate daily pilgrim flows across the Camino Frances over the course of a year. The modelled figures are experimental only, and are open to discussion and input from other pilgrims. Although based upon the published figures, these are NOT official Pilgrim Office statistics.

The model shows how different parts of the Camino Frances experience proportionately higher numbers of pilgrims at different times of year from others. It does not attempt to estimate actual number of pilgrims in a certain location, but rather how many there are compared to average.

There are a number of important caveats to be aware of, including:
  1. The figures used to develop the model are the numbers of pilgrims who arrived in Santiago having started walking on the Camino Frances between St Jean Pied de Port and Santiago. It does not include pilgrims starting further back in France, pilgrims joining the Camino Frances from other routes, or those from unspecific starting points (e.g. 'the rest of Navarra'), who may or may not have travelled this route.
  2. The published Pilgrim Office figures showing pilgrims' starting points are only published on a monthly basis. This model converts them to daily figures using a series of averages and smoothing techniques. These techniques are quite basic, and do not take into account calendar events such as Christmas or Easter, that may cause significant fluctuations in numbers within periods shorter than a month.
  3. These figures do not take into account changes in the proportion of facilities (e.g. albergues, beds etc) available to pilgrims. As such it is not an indicator of how 'busy' the Camino is in terms of accessing these things.
  4. The model assumes a fairly 'typical' Camino duration of 33 days. The towns used to represent the stopping points should be viewed as representative of a wider area.
  5. The calculation sheets in the workbook are protected (except for the one containing the interactive charts), but are left visible for comment on the method used and suggestions for improvement or development. These should not be used in isolation.
Within these limitations I hope you find it interesting and a bit of fun! Buen Camino!
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A great resource, I feel however that the trends have changed since 2014 with a bigger waves in May and September. It would be great to have an updated version. Would be happy to help. Presumably its just inserts ng the 2017 data. That data doesn't seem available in that detail from the pilgrims office. Would anybody have the contacts and the Spanish to enquire?
Hi Simeon. Thanks for your review! The spreadsheet could do with an update, and I will do that early next year, perhaps with a 5-year comparison to show changing trends. The reason I haven't done so this year is partly because annual changes in the pattern used to be very minor, but mainly because of the Year of Mercy, which may have been atypical in some ways. It is meant as a planning tool, so it should be based on a typical year. Yes it is basically a case of dropping in new data, but the original data from the cathedral website needs a lot of cleaning first (sometimes the same start point is mentioned twice with different spellings, start points that are very close together have to be merged etc). I suspect the trends will be an increased polarisation between very long and very short Caminos, and a move away from Roncesvalles in favour of SJPP as a start point amongst other things. Thanks again for your interest. Keith
As with the other information on this site, informative and useful
Thanks! Good to know. However, it's contrary everything I've read that says the busiest months are July and August. Now I'm bit confuse.
Yes, it's complicated. The thing is that most of the pilgrims who walk in July and August walk short Caminos to Santiago, so the earlier parts of the route are quieter. Those doing long Caminos choose spring/autumn to avoid the summer heat on the exposed parts.
Para tener muy en cuenta! Gracias
great resource, thank you!
Big Data comes to the Camino ;-). Many thanks!
A great resource. Many thanks!
Interesting stats about the busy times to walk the Camino
Very attendable information.
Thank you ! gracias, con este informe podre planear mi camino mucho mejor! lo pienso hacer completo Marzo del 2016!!

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