How popular is the camino?
In the middle ages something like a quart of a million people walked the Camino from their homes. They would cross Europe and head for Santiago De Compostela and then turn around and walk home again.
It was a huge mammoth sea of people. In the 19th century the pilgrimage almost completely died out. And then something happened about 30 years ago, people started rediscovering the Camino again. It’s become one of the biggest things in the world. Less than a decade ago the were 100,000 a year ,last year well over 300,000.
Numbers are continuing to grow as people hear about it and want to test themselves. Every day from the end of February until November at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, people set off up the Napoleon pass on a 6 week trek.
In the height of the season over a thousand a day. But then numbers grow as you get closer to Santiago. They say you have to walk or cycle at least 100kms to get your certificate, so from Sarria onwards the numbers can be over 3,500 a day, all looking for a bed for the night and a unique experience.