does it cost ?
of Saint James of South Africa
does it cost to walk the Camino?
If you plan to sleep at refugios and eat budget
meals or cook for yourself, you can easily survive
on 15 - 20 € per day.
An average of 25 € would allow you to eat reasonably
at the bars, and over 35 € per day would be necessary
to live in the hostals or more comfortable accommodation.
This does not include any transport costs.
Prices in the villages are generally a lot lower
than cities, so if you are on a limited budget,
try to stay out of the larger centres.
Most of the small café-bars, village shops, side-of-the-road
sellers etc don't accept credit (visa) cards or
travellers cheques, so you will need to carry a
certain amount of cash with you.
There are ATM's in many villages, towns and cities
along the way, so having your credit card activated
for this is ideal.
Just remember that they mostly use a four pin number,
so if you have a five pin number, use the first
The other reason why credit cards are useful is
that banks are often closed in the afternoons, making
it difficult to arrive in a suitable place at the
right time to change money.
Just a word of advice - certain banks will not let
you access cash on your card (even in an emergency
such as losing your traveller's cheques etc) unless
you have deposited money into your account, even
if you have not overdrawn your credit rating - check
this out before leaving home!
Credit (visa) cards can usually be used in hotels
and upmarket restaurants, but confirm before ordering/booking
Traveller's cheques can be a problem for small banks
that do not have foreign exchange.
caminodesantiago.consumer.es - estimates that approximately
€1 for every 1km walked. For example, to walk from
St Jean to Santiago - 750 km you would need €750
much is it likely to cost me on the Camino?
the answer to this question will depend on numerous
Will you be staying in albergues
most of the time or will you be looking for hotels
and hostales? Maybe you've had your eye on the five-star
paradores along the route. Do you plan on using
cooking facilities in the albergues when they present
themselves or will you be eating out every meal?
We will here assume that you will be staying in
albergues and will be eating out for your main meal
of the day.
Private albergues will be set-price
and you might expect 6 to 10 euros; you should try
to leave a nice donation at those that are donativo.
The menú del día will run you maybe 12 euros +/-.
The mid-morning café con leche and a pastry about
4. Find a tienda for some lunch to be eaten sitting
on the side of the road - another 4.
Odds and ends
arbitrarily 5. That makes roughly 32 euros.
you do it for less? Absolutely! More? Absolutely!
(Want to know how many U.S. greenbacks it will take
to buy one of those euros? See the graphic in the
can I obtain cash while I'm on the Camino?
will be using cash (euros) for the most part, not
your credit cards. ATMs, where you can use a debit
card to obtain cash, can be found at airports, in
cities and in larger towns. Be sure that you have
registered a PIN before you go and you should be
aware that some systems will accept a four-digit
PIN but not a six-digit one.
Also you should notify
your card-issuing companies of your travels before
current exchange rate (cost of a euro in dollars)
is displayed below :
of St James : Planning
your pilgrimage: some practical tips
much should I allow each day ?
Obviously this depends on where you choose to stay,
and how well you choose to eat.
As a minimum
- assuming you stay in the gites d'étape in France
and the refugios in Spain, picnic at lunchtime,
and cook your own evening meal in the gite or refugio
kitchen - allow €25/£22 per head per day in France,
and €20/£17 in Spain.
Another calculation suggests
that you should allow, overall, €1 for every 1km.
We'd welcome improvements on these figures, based
on up-to-date experience.
John and Elizabeth Hungerford sent us this account,
based on their experience of the Camino Francés
in early summer 2009:
€5.98 We always stayed in an albergue - and
we always made a donation at the religious ones.
€8.32 We ate the pilgrims menu/menu del dia
every night (except for two occasions when we cooked
in the albergue).
food and drink €7.25 Breakfast and lunch.
Most days we had a coffee/cool drink for morning
tea - and often had a drink at a bar before dinner.
items €3.87 This included internet, chemist
(some innersoles etc), entrance fees, and a poncho
as well as miscellaneous items.
€25.42 per person per day.
of St James : Frequently Asked Questions
much does it cost, and how do I get money ?
Difficult to say how much it will cost, because
needs/expectations vary so much, but we have included
some guidance on our Planning your Pilgrimage page:
Hole-in-the-wall cash dispensers, accepting all
the standard credit and debit cards, are widely
available in both France and Spain, generally giving
you the choice of addressing them in English. You
shouldn't ever need to carry more than a few days'
worth of euros.
The chip-and-PIN system is spreading: remember your
PIN for your credit as well as your debit cards.
W. Tripp, Jr. 2011
There are two aspects to money for planning a trip
- How much should I plan to spend and How do I safely
carry that with me?
All expenses will be paid for with euros, symbol
€. As of July 2011, the exchange rate is 1 € costs
1.42 US dollars.
Albergue costs range from donations to 5 to 12 euros
per person per night. The higher fees were for private
albergues but were also for smaller, and thus less
crowded, dormitories. Small hotels with private
rooms ran from 30 to 60 euros and up.
Pilgrim menus (three courses, bread, water and wine)
ranged from 8 to 10 euros. There are often fancier
menus available for more. Breakfasts, consisting
of coffee and toast or sweet breads ran from 3 to
6 euros. Water, cokes, and beer are the same - running
from 1.20 to 1.50 euros. Fresh squeezed orange juice
was 1.50 to 2 euros.
Prices for food and albergues increased closer to
Santiago, particularly those within the last 100
The daily expenses shown above can be cut somewhat
but will easily increase for those who decide to
sleep in places other than refugios or eat more
lavish meals. A room in a modest pension will range
from 30 to 60 € and up; one in a four star hotel
could run 300 € or more. Dinner in a modest restaurant
can cost 18 to 25 €, while an outstanding meal in
a very good restaurant, with wine, could run 100
and Replenishing Money
As you can see above, most of your expenses are
small and will be made under circumstances where
you will pay in cash. I have travelled in Europe
and elsewhere since 1984 and find that travelers
checks are more trouble than they are worth. Automated
Teller Machines (ATM) are available in all but the
smallest towns. Most are part of the Cirrus and
PLUS networks and will accept your U.S. bank card
(also known as check card, ATM card or debit card)
and provide local currency with a favorable exchange
rate. Most machines offer a variety of languages,
including English, to use during the transaction.
However, recent changes within the banking and credit
card industry may result in additional fees. This
is dependent on the bank. You should check with
the bank issuing your card as to what fees are involved
with your use of it overseas.
There is an additional complication that I recently
(March 2011) became aware of. For increased security,
European Banks now issue debit and credit cards
that carry an embedded chip. Businesses have switched
over to using machines that use these. As part of
their anti-fraud measures, you are seldom asked
to give an employee your card for them to swipe.
If you are at a restaurant, your waiter will bring
a portable card reader to your table with the amount
of your bill already entered. You cannot add a tip
to the total. Your card is swiped and you will be
asked to OK the total and enter a PIN. Note: The
PIN for this is not the Cash Back PIN. If you have
a normal US credit/debit card without a chip, you
do not have a PIN. Since I did not have a PIN, I
just hit the OK with no PIN entered. It usually
worked. In other places that did not work and I
had to switch to cash. Here are links to more information
about this issue.
Chip and PIN
JP Morgan & Wells Fargo Announcement
If you have any questions about your ATM card, check
with your bank in advance of your departure from
home. Ensure you know how to contact them if you
encounter problems using your card. Use your card
before you leave home and again shortly after arrival,
even if you do not need the money, solely to verify
that everything works as advertised. In this way,
if there is a problem, you can correct it before
you find yourself in financial extremis.
For credit cards, it is important to let your bank
know that you will be traveling in Spain, especially
if you do don't often leave the country. They may
assume the card is being used fraudulently and block
further use until you call. This can present serious
problems and cause unnecessary worry.
If you encounter problems, do not panic. Over the
years in traveling overseas, I have occasionally
encountered problems with one ATM only to find that
another had no problems or the next day the same
machine would work fine. In one instance when I
could not wait, my problem was resolved when I entered
the bank and talked to a teller. He was able to
use my card to withdraw funds for me. There was
no additional fee involved.
You do not need to exchange money before you leave
the US. Currency exchange counters exist at the
airport and in city centers. There are ATM machines
in the airports, train stations, and all shopping
centers and shopping areas. They are safe to use
as long as you do not place yourself in a vulnerable
position while you are withdrawing money from the
ATM. i.e., do not make a withdrawal from a sidewalk
machine without having someone else to see who is
If you use an alphabetic PIN, translate the letters
into numbers before you go. ATM key pads will only
display numbers, and few European telephone keypads
include letters to help you remember how to convert
ANNE to 2663. If you are used to remembering the
PIN by the physical positions of the number buttons,
there is another problem. In some instances, the
key pads are rearranged more like those on a computer
than a telephone, i.e., the top row is 789 vice
In addition, “plastic money” works very well in
Europe. American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard,
and Visa credit cards are widely accepted. As far
as hotels, stores and shops and other retail businesses
go, you can expect to encounter only a few places
that work on a cash only basis. However, hostals,
restaurants and small businesses in small towns
and villages may be used to working on a cash basis
and will not accept credit cards.
à Q.Pratique Avant