Every year, thousands of pilgrims from all over the world begin their walk to Santiago Spain. They come from diverse backgrounds, converging on this centuries-old path stretching across the picturesque landscapes of Spain. But what drives these individuals to embark on such a challenging journey? What are the reasons that compel them to traverse hundreds of miles on foot through varying terrains and weather conditions? Recently, the pilgrim office in Santiago presented the results of a study in which this was this question. The research, developed in 2021 by the Faculty of Economics of the University of Santiago de Compostela, aimed to shed light on the motivations, aspirations, and experiences of those who choose to take this remarkable journey.
Exploring Pilgrim Motivations: Insights from 1,546 Surveys
What makes so many people choose to walk to Santiago Spain? To find this out, a big survey was done. It wasn’t just a few people who answered; more than 1,500 pilgrims who have walked to Santiago shared why they did it. There were also answers from 342 people who are planning their own walks. To get even more information, the team behind the survey talked to people more deeply and looked at what was being said on social media. All this work helps us see why this walk is important to so many people.
The Conclusion of the study
The researchers came to the following conclusions:
- In conclusion, it was found that the main motivation in making the pilgrimage to Compostela is spiritual (67.9%), followed by the desire for recreation and relaxation (42.4%), cultural reasons (40.4%), sports and leisure time outdoors. (34.3%) and strictly religious (27.9%).
- Regarding the effects of a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, 44.4% of respondents reported returning with renewed energy and a different focus on their lives; 27.3% recognized the transformative power of this experience, indicating “that they would never be the same person as before” (something we very much identify with); 17.1% report experiencing spirituality and/or the existence of God in a much deeper way; 6.1% say they have returned with a new Camino community from all over the world.
What the research found striking is that many pilgrims want to contribute something to the pilgrimage after their Camino. Analyzing their comments, for example, it emerges that they are interested in volunteering to make their home available to pilgrims on their way or in another way to share their knowledge and experience on the Camino with future pilgrims who are taking the walk to Santiago Spain.
Image of a walk to Santiago Spain
The researchers’ analysis shows that a walk to Santiago Spain has a good image. And that more and more pilgrims feel the need to to make it. This is also evident from the figures. On Sunday, July 24, the Oficina del Peregrino placed the 200 thousandth stamp this year. That is a record number and higher than that of 2019 at this time of year. In all of 2019, 347,578 pilgrims walked and cycled the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage path and it looks like this number could be broken this year.
The most famous pilgrimage in Europe is the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage path in Spain. In 1972, only 67 pilgrims were recorded completing the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage path.
In the month of June, 1,008 Dutch and 380 Belgians came as pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. If we look at the first half of the year from January to June, we see in the statistics of the Oficina de Atención al Peregrino that this year 2,685 Dutch and 1,056 Belgians came to Santiago de Compostela and received an official seal.
Would you also like to take a walk to Santiago Spain?
Are you feeling inspired to experience the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage for yourself? With a variety of routes available, your journey can be as unique as your reasons for walking. Choose from well-trodden paths like the Camino Frances or the Camino Portugués, each offering its own blend of scenic beauty and cultural richness. Or perhaps start a different kind of adventure in Santiago de Compostela itself, venturing out to the serene coastal landscapes of Finisterre and Muxia. Whichever path you choose, your walk to Santiago Spain is not just a journey through stunning landscapes, but also a journey within, promising personal discoveries and unforgettable memories. Start planning your pilgrimage today and join the thousands of others who have walked these ancient paths!