person hiking on the camino

Camino Statistics 2023 | Who, Why, and How do people Walk the Camino?

Picture yourself walking through breathtaking landscapes, immersing yourself in centuries of history, and connecting with fellow travelers on a profound journey of self-discovery. Welcome to the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route that captured the hearts of half a million pilgrims in 2023 alone.

The statistics regarding people walking the Camino have drastically changed in the last two or three decades. The so-called “modern pilgrimage” that started with the 1993 Holy Year marked the beginning of a new era on the Camino. And despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, the Camino de Santiago is experiencing a renaissance. In 2023, a record-breaking half a million pilgrims received their Compostela. That’s something to celebrate!

Demographics: Who walked the Camino in 2023?

In 2023, the age distribution of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago showcased a diverse mix, but with a clear trend: Pilgrims between the ages of 46 to 65 constituted the largest demographic group, representing 41% of all participants.

camino statistics 2023 by age

On the younger spectrum? You’ll be among the 39.5% of pilgrims aged 18 to 45 who walked the Camino last year.

Motivation: Why do people walk the Camino?

There are different reasons to walk the Camino, with religious motivation being the most highlighted one. But, although that one still being the main reason stated by the pilgrims who arrived in Santiago in 2023, every year more and more people decide to walk the Camino for a “blend of motivations.”

  • Religious Devotion: Religious motivations remained a predominant motivation for many pilgrims, with 42% citing spiritual reasons for walking on the Camino de Santiago.
  • Blend of Motivations: A notable 34.7% of pilgrims walked with a combination of religious and secular motivations, highlighting the multifaceted nature of the pilgrimage experience.
  • Non-Religious Reasons: Nearly 23% of pilgrims were motivated by non-religious factors, such as personal growth, cultural exploration and a sense of adventure.
Camino Portuguese walking for religious reasons

Some other Trends we see in the Camino Statistics

  • Seasonal Preferences: Be it because of the preferred warm weather or the possibility to take days off, the summer months of August and September emerged again as peak periods of pilgrimage.
  • Preferred Routes: The Camino Francés was once again the most popular route in 2023, attracting nearly half of all pilgrims. The Camino Portugués and its coastal route are also going strong, reflecting a trend we highlighted in this article in 2022.
  • Starting Points: Sarria is still the preferred starting point for pilgrims. Walking those last 100 km offers a great opportunity to jump into the Camino while only needing one week off. Oporto and Tui, cities on the Camino Portugués, are the perfect alternatives to this Galician town.
  • International Presence: Pilgrims from across the globe embarked on the Camino in 2023, with notable representations from countries such as the United States, Italy, Germany, and Portugal. This international presence underscores the Camino’s universal appeal and its capacity to attract pilgrims from diverse cultural backgrounds.
La Ascensión celebration Santiago de Compostela

Play Your 2024 Camino with Us!

As you can see from the statistics, the Camino de Santiago really is for everyone! No matter what age you are, where you come from, or what your motivation is, you can walk the Camino.

Join in on the Camino, meet new friends, and have the journey of a lifetime. Whenever you are ready to start planning – Get in Touch!

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