The global pandemic caused by the rapid spread of Covid-19 has left few corners of the world untouched and none unaffected. Of course this includes the Camino de Santiago.
In such a rapidly changing situation, travel restrictions and regulations on the operation of businesses within Spain and Portugal are changing regularly. Before making any travel or other arrangements, it is advisable to check with your national pilgrim association or confraternity as well as consult your official government website for latest advice. Also check the Spanish and/or Portuguese government websites for travel information. Some helpful websites are listed below:
- Confraternity of S. James London: https://www.csj.org.uk/news/
- Camino Forum: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/
Some government websites:
- UK: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain
- Ireland: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/spain/
- USA: https://es.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
- Spanish Tourist Office: www.spain.info/
- Turismo de Portugal: www.turismodeportugal.pt/
Each of us will need to consider our own health when deciding to return to the camino but we urge you also to consider the health and wellbeing of the communities you pass through. Please be respectful and travel responsibly.
New editions of the guidebooks should be printed in time for the Holy Year 2021. Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, it has not be possible for us to walk all routes during 2020. However, the new guides will reflect any changes that have been notified to us.
Following the pandemic, we can expect on-going changes to the situation along the camino over the next year. Please feel free to advise us of any changes you come across. All along the route, pilgrim infrastructure and albergues that took decades to put in place are struggling to survive, some will probably close down. If you wish to support a camino business struggling in these times, links can be found via the camino forum. Note that any closure of facilities, such as lodging and restaurants, may only be temporary. Others may be due to a forced sale allowing for the possibility they may reopen for their original use at a later stage.
UPDATES TO THE 2020 EDITIONS
Pilgrims commencing in LISBON Please note:
Stage 3: Azambuja - Santarém (p.46) Casa Velha de Santo António in Valada and Casa do Rio in Morgado have now closed permanently. However, Quinta da Burra close by in Porto do Muge plans to reopen for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Pilgrims commencing in PORTO should note the following changes:
Stage 21: Pontevedra (p.172) Several new albergues have opened — click here for details and accompanying map. Note also the new alternative 'green' route that is now available on leaving Pontevedra (B) which follows the river to rejoin the main route (A) by Fuente Communidades Montes.
Stage 22: Caldas de Reis (p.180) Several new albergues have opened — click here to see changes and map.
Stage 26: O Cebreiro (p.233) please see updated accommodation and town plan.
The changes to the route are too numerous to include in this updates page. A complete new guidebook to the route should be available later this year or early next year detailing the extensive alterations to the route carried out over the past couple of years.
The route and accommodation remains largely unchanged since the combined edition was published in 2019.
A new guidebook to the CAMINO INVIERNO (Ponferrada to Santiago) and CAMINO SANABRES (the section from Ourense to Santiago) will be published later this year in time for the Holy Year 2021. Both routes, at over 100 km, entitle a bona fide pilgrim to a Compostela and both avoid the relative overcrowding of the routes into Santiago via the Camino Francés through Sarria and the Camino Portugués via Vigo or Tui. Ourense is very accessible with direct rail and bus services every hour throughout the day from Santiago and there also direct bus services from other main cities with airports including Madrid.
The tithing from royalties of the sale of these guidebooks continues to support various initiatives that seek to preserve the physical and spiritual integrity of the Caminos de Santiago. Thank you for buying these guidebooks that help support and promote the caminos.
PILGRIM STATISTICS 2019
347,578 pilgrims collected a Compostela in 2019.
The Camino Francés remains the most popular. Attracted 189,937 pilgrims (55%) of whom 96,124 (27%) commenced in Sarria and 33,197 (10%) in St Jean Pied de Port.
The Camino Portugués follows this with 72,357 pilgrims (21%) and 22,297 on the Camino da Costa. Porto remains the most popular starting point with 27,924 (8%) followed closely by Tui with 22,814 (7%).
The Camino Inglés continues to grow in popularity with 15,715 (5%).
Pilgrims from all over the world walk the camino each year. In 2019 Spaniards represented 42% followed by Italians 8%, Germans 8%, Americans 6%, Portuguese 5%, French 3%, Irish 2% and British 3% (15,958 combined). English speaking countries made up 14%.
The age range of pilgrims varied – with 55% being between 30 and 60.