Costs allow a basic €25 a day to include €5 for overnight stay at a municipal hostel and the remainder for food and drink.
Some hostels provide a communal supper (dependent on the warden hospitalero) for a small contribution and many have a basic kitchen where a meal can be prepared. Alternatively most locations have one or more restaurants to choose from and many have a special ‘pilgrim menu’ for a fixed price of around €10.
If you want to indulge in the wonderful gastronomy of Spain and sample its finer wines then expect to double this basic cost.
A few parish hostels still use a donation basis with the underlying philosophy: leave us what you can and if that is only your prayers that will be sufficient. We must be careful not to abuse this trust in our individual circumstances – unless you are a genuine mendicant, plan to leave at least 5 euros towards basic costs of maintenance.
Private hostels average around €10 per night but often provide additional facilities such as internet access, washing / drying machines and dining facilities (supper and breakfast at nominal extra cost).
Costs of accomodation
If the hostels are full alternative accommodation is generally available in the immediate area. These also vary widely in facilities offered and priced (generally per room – not per person) accordingly.
In practise the main defining feature in cost is the number of stars awarded. The cost of accommodation also varies between seasons (add 25% during peak holidays) and regions (add 25% in cities). Some smaller hotels and hostels, particularly in rural areas, offer a pilgrim discount but ask at reception before booking.
During off-season the price of a room can often be less than that officially displayed. At the lower end (from €15) we find simply beds camas and guesthouses known variously as fondas, hospedajes or hospederías without any star category. Moving up the scale (from €25) are pensiónes and hostales with one or more stars and the smaller rural hoteles.
In the middle bracket (from €40) are up-market B&B’s usually presented at a high standard and known variously as rural houses casa rural CR, rural tourism turismo rural TR or agricultural tourism agrícola turismo AT. Then come the hotels from 1 star in rural areas (from €25) up to 5 stars in the city (€150+).
All pilgrim hostels, most small pensions, rural B&B’s casa rurales and local shops operate on a cash only basis. That being said, even the smallest town and many of the villages have automatic cash dispensing machines cajeros automáticos that accept most international bank debit or credit cards. Traveller’s cheques are difficult to exchange and also rely on inconvenient bank opening hours. Consider settling your bill the night before if you plan an early departure.