Do you need cash or card on the Camino de Santiago?

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Cash or card on the camino


One important question you might have when preparing for the Camino de Santiago, is whether you need cash or card on the Camino? This short guide will help you to prep for your big adventure.

  1. Do you need cash on the Camino de Santiago?
  2. Are there ATMs on the Camino de Santiago?
  3. Do ATMs charge fees on the Camino de Santiago?
  4. Which card to use when walking the Camino de Santiago?

Do you need cash on the Camino de Santiago?

In Spain and Portugal, the currency is Euros. It is advisable to carry some cash with you when you walk the Camino de Santiago. The main reasons you will need some cash are to pay for accommodation and to pay your bill in some cafes.

On the Camino de Santiago, some albergues will accept card, but this tends to be the private ones that are bookable via Municipal albergues, donativo albergues and convents or monasteries will all expect guests to pay with cash. Also, some albergues have bars which are likely to operate on a cash only basis.

We noticed that a number of cafes would only accept cash too. So it’s advisable to carry some, or else you might be deprived of your morning coffee fix!

Supermarkets and most restaurants will accept credit card, especially in the larger towns.

Are there ATMs on the Camino de Santiago?

On all routes of the Camino de Santiago, ATMs are generally available and easy to find. However, we would advise that you take out cash in the larger towns and cities. As you get into more remote villages and hamlets, you will find that some do not have ATMs. We advise that you plan ahead and check that you always have a little bit of cash.

Do ATMs charge fees on the Camino de Santiago?

In Spain, many of the ATMs may charge you to withdraw money. This will be in addition to any charges from your own bank too. In our experience, chargers ranged from 3 Euros to 5 Euros, but in one town on the Camino we found an ATM with charges of 8 Euros!

The ATMs with the lowest fees tended to ATMs attached to local or regional banks, rather than the large national banks. Santander charged more than 5 Euros! Fees were also high with Euronet cash points.

ATMs that charge no withdrawal fees included IberCaja and UniCaja, as well as ABANCA. BBVA charged a small fee.

Which card to use when walking the Camino de Santiago?

We always travel with Revolut cards. This is a debit card, but with no transaction fees when withdrawing Euros or paying for anything in Euros. There are many similar cards on the market.

Another option is to use a pre-paid travel card. These may have spending limits and take a few days to add cash, therefore we prefer to use a debit card when walking the Camino de Santiago.

Can you use American Express on the Camino de Santiago?

Generally, American Express will not be accepted in hostels, albergues, restaurants, cafes or bars on the Camino. Best off leaving this at home!

What should I pack for the Camino de Santiago?

If you would like more suggestions for packing for the Camino, you can find our supreme Camino packing list for 2023 here. This is our “lightweight” backpack packing list, based on our experience from walking multiple Caminos.

Find our packing list here.



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