How many stages does the Camino de Santiago have?
Many people ask us how many stages the Camino de Santiago has and how many kilometres are usually walked daily. You can’t give a direct answer to this question, so on our blog, we decided to dedicate an article to this topic.
The number of stages on the Camino de Santiago depends on many factors, and not all routes have the same distance. Here is what to consider when planning the kilometres per day on the Camino de Santiago and on which stages we recommend splitting each of the routes.
Number of kilometres per day on the Camino de Santiago
Whichever pilgrim route you choose, the way in which you decide to make a pilgrimage, the time of year, the available infrastructure, as well as your physical fitness, are some of the elements you should consider when determining the number of daily kilometres, you can do on the Camino de Santiago and on how many stages in which to divide the route. Here’s how each of these factors influences stage planning.
Characteristics of the pilgrim routes
The route of the Camino de Santiago and the starting point you choose clearly determines the number of stages. For starters, not all routes have the same number of kilometres. It’s not the same to do the last 100 kilometres of the Camino de Santiago than aim to complete the more than 1,000 km of the Via de la Plata.
At this point you can make an approximation of how many stages you can divide the Camino de Santiago by calculating that it is usual to walk between 20 and 25 kilometres a day. However, the difficulty on the route or of certain sections of the route influence this average.
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On routes that face many slopes, the number of kilometers per day is usually lower, since the route is much more demanding and exhausting. Forcing the pilgrim to move more slowly and rest more frequently.
If you want to know more details about the difficulty each of the sections to Compostela, you can consult the post about the map of the Camino de Santiago, in it, you will find the profile of the main pilgrim routes. You can also check out the article on the routes on the Camino de Santiago, where we provide you with more details about their level of difficulty.
Kilometres per day according to chosen mode
Another factor that influences the number of stages in which you can divide the Camino de Santiago is the mode of pilgrimage. On a bicycle, the average kilometres travelled per day, on the Camino de Santiago, is 50 to 80.
However, bikers, as mentioned in the previous section, should also consider the difficulty of plotting their stage planning. They must also take into account the state of the surface when distributing the stages.
Pilgrims who ride bicycles, on many occasions, are forced to divert along the road layout, as the official route is impassable. In many cases, these detours represent a large increase in the number of kilometres between one point and another, compared to the route followed by the pilgrims who go on foot.
The seasons can also influence distance
The time of year also influences how many stages you can do the Camino de Santiago. In winter, there are fewer daylight hours, so the number of kilometres per day is much lower than in spring, when, on the Camino de Santiago, pleasant temperatures are enjoyed almost all day and the days are longer.
During the summer, although you enjoy many more hours of daylight, the midday hours are very hot. This forces pilgrims to get up a lot earlier and complete their tour before lunch or stop in some locality, during the hottest hours. Therefore, climate is also a factor that influences when calculating in how many stages you can complete a certain route on the Camino de Santiago.
The physical fitness of each pilgrim
The average of 20 or 25 kilometres daily on the Camino de Santiago, on foot, is calculated for an average pilgrim, that is, that he or she is not a professional athlete but who is accustomed to exercise or those persons who have previously trained.
If this is not your case, it is advisable to start with shorter stages during the first days on the Camino de Santiago. So as you go along, your body will become accustomed to physical exercise and strengthening your muscles.
Distance between towns and villages
Some routes, such as the Camino Frances, have excellent infrastructure and therefore the number of kilometres per day may be lower. In it, you will find many hostels, hostels and other types of accommodation where you can spend the night. Therefore, the Camino Frances is one of the routes preferred by pilgrims, as it is one of the leastdemanding itineraries, in terms of distance.
However, not all routes are the same. The Camino del Norte or La Via de la Plata are two examples of this. On these routes, and in many cases, the long stages are marked by the absence of intermediate locations where you would be able to stay overnight.
Number of stages on the Camino de Santiago and kilometres per day
Next, and to facilitate your itinerary planning, we will tell you about how many stages we recommend to divide each of the routes of the Camino de Santiago into. Likewise, we tell you some aspects that you should consider about each specific route, if you decide to vary the distribution that we propose.
How many stages does the Camino Frances have?
If you do the complete Camino Frances, from Saint Jean Pied de Port, we recommend dividing the route into 33 stages. You can check out our guide to the stages on the Camino Frances to find out more about them.
There is only one fact that we want to highlight in this article. Keep in mind that the first stage on this route is especially demanding.
Therefore, if you are not in good physical condition, you can start your pilgrimage from Roncesvalles, in which case, the number of stages is reduced to 32. Another option is to divide this first stage, as we told you in the article we dedicate to the stage that joins Saint Pied de Port with Roncesvalles. In this case, there would be 34 stages.
Long distance stages
In the route you will find some stages that are considered long distance, as they approach 30 km. One of them is the stage that joins Los Arcos with the city of Logroño. It is 27 km long, but since it does not face any big slopes, if you have started from Saint Pied de Port or Roncesvalles, you should not find it difficult to complete it.
Another is the one that joins Logroño with Nájera. This stage faces 28 kilometres in total, but as with the previous stage, unless you plan to stop a lot during the day, you should not find any inconvenience.
Stage 26 joins Villafranca del Bierzo and O Cebreiro. It is one of the most feared stages on the Camino Frances, as, in addition to its 27.8 kilometres of travel, it faces steep slopes. This stage is quite common for pilgrims to divide it into 2 parts, and to face the ascent to the mountain pass of O Cebreiro during the early hours of the day.
The longest stage of the Camino Frances, according to the distribution we recommend, is the one that joins Palas de Rei with Arzúa. It is 28.5 km long, but since at this point on the Camino de Santiago, most pilgrims already carry many accumulated daily kilometres, so the long distance is usually not an inconvenience. However, there is always the option to stay overnight in Melide.
If you are not in very good physical shape or simply want to have more time to visit the locations that come your way, you can divide the previous four stages into 2. In this way, the number of stages of the Camino de Santiago Frances would increase to 37 or 38, counting that you start from France.
Short distance stages
On the contrary, on the Camino Frances, you will find 6 stages that are considered low distance. That is, they each have less than 20 km of travel.
The above means that if you are in good shape and want to lengthen any of them, you can divide the route into fewer stages. Some people even complete the Camino de Frances in less than 30 stages.
Number of stages on the Camino del Norte
The Camino del Norte is the route that links Irun with Compostela. It is the second longest layout and also one of the most difficult.
We recommend dividing the Camino de Santiago del Norte into 34 stages. You can check out our guide to stages on the Camino del Norte to get more information about them.
The Camino del Norte has 7 stages that face more than 30 kilometres each. They are:
- Portugalete – Castro Urdiales (34,6 km)
- Castro Urdiales – Laredo (30,6 km)
- Llanes – Ribadesella (31,4 km)
- Ribadesella – Sebrayo (31,3 km)
- Sebrayo – Gijón (35,8 km)
- Luarca – La Caridad (30,5 km)
- Baamonde – Sobrado (41,2 km)
Dividing them sometimes is not easy, as some of them lack intermediate locations with services. However, there are few impossible things on the Camino de Santiago. You can always veer off a kilometre or two to find a way to divide these long stages.
If we analyse the distribution of stages on the Camino del Norte, you will see that there are 5 days of 20 kilometres daily or less. If you are in very good physical shape, you could finish it in 30 stages, if you propose to try it.
However, most pilgrims are thankful for these short stages, as it is a very demanding route that will test the resistance of your knees. The low distance stages are:
- Gernika – Lezama (15 km)
- Lezama – Bilbao (11,2 km)
- Muros de Nalón – Soto de Luiña (15,3 km)
- Cadavedo – Luarca (15,3 km)
- Villalba – Baamonde (16,6 km)
Stages on the Camino Portugues Central Route
The Camino Portugues Central Route is one of the easiest routes. In our guide we recommend dividing it into 28 stages.
However, more than half of the stages face less than 20 km. Since it is a route with few slopes, if you have little time, you can merge several stages, without much effort.
The distribution of stages that we propose to you in Santiago Ways for the Camino Portugues Central Route only has 3 days with more than 30 km of travel. These are:
- Santarém – Golega (32,3 km)
- Golega – Tomar (30,5 km)
- Barcelos – Ponte da Lima (34,5 km)
How many stages are there on the Camino Primitivo?
The Camino Primitivo joins Oviedo with Compostela. This route is considered the most difficult pilgrim route.
We advise you to divide the Camino de Santiago Primitivo into 14 stages and we do not recommend it to people who are not in good physical condition. The average of the stages of the Camino de Santiago Primitivo is 22 kilometres per day.
If you want to do the tour in a smaller number of stages, we always recommend walking more kilometres in the final stages. From Melide, the Camino Primitivo joins the Camino Frances, and the difficulty on the route decreases.
Stages on the Camino Portugues Coastal Route
As on the Camino Portugues Central Route, The Camino Portugues Coastal Route lacks slopes. So it is one of the best itineraries to do by bike or for pilgrims with low physical fitness.
In our guide to the Camino Portugues Coastal Route, we advise dividing the route into 12 stages. However, anyone who is reasonably fit can complete it in fewer stages.
From the distribution of stages that we propose, there are only two days that have more than 30 km. One is the stage that joins Porto with Póvoa de Varzim (30.6 km) and the other that runs between Guarda and Baiona (30.7 km).
The Camino Inglés
The Camino Ingles is the pilgrim route that has the least number of stages, as it is the shortest route. We suggest dividing the route between Ferrol and Santiago de Compostela in 5 stages.
Among these, there are two stages that exceed 30 km, so if you are not in good shape, or prefer to enjoy rural Galicia calmly, you can plan a distribution of 7 stages. In good physical condition, you can complete this route even in just 3 stages.
The Camino de Finisterre
The classic Camino de Santiago Finisterre, which unites the Cathedral of Compostela with Cape Fisterra, is considered as an epilogue of the Camino de Santiago and not a pilgrim route. However, we wanted to include it in this article because if you do it in reverse, it does count as a Camino de Santiago.
The Camino de Finisterre from Muxia can be divided into 6 stages. From Finisterre in 4.
Remember that one option to complete a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is to combine the Camino de los Faros with the Camino de Finisterre. If you are interested in this alternative route, be sure to check out our article on the Camino de Santiago in reverse.
We hope that with the information we have provided in this article, you will find it easier to calculate the number of kilometres daily on the Camino de Santiago and in how many stages you can divide the route. If you have any doubts, leave us a comment at the end of this post or write to us on our Facebook ,and our team will advise you on the best way to organize your pilgrimage.