The Camino de Santiago/Way of St James is not for everyone. But those who do want to walk one (or several) of the routes that lead to Santiago de Compostela often do a bit of research and planning before they embark on their Camino adventure. If you are one of them, today’s article might be for you.
We’ll be diving into the actual costs we (a couple) incurred walking the Camino Portugués in April 2019. While we walked it at a more leisurely pace – taking 19 days to get from our starting point (Caminha) to Santiago de Compostela (a total walking distance of 183km) – the daily costs are comparable for those who have a similar style of travelling to us.
So, let’s start with some assumptions.
- As mentioned, the costs are based upon a couple travelling together.
- We did not do the Camino as part of an organised tour but as individual travellers.
- We arrived at the start of our Camino with everything we needed for the walk and for our continued travel afterwards. We did send one backpack straight from our starting point to Santiago (costing us EUR40 – considered under Miscellaneous in below summary table).
- Not considered is the entry or exit transport into/out of Portugal/Spain.
- We are digital nomads so base ourselves in accommodation that has good Wi-Fi so that we are able to work when we weren’t walking.
- Included in the overall daily costs (for the period of time we are in the country) are:
What Route We Walked
We started from Caminha (on the Portuguese/Spanish border), walking a combination of the Camino Portugués de la Costa, the Camino Portugués Central and the Variante Espiritual.
All up, we stayed in seventeen locations (all for one night only, except Combarro where we stayed two nights). For our full route click on the map below or read our more detailed post.
We slept in a variety of standards of accommodation, from dorm beds in municipal and private albergues to a 4-star hotel. We mixed it up quite a bit. Not only because albergues were not always available, or our own room with bathroom cost the same as two dorm beds. But we also wanted to have a good night’s sleep occasionally. And that was easier to achieve when we didn’t share the room with 10 other people.
Most Expensive Sleep (Casa Puertas in Oia): USD56.22 / EUR50.00 (per room per night)
Least Expensive Sleep (Albergue de Peregrinos Municipal in A Guarda): USD5.62 / EUR5.00 (per person per night)
Groceries and Dining
Proportionally, we spent more on dining out than we normally would. This was primarily because we didn’t want to carry more than snacks and water each day.
We usually had one substantial hot meal per day (normally the pilgrim’s lunch or menú del día) and a light, cold evening meal, often a bocadillo (a baguette sandwich) with whatever we could get our hands on jamón (cured ham), queso (cheese), tomatoes, tortilla (Spanish omelette), you name it.
If our accommodation didn’t provide breakfast or we knew there would be no cafeteria/bar nearby to have breakfast, we would buy enough ingredients to make two bocadillos: one for dinner and another one for breakfast the next morning. While a good base for our daily hike, we were over bocadillos by the time we got to Santiago…
Most Expensive Meal (Cafe Bar Riez in Vilanova de Arousa): USD30.83 / EUR27.50 (two people for lunch)
These are the costs for the two boat rides involved in doing the Camino Portugués de la Costa (the border crossing into Spain) and the Variante Espiritual (Traslatio boat ride from Vilanova de Arousa to Pontecesures – it follows the route St James’ remains traveled).
Our transportation costs do not include the train ride from Porto to Caminha (our starting point).
This category includes the costs for using our Private Box mail service and to have a minimum credit on our mobile phones to be able to make emergency calls and receive texts.
Our communication costs on the Camino itself were zero, and this is despite the fact that we are bloggers who continued to do at least some work along the way. Rather unexpectedly, every single accommodation we stayed at had wireless internet. Some were faster than others, but all had some internet access allowing us to publish articles, provide updates on social media and respond to messages.
Walking the Camino, you won’t need to get a new SIM card or pay roaming charges to stay connected with your loved ones back home. Just use the Wi-Fi provided at your accommodation or at the many cafes and restaurants along the way.
Travel Costs Summary Table
|Categories||EUR per person per day|
|Health (including Travel Insurance)||EUR2.92||7%|
|Total per person per day||EUR41.90|
Cash Needs for the Camino
Given restaurants and accommodations along the Camino Portugués don’t always accept credit cards, you do need to carry cash (though not too much for safety reasons). We paid for 39% of our total spend in cash (EUR). The biggest portion of that was on accommodation. There are ATMs in all small towns/larger villages, so you don’t need to withdraw / exchange everything at once.
Other Cost Summaries and Budgets
Other websites have calculated the costs as shown in the table below. We are unsure whether their data includes entry/exit cost. However, it is good to compare our actual versus their data.
|Name||Daily Amount Per Person - EUR||Travel Style|
|Stingy Nomads Costs||EUR24.00||Budget|
|65 Litre Life||EUR20.00 / EUR44.29||Budget / Mid-range|
|Gabriel Schirm||EUR37.00||Budget to Mid-Range|