Where do you sleep on the Camino de Santiago? Is a common question among those looking to embark on this fantastic journey for the first time. This simple guide to accommodation on the Camino de Santiago will help you decide on the best option for you and plan your trip.
There are many different types of accommodation and categories on the Camino route, so here’s an overview:
ALBERGUES – HOSTELS
Public hostels or ‘albergues’ are the classic accommodation on the Camino de Santiago, inspired by the medieval pilgrim hospitals, designed to host pilgrims in simple lodgings for the night and run by volunteers known as ‘hospitaleros’.
Public albergues are managed by local authorities and work on a first come, first served basis and they can’t be booked in advance. Pilgrims with disabilities take priority, followed by those doing the Camino on foot, on horseback and then by bike.
They generally work on a donation basis or a set price and accommodation is in shared dorms with access to communal facilities such as kitchen, showers, etc… and pilgrims stay only for one night.
Public hostels are frequent along the Camino Frances which is the most transited trail but other Camino de Santiago routes don’t have a network of public hostels as well established and developed as the Camino Frances.
In some cities and towns it is also possible to find private hostels or albergues. These are private businesses offering beds in shared rooms and dorms, depending on each hostel. Private hostels can be booked in advance and their price falls within the budget category.
They are ideal for school groups, as it is possible to accommodate students in dorms divided by gender with separate bathroom facilities; while teachers accompanying students can be accommodated in private rooms.
Guest houses come in different categories, shapes and sizes and they are known as ‘pensiones’ or ‘hostales’. They tend to be independent and family run properties.
Within the category of ‘hostal’ you can find different levels of comfort, according to its star rating, similarly to hotels.
Hotels are generally more widely available on the main towns and cities along the Camino de Santiago routes, but might not be as easy to find in the most rural regions. They range from 2 to 5 stars, from budget to pampering luxury.
CASAS RURALES – COUNTRY HOMES
Casas rurales are small boutique properties located in the countryside, generally in homes or buildings that have been carefully refurbished keeping their traditional style and respecting its environment. They are really wonderful family-run hotels where you can experience local hospitality at its best
PARADORES – HISTORIC LUXURY HOTELS
Across Spain and along many of the Camino de Santiago routes, you will also find luxury hotels known as ‘Paradores’. These are spectacular properties in historic buildings such as monasteries or in locations of great beauty such as natural parks and protected areas.
Possibly the most famous Parador on the Camino de Santiago is the 5-Star Parador dos Reis Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela. It is one of the main buildings in the wonderful Obradoiro Square, by the city’s majestic Cathedral, and has welcomed pilgrims since 1499.
Following a tradition, the Parador still offers a free meal to the first ten pilgrims that arrive in Santiago each day.
At JWT Camino, we have many different options for groups, for instance School groups on the Camino tend to prefer a budget and group friendly hostel or ‘hostal’, while our Camino guided tours include stays in quality hotels and guest houses.
If you are opting for a self guided Camino tour, our standard packages include quality hotels, with casas rurales, luxury hotels and Paradores also available.
We hope you find this simple guide to accommodation on the Camino de Santiago useful. Talk to our travel experts if you’d like to receive more information about our Camino self guided and Camino guided tours, we are here to help you plan a wonderful trip.Contact Us