Record pilgrim numbers on the Camino Frances in the first 5 months of 2023

Pilgrim numbers on the Camino Frances reached record numbers in the first 5 months of 2023.
Just under 23 000 pilgrims left from St Jean Pied a Porte (SJPP) in the first five months of 2023.
This is according to statistics of pilgrims registering with the Bureau d’accueil des pèlerins de St Jacques de St Jean Pied de Port. The bureau is where pilgrims register to get their pilgrim credentials and route information.
This year’s 22 971 pilgrims was the highest number of pilgrims for the first 5 months of any year, in the more than ten years since 2012 (when the current statistics start).
The second highest number for January to May of a year was in 2019. 2019 was a record year when 21 484 pilgrims left the popular starting point.
Looking at this April, 9604 pilgrims left in SJPP. This is also the highest number of April pilgrims since 2012.
The 10 855 pilgrims leaving in May 2023 is the second highest number of all the May statistics since 2012.
The highest previous monthly number was reached in May 2016. In that month when a mere 109 pilgrims more left comparing to May this year.
The most pilgrims leaving St Jean Pied a Port in any month (since 2012) was in September 2019 at 11 064.
2019 was a record year for the Bureau in terms of pilgrim numbers. But even comparing to that 2023’s numbers is up 11 percent, says Monique Aspirot, the person responsible for keeping the statistics.
The cumulative totals for 2023 is up 20 percent compared to the numbers for 2022.

Graph of number of pilgrims leaving St Jean Pied a Port by month for the years  2016 - 2023 (January to May).

SJPP represents only a small percentage of pilgrims overall

Bear in mind that these numbers represent a small percentage of all Camino pilgrims.
To get a better idea of the true number of pilgrims on the route the statistics at the Pilgrim’s office in Santiago give a clearer picture.
The pilgrims starting in SJPP represent only 20 percent of the all the pilgrims who finished in May and only 7.5 percent of all the pilgrims who finished in April.

Starting from Sarria

The most popular starting point on the Frances route is Sarria, which enables pilgrims to get their Compostella after covering the last 100 kilometres.
A staggering 13 420 pilgrims who finished in Santiago started in Sarria on the Frances route in April 2023. This number climbs to 14 970 in May 2023.
In total just over 126 000 pilgrims finished their Caminos (using various routes) in Santiago already during the first five months of this year and almost half of these arrived in May alone.

Camino Portugeuse numbers also up 25 percent

The finishing numbers for May 2023 is up 16 percent compared to May 2022 for the Frances. These numbers are also up 25 percent for the Camino Portugeuse, the second most popular route that goes through Portugal.
This same trend also holds true for April 2023. The Camino Frances finishers are up by 9 percent from last year and the Portuguese finishers up by 22 percent.
May is historically a busy time on the Camino (second only to September). The holiday weekends / long weekends in Europe contribute to the numbers of pilgrims on the path at this time.
But given these numbers 2023 could very well be a record year for pilgrimage on the Camino.

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