Record number of visitors and pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago

by Lorraine Williamson
Santiago pilgrims

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – The Holy Door of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña) closed on December 31, ending an atypical but successful Xacobeo. In 2022, more than 6 million pilgrims have registered. 

The decision to extend the celebration of the holy year and thus give new opportunities to the pilgrims who were unable to travel in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic has proven effective. Of all the more than 6 million pilgrims who registered, 430,000 were able to receive the Compostela. That is the accreditation they receive after a journey of more than 100 kilometres past the checkpoints. Nava Castro, Tourism Director of Galicia, informed broadcaster SER. 

Historic year 

The figure surpasses the 272,135 pilgrims of the 2010 Xacobeo and the 347,578 of 2019, the year before the pandemic. For this reason, Navas has labelled the year as historic, claiming that the 2027 and 2032 anniversaries are already in preparation. 

Related post: The other side of the famous Camino de Santiago 

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In total, pilgrims from 185 different countries have received their certificate for walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago. The main source markets for international visitors are Portugal, France and Germany, although many visitors from the United States or South Korea have also been recorded. 

Burn hiking boots 

Many pilgrims do not stop at Santiago Cathedral but continue to Finisterre on the coast. The so-called kilometre zero of the Camino de Santiago. This small headland with a lighthouse has always been considered the ‘end of the world’. 

One of the traditions is that to celebrate the end of their journey, pilgrims leave their hiking clothes behind or burn their shoes and scatter the ashes into the sea from the cliff at the lighthouse. Others just leave their stuff there. However, the municipality is now taking measures to prevent fire and pollution on the local coastline. One such measure is for walkers to deposit their belongings in a recycling container. This is placed next to the lighthouse. 

Container promotion campaign 

At the same time, the newspaper Heraldo de Aragón reports that to encourage the use of the container, the shoe manufacturers of Tierra del Aranda have designed the awareness campaign “Buen Camino, Mejor finale” in which they will raffle 100 pairs of shoes among walkers using the container. In addition, they receive a bag with the symbolic ashes of their boots. 

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