Tuesday, September 02, 2008


(See at the end of this post suggestions on how to take your money - cards, cash, cheques etc.,)

People often ask the question:

"How much should I budget for walking the camino?"

The answer depends on many variables.
1: Are you a poverty stricken student
2: or a middle - of - the - road traveler?
3: Are you an affluent traveler?
4: Are you a budget traveler?

Pilgrims who need to watch every cent can do the camino on a daily budget of about 15 euro. This will mean staying in the 'donativo' albergues - and giving a small donation of about 3 euro (please, give a small donation if you can!): not eating in restaurants or cafe-bars: buying wine, beer or cold drinks in supermecados or markets: preparing your own food in the albergues or eating mainly bread and pasta for a month: not paying to visit museums or other monuments (there are many places that give a pilgrim discount when you produce your credential) and not buying chocolates, ice-creams or other luxuries. Frugal, but it can be done.
If you don't want to stay in the albergues, prefer to eat in restaurants, and can afford hotels, visits to the museums and Cathedrals - your pilgrimage could cost about 100a day: 3€ for breakfast: 5 - 10€ for lunch: 10 - 15 € for dinner: 30 - 45€ for a hotel room: plus extras such as wines, beers, cold drinks, sweets, museum and cathedral entry fees.

If you are a middle-of-the-road traveler watching your budget, you'll need to decide on these questions:

Will you be camping, staying in refuges or in hotels? Check my post on Refuges/Albergues here

Will you be walking alone or with friends? (If you spend an occasional night in a hotel or fonda [inn] it is cheaper to share a room.)

Will you eat in restaurants or be cooking your own food?

If you intend staying in the refuges (albergues) and eating frugally, there is a way to estimate daily costs.


This simple calculator has been designed so that you can get an idea of costs involved whilst walking the camino from any town to Santiago. It is based on an average price of the albergues (which vary widely by region and between private and public shelters) of 6 euros per night.

Daily expenditure will include the cost of breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks: the cost of washing and drying clothes in some shelters, and any costs that may arise from a visit to monuments, etc. They estimate an average cost of 24 euros a day. Add this to the 6 euro per night and the total estimate of the cost of walking to Santiago is about 30 euros per day.
Some 2008 costs:
Beds in albergues: From 3in Galicia to about 9 in an upmarket albergue.
Beds in a Hostal (small hotel - often on one floor in a multi-storied building) - 30 - 45
Breakfast in a cafe-bar: 3
Lunch or Dinner: A few café-bar-cum-restaurants have 3 different prices on their menu.
1) It is cheapest to eat at the bar.
2) You could pay €1 – €1.50 extra to eat at an inside table
3) .. and a further €1 - €1.50 to eat at a table on the terrace outside.
Pan (bread) is often free but some places will put it on the table and then charge you for it if you eat it!
It is sometimes cheaper to drink your coffee at the counter inside the cafe-bar than it is to drink it at a table outside.
Menu del Peregrino or Menu del Dia €7 – €12

Most Menu del Peregrinos include a first and second course, a desert, bread, water and wine.
If you don’t want garlic soup, chicken and fries, or a thin slice of beef steak and fries , it will be cheaper to eat from the al la carte menu.

A Menu del Dia will offer more variety on the courses.
An average restaurant per person bill is 12€. A glass of beer or wine at a bar is 1.50€. A tapa is 2€: a good lunch (menu del dia) is 5- 12€

Some general prices:

Water – €1 – €1.50

Coke – €2

Vending machine cans – 90c to €1

Vending machine bottle – €1.20 - €1.50

Chocolate bar like mars, kit-kat etc - 45-70c

White wine small glass – €1.50 euro

Red wine small glass – €1.20 Large glass €2

Beer- 50, 60 cents in the shop for 0.33 lt can and €2,50- €3 for 500ml in the bar

Estrella beer (small glass) – €2

Amstel beer (large glass) – €3

Coffee – €1.10 to 1.40

Tortilla – €1.50 to €2

Patatas fritas – €3

Ensalada mixta – €6 – €9

Toasted sandwich – €5

Bocadillo – € 4 (50c with each extra filling)

Pasta – most from €6

Platas Combinados – fish or steak or chicken or pork – from €9

Hamburger – a meat patty on a roll (no extras) from €2.50 to €6

Pan (bread) – 80c to €1

Magnum ice cream – €2

Other ice-cream cups €3.50 – €4
Buying from a Supermecado:
Kilo of tomatoes: €2.50

Loaf of sliced bread - 2.45
Pack of butter - €1.10
Medium jar Nescafe coffee - 2.50
Box of 16 triangles of spreadable cheese- €1,10- €1,50
1 litre fresh milk: 1

Packet of weetabix (430g) 2.60

Fresh chicken: 2.60 -4per kilo

Pork chops: 5-6 per kilo

1 kilo bag of potatoes: 70c

Pack of 40 teabags - 2.00-2.50

Tomatoes (summer) 80c per kilo

Green peppers: 1.80 per kilo

Decent frozen pizza: 3.50

Spanish cheese - from around 3 for 250g

Cheddar - from around 6 for 250g
If you are a smoker:
A packet of 20 Benson & Hedges - €3.55
Other goods:
Bottle of shampoo: €3
Deodorant: €2

Shopping hours:

These can vary considerably between region, city, town and type of shop.
Small shops open from between 0830 and 0930 (or earlier for food shops) until between 1300 and 1400 and from around 1700 until between 1930 and 2100, Monday to Friday, then from 0930 until 1400 on Saturdays. In some areas shops are closed on Monday mornings. In south Spain, the siesta lasts from 1330 or 1400 until 1700. Department stores, hypermarkets and many supermarkets are open without a break for a siesta from around 0930 or 1000, until between 2000 and 2200 from Monday to Saturday.

Markets: You have indoor markets, called mercados, permanent street markets and traveling open-air street markets that move from area to area. Often prices can be 20% lower than in shops and remember to take along your bargaining skills!
Markets usually operate from 0900 until 1400 and sell a variety of goods such as: food, flowers, clothes, shoes, crockery, , cookware, linen, ceramics, cassettes/CDs, arts and crafts, household wares, carpets, jewelry, etc. Watch out for well name brands though, as they are usually fakes

Not all camino routes cost the same.

An exception is the
Primitive Way which is cheaper: 3 euros per day for lodging, 23 euros per daily costs.
Total: 26 euros per day during the 11 stages of the Primitivo del Camino. You must then add the 2 - 3 final stages on the Camino Frances to your costs. <!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--> <!--[endif]-->

Walking the Via Turonensis I found that costs were almost double that of walking in Spain. This was due mainly to the cost of accommodation.
There are fewer pilgrim refuges in France and your lodging will be in Youth Hostels, Gites, pensions,
Chambre d'Hotel etc. Some hotels chains offer cheap accommodation - eg: Formule 1 or Logis:
Where you might pay an average of 6 euros for a pilgrim refuge and 20 - 30 euro for a hotel in Spain you can expect to pay between 12 and 40 euro a night for a bed in France.

Gites cost from 10 to 15 euros ($15 to $22) per night, shared occupancy with communal bath.
B&Bs cost 30 to 60 ($45 to $90) per night, but are not available everywhere. If staying in gites, bring your own towel and a sleeping sack. Blankets and pillows are provided.
Meals: Many gites and some B&Bs offer evening meals for an additional 10 to 30 euros ($15 to $45). Most gites have kitchens where you can cook. All gites offer breakfast, which is often included in the price.

http://www.gites- de-france. com/gites/

http:/www.logis-de-france.fr Logis Hotels

Thank you to KiwiNomad who passed on this advice:
"One of the best websites I know for accommodation on the Le Puy route is this one:

(I have excluded travelers' cheques because many banks in small villages and towns do not have foreign exchange facilities and do not accept travelers cheques.)
Cash - Credit Card -Travel Money Card
Many small cafe-bars, grocery shops, markets, small hostals and all albergues do not accept credit cards so you will need sufficient cash available to pay for these. Its obviously not wise to carry too much cash, but even though most villages and towns have 'hole-in-the-wall' cash dispensers I prefer not to have to make too many withdawels whilst on holiday.

I have done 4 pilgrimages of between 4 and 6 weeks duration. I take 500 euros in cash: have 500 euros in a TravelMoney card, and have money available in a credit card.

I keep large denomination notes in a money belt and small denomination notes and coins in a wallet which is attached to my waist bag with a lanyard. This means that I can't leave it on a counter or put it down somewhere.

A TravelMoney Card:
"The Visa TravelMoney card has the security of travelers checks and the convenience of a Visa Debit card designed especially for travelers". (http://usa.visa.com)
It's a prepaid Visa card, which means you can spend up to the value placed on the card anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. You can shop in stores, online, over the phone, and by mail order. You can get cash at Visa/PLUS ATMs worldwide. Each time you make a purchase, the amount of that purchase is automatically deducted from the card.Visa TravelMoney can be used at Visa/PLUS ATMs around the world. ATM functionality varies among financial institutions and countries. To get cash at an ATM you should first follow any on-screen directions. If asked which account to access, try selecting “checking”, and if that does not work, use “credit.”
NB: You cannot use the card to hire a car as it is not personalised (it does not have your name or signature on it) but most car hire companies will be happy for you to make your final payment with the card when you return it.

Credit Card: You can use your credit card to pay for any hotels you might stay in, to book transport, to pay for meals in restaurants, and to withdraw cash if needed. Credit cards incur charges that the TravelMoney debit card does not so try to use your cash or withdraw money from your TravelMoney card rather than your credit card.


  1. sil.... I just read this comment you left on merlintoes blog:
    "When you get home, buy "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago - The Complete Cultural Handbook" by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson. It will be your camino Bible. You will want to go back and see again the places, people, monuments etc that you saw but did not fully comprehend. And THEN you can go back and walk el camino again!"
    I laughed when I read it.... When I was walking I found it hard to understand why some people could walk the Camino more than once. As soon as I finished I began thinking about a repeat effort!!!! And as soon as I arrived home I ordered just the book you have recommended here, with the idea of knowing more before I walk again... whenever that may be....

  2. Me again ;-) Have just read this post. One of the best websites I know for accommodation on the Le Puy route is this one:

  3. Anonymous7:08 pm

    Hi Sil, thanks so much for the book recommends - they will come in handy!


  4. Heeeyyyy!!!! Nice to meet you!!!

    Well, I am going to Santiago from Frebruary to June as an exchange student to Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. So I hope to do La Ruta de Santiago. Please feel free to contact me on my e-mail: warner_999@hotmail.com Thankyou very much for the information, I hope to hear more about you because you look as an incredible person. Hugs, Warner