A good question! The short answer is: it depends on you. 

  1. How long have you got?  Bear in mind travel days either side and rest days that you might need. 
  2. How far do you think you can walk per day? 20km is moderate, 25km more average, 30km for fit pilgrims, 35km for very fit pilgrims.

Now multiply your answers together. And then think in terms of the main places you can reach by public transport.  

Remember: if you want a compostela or certificado, you’ll need to have either walked the last 100 km into Santiago or cycled the last 200 km.  

Don’t forget you can walk the camino in stages over a period of years if you wish, making sure that you cover at least the minimum distance in your last stage.

To help you calculate daily distances and overall route lengths: http://www.godesalco.com/plan

Interactive maps leading to route guides with stages can be found on https://www.gronze.com/todos-los-caminos and http://www.mundicamino.com/los-caminos/

The following tables gives an idea of distances from the most popular start points on the major camino routes and a rough idea of the walking time (without including rest days) needed to reach Santiago. Please bear in mind some routes are less well-developed than the Camino Francés in terms of accommodation and therefore daily stages may vary considerably in length. See individual route descriptions for more details.

Camino Francés – Do you start in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port or Roncesvalles?

Whilst many pilgrims regard Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port as the main "start line," Roncesvalles, is a also traditional starting point, especially for Spaniards and avoids the steep (1,200m) climb over the Pyrenees. This climb can be broken up over 2 days by staying at Huntto or Orisson. If intending to stay at Orisson and, indeed the Abbey at Roncesvalles, ensure to book as far in advance as possible, as these are in high demand for most of the season. Generally, it takes 4 – 5 weeks to walk from St Jean, depending on fitness, and about 2 weeks to cycle.

Camino Francés

Distance From Santiago
St Jean Pied-de-Port 780 km
Roncesvalles 750 km
Pamplona 700 km
Burgos 490 km
León 310 km
Ponferrada 200 km
Sarria 110 km

On some stretches of the Camino del Norte, there are still considerable distances between accommodation, sometimes up to 40 km and very few 20 km stages.

Camino del Norte Distance From Santiago
Irún 825 kms
San Sebastián (Donostia) 805 kms
Bilbao 710 kms
Santander 560 kms
Gijón /Avilés 355 / 330km
Ribadeo 195 km

Usually walked over 5 days, the stages of the Camino Inglés vary (depending on where you stay) from 20 km or less to 30 km.

Camino Inglés Distance From Santiago
Ferrol  110 km 
A Coruña 75km (with option of adding on pilgrimage in home country)

There are stages on the Camino Primitivo that are 30 km or more, in mountainous country. A reasonable level of fitness would be required.

Camino Primitivo Distance From Santiago
 Oviedo 315 km
Lugo 101km

The Camino Portugués would take about 4 weeks to walk, 2 weeks from Lisbon to Porto and 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago.  There are some long stages, but the route has very little elevation.

Camino Portugués Distance From Santiago

Lisbon - 610km

Coimbra - 370km

Porto - 230km

Tui - 115km

Accommodation on Vía de la Plata has increased and can generally be found at roughly 25 km intervals.  It takes about 6 weeks to walk from Seville to Santiago.

Via de la Plata Distance from Santiago

Málaga - 1,270km

Granada - 1,185km

Córdoba - 1,050km

Sevilla - 1,000km

Cáceres - 700km

Salamanca - 520km

Zamora - 410km

Ourense - 110km

France – Route starting points Distance from Santiago

Le Puy en Velay - 1,600km

Arles - 1,580km

Vézelay - 1,700km

Paris - 2,000km

Mont St Michel - 1,755km

Pointe de Grave - 1,200km