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Comparison of Pilgrim statistics from SJPdP 2019 vs 2022

trecile

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Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés, Norte, Salvador, Primitivo, Portuguese
I read @henrythedog's FindPenguins blog today, and he mentioned meeting up with @ivar and @natefaith when he arrived in Santiago. The consensus was that the record numbers of pilgrims receiving a Compostela last year was mostly due to those starting close to Santiago. This is borne out by statistics from León mentioned in this thread by @Bradypus and statistics from the Pilgrim's Office in St Jean.

Pilgrim numbers starting from SJPdP were down 13.38% compared to 2019, and lower than any non pandemic year since 2013.

There have also been several recent threads about the decrease in pilgrim numbers on the Meseta.



Starts from St Jean Pied de Port 2019 vs 2022.png

Pilgrim starts from SJPdP 2012 - 2022.png
 
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That photo is pretty startling. Did you run into a large group walking together? There are more people in that one snapshot than I saw walking the CF in the whole 800km of my first Camino.
I agree. I have never seen that many people on the trail at once. Did they just get off of a bus?
 
That photo is pretty startling. Did you run into a large group walking together? There are more people in that one snapshot than I saw walking the CF in the whole 800km of my first Camino.
No, this was the crowd that started in Sarria. I walk pretty fast and had to weave my way through. It went on like this for several kilometers until I could finally get in front of it...a solid wall of people until little by little they dropped off to stop for coffee.
 
I agree. I have never seen that many people on the trail at once. Did they just get off of a bus?
That was just the crowd of people who decided they only wanted to walk the last 100. I tried counting but after a couple hours of passing people I lost count. I think it must have been at least two km long.
 
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"I tried counting but after a couple hours of passing people I lost count. I think it must have been at least two km long."

I just looked at the pilgrim office figures for September 2022. The total number of Compostelas that month was 66,196. Slightly more than half of those went to people who had walked the Camino Frances - 33,556. Of those 20,628 were recorded as starting their journey in Sarria but of course those who started further back would also have passed through Sarria and all points westward to Santiago. So slightly more than 1,000 per day on average walking on those final stages. When you look at the figures and consider that most people will set off each day within an hour or two of each other in the morning it becomes slightly less surprising to see crowds like those @gregrobinson captured in his photo early in the day. But only a little less startling!
 
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Pilgrim numbers starting from SJPdP were down 13.38% compared to 2019, and lower than any non pandemic year since 2013.
If you want a long perspective then some statistics that @Kathar1na posted several years ago gathered in Roncesvalles in 1987 are fascinating. In that year Roncesvalles recorded 1,418 pilgrims who either stayed or requested a credencial. They also recorded that in that year 2,905 Compostelas were issued in Santiago. So nearly half of all Compostelas were probably given to someone who passed through Roncesvalles on their journey. At that time there was no minimum distance rule and no particular pressure to choose any one starting point. In September last year only about 7% of those who received a Compostela started in SJPDP or Roncesvalles. Some of that change may be because other routes like the various branches of the Portugues are becoming more popular and drawing potential pilgrims away from the Frances. I also think that the introduction of the 100km minimum distance to receive a Compostela has radically altered peoples' thinking about what an appropriate route and distance for their pilgrimage should be.

Roncesvalles1987.jpg
 
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A shocking number of walkers in @gregrobinson's pic but...
a different trail doesn't necessarily mean less crowds... 😳😫🤣

And before you ask;
i/ this shot wasn't taken by me. Photo credit; Forum member @donjohannes ...it's a screenshot from his excellent film 'Via Alpina Sacra' he made available as a download to Forum members a few years ago
ii/ I don't recall the exact location but pretty sure it was Switzerland &
iii/ the crowds were due to a special occasion...mercifully not a regular day's walking!
👣🌏
PS. Sorry for the thread diversion but when I see pics of trail gridlock, this scene always comes to mind...🤗
 

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That photo is pretty startling. Did you run into a large group walking together? There are more people in that one snapshot than I saw walking the CF in the whole 800km of my first Camino.
Thats what it looked like in Sept 2019. It did spread out a bit during the morning, but was an actual conga line at times.
 
Thats what it looked like in Sept 2019. It did spread out a bit during the morning, but was an actual conga line at times.
I passed through Sarria in October 2016. Although it was busy by my standards I never saw anything quite like that. I'll stick to winter for my Caminos in future :) . Though I have arranged to walk with a friend for a week from SJPDP in late August this year just so he can see the madness that is the CF in full flow.
 
....I have arranged to walk with a friend for a week from SJPDP in late August this year just so he can see the madness that is the CF in full flow.
Assume you'll be practising your deep breath counting to ten between now & then @Bradypus? 🙊 😏
However, you have spared your friend (& yourself!) the full flow madness by starting in SJPdP instead of Sarria... 🤭
👣🌏
 
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However, you have spared your friend (& yourself!) the full flow madness by starting in SJPdP instead of Sarria... 🤭
👣🌏
We will work up to it gradually. It took us several years to walk around Wales together. Unlike me he is a sober and productive member of society with an actual job and has to do his walking in small chunks each year. He wants to walk the CF in stages. Our best guess is that he should reach Santiago in summer 2028. :cool:
 
I started in Le Puy, and left from Sarria on October 18. I expected a river of people, but it didn't materialize. I swear it felt no more busy than the rest of the Frances.

I'm guessing its for three reasons. First, it was relatively late in the season. Second, it was very rainy that week and I suspect the bad forecast scared some people off. Third, I tended to leave pretty early in the morning from the traditional towns, so I may have been ahead of a lot of people.
 
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Walked from Samos to Barbadelo to stay overnight. Walked for hours before seeing many people the next day. Maybe around lunch time the trail got a bit busier when the faster walkers that started in Sarria caught up with us. It was a lovely, peaceful morning. Later on, there were tons of Spaniards, several buses bringing catered lunches to walkers, and other tour groups.
The tour groups seem to making up a lot of that last 100km demographic. Staying in nice hotels, bag transfer, nice lunches, etc. It isn't how I want to do it, but for many people it gives them a taste of the Camino and they may come back later and do it a different way. They were having a good time and that is all that counts.
 
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I read @henrythedog's FindPenguins blog today, and he mentioned meeting up with @ivar and @natefaith when he arrived in Santiago. The consensus was that the record numbers of pilgrims receiving a Compostela last year was mostly due to those starting close to Santiago. This is borne out by statistics from León mentioned in this thread by @Bradypus and statistics from the Pilgrim's Office in St Jean.

Pilgrim numbers starting from SJPdP were down 13.38% compared to 2019, and lower than any non pandemic year since 2013.

There have also been several recent threads about the decrease in pilgrim numbers on the Meseta.



View attachment 142848

View attachment 142849
This is great!!! Where did you get this data? I've been waiting for the Pilgrim Office in Santiago to publish the 2022 data. Very interested to see the numbers from Lisbon.
 
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I passed through Sarria in October 2016. Although it was busy by my standards I never saw anything quite like that. I'll stick to winter for my Caminos in future :) . Though I have arranged to walk with a friend for a week from SJPDP in late August this year just so he can see the madness that is the CF in full flow.
There have also been several recent threads about the decrease in pilgrim numbers on the Meseta.

I too will stick to my late October-early December schedule. But this year I have to start earlier in late September because my wife and I are moving in early December so I have to go home earlier than normal. To avoid people I will do the Vasco Interior. Thanks to trecile for the reassuring comment that the numbers on the Meseta may possibly be decreasing. The meseta is so important to me and to clear the "mind" even more the less people walking for me the better. In Leon or Astorga I will go to Portugal and walk, probably from Tomar to Santiago. If crowds are really light as I approach Leon I may actually stay on the CF until Ponferrada and do the Invierno. That photo was frightening to me!!!!
 
Thank you @trecile. The November numbers starting from SJPP are very heartening for us. We hope to walk Le Puy to Muxia later this year, and we are timing our arrival at SJPP for last days of October to be on the Frances in November. 😎
You will be fine walking then. Of course you will need to go on the Valcarlos route. Last year in November/December more albergues were closed because it was a really busy and it seemed more and more albergue owners were telling me that they were closing earlier than usual because they were just tired. Have gronze.com Aprinca.com (if you are not aware this site shows albergues open in winter and that comes online about November 1). I would also have the Wise Pilgrim and Buen Camino apps. No one source has all albergues and no source is more than about 70% accurate when it comes to albergues being open. Not because they have bad information it is because owners often close early whenever they feel like it.
 
This is great!!! Where did you get this data? I've been waiting for the Pilgrim Office in Santiago to publish the 2022 data. Very interested to see the numbers from Lisbon.
The pilgrims office in SJPdP usually publishes statistics on their website, but since I hadn't seen the numbers from 2022 there yet I searched for and found them on their Facebook page.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Any thoughts on why it's taking them so long to update their stats for 2022? Do they always take this long?
I asked a friend in Santiago that very question last night. He used to be very actively involved with the pilgrim office. My friend tells me that the pilgrim office has been busy introducing a new computer system which has interrupted normal business. Also the person who is most responsible for compiling and publishing statistics has been off work for some time.
 
You will be fine walking then. Of course you will need to go on the Valcarlos

Yes thanks I’m sure we will be fine. We’ve walked via Napoleon and Valcarlos before and enjoy both. We’d like to walk the Napoleon again if possible so we plan to leave SJPP before the 1 Nov official closure but of course still weather dependent. 😎
 
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No, this was the crowd that started in Sarria. I walk pretty fast and had to weave my way through. It went on like this for several kilometers until I could finally get in front of it...a solid wall of people until little by little they dropped off to stop for coffee.
I saw that same crowd in Sarria in Sept, could hardly get past them. The cafes were all very crowded also. And couldn't find a room the last night before Santiago, quite a bummer. Plan accordingly!
 
I had no problems the night before Santiago de Compostela but I was staying in group accommodation in albergues. It is possible that private rooms are scarce.
 

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