Wednesday, December 09, 2015


In 1986 (30 years ago) 2491 pilgrims received a Compostela. This has increased by over ten-fold.

Between 1996 and 2015 over 2.5 million pilgrims earned a Compostela.

1996 17138
1997 25179
1998 30126
1999 61418
2000 55004
2001 61418
2002 68952
2003 74614
2004 179944
2005 93924
2006 100377
2007 114026
2008 125141
2009 145877
2010 272135
2011 183366
2012 192488
2013 215880
2014 237812
2015 262000

The total number of pilgrims who have received a Compostela so far - January to November - is 260,396.

In December 2014 the number was 1870 so we can assume that at least that number will be reached by the end of the month. 262,266 for 2015.

With Pope Frances announcing an Extraordinary Roman Holy Year of Mercy in 2016 and appealing for cathedrals with Holy Doors to open them next year, I reckon that the numbers will go up exponentially. The Santiago Cathedral is opening their Holy Door on 16th December.

A previous pilgrim office Dean calculated that only 1 in 5 pilgrims walking the Camino routes during the year obtain a Compostela. Many Europeans walk a week at a time; some walk shorter routes that do not end in Santiago; others do not apply for the certificate. If that is still valid, there were over a million pilgrims walking the Camino routes this year and the numbers will rise in 2016.

The number of pilgrims walking to Rome is also expected to rise. There are now dozens of tour companies offering various distance walks on the Via Francigena and although we started booking accommodation for our groups a few months ago, many places are already full. The same can be expected on the Camino, especially the last 114km from Sarria.