Camino de Santiago Cost Calculator

Here it is, your Camino de Santiago cost calculator:

Of course, your costs are going to vary depending on how you plan to walk the Camino and where you plan to walk the Camino.

Let’s dive in!

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First step: calculate how many days you have to walk the Camino

Sign on the Camino de Santiago

The best possible scenario is that you don’t have a set end date and, if that’s the case, skip straight to step two.

Like me, though, you probably have a set amount of time to walk your pilgrimage before real-life reclaims you again.

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If that’s the case, here’s how to determine how many walking days you have:

  • Calculate at least one day to recoup after traveling to your starting point (if you are already in Europe) and at least two days if you will be dealing with jet lag.
  • Calculate at least two rest days in Santiago de Compostela for relaxation, pedicures, standing in line for your Compostela (a certificate for walking the Camino), and long celebratory dinners with your fellow pilgrims.
  • Calculate rest days along the route. Remember that your body will demand rest days. If you can budget the time, try to plan one rest day for every seven walking days. I budgeted only three rest days for my 35-day pilgrimage and, therefore, ended up walking through food poisoning and a bladder infection. I wish I had planned to rest more.

Now you can figure out how many walking days you have to walk:

camino de santiago calculation

After this calculation,  I knew I had 35 days total, including rest days, to walk my pilgrimage which would end in Santiago.

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Those 35 days did not include two days at my starting point to rest up and prepare and two days in Santiago to relax and celebrate before I needed to be back on a plane bound for the real world.

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(Note: I wish I had taken three days in Santiago and I really wish I had walked on to Finisterre.)

The 100-mile mark on the Camino de Santiago
I took my first rest at the 100-mile point
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Second step: choose your Camino de Santiago endpoint, say what?

For some walkers, Santiago de Compostela – and its towering cathedral said to be the burial place of Saint James – does not mark the end of their pilgrimage.

No, Santiago is just a nice place to relax, celebrate with friends met along the route, and obtain a certificate for walking before moving on to Cape Finisterre or the “end of the world”.

Cape Finisterre on the Camino de Santiago
The 0.0 kilometer milepost is actually at Cape Finisterre!

Cape Finisterre (or Fisterra) was the end of the known world in the Middle Ages, so it holds a special significance, and many pilgrims, even way back when, continued on to Finisterre after reaching Santiago.

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The extended pilgrimage to Cape Finisterre takes three rushed days or four comfortable ones. I think it’s important to decide ahead of time if you are going to walk to Santiago or to Finisterre for reasons beyond just time and budget.

The most important reason is that there is a mental end to your pilgrimage.

When I started my pilgrimage, I didn’t know about the extension to Finisterre. So the destination I walked toward for 35 days was always Santiago, and when I jubilantly limped into Santiago (it is possible to limp jubilantly on the Camino!), I just couldn’t imagine walking three or four more days.

Reaching the cathedral at santiago de compostela
Reaching the cathedral in Santiago

But if I was always walking toward Finisterre, I would have continued on after Santiago just as I did every other day of my 35-day pilgrimage. It’s a mental game this walking thing!

Third step: Choose your Camino de Santiago route

Now that you have an idea of how many days you have for your pilgrimage, it’s time to choose your route.

Even if you choose a route that will take you more days than you have to give, you can start from anywhere you like (that’s step five!)

Routes of the Camino de Santiago with estimated time it will take to walk

A steep hill on the Camino

These are the most well-known full routes with mileage/kilometers and estimated time to walk based on walking 15 miles or 24 kilometers per day.

Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

  • 485 miles/780 kilometers
  • Estimated days: 32 walking days + five rest days = 37 days
  • This is the most popular (and populated) of the Camino routes
  • Also called the French Way, the Way of St. James or, simply, “The Way”

Camino del Norte from Irún, Spain to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Sign on the Camino del Norte
  • 512 miles/824 kilometers
  • Estimated days: 34 walking days + five rest days = 39 days
  • This is a less populated route that follows the coastline and goes through Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia
  • Also called the northern route and sometimes called the foodie route

Camino Portugues from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

  • 385 miles/620 kilometers
  • Estimated days: 26 walking days + three rest days = 29 days
  • This is the second most popular Camino route.
  • Many people start in Porto, which is a 174-mile/280-kilometer journey to Santiago that would take an estimated 12 walking days
  • Also called the Portuguese Way

Camino Primitivo from Oviedo, Spain to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

  • 194 miles/313 kilometers
  • Estimated days: 13 walking days + 1 rest day = 14 days
  • This is said to be the first route ever walked by the first pilgrim to Santiago. Some say you should always go through Oviedo on a pilgrimage
  • You can detour to the Primitivo from the Norte (I did this)

Camino Ingles from Ferrol, Spain to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

  • 73 miles/118 kilometers
  • Estimated days: 5 walking days
  • To  earn your Compostela Certificate, you must walk 100 kilometers, making this a popular route for those with limited time or physical ability to walk

Choosing your route

yellow arrow on the Camino de Santiago

There is a ton of information out there about the different Camino routes, including my own day-by-day account of walking the Camino del Norte, so I’ll just tell you how I chose my route.

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I knew I had 35 days, so I could choose pretty much any route. I was interested in the detour to Oviedo and the Camino Primitivo, intrigued by the ability to see four different regions of Spain and intoxicated by the idea of diving into the sea after a long day’s walk (which I only did once on the very first day).

walkers on the camino del norte
About to hop right into that water on day one on the Camino!

That’s why I chose the Camino del Norte. If the Camino is calling you, read up on the routes, and, I guarantee, one of them will speak to you.

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Fourth step: calculate your estimated walking pace

This can be hard to do, especially if you are anything like me and you don’t do any training beforehand (not necessarily recommended!)

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Most of the guide books will estimate the length of time it will take you to walk a route using a 15- or 16-mile-per-day calculation with a rest day every seven days.

When I first looked at that estimation, I was pretty nervous about the idea of walking an average of 16 miles a day, so I shortened my daily mileage expectation to 15 miles per day. That turned out to be pretty spot on.

a woman hiking the camino de santiago

The fewest miles that I walked in a day on the Camino de Santiago were eight (I had food poisoning that day, ugh), and the most miles I walked in a day were 22. The sweet spot for me was 12-15 miles per day.

Fifth step: find your starting point

Now that you know the number of walking days you have, your average daily pace, your endpoint, and your route, you can figure out where you should start to comfortably walk your pilgrimage!

I knew I wanted to walk the Camino del Norte (512 miles), and I knew I had 35 days, including rest days, to do it. And I anticipated a 15-mile-per-day walking pace.

With five rest days, I would need to walk 450 miles in 30 walking days. Tracing the route backward, I decided to start in the beautiful town of San Sebastian, shaving off the first stage of the route from Irún (which is a notoriously difficult, uphill stage).

San Sebastian on the Camino de Santiago
Leaving from San Sebastian on the first day of the Camino de Santiago

From San Sebastian, the Camino del Norte is still 494 miles long, so I knew that I would either need to take fewer rest days, bus forward, or some combination of both.

In Camino parlance, “busing forward” means taking a bus, train or taxi forward along the route.

In the end, I took three rest days, walked 440 miles, and bused forward about 54 miles. (It’s slightly more because I took the detour to Oviedo and walked the Camino Primitivo before going back to the Camino del Norte.)

As you plan, remember that there is no shame in busing forward when you need to do it!

That being said, you should plan to walk every kilometer of the last 100. This is how you earn your Compostela certificate. The powers that be check for two stamps on each day of the last 100 kilometers that you walk before handing over your certificate.

100 kilometers to go on the Camino de Santiago
This shrine marked 100 kilometers to go on the Camino del Norte

Sixth step: Camino de Santiago cost calculation explained

Now it’s time to calculate your Camino de Santiago costs!

The cost of lodging along the Camino

Sunflower on the Camino de Santiago

You won’t know exactly where you’ll be staying each night, but chances are that you’ll stay in a pilgrim hostel called an albergue. Most albergues are first-come, first-served and a night’s stay costs between 5 euro and 15 euro per night (sometimes 20 euro for a fancy albergue or a room without bunks). Sometimes there is simply a suggested donation.

I personally paid more for lodging because I sometimes opted out of the albergues and chose to stay in hotels or apartments for rent instead of hostels. I was walking with someone and splitting a room with her using Booking.com the day of our stay came to around 20 euro in smaller towns and between 30-40 euro in cities.

Opting out of the albergue for a night means you miss out on some of the Camino culture of shared meals with pilgrims. But it also gave me some much-needed sleep without creaking bunks and snoring strangers around me.

I would say that I was about 50/50, staying in albergues half of the time and hotels half of the time.

Mile Marker on the Camino

Doing it that way, my total hotel costs averaged 25 euro per day while walking, but not including the extra night that I stayed before my Camino started and after it ended.

Those nights were my most costly nights because both San Sebastian and Santiago are more expensive cities and I opted not to stay in an albergue since the etiquette is to stay in an albergue for just one night.

My total lodging cost – all included – was 975 euros.

Tips for keeping your Camino de Santiago lodging cost low

You can keep your lodging  costs much lower than mine! Here’s how:

Check for the cheapest albergue (use the Buen Camino App) at the end of your stage and “bed race” to get there, meaning that you’ll guarantee yourself a bunk by beating out all of the other pilgrims to the destination.

If you do choose to stay in a hotel instead of an albergue, opt not to stay in larger cities. My overnight stays in San Sebastian, Oviedo, Llanes (where I took a rest day and stayed two nights), and Santiago were the most expensive nights on my pilgrimage.

Sharing rooms in hotels will also alleviate costs. Most of the nights, I shared space with my walking partner, but we chose to stay in our rooms a couple of times, and those were also more expensive nights. (But, man, I needed that long bath with nobody waiting for the bathroom!)

Of course, you can also opt to carry your own sleeping bag and tent, but that adds a lot of weight and some hassle because, depending on your route, it’s hard to find legal camping sites.

The cost of food along the Camino

lunch on the camino de santiago
This beautiful meal was prepared for a donation (though we donated generously)

My standard day of eating on the Camino de Santiago included breakfast at the albergue for three euro, a pilgrim lunch for 10 euro (includes three courses and a bottle of wine if you want it!), and a shared dinner at the albergue for 10-12 euro (also includes wine!)

Now, not everyone wants three courses and a bottle of wine for lunch every day, and I certainly didn’t opt for that at every stage. But, more days than not, I did lounge with my walking buddy over a pilgrim lunch before continuing on.

At dinnertime, we would sometimes skip the heavy meal and stock up on vegetables and fruit at the grocery store but, more often than not, we would pour the wine and pass the carbs with the other pilgrims.  

It was also easy to find pilgrim dinners close to the albergues if they weren’t serving that night.

Enjoying dinner at a restaurant along the route

In the end, my average food costs were 16 euro per walking day for a total of 560 euro. It should be noted that this includes alcohol, and I drank a lot – I mean a lot – of wine along the route, which upped my personal Camino de Santiago cost calculator!

Tips for keeping your Camino de Santiago food costs low

Obviously cutting out the wine is going to decrease that food budget for you!

Shop at the grocery store for your meals or, at least, lunch (if you’re OK carrying your lunch with you in your backpack). It’s always a good idea to have a little bit of food in your pack, but you’ll have to decide whether that’s “emergency” rations for when you get really hungry or your daily lunch supply.

If you opt to cook dinner, share with walking mates.

Your Camino de Santiago Cost Calculator:

Here’s your Camino de Santiago cost calculator again now that you know how to use it:

Camino de Santiago cost calculator

So choose your walking style and multiply by the number of days you will spend walking. Allocate a bit of extra for lodging on the front end and back end of your pilgrimage.

I am erring on the side of budgeting MORE per day because you may have unexpected expenses. For instance, I did not expect to spend more than 150 euros at pharmacies along the route thanks to the relentless blisters on my feet!

While it’s important to calculate your estimated costs depending on YOUR pilgrimage style if it’s helpful to know my total cost breakdown, it looks like this:

Lodging = 975 euro

Food = 560 euro

Travel Insurance = 130 euro

Laundry = 65 euro

2 bus tickets/1 train ticket/1 cab = 70 euro (try not to hire a cab to reduce this cost)

Pharmacy = 150 euro (yikes!)

Total = 1,950 euro

This Camino cost calculator does not include costs for getting to and from the route and for walking gear. Though I do have a full post coming soon on the perfect gear for your Camino backpack with costs!

For my travel insurance, I used World Nomads:

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Beyond the life-changing journey that is walking the Camino, I also found it to be an extremely cost-effective way to see Spain, and I was far from the most frugal pilgrim on the route.

Thank you for reading! If you are looking for more resources on walking the Camino de Santiago, visit my Camino resource site here. If you’re seeking a comprehensive Camino packing list, check that out here!

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40 Comments on “Camino de Santiago Cost Calculator”

  1. Great article Jen , I’ve been looking for more info on the Camino for a while now , I want to do the full original route finishing at the sea – if possible. What was your daily mileage and how long did it take you ?

    Thanks , Pete.

    • I’m so glad you plan to walk all the way to Finisterre! It is a great regret of mine that I didn’t do that. (Next time!) Our mileage ranged a great deal. The most we ever walked in one day was 22 miles. Our sweet spot was 10-12. It took us 35 days and we walked 440 miles. Wander with love, Jen

  2. Thank you for these helpful tips, Jen!

    I loved your thoughtful highlights and suggestions. It’s calling, I must go!

  3. I found your post super useful! I have never been to Camino de Santiago, but it’s definitely on my Spain travel list. I hope I can visit it sometime soon. I’m saving your post for the future 🙂

  4. I enjoyed hearing about your experience. I walked the French route on my pilgrimage and did it totally budget. It was January so many things were closed so I ate a lot of grocery food which was fine. thanks for the memories. Buen Camino.

    • You walked the French route?! Amazing. I’ll check out your blog and, if you’ve got a French route post, I’ll link to it in an upcoming post I’m writing about different routes. I really only know the Norte, so I need a little help on the others. Thanks for reading, Karen!

  5. This looks like an incredible pilgrimage and so worthwhile! It’s great that you’ve broken down all the costs as planning all those practicalities are overwhelming. I too would probably stay in a rental rather than a hostel for a good night’s sleep!

    • The decision to stay in the hotels half of the time definitely increased my cost…but, for me, the benefit of that good night’s sleep was absolutely worth it. Thank you for reading, Francesca!

  6. This is a phenomenal guide. I need to walk a portion of the Camino (maybe the foodie route!!). The cost breakdown is so helpful. Thank you for giving a realistic view of the costs involved!

    • You would love the foodie route, Lannie! But I caution that you only get good food in the big cities. Otherwise, you might be carrying a jar of mustard in your bag as we did. It really helps with the dry sandwiches you will snag along the way!

  7. 35 days?! Insanity! I can barely last a 2-day hike! I’ve always wondered what it was like for pilgrims back in the day. It’s nice to see that we can experience it for ourselves to a certain extent and see the culture through their eyes.

    • You could do it! I thought the same thing and then, one day, the Camino called. I didn’t even own a backpack at the time! Even if you aren’t interested in the Camino, I’m grateful to you for reading this post, Lauren. Thank you.

  8. It’s not a lot to do a bucket list experience like this. Though that is a lot on pharmacies. I’ve been doing 20km walks at home so I’ll be ok for this side of things. I don’t think I’ll ever get the time off to do the full thing, but I’ll be considering stages. Looking forward to reading more of your posts on the Camino.

    • I am a pharmacy connoisseur! The key is just to get the right shoes. I’ll write that piece up soon! Thanks for reading, John. You will be absolutely ready for your pilgrimage when the time is right.

  9. This is brilliant! It would probably take me 2 months to walk it, so maybe I’ll do it in chunks 😉

    I love the idea of going all the way to Finistere – and you’re right it is psychological!

    • If you can get two months, that’s the ideal way to go. You get to be a tourist AND a pilgrimage. I wish I could have stayed longer in some of the big cities like Bilbao and Llanes and, as you plan to do, I wish I would have walked to Finistere! Thanks for reading, Hannah!

  10. I was planning to walk from Porto to Santiago and on to Finisterre in April/May which is looking pretty unlikely at the moment. I haven’t decided yet whether to aim for later in the year or just hold on until 2022. Either way I’ll save your posts for future reference!

    • There is this part of me that so wants things to open up this year…but I also want all of those albergue owners to be safe. And, of course, the pilgrims, too. With so much uncertainty at the moment, I would probably say “the way will wait”. Maybe later in the year in the late summer/early fall? When you do go, it will be the right time, though. for you. And I’m so glad you’re going to walk on to Finisterre.

  11. I love this so much! I wish that there was a tool like this for every long-distance trail that people thru-hike. Because the idea is so romantic, but it’s really hard to break down the costs when you’ve never done it!

    • Right? And while the blog posts for thru-hikers are super helpful, they assume you are either a super budget traveler or that you don’t want to drink lots of wine. The savages! 🙂 I do think it’s important to know that the Camino can be done frugally or indulgently, and both are valid and beautiful pilgrimages. Thanks for reading!

  12. This is SO interesting and helpful because my husband and I have been talking about walking the Camino one day! I didn’t even know there were so many routes! Thanks for all of this useful information – it will definitely come in handy 🙂

    • I hope you both walk the Camino! It’s such a life-changing experience. The Camino will call you when the time is right. Buen Camino, Olivia!

  13. Wow, what an accomplishment!! I have never completed a pilgrimage but have always admired those who do. This is definitely something I would love to do someday. I would also have to drink a LOT of wine haha so my food costs would be similar to yours!!

    • You are most welcome! I think you would love this adventure. Though since you are a foodie, I have to warn you that the great food pretty much exists in the cities that dot the route. Otherwise, in the countryside, bring your own mustard to flavor those sandwiches!

  14. This is such a great guide to the Camino de Santiago. I will be saving this for when we do it. I think I will need to budget for plasters too! Not sure I’d be doing much walking after a bottle of wine though 🙂

    • Thanks, Wendy! Somehow the wine just didn’t impact us. Maybe it was all the walking? Or the great Spanish wine that just doesn’t leave a hangover? I’m not sure, but we did just fine on the wine! (Not for everyone, I know!)

  15. I loved this post! So much practical and useful information! I didn’t realize there were so many routes. I would probably chose to take the Foodie route. Gotta eat! And I would want to eat well!

    • They say you can make your own route, too! Though that’s a long way from Utah. 🙂 The foodie route was a great one to take! We were able to break from trail food and really eat well in the cities.

  16. What a coincidence. Ellie & I had been discussing doing the Camino just a few days ago and I’m sure we’ll end up doing it within the next two years. The calculator is very useful. Thanks for sharing.

    • I hope you and Ellie do your pilgrimage! It’s life-changing. I do find that once the Camino calls, you get there pretty fast. I’ll be cheering you on when you walk!

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