Is The Camino de Santiago Becoming Too Crowded?

I’ve been seeing many posts lately in various long distance trek circles about how crowded the Camino de Santiago (490 Mile Trek Through Northern Spain) is lately. So I decided to dig into the facts to see how many people are currently hiking the Camino de Santiago.

Here’s what I found…

In 2018 a whopping 327,378 people hiked at least a portion of the Camino de Santiago and arrived in Santiago de Compostela to check in at the Oficina de Peregrinaciones. 

This is an incredible number and indeed a new record high. As chronicled in my book Sunrises to Santiago when I took my first step on the trail I was one of 237,882 pilgrims to complete the trail that year. And that was a record high!

School Group Crowds I Ran Into While Hiking The Camino de Santiago

For even more perspective 10 years ago people were beginning to think the trail was too crowded. That was when a mere 147,567 people hiked through Spain!

Can solitude still be found? Yes. Especially towards the beginning of the trail’s most popular route in St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, France.

So is the trail crowded? It seems yes it is more each year. Even so, as someone who tends to seek solitude in nature, the Camino de Santiago tends to introduce you to some truly amazing people. So embrace the crowds. Nothing makes the miles more refreshing than a chat with someone new.

There are currently (June 2019) roughly 50,000+ people on the trail at the same time. Another record breaking statistic that blows my mind. Remember though that they are spread out over roughly 500 miles. So it’s not like you’re in line for an amusement park!

Buen Camino.



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