How Much Does it Cost to Walk the Camino de Santiago?
When I began planning to walk my first Camino de Santiago, I found quite several guides on how to walk and details about the various routes. One resource I couldn’t find was how much does it cost to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
In 2019, I completed the Camino Portugués, arriving in Porto, Portugal from the United States and walking to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Along the way, I was very pleasantly surprised by the number of inexpensive options for lodging and meals.
AVERAGE DAILY EXPENSE ON THE CAMINO: $40
LOWEST DAILY EXPENSE: $27
HIGHEST DAILY EXPENSE: $80
The Cost of Accommodation on the Camino
There are several levels of accommodations along the Camino and – as such – the pilgrimage can be completed very inexpensively. Provided you have your pilgrim passport, nightly accommodations in albergues (dedicated pilgrim hostels) can range from $5 for a dormitory bed to $45 for a private room. Church-run albergues may be listed a “donativo” rather than a fixed cost; it is recommended that you pay $10-$20 per night based on the level of accommodation.
Generally, albergues provide simple accommodations such as communal bathrooms and kitchen facilities to prepare meals. Some albergues may also include a basic communal dinner in the cost of the bed. Not every albergue offers private rooms, so it may be beneficial to book ahead of your arrival if this is you preference.
Additional options in larger cities will include pensions (private rooms in a local home) and hotels, with the most lavish of all options being the government-run Parador hotels, which may offer a few pilgrim-rated rooms each night (call ahead for details). In my travels, I found that Booking.com was the best tool to researching and booking private accommodations.
Average Accommodation Costs Per Night:
$10-$15 Albergue Dormitory Bed
$35-$45 Albergue Private Room
$35-$60 Pension Private Room
$60-$110 Hotel Private Room
The Cost of Meals on the Camino
Whether you choose to prepare your own meals or stop in cafes along the Camino, the cost of meals is very reasonable. Breakfast is usually a very quick meal, such as pastry and fruit or oatmeal. I found that walking early snd stopping in a cafe after 9:00 AM for breakfast helped to avoid pilgrim and local crowds.
For lunch and dinner, many restaurants snd cafes along the Camino offer a “pilgrim menu” of simple items for a reduced cost. This generous value-menu will vary considerably across regions and establishments, but generally cost $5-$10 including an entree (such as chicken, hamburger, or pasta), salad or vegetable, bread, drink and – occasionally – a dessert. Speaking with restaurant owners I learned that offering this affordable option for pilgrims was their contribution to the Camino.
For those who drink alcohol, many establishments provide a tapas plate such as salami and cheese or breads with tomato spread with purchase of beer or wine. In some cases, the tapas were as filling as a meal!
As mentioned previously, many albergues offer communal meals and cooking facilities. Time spent cooking and cleaning may be worth the cost savings for many pilgrims. Also, tap water all along the Camino is drinkable and most pilgrims will carry refillable bottles. There is little need to purchase bottled water except as a luxury item.
Average Meal Costs Per Day:
Routine Expenses on the Camino
Pilgrim Passport: Available for a $2 donation in most churches, the pilgrim passport is the official record of your pilgrimage and required to stay in an albergue.
Laundry: I carried small detergent packets with me and hand-washed my clothes during the Camino. Laundromats are available in most larger cities at a cost of $3-$7 per load.
Money on the Camino
Almost every transaction along the Camino will be done in cash. With the exception of hotels and a very few large restaurants who may accept credit cards, I have found that most merchants only transact in cash. Digital currencies and phone payments may grow in popularity; however, pilgrims should be prepared to travel with cash and/or access ATMs throughout the Camino.
Camino Gear Expenses
One expense that will vary greatly among pilgrims is trekking gear. The extreme range of options and personal preferences make this difficult to project for many. My best advice is to try on every piece of gear and really invest your time in learning how other pilgrims pack BEFORE purchasing any gear for the Camino de Santiago. Out of all the gear you may select, your backpack and a good pair of walking/running/trail running shoes are the most important.
For my suggestions, please review this list of my recommended gear for the Camino de Santiago.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
- HOW TO: Make Your Own Camino Backpack Shell
- PACKING LIST: First-Aid Kit for Blisters and Foot Care
- HOW TO: Five Tips for Urban Hiking
- Packing List: Backpacking First-Aid Kit
- The Top Hiking GPS Apps for iPhone and Android
- Where was “The Way” filmed along the Camino de Santiago?
- Where are the Apostles of Jesus Buried?
- Packing List: My Recommended Gear for Walking the Camino de Santiago
- The Best Hiking Poles for the Camino de Santiago
- How To: Sleep Peacefully on the Camino de Santiago
Husband. Father. Backpacker. Pilgrim. Author.
My recent treks include the Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain as well as section hiking along the Florida Trail and the Appalachian Trail. In 2020 and 2021, I’m walking the California Missions Trail in the United States, as well as England’s ancient Pilgrims’ Way from London to Canterbury. Afterward, I’ll begin the Via Francigena, the historic way in Europe connecting Canterbury to Rome.