Camino de Santiago breaks record for annual number of pilgrims

Image of Camino de Santiago's record-breaking pilgrim.

Image of Camino de Santiago's record-breaking pilgrim. Credit: Twitter@AlfonsoRuedaGal

WITH less than two months of 2023 still remaining, Santiago de Compostela has announced a new record for the number of visitors on its famous Camino de Santiago in one year.

This Sunday, November 12, José Manuel Borrás, a 79-year-old native of Logroño, now resident in Huelva, brought the total number of pilgrims visiting the Galician capital to 433,308. He took 30 days to complete his 1,200 km journey from the city of Malaga, according to

Alfonso Rueda, the president of the Xunta de Galicia was present to greet Borrás in the Praza de Praterías. Accompanied by Xosé Merellesm, the Director of Tourism, and the dean of Santiago, they handed the record-breaking visitor gifts on behalf of both the regional administration and the Church.

‘I feel overwhelmed, but very happy. 1,250 km is a record for me’ exclaimed Borrás, before pointing out that he had unspecified religious and family reasons for walking the Camino de Santiago.

When did he embark on his pilgrimage?

One month ago, the Huelva native embarked on the Camino from Málaga, along the Vía de la Plata to Astorga. There, he joined the Camino Francés, the most popular among pilgrims.

‘I’ll remember it for the rest of my life’, joked Borrás, as he recalled experiencing the recent storms, and even snow, in O Cebreiro.

This was not the first time that José Manuel undertook the Camino to Santiago, as he had already done it 10 years ago from Huelva.

He stressed that a Galician association had promoted and disseminated it and ‘it’s fantastic’. In fact, he assured that it was ‘almost better’ than many other roads.

José Manuel encouraged people to try the route

Likewise, he insisted that the Camino was ‘something fantastic’ and encouraged everyone to do it or, at least, to try it. Although he did the route alone, José Manuel valued the ‘magnificent people’ he encountered. ‘You feel supported and happy to achieve it’, he said.

José Manuel explained that he travelled many kilometres accompanied by many French people, because, he highlighted, ‘Spaniards are hardly seen’.

Now, he will spend a couple of days in Galicia before return to Huelva without ruling out repeating an experience that, he noted, ‘is never planned, it just happens’.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at