One of the first questions many pilgrims ask is, “How long does the journey to Santiago de Compostela take?” The answer isn’t straightforward due to two primary reasons. First, the pilgrimage encompasses various routes, each with its own length and challenges. Second, the duration largely depends on individual choices, including the distance each pilgrim wishes to cover daily and the total length of their journey. In addition, the time to complete the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela should be adapted to the number of available days you have, your physical condition and the type of pilgrimage you want to do. Let’s explore these factors to help you estimate the time needed for this transformative experience.
Daily Distance and Walking Speed on the Camino
On average, pilgrims cover about 25 km per day at a pace of 4-5 km/h during their journey to Santiago de Compostela. This means you would typically be walking for 5-6 hours daily. However, this can vary based on the difficulty of each stage and your physical condition. Such a schedule not only progresses your journey but also allows ample time for rest and cultural exploration.
By using these averages as a baseline, you can calculate the overall duration needed to complete your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, keeping in mind the total distance of your chosen route.
Compostela during your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
To obtain the Compostela, the document that recognizes your pilgrimage, you must be able to prove that you have traveled at least 100 km to the Cathedral of Santiago. Therefore, if the goal is to arrive Santiago de Compostela during your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, between 5 to 6 walking days are sufficient. For example, you can start in Sarria or in Tui.
Extending Your Journey
For those wishing to extend their pilgrimage beyond the typical 5 to 6 days, there are longer routes available. For instance, walking from Porto to Santiago takes around 14 days, covering approximately 300 km. Alternatively, the Camino Frances route from Leon to Santiago can be completed in about 10 days. Opting for these extended walks allows you to fully immerse yourself in the diverse landscapes and the unique experiences that the journey to Santiago de Compostela offers.
How many km is the Camino de Santiago?
The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is actually a network of paths. Each one with a long history, a unique heritage and a different distance. The most important routes are:
The time it takes to do the Camino Frances is approximately 31 days. This if you start in Saint Jean Pied de Port. One or 2 days less if you decide to start in Roncesvalles. The total Camino Frances is 781 km and takes you along one of the most popular routes.
Despite the fact that the Camino Frances, as the name suggests, starts in France, the most popular part is the one from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, as it is the minimum distance to get to the Compostela. The time it takes to cover the Camino de Santiago from Sarria to Santiago is 6 walking days.
The Camino Portugues is a pilgrimage that is becoming increasingly popular among pilgrims. Pilgrims who have already walked the Camino Frances are looking for a new route to walk. The original starting point of the Camino Portugués is the Portuguese capital Lisbon. From Lisbon, the Camino Portugués is 465 km long and takes about 26 days. You can also do this pilgrimage in shorter stretches. The interesting thing is that there are also a number of beautiful variants of this route: along the coast, through the interior or past monasteries and abbeys.
– Camino Portugues from Porto to Santiago through the interior. This pilgrimage has a distance of 235 km and is usually completed in 11 walking days. Of course you can plan a rest day somewhere.
– Camino Portugues from Porto to Santiago along the coast. This pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is a total of 293 km and can be completed in approximately 14 walking days.
– In 6 walking days you walk from Tui to Santiago on the Camino Portugues van Tui naar Santiago..
– Then there is the variant of the Camino Espiritual: it starts in the city of Pontevedra and runs for two stages through the beautiful region of O Salnés. Pilgrims on this route can recreate the journey by sea of the remains of the apostle St. James. The Camino Spiritual is the ideal route to live a unique experience on the Camino de Santiago, away from the crowds. You can also start in Tui and then take this variant in Pontevedra.
The Camino Primitivo is one of the first pilgrimages on the Camino de Santiago. The total route is 225 km long. When starting the Camino in Oviedo, you will need approximately 14 walking days to arrive in Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino del Norte starts in Irun and ends, after 825 km, in Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrimage route extends along the northern Spanish coast. This route was often used in the past by Dutch and Flemish pilgrims who arrived by ship in the northern Spanish port. They then moved west along the ocean, to about Oviedo, and then walked to Santiago via the camino Primitivo. It travels through the north of Spain and is one of the longest routes. It takes about 35 days to complete the Camino de Santiago del Norte.
The Camino Ingles has two starting points:
– The Camino de Santiago from Ferrol is 117 km long. You need about 6 walking days for this.
– Camino de Santiago from A Coruña: this walk is a total of 72 km long. You need 3 to 4 days for this.
This pilgrimage runs from south to north through Spain and follows an old Roman road. The starting point of the Vía de la Plata is Seville and it is a 963 km walk to Santiago. This will take you about 38 days. This original route takes you to Astorga and there you join the Camino Frances. From there you walk to Santiago de Compostela in 11 stages.
Do you want to end your camino with your feet in the water and a beautiful view over the Atlantic Ocean from the Finisterre lighthouse? Alone or together with your hiking companions, you will feel satisfied watching the sun set into the sea. You walk from Santiago to Finisterre in 4 days. To get to Muxia it is another 30 km. This can take you 1 or 2 days.
Plan your Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
In summary, the time it takes to complete your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela varies greatly, hinging on the route you choose, your pace, and personal preferences. Whether you seek a brief journey to earn the Compostela or a longer, more immersive experience traversing diverse landscapes and rich history, the Camino offers a path for everyone.
Each route, from the classic Camino Frances to the scenic Camino del Norte, and from the historic Via de la Plata to the tranquil Camino to Finisterre & Muxia, presents its own unique challenges and rewards. Your pilgrimage can be a deeply personal journey of reflection and discovery, an adventure through stunning vistas, or a physical challenge to test your limits.
Your Personal Camino Journey
As you plan your pilgrimage, consider not only the physical journey but also the spiritual and cultural experiences that await. Remember, the Camino is more than just a path to a destination; it’s a journey that can transform your understanding of the world and yourself.
We hope this guide helps you in preparing for your pilgrimage. Should you have any further questions or need assistance in planning your journey, please feel free to reach out to us. We’re here to support you on your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Wishing you a meaningful and enriching Camino – BUEN CAMINO!