I talk a lot about the crowds and the volume of people on camino in 2013. It really caught me by surprise, especially as September and October are said to be “quiet months” for the trail. I was never really sure whether my perception of the crowds had any factual basis – until I came home and looked up the statistics.
There are a few different sites crunching the numbers but this one is a pretty reliable source on camino forums and discussion groups.
“The total number of pilgrims registered with the Pilgrims´Office between 1 January 2013 and 30 September 2013 is 189,642.” [Remember, there were still another 3 months left in the year and the numbers kept coming.]
The total for the same period in 2012 was 168,722. This is an increase of 12%.”
Another site says: “Each year the pilgrims office in Santiago publishes the number of pilgrims that have received the compostela [official certificate] for that year. Since there are pilgrims that does not care about the compostela, and never pick it up, it is difficult to know exact number. Even so, the numbers below is as close as we get to “official” pilgrim numbers.
Pilgrims in 2013 that received the compostelas at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago: 215,880 pilgrims
- On foot: 188,191 (87,17%)
- By bike: 26,646 (12,34%)
- By horse: 977 (0,45%)
- In a wheelchair: 66 (0,03%)
How many of them travelled Camino Francés? 151,761 (70,30%)
You can see that most of the people walk Camino Francés, so maybe I didn’t imagine the crowds after all.
Is that less or more than you expect?