This is a very frequent question among the pilgrims who are preparing to live this experience. Although it is true that there is no single answer, it is possible to offer information about it so that each person can choose how long it may takes and duration for their journey.
You must always bear in mind that the Way of Saint James is an unforgettable experience and that it is important to have a minimum number of days to be able to make the most of it. In the following article we will analyze which are the different options available so that you can combine the route with your vacations and that you can enjoy everything that this millenary route offers.
What should you know before preparing your way?
Information is power, knowing more about the Camino de Santiago is vital when preparing our experience as it will help us make the best decision. First of all, it is important to know that there are many starting points for the Way, both inside and outside Spain. Although they share the same objective, that of reaching Santiago de Compostela, the experience will be completely different depending on the route we choose. The most popular starting points for the Camino are
French route from Sarria – 110 kms. to Santiago.
French route from St. Jean or Roncesvalles – 780 Kms. to Santiago
Portuguese route from Tui – 115 Kms to Santiago
English Way from Ferrol – 117 Kms to Santiago
As we can see, even though there are pilgrims who choose to walk some part of the entire Way of Saint James, the vast majority of them choose to walk a little over 100 km. The most important reason is that this distance can be covered in about 5 or 6 stages walking the minimum 100 Kms that must be done to get the compostela on our arrival at the Cathedral of Santiago. This amount of days and distance is usually the best adapted for those who want to live the experience of the road combining it with their vacations.
The amount of days available to dedicate to the route is what will mark the distance you will travel. If you have a week, Sarria (French route) or Tui (Portuguese route) will be your best option, while if you have more time you can afford to start from more distant points such as León, Oporto or even St. Jean (France), from where you will need at least a month to reach the Obradoiro Square.
How to calculate the duration of a stage?
Once the starting point has been chosen and taking into account how long it can takes, our next step will be to design the stages. There are several aspects that we must take into account when dividing our route into stages: physical condition, distance and accommodation.
Physical condition: the majority of pilgrims who embark on this adventure are not athletes, nor is it necessary to be one. Although it is advisable to have an active lifestyle, the route is for anyone who is willing to do it. We will normally cover an average of 4-5 kilometers per hour at a normal pace.
Distance: An “ideal” stage that is suitable for any type of pilgrim should cover a distance of between 20 and 25 Kms. This amount can vary slightly depending on conditions such as the unevenness or type of terrain. The walks usually last an average of 5 hours and we can reach our destination at lunchtime.
Accommodation: This is not a minor issue since before designing each stage we must take into account where we are going to sleep, many times we would like to walk 20 Kms but it is not possible since at that distance there are no villages or hostels where to stay. Also, if you do the Camino de Santiago with your dog, not all accommodations are allowed
Keep in mind the effort made: this is an important maxim to keep in mind. It is advisable to compensate for the effort we are going to make and alternate the most demanding stages with others that are more bearable and allow us to recover and continue our journey with energy, always with the idea of enjoying the experience to the fullest.
How long takes each route
From Sarria: 110 Kms (5 or 6 stages)
From O Cebreiro: 154 Kms (7 or 8 stages)
From Leon: 310 Kms (14 stages)
From Roncesvalles: 750 Kms (31 stages)
From Tui: 115 km (5 or 6 stages)
From A Guarda: 15 Kms (8 steps)
From Oporto: 240 Kms (10 or 11 stages)
From Ferrol: 120 Kms (6 steps)
From Lugo: 100 km (5 stages)
From Oviedo: 225 km (13 stages)
From Vilalba: 120 Kms (6 stages)
From Ribadeo: 195 km (8 stages)
We hope you found this article useful and that it helped you to decide which is the ideal path, duration and how long it takes for you. If you have any other questions or recommendations do not forget to leave us a comment or contact us at 981 966 846.