The Camino de Santiago, an age-old pilgrimage that meanders through the heart of Spain, has maintained its enduring allure, attracting pilgrims from every corner of the globe.
In the year 2022, the Camino continued to welcome Pilgrims, each driven by their own unique motives and aspirations. This year witnessed a remarkable surge in pilgrim numbers, further solidifying the Camino’s reputation as a timeless journey of discovery.
This article provides a comprehensive overview of the Camino de Santiago statistics 2022, offering insights into the pilgrimage’s ongoing significance and enduring appeal.
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Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Statistics 2022
The year 2022 marked an increase in the number of Pilgrims completing the Camino de Santiago routes vs the recovering year of 2021. This reflects a resurgence of the Camino’s enduring charm.
Pilgrims finishing the Camino
The Camino de Santiago has witnessed varying years in the number of pilgrims on the Camino. In 2022, the statistics present a remarkable and uplifting story of the pilgrimage’s enduring popularity:
- 438,301 pilgrims successfully completed a Camino route in 2022, marking a significant 59% increase compared to the previous year.
Comparing this remarkable surge to the year 2021, it’s evident that the Camino experienced a substantial rebound from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The year 2022 stands as a pivotal moment in the Camino’s history, representing a year of resurgence and recovery, where the allure of the pilgrimage attracted a record number of pilgrims to its timeless trails.
How do Pilgrims Get to Santiago de Compostela
The journey to Santiago de Compostela remains a remarkable one, characterized not only by the destination but also by the diverse methods pilgrims employ to reach this sacred city and fulfill their Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
In 2021, pilgrims demonstrated a wide range of preferences when it came to how they traveled along the Camino.
The statistics for 2022, however, reveal an interesting shift in pilgrim preferences. The Camino’s diverse means of transportation evolved to accommodate even more individuals seeking this transformative journey
Here, we explore the various methods that pilgrims employ to travel to this sacred city and fulfill their Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
- Walking – 414,319 pilgrims
- Bicycling – 22,862 pilgrims
- Horseback – 545 pilgrims
- Sailing – 448 pilgrims
- Wheelchair -127 pilgrims
These statistics illustrate the diverse means of transportation chosen by Pilgrims, with walking the remaining the most prevalent method.
The Camino on Foot
Walking is undoubtedly the most traditional and iconic way to complete the Camino.
Pilgrims, known as “peregrinos,” lace up their hiking boots and embark on foot from various starting points across Europe, depending on their chosen route.
In 2022, a remarkable 414,319 pilgrims chose to experience the Camino on foot. This substantial increase highlights the enduring appeal of the traditional approach, with a significant 59% rise from the previous year.
Whether they choose the popular Camino Francés or opt for one of the less-traveled paths, the act of walking is deeply ingrained in the Camino’s spirit.
The Camino by Bicycle
The popularity of cycling along the Camino remained steady, with 22,862 pilgrims opting for this method.
While the number may appear smaller compared to walking, cycling offers a unique perspective on the journey.
This method allows for a faster pace and covers more ground in a day, making it a preferred option for some.
The Camino on Horseback
Pilgrims maintained the tradition of equestrian pilgrimages in 2022, showcasing that the Camino offers something for everyone, including those with a penchant for horse riding.
Pilgrims who are experienced riders or simply wish to embark on a horseback adventure can do so on specific Camino routes that accommodate horses.
In 2022, 545 pilgrims rode on horseback.
Sailing to the Camino
448 pilgrims decided to add a maritime dimension to their Camino in 2022, keeping the tradition alive.
The Camino by Wheelchair
Accessibility continued to be a priority in 2022, with 127 people successfully earning their Compostela while using a wheelchair, reflecting an increase in those choosing this inclusive approach.
There are still sections of the Camino that can be traversed by wheelchair.
The Busiest Months on the Camino
As you would imagine the warmer summer months are the busiest on the Camino with August once again being the busiest month with July working its way into 2nd place on the busiest month list.
- August – 85,840
- July – 67,406
- September – 66,194
- June – 57,963
- October – 51,356
- May – 48,255
- April – 34,284
- November – 11,282
- March – 7,389
- December – 4,682
- February – 2,034
- January – 1,616
Nationalities of Pilgrims on the Camino
In 2022, the Camino de Santiago continued to live up to its reputation as an international pilgrimage, drawing pilgrims from across the globe, transcending borders, and forming a diverse mosaic of cultures and nationalities.
The tapestry of nationalities that converged on the Camino reflected the universal appeal of this age-old pilgrimage.
Spanish pilgrims, naturally, comprised a significant part of the 2022 Camino cohort, with 239,417 individuals making their way to Santiago de Compostela.
For many Spaniards, the Camino de Santiago represents a profoundly spiritual journey within their own homeland, offering an opportunity to explore their country’s rich history, traditions, and seek personal growth and reflection.
Beyond Spain, pilgrims from various corners of the world found their way to the Camino in 2022. Here’s a glimpse of some of the countries that were prominently represented in the Top 10 with the Italian Pilgrims moving into the No 2 spot.
- Italian Pilgrims – 27,080
- American Pilgrims – 26,014
- German Pilgrims – 23,215
- Portugal Pilgrims – 20,166
- French Pilgrims – 10,368
- UK Pilgrims – 8,241
- Irish pilgrims – 6,671
- Mexico – 5,835
- Brazilian Pilgrims – 5,497
Other Diverse Nationalities
The beauty of the Camino lies in its inclusivity, and in 2022, the list of participating nationalities went even further.
Pilgrims from countries as diverse as Switzerland, Venezuela and South Africa embarked on their spiritual, cultural, and physical journeys.
While Spain and other prominent pilgrim-sending nations are consistently present, it’s the broad representation of smaller and more distant countries that adds to the Camino’s unique charm.
These statistics underscore the global allure of the Camino de Santiago, welcoming pilgrims from a multitude of countries.
The diversity in nationalities mirrors the Camino’s ability to unite people from different walks of life, fostering a rich exchange of cultures and stories along the path to Santiago de Compostela.
It’s a testament to the Camino’s universal appeal and its power to bring the world closer together through a shared experience of discovery and transformation.
Camino de Santiago Age Groups
The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage that transcends age, gender, and background. In 2022, the demographics were as diverse as the pilgrims themselves:
- Age 18 to 45 – 179,514
- Age 46 to 65 – 172,016
- Over 65 – 44,489
- Under 18 – 42,282
These numbers show that the Camino welcomes people of all age groups, making it an inclusive and intergenerational journey.
2022 was also a year when the female portion of the pilgrims finishing the Camino rose above the male portion as well as there being a number of uncategorised being registered.
Motivation for walking the Camino
Pilgrims embark on the Camino for various reasons. In 2022, their motivations were as follows:
- Religious & Other – 77,297
- Religious – 65,064
- Not Religious – 36,552
These statistics reflect the diverse reasons people undertake the Camino, be it for spiritual reflection, a blend of religious and personal experiences, or non-religious purposes such as leisure or just a plain old adventure.
A Holy year on the Camino can be a big deciding factor on the numbers
The most popular Camino Routes
The Camino offers an array of routes, each with its unique charm and allure. In 2022, the popularity of various routes was evident:
- Camino Frances – 226,863 pilgrims
- Camino Portuguese – 93,195 pilgrims
- Portuguese Coastal Camino – 30,607 pilgrims
- Camino Ingles – 24,205 pilgrims
- Camino Primitivo – 21,360 pilgrims
- Camino del Norte – 20,868 pilgrims
- Via de la Plata – 10,631 pilgrims
The Camino Frances remained the most popular route, drawing the majority of pilgrims in 2022, followed by several other scenic routes that continue to captivate the hearts of those seeking a unique pilgrimage experience.
The Camino Portuguese coastal route moved up a place in the rankings.
Popular starting points of the Camino
The starting points for the Camino are as diverse as the pilgrims themselves. In 2021, the following Top 10 starting points saw significant pilgrim activity:
- Sarria – 132,060
- Tui – 33,721
- Porto – 31,842
- Saint jean Pied du Port – 28,042
- Valenca do Minho – 11,950
- Oviedo CP – 11,151
- Porto Costa – 9,121
- Leon – 8,306
- Cebreiro – 8,241
These statistics highlight the different entry points to the Camino, with Sarria consistently being the most popular choice among pilgrims, especially Spanish Pilgrims.
St. Jean Pied du Port attracted a substantial number of pilgrims beginning their journey on the Camino Frances, and Porto serving as the starting point for the Camino Portuguese.
The Camino de Santiago is a timeless pilgrimage, an extraordinary journey that continues to inspire and captivate the hearts of people from all corners of the world.
In 2022, amidst the challenges of the previous lockdown years, the Camino demonstrated its resilience, drawing 438,301 pilgrims from diverse backgrounds, nationalities, motivations and age groups.
While this is a positive sign of recovery the 2022 figures continue to rise and a very busy 2023 is expected on the Camino trail.
As we look ahead, it is evident that the Camino de Santiago’s enduring spirit remains unwavering. The pilgrimage invites all, irrespective of age, gender, or background, to explore, connect and discover the extraordinary within themselves and the world around them.
The Camino is not just a path; it is a transformative experience that celebrates the human spirit’s resilience and determination.
It is a journey of the soul, offering solace, reflection and renewal to all who seek it. Most of all its an amazing experience as well.
Statistics powered by the official Pilgrims office in Santiago de Compostela.