For me, eating is pleasurable pastime. Tasting makes me ecstatic, chewing makes me smile and cooking food in general (vegetables in particular) makes my heart sing. Prior to my departure, I thought my journey through France and Spain would be an amazing opportunity to dive into these countries cuisines. Although I did enjoy some culinary delights featuring impulsive decisions at way-too-expensive restaurants and delicious meals served at some of my host families, walking somehow transforms the act of eating… especially when you’re watching your wallet.

If you’re planning to walk the Camino del Norte with a tiny budget, here are some tips to adjust to a pilgrim’s eating pattern without going broke.

A pilgrim’s eating pattern. Yeah, that’s right. It’s a thing. You know what it means? It means you’re hungry ALL THE TIME. I remember waking up regularly in the middle of the night with a feeling in my stomach that, when offering a visual description, resembled a very upset black hole. I swear I’ve felt the insides of my stomach touch as it was desperately trying to find the last remnants of the chips I had quickly devoured half an hour before bedtime. All I’m trying to say is that your body needs fuel when you’re walking most part of the day and it will ask for it. So you’ll need to be smart about what you fill your black hole with to save money besides attempting to properly nourish your body.


Depending on whether I’m seeing someone special and what the weather is like, the second or fourth thing on my mind once I wake up is coffee. On the Camino del Norte I always took some instant coffee with me to brighten the day! Once I’d enjoyed my first cup of coffee, breakfast options included lukewarm Greek yoghurt as some albergues didn’t have a fridge, crackers with avocado and tomatoes, slightly stale bread with cheese and, on days I forgot to arrange brekkie beforehand, granola bars or Maria biscuits. In most albergues you can opt for breakfast or it will be included in your night stay, however, don’t expect a savoury breakfast. Spanish brekkie often consists of coffee and cake, biscuits or toasted bread with jam.

I admit eating cake for breakfast revealed a whole new world to me, however, when it comes to my breakfast habits I like to mix things up a bit. Excessive amounts of baguette and jam in France made me excited to organise my own breakfast whilst walking the Camino del Norte, which was similar in price and a little bit more nutritious. I won’t lie, I did enjoy a large piece of cake here and there though 😉

knipje-what to eat


Lunch is probably the easiest meal to do on the cheap. You only need three things: a baguette or a big piece of bread (opt for a wholemeal one, or one with lots of seeds), your favourite cheese and/or ham, and an amazing vegetable (capsicum, cucumber, tomato, you pick!). Make the sandwich, cut it in half, wrap one half and eat the other! Congratulations, you’ve just made lunch for two days! On the Camino, enjoying a spectacular sandwich on a break was like a big hug. I’ll forever cherish the moments that my Camino mate and I would just sit somewhere, be silent and eat. When the shops are closed or there is another reason you’re not carrying your bundle of tasty goodness along… fear not! In pretty much every bar in Spain you can buy bocadillos (sandwiches) or other edible delights, however, these aren’t always the most inexpensive lunch choices!

knipje3-what to eat


All along the Camino del Norte you’ll be able to get a pilgrim’s menu ranging from €10 to €15. This isn’t costly when you’re enjoying it sometimes, but when doing it daily it’ll quickly turn into one of your main expenses. Besides that, I often found these menus included lots of fried foods, something I personally enjoy eating sometimes though not daily. Check if your albergue has an equipped kitchen, if so you’re all sorted for a delicious dinner. Sometimes there might be a microwave allowing you to heat things up – think soup, rice, lentils etcetera. My go-to Camino meal was a mixed salad with bread or nacho chips (my all time fave). It was what I always enjoyed eating and felt my body needed after a long day of walking and… it’s ridiculously cheap!

knipje2-what to eat

In between meals I ate an impressive amount of apples, carrots, capsicums, granola bars, Maria biscuits, nuts and chips. When walking the Camino, eating becomes a necessity and I advise you to choose that which you eat wisely. Eating only cookies might seem great but it’s not the way to go (I tried and it made me feel horribly weak). As you’re body is demanding food often, it’s easy to pick unhealthy, sugary foods that give you a quick hit. However, if you balance it out with the healthier options it’ll be more satisfying for your body, as well as your budget in the long run. (Do try cake for breakfast once though, it’s fantastic.)




My worst nightmare came true. Nah, joke. That probably would be something different. However, it definitely felt like my entire endeavour was off the table, when my housing corporation informed me that subletting my house wasn’t allowed according to my contract. With one simple email they flushed one third of my budget down the drain.


After the initial drama phase, in which I sat on the couch in disbelief surrounded by chocolate, I reviewed the situation and decided it was not all that bad. “It’s all part of the journey Q, it’s all part of the journey. You can still go! Just do the Camino on a budget!”

So… Walking the Camino on a budget will mean two things:

  1. During my camino I will have to keep to a tight budget.
  2. I will have to find inexpensive alternatives for the gear that I had chosen in the first place without compromising too much on quality and comfort. (Just so we are clear: I will not in a million years part with my boots.)

If I may say so myself, I am pretty good in budgeting, yet, I must admit that for a long distance hike budgeting is not easy. Flowing forth from the unexpected nature of this activity, you simply cannot keep account with every possible situation you will end up in. Therefore, you will have to make sure you allow for enough financial space to roam in.

Heaps of websites about the Camino offer information about the costs that are involved. The Dutch Sint Jacob Society has an extremely handy tool to calculate your expenses when journeying from the Netherlands to Santiago de Compostela… and thus, I just realised, not so handy for everyone ; ) Nonetheless, from what I have read, you can make the Camino as expensive or as low-cost as you want. Tent, albergue, hotel, supermarket or restaurant? The food and accommodation choices will be the main factors that determine the overall costs of your pilgrimage.

I have decided to pack a tent and camp as much as possible. The first month will be a challenge since not all campsites are open yet, so for this month I will have to factor in extra money for accommodation. Furthermore, there might be nights that I want to treat myself with a hostel room just get myself sorted at times. Foodwise I will bring my own stove, which means coffee (no. 1 priority), breakfast and dinner are mostly covered. Likewise, I plan to pack my own lunches. Naturally, once in a while I would like to eat out and enjoy the local cuisine, after all, eating is a dear hobby of mine.  Other things that cost money are laundry, small repairs, maps and who knows what else. Let’s make a calculation:

daily expenses

According to the majority of websites, a Camino on a restricted budget will cost €20-€30 a day on average. Keeping all the above considerations in mind, I have budgeted €30 per day (of course, hoping to be spending less!). With the current route and estimated kilometres I will be walking daily, walking from Amsterdam to Santiago will cost me around €3780 in total.


As we all know, unexpected things may happen. To be prepared for the actualisation of some of the what ifs, I have budgeted €250.


Gear can be expensive, very expensive. Although I already have purchased certain essentials in the past – think sleeping bag, backpack and a stove – I will need certain things to make my trip easier, like a tent, a rain jacket and a hydro pack. The above described shitty setback, has diminished my initially budgeted €1500 budget for gear to €1000. Purchasing all the things I need and staying within this budget will become the challenge of the upcoming months.

ticket back home

Once in Santiago, you will have to go home. Even though I do not want to think about that yet, I estimated to spend €150 for a ticket back to Amsterdam.

grand total

So yeah, the grand total of my Camino de Santiago, if calculated correctly, will come to €5180. My expenses that will be made at home made while gone are excluded, think the rent of my studio, phone bill, health and travel insurance. While I still have quite a bit of saving to do, I am confident I will eventually get there.

In an attempt to turn this shit into glitter, I have thus decided to do my Camino on a tiny budget. Even with little money, I will be walking. Guess it will turn this journey even more into a priceless adventure.