The Camino de Santiago is going through a huge surge in popularity, and we love looking at the statistics each year to see who walked the Camino in 2021! The Pilgrims Office in Santiago collects data from each pilgrim who arrives and publishes it on their website. They collect data on all kinds of things – from the age of pilgrims to their motivations in walking the Camino.
Here are some of the interesting Camino statistics from 2021:
How Many People Walked the Camino de Santiago in 2021?
In spite of the pandemic and many border closures, 178,912 pilgrims arrived in Santiago de Compostela in 2021.
That is more than 3 times the number that arrived during 2020 (54,144) and almost half as many as 2019 (347,598).
2019 was the busiest year on the Camino in decades, so it is great to see that 2021 numbers are climbing back towards that high point!
Did More Men or Women Walk the Camino in 2021?
It was almost 50/50! Historically, we would have seen a few more men than women walking the Camino. In 2020 this was the case, with 56% of pilgrims that reached Santiago being men. Last year, 49.6% of pilgrims who reached Santiago were women. Way to go, ladies!
What Mode of Transport Did Pilgrims Use?
The statistics for 2021 show that the vast majority of pilgrims still walk the Camino on their own two feet. 93% of pilgrims in 2021 walked to Santiago, 6% cycled, and 37 people completed the Camino in a wheelchair!
If you do use a wheelchair and want to complete a section of the Camino de Santiago it is definitely possible, and we would love to help you to achieve this! Contact us for tips and advice!
Do Pilgrims Walk the Camino for Religious Reasons?
Religious motivation is still one of the most common reasons for people to walk the Camino de Santiago. In 2021, 45% of pilgrims said that they walked the Camino for “religious and other” reasons, and 30% said they walked for purely religious reasons. 24% of the arrivals in Santiago said they had no religious reason for walking the Camino.
The Camino is an amazing spiritual and emotional journey, whether or not you identify as religious yourself. Plenty of our clients walk the Camino to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of life. They all find something special on their journey.
How Old Are Pilgrims on the Camino?
Every age! On the Camino, you will meet a huge range of people – from children all the way to people in their 80s and even 90s!
In 2021, 31% of pilgrims were under 30 years old, 61% were between 30 and 60, and 8% were over 60 years old. The pilgrims in 2021 were a bit younger than in pre-pandemic years, which is to be expected. We hope to see more mature pilgrims making their way to the trails as we recover from the COVID pandemic!
Where Were Most of the Pilgrims From in 2021?
Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of Spanish pilgrims walking the Camino in 2021. 68% of arrivals in Santiago were Spanish. This is probably largely due to there being fewer restrictions on travel within Spain. Of course, it is also much easier for Spanish people to get to the Camino!
Where do the Camino statistics say the rest of the pilgrims in 2021 come from?
Next on the list is Portugal, with 6% of pilgrims, followed by Italy at 5%, Germany at 4%, and France at 2%. 573 pilgrims were from the United Kingdom, 451 were from the United States of America, 252 were from Ireland, and 153 were from Canada.
There were even 27 pilgrims from New Zealand and 103 from Australia – all the way on the other side of the world! Overall, people from 168 countries arrived in Santiago, so it really is a very multicultural experience!
Which Camino Routes Were the Most Popular in 2021?
The Camino Frances is still the most popular Camino route, but plenty of people are walking other routes! The Camino Portuguese was the second most popular, followed by the Camino Inglese, the Primitivo, the Norte, and the Coastal Portuguese.
The quietest Camino routes were the Via de la Plata, the Invierno de Camino, and Finisterre.
Where Did People Start the Camino?
You can start the Camino de Santiago anywhere, but there are some towns and cities that are especially popular to start from. In 2021, the most popular starting points were Sarria (31%) and Tui (8.5%).
Thousands of people also started in Ferrol (6%), Porto (5%), Saint Jean Pied de Port (4.5%), Oviedo (3%), O Cebreiro (3%), Valença (3%), Leon (2%), and Ponferrada (2%).
Join Your Fellow Pilgrims on the Camino in 2022!
As you can see from the 2021 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.
You can start wherever suits you and choose any of the routes that you like. In 2022, we are expecting even more wonderful pilgrims to walk the Camino. That is because 2022 is part of the Xacobeo 21-22 Holy Year!
Join in on this historic year in Camino history, meet new friends, and have the journey of a lifetime. Whenever you are ready to start planning – get in touch!
Follow the Camino are the original Camino tour operator! We offer a wide range of customised guided and self-guided itineraries on the routes of the Camino de Santiago. You will have full support all the way through the planning and booking process. We handle everything for you, so all you need to do is walk!
Start planning your 2022 Camino with a free quote. We can’t wait to help you plan the trip of your dreams.