I’ve written a lot of posts about the Camino: what to pack, what surprised me most, the life lessons I learned. But the question that I’m asked time and time again is: How much does the Camino de Santiago cost? How much should I budget for it?
I was surprised by how inexpensive the Camino was; all in all, it’s probably one of the cheapest travel experiences you can have in Europe.
How much I spent on the Camino – $1,875 USD (1700 euros)
Excluding flights, getting there, and travel insurance, I spent about $1,875 USD walking the Camino.
In this post, I will break down exactly how I spent that amount. I will also share three sample budgets, so you can estimate what you’ll spend.
Here are a few factors that will affect your budget:
- Your ideal comfort level. Sleeping in hotels, having your bag carried, and eating in nice restaurants will all cost more.
- How many days you’ll be walking. The longer you spend on the Camino, the more it will cost. For reference, I spent 36 days walking the Camino – 33 days of walking, with 3 rest days.
Whatever your budget, know that cash is king on the Camino. I recommend always having 100 euros or so of cash on you. Not every town on the Camino has an ATM!
This post is divided into several sections, so if you’re only interested in a particular part, you can jump straight to it.
Camino de Santiago Budget Breakdown
Gear – $462.95 USD
Before your Camino, it’s important to invest the right gear. I already had some of the gear I needed, but I did purchase several key items:
- Hiking backpack – $75 USD (68 euros) – At the last minute, I bought an inexpensive Quechua Forclaz Air+ 40L Backpack from Decathlon. Honestly, it was kind of the worst. If I could do it again, I would buy the Osprey Tempest 40L Pack.
- Hiking sandals – $60 USD (55 euros) – I started my Camino in trail runners which I realized were way too small in the Pyrenees. After I limped into Pamplona, a Spanish shoe salesman convinced me to ditch my trail runners for hiking sandals. He was 100% right — they were the best possible choice for the Camino. Dorky, but so comfortable.
- Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Jacket – $299 USD – My biggest investment for the Camino was a GORE-TEX Arc’teryx rain jacket. Well worth it for the quality.
- 3 pairs of Merino wool socks – $28.95 USD – I bought these on Amazon, and was very happy with them! They kept my feet warm and dry.
RELATED: See my full Camino de Santiago packing guide here.
Getting There – $162 USD (147.95 euros)
Step 1: Flying to Europe – $0
If your first step is getting to Europe, I recommend checking for flights on flight aggregator sites like Google Flights, Momondo, and Skyscanner. I especially like Skyscanner because it finds deals from budget carriers that other sites miss.
For me, this part didn’t cost anything because I flew to Europe using points from my Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Step 2: Getting to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France – $162 USD (147.95 euros)
Many pilgrims start their Caminos in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, a small town at the base of the Pyrenees. It’s somewhat remote, so it can be hard to get there on a direct connection.
Here’s how I got there: I flew from Florence to San Sebastián, Spain ($105 USD), where I stayed in a hostel ($24 USD). The next morning, I took a bus using ALSA, a budget Spanish bus company, to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France for $32.85 USD.
Here are some other ways to get there:
- Fly to Paris and take the train to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. You can use SNCF (the French national rail line), which has both high-speed trains and regular trains. The train will take 5-7 hours.
- Fly anywhere in Europe, and then use a European budget airline to fly to an airport near Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port such as Biarritz, Pamplona, or San Sebastián. You can use a website called Rome2Rio, a free site to find the cheapest and best ways to get there.
- Start your Camino from another city. You don’t have to start in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Some pilgrims skip the Pyrenees altogether and start in Pamplona; others start later in Burgos, Leon, or Sarria. Here’s a guide on how to get to various starting points along the Camino.
Credential and shell: $2.20 USD (2 euros)
Before starting the Camino, you will need to buy a credential. A credential is basically a pilgrim passport. Throughout the Camino, you will show your credential to churches and hostels and they will give you a stamp in return.
You can buy a credential in the pilgrim offices and in most hostels. Don’t forget to pick up your pilgrim shell, too!
Accommodation: $395 USD (360 euros)
I spent an average of 10 euros per night on accommodation, staying in a mix of donation-based, public, and private albergues. I also spent a few nights in Airbnbs and hotels.
What are albergues?
Most pilgrims stay in pilgrim hostels, which are called albergues (pronounced: al – bear – GAYS).
Here are the types of albergues, and how much they cost:
- Public albergues – 5-6 euros ($5.50 – $6.50) – Public albergues (also called municipal albergues) cater solely to pilgrims; in order to stay at a public albergue, pilgrims are required to show their credential. Public albergues are usually quite large, sleeping dozens of pilgrims to a room. They are typicallly very bare-bones; they usually have disposable sheets and cold showers. They also do not provide towels.
- Donation-based albergues – Some albergues are donation-based (Spanish: donativo), meaning you pay what you can (though I recommend you pay at least 5 euros). Overall, donation-based albergues are a mixed bag; sometimes they’re super run-down and sketchy, other times they’re lovely and serve delicious communal meals.
- Private albergues – 10-12 euros ($11-13) – Private albergues are usually smaller and family-run. They are more expensive than the public albergues but have better food and smaller dorms. Of all the albergue options, this was my preference.
- Private double room with an ensuite bathroom in a private albergue – 20-25 euros ($22 -27). Some nights I splurged and got a private room in an albergue. Sometimes you just need sheets and a regular towel.
Food and Wine: $868 USD (792 euros)
Food and wine were my biggest expenses on the Camino; I usually spent 20-25 euros ($22-27 USD) per day.
Here’s how that breaks down:
- Breakfast – 3 euros ($3.30 USD) – Breakfast on the Camino is a simple affair; it’s usually a croissant, toast with jam, or pan con tomate (toasted baguette rubbed with garlic, tomato, and olive oil). Fresh-squeezed orange juice is an extra euro ($1.10), and coffee is 1-1.50 euros ($1.10 – $1.65 USD).
- Lunch – 4-5 euros ($4.40 – $5.50 USD) – Lunch in the small towns along the Camino is usually cold, as the restaurant kitchens don’t start preparing hot food until later in the day. Typical offerings include: a bocadillo (a baguette sandwich stuffed with chorizo, ham, or cheese), tortilla de patatas (potato omelet), or — wait for it — a bocadillo stuffed with tortilla (a.k.a. the driest, blandest combination of food on earth.)
- Snacks – 2-3 euros ($2.20 – 3.30 USD)– I recommend carrying some snacks in your pack such as cheese, sausage, or apples. Sometimes, you may walk hours without coming across a restaurant or café, so it’s best to be prepared for that.
- Dinner – 10 euros ($11 USD) –Many restaurants along the Camino serve a “Pilgrim menu” (menú del día) for dinner. This includes a first course, main course, dessert, and ½ bottle of wine. The pilgrim menus were usually pretty bland and uninspired – though I did have some that were fantastic.
- Wine – 4-5 euros ($4.40 – $5.50 USD) – You can buy a decent bottle of wine in Spain for 4-5 euros. As the expression goes, “Con pan y vino, se hace el camino.” (Roughly: “With bread and wine, one does the Camino.”)
But what about cooking? Some albergues have kitchens, so you can cook for yourself. I cooked on occasion but was usually too tired from walking all day. Bizarrely, some albergues have kitchens but no pots or pans.
Water – $0
Fun fact – I didn’t buy water once on the Camino. Every morning, I filled up my Camelbak water bladder in one of the free water fountains along the Camino and refilled it as needed during the day. After I was done walking, I put my backpack and Camelbak away and drank from my Nalgene.
Laundry: $52.60 USD (48 euros)
Doing a load of laundry usually cost 3 euros to wash and 3 euros to dry, but I usually split the cost with a friend. I did a lot of laundry on the Camino. I had to wash my clothes every other day because I only had two walking outfits.
If you get to the hostel early enough, you can hang your clothes out to dry in the sun, saving you 3 euros. You can also dry your clothes while you walk by clipping your wet clothes to your bag using carabiners.
First-aid Supplies: $131 USD (120 euros)
I spent around 20 euros per week on first-aid supplies like creams, bandages, and blister care, as it took some trial and error to figure out how to prevent blisters. (The answer? An obscene amount of Vaseline.)
20 euros per week x 5 weeks = 120 euros ($131 USD)
RELATED: The medical supplies I recommend packing for the Camino.
Miscellaneous Camino de Santiago Expenses: $429 USD (392 euros)
Toiletries – 40 euros ($43 USD) – I ended up replenishing my sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash along the Camino. I’m not sure exactly what I spent on this category – maybe around 40 euros ($43) in total.
Souvenirs – 30 euros ($33 USD) – You may want to pick up a few souvenirs on your Camino. I bought one Camino t-shirt and a few pins to attach to my backpack.
Shipping some of my gear ahead Santiago – 20 euros ($22 USD) – Part-way through the Camino (León), I decided to send ahead a package of items I wasn’t using. I did this through Correos, the Spanish postal service, which offers a package shipping program for pilgrims. More info here.
SIM card – 15 euros ($16.50 USD) – I didn’t use a local SIM card on my Camino; I just used free wifi in restaurants and hostels. But if you do want one, a SIM card in Spain costs around 15 euros for 2GB of data with Vodaphone. More info here.
Backpack delivery service – 4-5 euros ($4.40 – $5.50 USD) per bag per day – Some pilgrims pay to have their bags transported to their next hotel or albergue. I never did this, but it’s a great option if you need a break from carrying your bag. More info here.
Splurges 300 euros ($329 USD) – I recommend setting aside some extra money for the unexpected expenses or splurges on the Camino. I splurged by splashing out in the cities, where I enjoyed some well-deserved luxuries such as going out for tapas and getting a full-body massage in Leon (35 euros, $38 USD).
You should definitely factor travel insurance into your Camino budget. No matter how prepared you are, there’s always a chance you could get injured or sick. Worst case scenario, you’re stuck with buying a last-minute flight yourself or paying medical bills out of pocket. I have used World Nomads since 2013 and made sure to buy it for my Camino as well. I purchased the Standard insurance plan as it covers hiking up to 19,685 feet. Get a quote here.
3 Sample Camino de Santiago Budgets: Shoestring, Comfortable, and Luxury
I wanted to do a breakdown of 3 sample Camino budgets. I will add 300 euros ($329 USD) of wiggle room to each budget to account for miscellaneous expenses.
Note – These budgets exclude flights, gear, and travel insurance.
Camino de Santiago on a Shoestring Budget: $19.30 USD per day
This is basically the cheapest you can do the Camino. Here’s how a shoestring budget breaks down:
Accommodation: 5.50 euros per day. Only stay in the cheapest accommodation available: donation-based albergues or public albergues.
Food and wine: 12 euros total per day. Cook breakfast at the albergue (2 euros), have a coffee (1 euro), have a picnic for lunch (3 euros), eat some snacks (2 euros), cook dinner at the hostel (4 euros).
Laundry: 0 euros per day. Wash your own laundry using a Scrubba.
Camino de Santiago on a shoestring budget: 17.50 euros x 36 days = 630 euros ($695 USD)
630 euros ($695 USD) + 300 euros of wiggle room ($330 USD) = 930 euros ($1,026 USD)
Shoestring budget grand total: 930 euros ($1,026 USD)
Camino de Santiago on a Comfortable Budget: $37 USD per day
For the majority of pilgrims, I would budget around $37 USD a day. (This was around my budget.) Here’s how that breaks down:
Accommodation: 10 euros per night. Stay in a mix of public and private albergues, with the occasional private room.
Food and wine: 22 euros per day. Eat breakfast in a café (3 euros), have a coffee (1 euro), have lunch in a restaurant (5 euros), have a pilgrim menu for dinner (10 euros), and eat snacks throughout the day (3 euros).
Laundry: 3 euros per day.
Camino de Santiago on a comfortable budget: 35 euros x 36 days = 1,260 euros ($1,380 USD)
1,260 euros ($1,380 USD) + 300 euros of wiggle room ($330 USD)
Comfortable budget grand total: 1,560 euros ($1,720 USD)
Camino de Santiago on a Luxury Budget: $80 USD per day
Many of the middle-aged and elderly pilgrims I met were walking the Camino on this budget. This allows for maximum comfort while still giving you a pilgrim experience. Here’s how it breaks down:
Accommodation: 40 euros per night. Only hotel rooms or private rooms in private albergues.
Food and wine: 25 euros per day. Have breakfast in a café with fresh-squeezed orange juice (4 euros), have a coffee or two (3 euros), have lunch in a restaurant (5 euros), have a pilgrim menu for dinner (10 euros), and eat snacks throughout the day (3 euros).
Backpack delivery service – 4.50 euros per day.
Laundry: 3 euros per day.
Camino de Santiago on a luxury budget: 72.50 euros x 36 days = 2,610 euros ($2,855 USD)
2,610 euros ($2,855 USD) + 300 euros of wiggle room ($330 USD) = 2,910 euros ($3,209 USD)
Luxury budget grand total: 2,910 euros ($3,209 USD)
Have you ever walked the Camino de Santiago? How much did the Camino de Santiago cost you?