I wrote a detailed post about my 2014 Camino Francès budget and expenses and it’s now among the most popular posts on the site. Heading back to the Camino, this time in both Portugal and Spain, I dutifully recorded all of my expenses for the second time. Why? First, I am a huge fan of data. Second, I really wanted to test some assumptions about Camino costs, especially after three years of increased popularity on every route.
Well, you know what they say about assumptions, right? What I thought:
- Accommodations would be more expensive, especially in Portugal, because the route is less-travelled: wrong.
- Food and drink would be about the same in Portugal and Spain: wrong.
- My 2014 daily budget of €30 would need to be increased, after three years of Camino inflation and popularity: mostly right.
- Overall costs in Portugal and Spain would be about the same: mostly wrong.
What I found:
- Municipal albergues in both Portugal and Spain are terrific value – until you run into the crowds.
- Food and drink are way, way cheaper in Portugal. Everything in both countries is delicious.
- Increasing my daily budget helped me save some euros in Portugal, which I needed in Spain.
- Overall, Portugal is cheaper than Spain, even though fewer people walk from Porto to Tui and there are fewer accommodation options.
For future planning, I’d set a daily budget of €30-35 per day on the Portuguese side (2017), and €40 per day on the Spanish side. This provides enough flexibility to spend a little more extravagantly on both sides, and funds a contingency.
My daily expenses on the Caminho Portugues
A few notes to get you started. I walked 12 days from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Each row represents a day of walking, and I’ve also included “Day 0” expenses for Porto, because they include the hostel where I started walking.
|Start||End||Albergue||Food & Drink||Transport||Misc||Daily total|
|Matosinhos||Vila do Conde||€7.50||€11.00||€2.15||€20.65|
|Vila do Conde||São Pedro de Rates||€10.00||€10.10||€20.10|
|São Pedro de Rates||Tamel São Pedro Fins||€5.00||€11.15||€16.15|
|Tamel São Pedro Fins||Ponte de Lima||€5.00||€13.90||€10.00||€28.90|
|Ponte de Lima||Rubiães||€5.00||€24.20||€6.50||€35.70|
|Rubiães, Portugal||Tui, Spain||€6.00||€21.10||€1.00||€28.10|
|Pontevedra||Caldas de Reis||€20.00||€19.24||€39.24|
|Caldas de Reis||Padrón||€16.00||€18.10||€0.15||€34.25|
|Padrón||Santiago de Compostela||€25.00||€37.20||€5.00||€67.20|
|Daily Average||All days||€11.35||€20.04||€34.16|
Expenses not included: Airfare to Lisbon and home from Porto, transportation Lisbon-Porto and Santiago de Compostela-Porto, pilgrim credential, mobile phone plan, Camino gear and supplies purchased before arriving in Portugal, and daily expenses after completing the Camino.
Albergue: I booked private accommodations in Porto, and from Pontevedra to Santiago de Compostela. For the remaining days, I stayed in a bunk in the municipal albergue. The albergue in São Pedro de Rates was a donativo, the rest had fixed rates.
Food: All of my daily eating is included. This includes several morning café expresos (from €.60-€1.50 each), and bread or a pastry. I fought off a cold for several days, so I had a lot of fresh orange juice. During the day, I often had a bocadillo sandwich, and usually finished the day with the menu del peregrino. I always had light snacks to carry with me and eat while I walked, which normally consisted of an apple, granola bars and cashews. These amounts also include beer (usually Super Bock in Portugal and Estrella Galicia in Spain), so if you don’t drink or drink a lot more than I do, you can adjust your daily expenses accordingly. With very few exceptions, I drank tap water, and filled my water bottles at albergues or at fountains along the way. If you plan to buy water, add a couple of euro per day. Most of my Porto food expenses were a francesinha sandwich, which is a great idea for carb-loading. I went to Café Santiago, which felt very on-theme.
Transportation: The only transportation I purchased during my Camino was the Porto Metro from Bolhão to Mercado in Matosinhos. This was done to cut approximately 12km from Day 1 and re-jig the walking schedule to make a easier transition between the Coastal route and Central routes on Day 2.
Misc: My miscellaneous expenses included laundry, a few doodads along the way, and replenishing toiletries like dental floss. My only major unanticipated expense was a Western Europe plug adapter, a whopping €10! I did a fair amount of laundry in the sink, but occasionally splurged on machine laundry, which was €3 per wash. Finally, on arrival in Santiago, I purchased the distancia certificate of distance (€3) and a tube (€2) for the compostela and distancia.
Creating a budget for the Camino de Santiago
There is no one perfect budget, because your Camino experience will be shaped by factors both predictable and completely beyond anyone’s control. In putting together an outline, a Camino budget should account for most of these factors:
- Route (Francès, Portugues, Norte, and so on)
- Length of trip
- Style of accommodations: from municipal albergues and donativos (paying by donation) to casa rurales and hotels, the options and costs vary wildly. (Donativo/€5 to €50-60/night)
- Food and beverage intake, including breakfasts, restaurant meals, and grocery store snack stops
- Donativos (donations elsewhere for sellos/stamps, donation-based snack stops)
- Additional transportation if you take the train or bus to jump ahead. (Research train costs on CP, RENFE, bus costs on ALSA)
- Backpack transportation if you send your backpack ahead. This rate varies depending on the route – anywhere from €4-7 per day.
- First aid/medical care: plan to buy additional bandages, tape and mystery potions, hope for the best.
- Contingency for unanticipated expenses (like more expensive accommodations), souvenirs and anything else you purchase along the way
Your individual costs and budget will be as individual as your Camino experience, but I hope this information helps with your planning. Bom Caminho!
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