Not at all. People undertake the pilgrimage for all sorts of reasons. Some will have an expressly religious/catholic motivation, some will be drawn by a more general sense of the spiritual. Many pilgrims are at a crossroads in their life, looking for a temporary escape from the world while they make sense of major life events like bereavement, separation, retirement or redundancy. Others are primarily attracted by the walking and the landscape, others by the language, architecture, culture or history.

Precisely because it is so broadly defined, it attracts seekers of many different kinds who, almost invariably, will be willing to exchange their life-stories for yours. Moreover, you'll come face-to-face with people from all over the world, whose approach to the pilgrimage may be radically different from yours.

The Pilgrim Office in Santiago issues Certificados rather than Compostelas to those who complete the basic requirement of walking 100km but who state that they have no spiritual motivation for their journey. However, these tend to be in the minority. Very few pilgrims arrive at Santiago saying the Camino has not been even a slightly spiritual experience!