I received a question from a reader about budgeting for the Camino de Santiago. This is an important question to think through for someone on the fence.
I am thinking about doing the Camino, but am wondering how much a trip like this costs. How much should I budget for lodging, food, etc.?
I walked the Camino a few years ago and it is definitely a trip you can do on a shoestring. However, to be on the safe side, I am going to overestimate the budgetary needs. Here is a breakdown of key expenditures:
The airline ticket will be the most expensive expenditure if you are coming from the US. Depending on how far in advance you book and your location within in the US, you can expect to spend anywhere between $600-1500. I used miles to get to Spain so my total cost was under $100.
After you land at one of the major airports you will need to find your way to your starting point. You should expect to pay no more than 100 euros to get to that point (planes, trains or automobiles). I took a bus from Madrid Barajas Airport to Pamplona and it cost me under thirty euros. From Santiago de Compostela, I headed to Porto via two buses (connection through Vigo) for a cost of thirty euros.
This estimate also depends on the quality and lodging experience you desire. If you plan to stay at the more traditional albergues, the cost is around ten euros per night (estimates based on when I walked the Camino a couple of years ago).
If you plan to have more of a princess package (like me!) and stay at small B&B or hostels (think private room and bathroom), you should expect to pay anywhere from 30-50 euros per night.
There are also hotels in the larger cities, which charge from 50 euros and up per night.
There are Peregrino (‘pilgrim’) dinners offered throughout the Camino, which is a HUGE meal…three courses, wine and bread for ten euros. Though Spain is known for having the big meal during lunch, most pilgrims eat the Pilgrim menu for dinner after the walking was complete for the night.
For the other meals, I hit up a grocery store to buy breakfast, snack, lunch food, etc.. every couple of days. Grocery stores are really cheap in Spain. I would estimate an average of five euros per day. It is also to stop at a café or bar along the way for a coffee, tea or beer. You may want another five euros per day for a comfortable pit stop (and the bathrooms are a nice respite from the fields).
Here are some other things to consider for your budget.
For many this might be the first time you are taking on such a formidable hike. If you are not sure or do not have the appropriate gear, I recommend reading my post on how to pack for the Camino. I spent a few hundred dollars to make sure I had the right equipment and clothing for the Camino (Link HERE).
It is wise to expect something will go wrong with your health – stomach problems, blisters, etc. I would definitely have pocket money for the pharmacy to purchase any remedies you might need along The Way. I spent about ten to twenty euros each time I went to the pharmacy (which for me, was about every other day for the first ten days). If you have more serious issues there are clinics you can stop in and pay a drop in fee of 100 euros.
Hopefully you meet some pilgrims you connect with and want to let loose with on the Camino. It is not expensive, but you may want to have about twenty to thirty euros for a fun night out with drinks and tapas.
Some people bought phone plans to stay in contact with their loved ones back home and make it easier to take care of logistics in country. You can purchase a SIM card at the airport or buy an international plan with a limited amount of data before you leave the US. Check with your provider for quotes.
You may want to get a memento of the pilgrimage once you arrive in Santiago de Compostela or, if you were like me, throw out most of your clothes out and buy a few new items at Zara! Let’s just remember I am the self-proclaimed princess of the Camino and say that the budget should be a few hundred euros. J (TIP: If you buy enough at one particular store you can fill out a VAT refund request at the airport on your way out and will be refunded part of the tax. You are welcome!)
Based on these estimates, you can expect to spend 30 to 70 euros per day on the Camino. Take that value and multiply it by the number of days you plan to walk, plus transportation and any other miscellaneous expenditures and BAM you’ve got your budget!
ATMs are ubiquitous throughout Spain. Additionally, most establishments took my credit card. I would check out your foreign currency fees and bank fees associated with your cards. I recommend carrying cash with you at all times. It is helpful to pay in cash at albergues and cafes along the way.
Hope this answered your question on how to budget for the Camino. Next time we will cover more ground in Navarra and wine country! Please use the comment space to request topics you would like covered. Also, if you liked this post and want to read more, join ‘la princesa del camino’ newsletter to make sure you do not miss a post. ¡Buen Camino!