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.
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Travel Cost Assumptions
When reading this article, please keep the following in mind:
- The costs are based upon a couple travelling together.
- We are independent travellers, researching and organising our own itinerary using curated travel resources.
- Our travel style is reasonably consistent wherever we go, which is great when you want to compare travel costs between countries:
- Accommodation: We usually stay in self-catered accommodation - in our own room and (preferably) our own bathroom, though the kitchen may be shared.
- Dining and Groceries: We have at least two meals a day at home. We like to eat out at cafes or restaurants every few days.
- Transportation: Wherever possible, we travel by public transport.
- Experiences: We pay for some tourist attractions or activities, but are selective as our funds are limited (just like everyone elses).
- In addition to above expense categories, we also include in the overall daily costs (though only for the period we are in the country) our mail scanning and forwarding service, mobile phone plans and travel insurance.
- Not considered are the costs for entry or exit transport into/out of the country.
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, check out 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 a 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)
How to save money on accommodation?
For accommodation, as with any other travel expenses, it’s worth shopping around. When we book accommodation somewhere, we tend to look across a number of booking platforms to find the best value for money option. Wherever you book, do make sure you read the fine print to make sure you compare apples with apples. For example, your stay may incur extra charges (like local tourist taxes or cleaning fees). Some booking platforms include them, while with others, you have to pay them to your host upon arrival.
Nightly rates are generally cheaper outside of peak season. If you can only travel in peak season, look for accommodation options that are a little further away from the main tourist attractions, yet have good connections by public transport.
We use and recommend the following booking platforms.
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)
This category includes the costs of using our mail service and having a minimum credit on our mobile phones to make emergency calls and receive texts.
Our communication costs on the Camino itself were zero, even though we are bloggers who continued to do at least some work along the way. Somewhat 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.
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 travelled).
Our transportation costs do not include the train ride from Porto to Caminha (our starting point).
How much money do you need to travel?
Are you planning a trip to any other country? As full-time independent travellers with carry-on luggage only, we list our country by country travel costs curated over the years. Can you afford not to travel?
How to save money on transportation?
Being flexible is what really pays when it comes to transportation and air travel in particular. Travel outside of peak season if you can. If you can't, fares might still be cheaper during certain times of the week and even hours of the day, so check websites like Skyscanner and Google Flights that allow you to see a whole month and all the options on any given date.
If there are several airports in the vicinity of your home (or in the vicinity of your destination) compare the prices between the different options. For example, flying to Mykonos and taking the ferry to Santorini might end up being way cheaper than flying from your home airport straight to Santorini.
We use and recommend the following online travel agents and service providers for our transportation needs:
To find good flight deals, we use one-stop travel sites or travel aggregators. Each shows the cheapest airfares on any given day, so you can choose to fly a day/week/month earlier or later, pending your flexibility.
If you find a good deal, book it there and then as prices change constantly. Ideally do your research with your browser in incognito mode, as cookies will show booking sites how keen you are to do a certain trip, which may affect the price quoted – that goes for all online travel bookings (not just flights). The best fares generally go first, so planning ahead is important when it comes to (air) transportation. The same is true if you want to use air points/miles, as there is only a very limited number of seats available for any given flight. We tend to not actually go through the flight aggregators, but book with the airline/s directly. The price is usually the same but we have a direct contract with the airline (rather than with the middleman) in case something goes wrong.
If you plan to travel across multiple continents, you may want to compare passes that offer several destinations as a package (such as around-the-world fares offered by One World or Star Alliance members) vs booking each leg of your trip individually. If you are travelling during peak season those multi-destination packages may be a better deal than booking each leg individually. You can do overland sections on around-the-world tickets too, which means you could supplement your around-the-world ticket with cheap flights, bus and train rides in between destinations.
Vehicle rental (including relocations)
Unless your trip takes you across oceans, another way to save on transport is to look for vehicle/motorhome relocations. There are websites in many countries offering massively discounted one-way rates (often including fuel and/or insurance) to those driving a vehicle/motorhome from A to B within a certain period. These deals are fairly last minute, and A and B are usually bigger transport hubs, but if that’s an option just search for vehicle/motorhome relocation at your destination.
Speaking of vehicles: If you are planning to hire a vehicle at your destination, it also pays to shop around. We use and recommend Discover Cars, an aggregator website that allows you to search across major car rental companies at once. And you don’t have to pay for the hire until you pick up the car.
A final option to save on transport costs is… to hitch a ride. While Paul and I did it safely in Dominica on a public holiday (when there was no other option), and we have taken plenty of people along in our campervan in New Zealand, there are many countries we wouldn’t feel safe hitchhiking. Judge for yourself where and when you can and can’t do it.
Camino de Santiago Travel Costs Summary
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Cash Needs for the Camino
Given restaurants and accommodations along the Camino Portugues don’t always accept credit cards, you do need to carry cash (though not too much for safety reasons). We paid 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.
What did it cost you to walk the Camino de Santiago?
I wrote this Camino de Santiago Travel Costs article based on our own experience. If you have walked the Camino de Santiago as well and you have something to add to my travel costs discussion, please feel free to contact me. If you liked the article and found it helpful, we would appreciate if you could share them with your friends and family via the Share buttons below. Even better, link to the page from your personal blog or social media platforms.