1) Work out how many days you have available for walking (taking into account the time it will take to get to your starting point, the possible need for rest days, any plans to spend a day or two in Santiago, and the time to get home again).
2) Estimate the distance you reckon to walk in a day: 20 kms would be a moderate distance; 25 kms closer to the average; 30 kms for the stronger and fitter.
3) Multiply the two: then think in terms of the main places you can reach by public transport. Please bear in mind the minimum distance to qualify for a compostela is 100 km walking or on horseback and 200 km cycling.
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 to qualify for a compostela in your last stage.
To help you calculate daily distances and overall route lengths: http://www.godesalco.com/plan
The following tables gives some rule-of-thumb distances from common starting points 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 very considerably in length. See individual route descriptions for more details.
Camino Francés – St Jean Pied-de-Port or Roncesvalles ?
Whilst many pilgrims now regards St Jean-Pied-de-Port as the main starting point, the Abbey of Roncesvalles, is a 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 Hunto or Orisson (please be sure to pre-book accommodation if choosing this option). 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|
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|
|San Sebastián (Donostia)||805 kms|
|Gijón /Avilés||355 / 330km|
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|
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|
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|
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|
|France – Route Starting Points||Distance|
|le Puy||1,600 km|
|Mont St Michel||1,755 km|
|Pointe de Grave||1,200 km|