Europe 2017 – The Camino de Santiago – Part Thirteen – A Summary Part One

September 23 – October 18, St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela

Much like with our trip in 2014, a journey of this duration, nearly three months in this case involves a bit of planning.  And like that earlier trip, except for the Camino itself where each day would plan itself, we’d left the first part of the trip, Greece, and the last part, post-Camino, without much thought.

Some of this had to do with Jessica’s wedding the week before we left on the trip and how our focus on it distracted us.  That being said, we’d come up with a rough outline, particularly for Greece and would end up following it pretty closely.  But more of that later.  For now, on to the Camino.


The exchange rate remained fairly constant during our journey, about 1.19 for credit card charges (assuming you use an exchange free card, eliminating the 3% charge to convert) and an average of 1.23 for cash, more expensive due to the bank fees charged (usually a 5-dollar ATM fee and a percentage of the total tacked on).  Use these values as you read on to determine our cost in dollars.

The Route

As for the Camino, we decided to hike the most popular route, the Camino Frances, and cut out a week by starting in Pamplona instead of the more often chosen starting point of St Jean Pied de Port.  But given the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from those who’d done the Camino Frances regarding the spectacular beauty of starting in St. Jean Pied de Port and hiking over the Pyrenees, we soon came around to that way of thinking.

Camino Routes

Camino Routes

Many also choose to hike the first day to Roncevalles, a distance of 16 miles but we wisely decided to spit it into two, so as not to kill ourselves at the start of what would be a long month of walking.


Camino Frances

From that first day, we also committed to shipping a bag ahead at each stop, a practice we were astounded to discover was practiced by untold numbers of other pilgrims.  The average cost per bag was roughly 5 euros per leg (12-13-mile segment) and is so well worth the money I’d recommend it as a serious option for all but the hardiest of hikers.


Those first two nights also set the stage for a change in our lodging agenda, the shared room at Refuge Orisson first coming as a shock and then becoming the gradual acceptance one must have in order to tolerate staying in group lodging.

In the Pod

In the Pod

We’d originally planned to spend roughly 3/4’s of our nights in private pensions in a room to ourselves, and the other in the multi-bed accommodations (albergue) that most folks identify with the Camino.  Instead, of our 25 nights of lodging choices, 15 (60%) were in an albergue.  Some of this was by choice and some a matter of convenience but I believe we’ll both look back on the albergue route as being a good one.

Santiago Apostol Dorm Room

Santiago Apostol Dorm Room

The obvious advantage is cost, often as low as 10 euros per person, sometimes less.  By the end of our journey we’d spent an average of $34 per day for the two of us.  Yes, you read that right.  Not apiece but for the both of us.  Another advantage is the people you meet and the conversations that occur naturally when you share space.

Our Pod at Check-In Leon

Our Pod at Check-In Leon

This does not minimize the downside of sharing, particularly at night when you can hear every possible sound a body can make, some of it not so pleasant.  Granted, in these circumstances people can be annoying but ultimately, the real value is derived from giving up your privacy and assuming a humbler state of being.

Kitchen and Common Room at Check In

Kitchen and Common Room at Check In

As for the rooms we rented, it continued to reinforce lessons learned in the past, that is how reasonable lodging can be compared to what we typically experience in the States.  We could usually reserve a room, sometimes with an in-room bath, for around 50 euros, sometimes less (as little as 32 in Santo Domingo with a shared bath) ranging up to 65 euros.

Our Room in Carrion de Los Condes

Our Room in Carrion de Los Condes

Most were spacious and nicely appointed, almost all with a TV in the room (usually a flat panel) and often a sink if it was a shared bath, a nice convenience meaning you didn’t have to leave the room for simple washing tasks.  It’s common for double rooms here to have two twin beds, an inconvenience if you like sleeping with your mate; often they are right next to each other but if not, we’d start out cramped in a twin and then separate later for sleeping comfort.

Ktichen in Carrion

Ktichen in Carrion

Generally, for this trip I’d always pick lodging on the Camino route so as to make it easier to find as we came into town.  This isn’t an issue in the smaller towns but certainly comes into play in the larger cities (Burgos, Leon, etc.).  Also, because we were shipping a bag each day we needed to know where we would be staying at the end of the day, making reservations necessary.  For those pilgrims not shipping a bag one can start out in the morning with no lodging in mind and generally find one easily at the end of the day.

Naxos Shower

Modern Shower in a Room in Greece


Because we walked for 11 days, roughly half of our time traversing the Camino, we had few transportation expenses early on.  We did skip a section by taking the bus from Los Arcos to Logrono, eliminating a long day of walking at a little under 6 euros for the two of us.  The next would have been the bus ride from Santo Domingo to Burgos, eliminating three days of walking for a little over 9 euros for both of us.  Once we decided to rent the bikes the nature of the game changed.  The bike rental broke down as follows (costs in euros):


# of Days

# of Bikes Cost


Bike rental


2 15


Bike Pick-Up


2 25




1 40




2 13.50




1 6


Tire Levers


1 3




1 8




Additional Two Days Rental


2 15


Grand Total      


Cost Per Day per Bike      


So, for around $25 a day we saved our Camino and if you consider that by riding our bikes, we accelerated our pace (covering two sections a day instead of one) cutting about ten days out of the journey, we saved the money we would have spent during that time.


Joanna on the Trail

Then again, it didn’t change our actual end date of November 15th meaning we’d still have to fill those days with hotels and food, so no money saved in the long run.  It probably ended up costing us more as traveling the Camino is just less expensive, but matter as we did get to ride those bikes.  And it did save our Camino


Taking A Break

To be Continued

And that completes part one of our summary.  See the next post for the rest of it.


Camino Frances:


One comment

  1. Amazing post, amazing trip and amazing photos! Congrats 🙂

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