How Much Does the Camino de Santiago Cost?

Le Puy Camino

The main costs for any of the Camino de Santiago routes are your daily budget on the Camino and getting to and from your start and finish points.  For most of in Europe it is fairly quick and easy to get to and from any of the routes – not so from North America, (see travel page here), however the exchange rate between the US Dollar, Sterling and Euro currently makes walking the Camino cheaper than it has ever been for pilgrims from American and Britain.

Day to Day Costs While Walking

The most popular Camino routes are the Camino Frances and the Portuguese Camino.  Both of these routes have good infrastructures for pilgrims; the most important of these are hostels, which are the cheapest, friendliest and best places to stay to meet and talk with other pilgrims.  Just a quick note on the hostels: almost all of the hostels you see in any pilgrim guide are only for pilgrims.

Le Puy Camino

Day to day living can be very reasonable – alternatively, I know of people that stayed in hotels all along the route. I have met one man who stayed in every Parador he could.  I stayed almost always in Albergues, two nights while on the Camino I stayed in a pension, (bed and breakfast), it cost about €20, (budget €30 for small towns and villages, €50 min for larger towns and cities), each time for one room for myself – this though is along the way in small villages and towns – expect to pay a lot more in Santiago or any of the major cities where it is about double this for a low-end hotel.

Therefore:

Albergue each night     8 to 15 euro

Evening Meal            10 to 12 euro for the pilgrim menu

I would start each morning in a cafe having breakfast, about €3 inc coffee.  During the rest of the day I would spend about €4 on coffee, tea, cold drinks, and ice cream.  Lunch I would buy and make myself: cold meats, cheese, bread, and fruits, about €3.  Sometime I would eat in the Albergue in the evening, cooking with other pilgrims, sometimes eating the pilgrim menu.  In all the large cities I spent much more, between €20 and €30, as I treated myself to some great seafood – though this was only four times before Santiago de Compostela.

Total costs per day: 35 Euro, about $38 or £28

Hostel: 12, Evening Meal: 12, Breakfast: 3, Lunch: 3, sundries: 5 – note no beer money included here.  (My words of warning: my budget for any trip has never been under my plan it has always been over)

Effectively you can walk the whole route taking 31 days and it will cost about €1,085, personally, I would budget for another few hundred if possible, things just happen.

My daily costs were between €20-30 – back in 2005, in 2012 walking in France I spent about €50 per day.  Over the four weeks that I walked I spent about €1000, €250 per week, therefore just over €35 per day on average.  I always made sure that I always had money for any emergencies, (never used or needed).  My bank cards worked fine in all the Spanish bank machines and the same for my credit card.

How much did you spend per day on the Camino is a thread and poll on the forum.  The largest percentage spent between €20 and €30 per day, though it is very closely followed by those who spent between €30 and €40.

Travel to the Start of the Camino

Getting to the start points of any of the Camino routes is not simple and takes a little planning.  For example, the most common start points of the Camino Frances, St Jean Pied de Port or Pamplona, do not have large airports.  If you are travelling from outside of Europe this thread on the Camino forum has great information on the best connections for flying to and train travel in Spain.

Paris

I flew to Paris the first time, and travelled by overnight train on SNCF to Bayonne; the connection from here to St Jean is easy and very short; alternatively stay on the same train to Pamplona.  The second time I drove from Vienna and left my car at Roncesvalles for four weeks, the car park is free but has no security.

The amount you spend on air travel will depend on how far away from Spain you live and how you get there.  However air travel is a major expense – currently Skyscanner.com is my favorite booking engine for comparing flight costs.

Getting home.  I think most would book their return flights in advance, more so if you are flying outside of Europe.  I didn’t.  I wanted some flexibility; I had all summer and did not know if I would finish the Camino before I went to France and Spain for more travel.

It can be expensive to pay for any returns flights from Santiago de Compostela if they are not booked in advance. If you have to be back for a certain time for work, family or anything I would recommend booking your tickets in advance, especially in July and August.  There is a rumor that goes around every year that Spanish Airlines will provide reduced flight prices for pilgrims – I have never seen any evidence of this.

 

36 replies
  1. Elsie
    Elsie says:

    I’m thinking of retirement in the spring of 2016. I’ve been reading in the forums about el Camino and enjoying it very much. Sometimes I got lost in the read. I would like to go late March, early April. Walking the Perenese at that time, would I have a problem with the weather at that time of year? Thank you for the great reading adventure.

    Elsie

    Reply
    • Neil
      Neil says:

      Hi Elsie….. I left St Jean on 4th April in 2013 after the worst winter in the area for 50 years. The police had closed the Napoleon Route over the top of the Pyrenees and the alternative was to use the road up to Roncensvalles. Mainly I walked on marked pathways away from the road. The first day I made 8 kms I think it was, which was far enough as I was just getting used to packing and carrying kit, and so it was really a test run on how I would move for the next 30+ days. The weather was bad, wet snow and rain, water running down the paths, mud and steep climbing. None the less, I enjoyed the journey up to Roncensvalles, met good people enroute, stayed in a good municipal albergue, enjoyed eating at a small Basque restaurant and in no way, felt deprived from missing going over the top on the Napoleon route where people had been lost in the snow and had to be rescued, at their cost, by helicopter, and a Canadian had died when he had walked off a cliff in a blizzard. Take great heed as to what the locals say about the weather. Even on the Spanish side for about a week the weather continued wet and cold before improving. The Camino will live with you for the rest of your life….Enjoy!
      Neil.

      Reply
  2. David
    David says:

    Avoid the Pyrenees altogether by starting your Camino on the Spanish side of the frontier at Roncesvalles.It is an official starting point and you can obtain your credencial ther.

    Reply
    • betty S. Denver
      betty S. Denver says:

      David what reasosn(s) for starting in Roncevalles instead of St Jean? I plan to send my backpack on from Orrisson to R. as I understand that’s a possibility. I am leaving US on April 14. I appreciate amy input. Thanks

      Reply
      • judy
        judy says:

        The first day from the French side is very difficult so if you want to ease into walking start in Roncesvalles.I did and had no feet problems for the entire journey

        Reply
  3. Jim Schramm
    Jim Schramm says:

    Hi Elsie.
    This is my first response to a forum, for some reason I felt compelled.

    My wife and I walked the Camino Frances in Sept-Oct, 2014. We flew from Western Canada to Paris, took a train to Bayonne, then a bus to St.Jean Pied de Port. We walked to Roncevalles the next day and kept on walking until we arrived in Santiago de Compestela. It was foggy that first day then hot and sunny until we reached Galacia ,from there we had fog and some rain and cooler nights.

    The trek across the Pyrenees was challenging but worth every doubt:) We both talk about that day as the defining moment of our caminos and it became our standard for every further challenge we met, reassuring us that we were capable of more than we thought possible.

    This experience changed us. For 34 days, our only job was to walk. It was the best job in the world.

    My only advice is to enjoy the walk and have faith:) the camino will give you what you need.

    Buen camino,

    Jim S.

    Reply
    • Leslie
      Leslie says:

      Try searching using skyscanner.net – change the settings while searching to include flights with a stop over. That way connecting flights via Paris, London, and Dublin will show up. I hope this helps. However I know a lot from the US fly in and out of Madrid but book well in advance. Madrid is an easy train journey to most parts of the Camino.

      Reply
  4. Jim
    Jim says:

    Hi Susan,
    We flew to Paris then took a train to St. Jean Pied dePort. I think the train was around $150.

    Buen Camino

    Reply
  5. Peter V
    Peter V says:

    An alternative could be to fly to Plamplona take a taxi to Roncesvalles, sleep there and take an early taxi to St Jean. Leave your larger backpack in R. and take a small pack to cross the Perenesse. Did that and worked fantastic.

    Reply
    • Margaret Johnson
      Margaret Johnson says:

      Fly into Pau, train to Oloron St Marie, Bus from Oloron to Canfanc in Spain then you can walk to Jaca. Once you are at Canfranc you are over the Pyrenees also you can start your walk Oloron.
      Pyrenees we found the February and March we get more snow, August, September and October are the driest months. September and cooler better for walking.

      Reply
  6. Viv
    Viv says:

    Hellooo, my time puts me walking towards the the last 10 days or week in October 2016- ie the last section of the walk through Santiago and to the ocean. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated on my short wander at this time of the year- winter rains etc I’m aware of. I haven’t been reading any info on this site for a while and not sure of how many Kms the average walker does per day- terrain in this last section?. Look forward to overall information on walk and needs at this time of year and ocean end. Regards Viv

    Reply
    • Ian hackett
      Ian hackett says:

      Hi Viv .I’ve just returned from the camino from St jean to santiago .then onto finesterre
      Just be warned this last stretch from santiago is 88km and it is awsome I loved every jaw dropping minute .you will do it in 4 days easy although 3 is enough .but knowing what I know now I would take 5 days just to soak it all in .day 2 is very steap so be warned but worth every step ….bien camino

      Reply
  7. Kata
    Kata says:

    A day cost on the camino can be much more cheaper….it depends everything on you…first of all, the prices in alberque start at 2 euro not at 8, and anyway there are the donativo ones where you pay how much you want. I made the camino 2 years ago, and for me a day cost was between 6-15 euros. I stayed a lot of times in alberque donativo (where I always left 2-5 euros) or in my tent in the nature. I shared the pilgrim menu a lot of times with somebody because it’s very copious and like this I could save also the half of the price. So it can be cheaper, but sometimes is not so confortable. Anyway the camino is a lesson for everyone to learn how to live without limits out of the normal comfort zone. It changed me a lot, it was my best period in my life.

    Reply
    • Natalie
      Natalie says:

      Hi,

      I’m thinking of doing the Camino next month (March). It’s kind of a last minute decision, but one I’ve been thinking about for many years.

      I may be short on time
      (And money), so my thoughts are turning to the idea of cycling it. Does anyone have any experience of transporting there bikes from the UK (cheaply?). Also, any advice about where would be best to stop my journey be helpful.

      My original plan had been to do the French route, but I’ve read lots of people saying that it’s difficult to get over the mountains and down into Spain..

      Would it be easier to start in Spain?

      I am willing to travel by train/plane/bus.. and I’m already considerin talking my bike to Paris by Megabus (because it’s cheap.) I then need to the south of France or the north of spain.

      In my mind this seems like a ‘cheap’ plan, but I’m not sure. I know that there are cheap flights from Stansted to Biarritz, but they charge £55+ to carry a bike (which is more then price of the flight!).

      Anyway,I hope someone can enlighten me on how I can do this on a budget.

      Thanks in advance.

      Natalie

      Reply
      • Leslie
        Leslie says:

        If you are cycling you might be better starting at Roncesvalles or Pamplona.

        You can get buses or a train from Paris to Pamplona.

        Reply
  8. Natalie
    Natalie says:

    Hey life lessons,

    Would you mind elaborating on how you manage to keep your budget down to €20 a day. I need to do this for the least amount of money possible.. and at home (in my current situation) I am really thrifty and frugle with my money and resources, but I’m thinking it might be harder to continue that in a place that I don’t know (or know what it available). I would really be looking to prepare most of my own food.

    Thanks again for any advice

    Reply
  9. Rickyg
    Rickyg says:

    Although there were many days when we envied the bikers who got up well after dawn (because they could) and zipped (with very strong legs) 100k or more to their next stop, I always felt they missed many of the best parts such as making close friends with fellow pilgrims (“amigos del Camino’) and nosing around small villages. If you walk, do start in SJPP. The first day may be the hardest but it is the best! Stop in Orission, make a reservation well in advance.

    Reply
  10. David
    David says:

    Walked the Burgos to Santiago section in Sept.2014.Thirty euros per day was ample as long as you stick to Pilgrim Hostals/Menus.Im sure it would be possible to do the same this year(I am returning in April) and costs can be cut even more if you buy food in stores and avoid sundries like the odd coffee and ice cream in cafes.On my previous trip I was able to enjoy a few drinks in the evenings and not go over budget.The company and conviviality was superb.David U.K.

    Reply
  11. Janet
    Janet says:

    I am planning on bringing a pop up tent and buying my food to keep the cost down. As a treat I will eat out has anyone done this before or is anyone else thinking about that?

    Reply
  12. Rickyg
    Rickyg says:

    It cost us about 30 Euros per day: Albergue about 10 Euros daily, breakfast 3 Euros. Lunch 5 Euros. Dinner 10 Euros. Coffee 1 to 2 Euros. One can reduce meal costs by buying the next day’s food at one of the many grocery stores in every village. One can also cut down on the 10 Euro evening meal by joining in with other pilgrims who cook for self & friends. To me the Pilgrims Dinner offered at most albergues is well worth it. Wine included and friendship served in abundance.

    There are ATM’s available in most medium sized towns and for sure in places like Pamplona, Logrono, Leon & Burgos. Simply draw out a couple hundred Euros every few days. Take normal precautions in safeguarding your cash.

    Reply
  13. Errol van Rensburg
    Errol van Rensburg says:

    We walked from SJPDP in September 2016 and took 34 days to Santiago. We always ate out, had many beers and stayed in a mixture of Private and Official Refuges. Our cost was 44 euros per day, and that included our bus tickets to Madrid, a bus tour to finisterra, and hotel in Santiago

    Reply
  14. vix ta
    vix ta says:

    ive been thinking of doing the camino, do you have to pay to walk it, like an entrance fee at the gate,? I will be traveling from NZ and will be on a tight budget cheers vix

    Reply
  15. vix ta
    vix ta says:

    Thank you Leslie, how much does a pilgrim passport cost, do you think the walk is suitable for a 16 year old to do also….thinking of taking my youngest son with me?

    Reply
    • nickwhitley
      nickwhitley says:

      I did the camino with a friend last year when we were 17. It definitely is doable and I’m sure he’ll love it!

      Reply
  16. nickwhitley
    nickwhitley says:

    Brilliant article, the cost of the Camino is something to take a lot of considering over, you definitely don’t want to be causght short! I cycled the Camino de Santiago last year and really enjoyed it. The amazing landscapes and super friendly people make it an experience to remember. I actually made a list of The 7 Things I wish I knew before I cycled Camino de Santiago, where I talk about the need to half the clothes you bring and double the cash! Check it out if you’d like to! http://whitleytravels.com/7-things-cycled-camino-de-santiago/

    Reply
  17. Pete C
    Pete C says:

    I walked for 3 weeks last September 2016 from Pamplona to Burgos. I was very careful with my spending – skipping some meals and always sleeping in large dorms and was absolutely shocked to find that I spent €700!!!! ie €50 a day. The Comino is a lot more expensive that I had planned.

    Reply

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