Public Health Warning! Take all measurements of distance between places with a pinch of salt – no matter what the author might claim. The Pilgrim Office in Santiago lists 775km on its certificates as being the distance from St. Jean to Santiago, yet guidebooks proclaim otherwise (John Brierley – 785km / Cicerone 778km / Sergi Ramis 677km). The truth is that nobody is certain, nobody knows precisely from a scientific measurement point of view and to be honest, nobody should care!
Even the stone waymarkers in Galicia aren’t accurate, for example, km111 is on the main street in Sarria, yet we estimate Sarria to be 115km from Santiago. Someday soon, these distances will be standardised, but in the meantime, what you have here is as good as you’ll get.
The distances below add up to 774km, corresponding to the official certification of 775km allowing for rounding off distances, and having walked the Camino and estimated distances against the time taken to cover them, they are as accurate as you need.
Roughly speaking, walking at a brisk pace on even ground, you can expect to cover about 5km an hour. This reduces dramatically when climbing steeply, such as into O Cebreiro, at the Alto del Perdón or approaching the Cruz Ferro while different people walk at different paces.
While we are suggesting 32 stages as a possibility here, we also have a couple of suggestions as to how you might shorten or lengthen the walk, depending on the time available to you.
Finally, the stages and stopping points below are completely subjective – stop where you want and when you want. These stages allow for stopping in the largest towns and cities on the way, by and large, while trying to keep the daily distances evenly balanced. Half of the fun is plotting your way as you go and the most delightful treats often present themselves when least expected. Walking in 2014, we weren’t going to stop in Foncebadón (day 22) – but upon arriving in Rabanal del Camino (the previous village) we just decided to keep going a bit more and ended up high up in the mountains with stunning views, no wifi, an albergue owner who wouldn’t let us watch the World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany but ended up sharing a group dinner involving the most amazing paella ever cooked, the evidence of which is in the photo on the right! (Hint – use monkfish bones and shrimp heads when creating your stock!)
St. Jean Pied de Port to Logroño (7 days, 164km)
Logroño to Burgos (5 days, 124km)
Burgos to León (7 days, 180km)
León to Sarria (8 days, 192km)
Sarria to Santiago (5 days, 114km)
Shortening your itinerary by 1 day
Here are a few suggestions as to how you might “save” a day if you are under pressure of time. The most obvious one is to walk from Sarria-Santiago in 4 days instead of 5 and with your walking legs well-established at this point on your journey, you should find this well within your capability.
Adding a day