The Camino Francés has its starting point in the small town of St. Jean Pied De Port (left), which lies on the French side of the Pyrenees. Between here and Santiago De Compostela lie 775 kilometres of varying degrees of beauty and difficulty.
For many, the starting point will be Sarria, a town lying 115km (or 111km if you go by the stone waymarkers) from Santiago. Sarria is the first town to lie outside the 100km from Santiago required for certification purposes, thus its importance as a starting point, especially for the many pilgrims sampling the Camino for the first time.
The itinerary you choose and how many days you take to walk it are completely up to you! Your time on the Camino might be restricted for work reasons, for example, and people walk at different paces. Even those with the most detailed plans will find themselves adjusting as they go along, either speeding up as they become fitter and better attuned to walking, or slowing down to take a rest day, a sightseeing day or to cope with a blister or two picked up along the way.
The stages indicated here are for illustrative purposes only and are bookended by obvious starting and finishing points (in most cases these are large towns or cities which can be accessed by public transport). Most people walk from St. Jean to Santiago in something between 30 and 35 days, but you can go quicker still if you wish, or of course take longer if you need to or if you wish to walk shorter distances each day. Walking in 32 days means an average of 24km a day.
A note on distances – a precise and agreed series of distance calculations does not exist. In some cases (e.g. Triacastela – Sarria), there are alternative routes of differing lengths. The official Camino Office in Santiago now enters 775km on your Credencial as being the distance you have walked from St. Jean to Santiago, yet guide books differ as to what that distance should be. John Brierley’s guide book has this at 785km and the Cicerone book at 778km. There are even discrepancies when it comes to measuring individual stages.
Furthermore, different regions have different ways of displaying measurement. In Galicia, there are knee-high stone markers every kilometre from 200km out, (every ½ kilometre for the last 100km), but common consensus has it that these are not strictly accurate either. For example, the “km 111” marker is in the middle of Sarria, yet it’s thought that Sarria is about 115km away from Santiago. Confused yet? Don’t worry – the best mindset to have is to take these guidelines as just that – a general indication of distance rather than a scientifically measured calculation.
On level ground and walking at a good pace, a pilgrim will cover 5km an hour, yet on a steep path up a mountain, this will fall to 2-3 km an hour. Our best advice is straightforward – don’t be in a rush and walk at a pace that you find comfortable!
A 32 day Camino walk can be completed in the following 5 blocks:
For a detailed breakdown of these 5 blocks, click here where you can also see some ideas on how to increase or reduce the length the number of days on your Camino.
Regardless, feel free to contact us!