There are endless ways to fail at the GR20. It’s got a reputation for being the toughest trek in Europe, and for good reason. In fact, some statistics indicate that over half of those who start the GR20 don’t complete it. There are a ton of genuinely legitimate reasons for quitting, and those are totally understandable.
Want to know the stupidest, least excusable reason for quitting the GR20? Running out of money.
Nearly everything you purchase on the GR20 will need to be bought with cash. There are no ATMS along the route, not even in Calenzana, Vizzavona, or Conca, and most establishments do not accept credit cards. If you’re prepared, this is no problem at all. However, without advance planning this could be catastrophic to your trek. Indeed, when we hiked in 2019 we met multiple hikers who were forced to leave the trail due to a lack of cash. Don’t let that happen to you.
Since you’ve clearly got your act together enough to find this article (and hopefully you checked out our Ultimate Guide to the GR20 too), we feel pretty confident that you won’t earn a place in the GR20 Hall of Shame (at least not for this reason…we can’t vouch for what anyone will do after a couple of Pietras!)
Now that you know you need to carry enough cash to cover all of your expenses along the trail, you just need to figure out exactly how much cash that will be. That’s what we’re here for.
Below we’ve outlined what you can expect to pay for all sorts of common goods and services on the GR20. Obviously, you can expect some variation in prices from place to place, but this should give you a general idea of things so you can more confidently estimate your budget.
The GR20: Average Price List
- Dorm bed in a PNRC Refuge: €15
- Hire tent at a PNRC Refuge: €11 tent rental fee + €7 per person
- Camping (bivouac) with a personal tent at PNRC Refuge: €7 per person
- Dorm bed in a gite d’etape: €20 per person (€45 per person for half board)
- Camping at a bergerie with personal tent: €8 per person
- Camping at a bergerie in a hire tent: €20 per person
- Double room in a hotel: €100
Food and Drink:
- Evening Meal at a bergerie, gite, or PNRC Refuge: €22
- Breakfast at a bergerie, gite, or PNRC Refuge: €8
- Picnic lunch from a bergerie, gite, or PNRC Refuge: €8
- Meal at a nice hotel restaurant: €30
- Large can of Pietra Beer: €6
- Half liter of wine: €6
- Large coffee or tea: €2.5
- Can of soda: €3.5
- A-la-carte omelette or sandwhich: €7-9
- Charcuterie or cheese plate: €10
- Large chunk of local cheese: €11
- Bag of pasta: €2
- Jar of pasta sauce: €3
- Can of ravioli: €3
- Saucisson (cured Corsican sausage): €10
- Bag of peanuts: €2
- Bar of chocolate: €2
- Loaf of bread: €2
- Bus from Bastia Airport to Bastia city center: €9 per person
- Train from Bastia to Calvi: €16.2 per person (see the full list of train prices here)
- Bus from Calvi to Calenzana: €8 per person
- Navette from Conca to Sainte Lucie de Porto Vecchio: €4- €6 per person (depending on number of passengers)
- Bus from Sainte Lucie de Porto Vecchio to Bastia: €23 per person + €1 per bag
- Train from Vizzavona to Bastia: €14.6
- Hot shower: €2 for 6 minutes (This varies quite a bit; some refuges offer free hot showers, while others only offer cold showers
- Electronics Charging: €2 per device (this is also free at some refuges and unavailable at others)
- Stove fuel: €6
- Roll of toilet paper: €0.50
- Compeed blister bandages: €9
- Sunscreen: €12
How to estimate your expenses on the GR20
First, think about the type of accommodation and meals you plan on purchasing. Are you going to sleep in refuges and hotels as much as possible? Are you going to eat most meals at the refuge or will you choose to buy provisions to self-cater? Will you pay for any of your accommodation in advance? (PNRC reservations require full payment when you make your booking). Don’t forget to account for your meals and lodging in Calenzana, Vizzavona, and Conca. Once you’ve taken all of these variables into account you can get a general idea of what you plan to spend on accommodation per day.
Next, consider all of your other miscellaneous expenses. These include transportation to and from the trail, electronics charging and hot showers, any needed toiletries or other necessities that arise. Use our list of average prices (above) to determine the amount of money that will cover all of your miscellaneous items. Our advice? Expect the unexpected and give yourself a little extra cushion here!
Before you get any further, be honest with yourself about what you’ll want and need on the trail. It’s easy to think you’ll adhere to a strict budget, but once you’ve been hiking all day in the blistering sun that cold beer or bag of crisps is going to be awfully tempting, and you’ll get far greater enjoyment out of your GR20 experience if you allow yourself a few indulgences here and there. Plus, you’ll be exerting yourself much more than in your typical day-to-day life and therefore your calorie needs will be significantly greater. Keep this in mind when calculating your food budget- hiker hunger is no joke!
Finally, the amount of money you’ll need will depend on how long you plan on being out on the trail. If you are hiking for longer, that’s more days of food and lodging you’ll need to pay for. We recommend building an extra day into your itinerary to allow for bad weather or other issues that may arise.
Here’s a breakdown of average daily costs for a few different budgets. Drinks, treats, and unexpected necessities have been accounted for in the “Miscellaneous” category.
|Food & Drink||Accommodation||Miscellaneous||Average Daily Expenses|
NOTE: All hikers, regardless of their budget, should add at least €65 to their overall estimate to account for transportation costs.
Okay. I made my budget, but WOW that’s a LOT of cash! Is it safe to hike with that much money?
Generally speaking, yes. The GR20 attracts a really awesome community of humans who just want to conquer a challenge and savor the outdoors. There is a sense of camaraderie among GR20 hikers, and people tend to look out for one another. Plus, pretty much everyone you meet on the trail is in the same boat as you, so you really shouldn’t be any more susceptible to theft as the next trekker.
That being said, you should take the same precautions you would take in any other situation where you’d be walking around with a big wad of cash. These include:
- Keep your money on your person or within sight at all times. Many hikers choose to wear a fanny pack for easy and safe access to their valuables.
- If traveling with others, split up the money among the members in your group.
- Report any suspicious activity to the warden.
- Listen to your instincts if something doesn’t feel right.
- Keep your money and valuables in a waterproof pouch.
Can I even take that much money out of an ATM, especially in another country?
Yes, sort of. It will depend on your specific institution, but some banks limit withdrawals to €500 at a time. If this is the case for you, you may need to make a series of withdrawals over the course of a couple days or use multiple accounts. Hopefully you are using a card that reimburses you for ATM fees! And of course, make sure to notify your bank prior to any travel to prevent fraud alerts and/or getting your account frozen.
So are you going to share how much you spent or what?
Time for the big reveal on how much the GR20 cost us! But before we do, we’d like to preface it with a few important points. These are very necessary to take into account in order to truly understand our expenses:
– Our spending number only accounts for what we spent while actually on the GR20. It does not include our flights to Corsica or any gear we purchased for the trek.
-This number is based on the cost for two people who camped on nearly every stage with our own tent. We were on the trail for 17 days, including a rest day in Vizzavona.
-We brought about four days’ worth of meals, which we purchased ahead of time. The cost of that food is not accounted for in this total, and reduced our on-trail spending.
-We are vegetarians who were happy to cook our own dinners every night (seriously, we ate so much pasta) and snack on peanuts and bread. Due to our natural frugality in this area we tend to spend much less than the average person on meals.
-A great way to save money, which we made sure to employ on a near-daily basis, is to drink wine. Too good to be true? Not at all! Two people can happily split a half liter of decent wine for the same price as just one beer. Who can pass up a value like that?
So, in total, we carried €1200 with us on the GR20.
We actually only spent around €700 of that, but we tend to do things very, very frugally. Most people will spend significantly more than this, but this shows that it’s definitely possible to hike the GR20 for this amount or even much less!
It is totally possible to hike the GR20 on nearly any budget and have a great time doing it. With a little advance planning and a good sense of your personal travel style, you can eliminate many of the stressors that come with managing finances while on the trail. If you found this article helpful, make sure to check out our other great GR20 content. Happy trails!
Check out all of our great GR20 resources:
- The Ultimate Guide to the GR20: Everything you need to plan your trip!
- GR20 Packing List: Make sure you’ve got everything you need!
- GR20 Maps: Custom maps and elevation profiles to ensure you’re prepared for your trek.
- Trip Report: The GR20 Nord-An honest account of our experiences on the notorious northern half of the GR20.
- Trip Report: The GR20 Sud-Know what to expect on the southern section of your trek.