Where should I start?

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

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/

Look at our How to get there and back page for travel suggestions and transport information.  Links to the websites of most of the transport companies you’re likely to need are here.

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
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

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 610 km
Coimbra 370 km
Porto 230 km
Tui 115 km

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 1270 km
 Granada  1185 km
 Córdoba 1050 km
 Seville 1000 km
Cáceres 700 km
 Salamanca 520 km
 Zamora 410 km
Ourense 110 km


France – Route Starting Points Distance
le Puy 1,600 km
Arles 1,580 km
 Vézelay  1,700 km
 Paris  2,000 km
 Mont St Michel 1,755 km
 Pointe de Grave  1,200 km

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