Where to sleep on the Camino de Santiago: accommodation
Many people, when planning a pilgrimage to Compostela, are particularly concerned about what type of accommodation (shelters, hostels and hotels) they will find on the Camino de Santiago. That is why, in Santiago Ways we have decided to dedicate this blog post talking about the different places where you can sleep on the Camino de Santiago.
On most of the Camino de Santiago routes you will find a wide variety of accommodations, from simple public hostels to high-quality hotels. Depending on the route that you choose you will find more than one type of accommodation than others.
Comfort and price also vary considerably between types of accommodation. In general, the Camino de Santiago is associated with shelters, but this does not necessarily have to be the case. There are many pilgrims who prefer to enjoy the comfort and intimacy provided by hostels and hotels along the Camino de Santiago.
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Below we explain what type of accommodation you can find on the Camino de Santiago and how each one works. We will also provide you with a range of prices for shelters, hostels and hotels on the Camino de Santiago, so you will have all the information you require to be able to decide whether it is worth paying for comfort or not.
Shelters on the Camino de Santiago
As we mentioned before, most people associate doing the Camino de Santiago with staying in shelters. What not everyone knows is that on the Camino de Santiago you will find two types of shelters: public and private.
Public shelters on the Camino de Santiago
Among the public hostels of the Camino de Santiago, you will find two types. Those that are managed by the parish churches, called parish shelters, and those that are managed by the town councils, which are often referred to as municipal shelters.
Advantages of the parish shelters on the Camino de Santiago
- They’re the cheapest. This type of accommodation on the Camino de Santiago works through donations, therefore they do not have a fixed price.
- They allow you to enjoy the most Christian part of the pilgrimage.
Disadvantages of the parish shelters on the Camino de Santiago
- Parish shelters are the ones that are in short supply on the Camino de Santiago and it is almost impossible to complete the whole tour using exclusively this type of accommodation.
- They’re the ones that fill up the fastest. This fact forces many pilgrims to race and complete the stage, trying to find a place, consequently not fully enjoying the journey.
- Prior reservations are not permitted
- They give priority to those pilgrims who go on foot, before those who go by bike.
- They don’t accept baggage collection. If you plan to hire a baggage transfer service you won’t be able to pick it up at the shelter, you’ll have to use another delivery point.
- Generally, pets are not allowed. If you’re planning to do the Camino de Santiago with your dog then this type of accommodation is not a good option.
- You’ll share a room with many people, so snoring and noise can affect your rest. If you opt for this type of accommodation on the Camino de Santiago, bring earplugs with you, in this way, you won’t risk not being able to rest.
- They close their doors the earliest (22:00h). So if you do the Camino de Santiago in May or June, which are the months with most daylight in Spain, there will be many sunsets that you will not be able to enjoy because of the shelter’s closing time.
- On many occasions, they are far from the town centre.
Advantages of the municipal shelters on the Camino de Santiago
- In almost every classic stage ending you’ll find one. Most of the routes on the Camino de Santiago have a wide range of accommodation.
- After parish shelters, they are the cheapest accommodation on the Camino de Santiago (between 6 and 8 euros).
- You’ll share spaces with many pilgrims, so it’s easier to make friends.
- Occasionally, they are located in peripheral areas.
Disadvantages of the municipal shelters on the Camino de Santiago
- Prior reservations are not permitted. In high season, (spring and summer), on the popular routes such as the Camino Frances, it is impossible to plan stages well, as this type of accommodation fills up very quickly forcing pilgrims to walk extra distances.
- They give priority to those pilgrims doing it on foot. If you decide to do the Camino de Santiago by bike, you’ll have to wait at the last minute to find out if you have a bed or not, which is quite uncomfortable for bikegrims.
- They don’t accept baggage collection. If you plan to hire a backpack transfer service while doing the Camino de Santiago, you will also not be able to pick it up in the municipal shelters, and you will have to use another delivery point.
- Generally, they don’t allow pets. If you plan to do the Camino de Santiago with your dog or another pet, this type of accommodation is not a good option.
- You will share a room with many people. Generally, pilgrims try to be careful but there is always someone who does not respect the rules or worse, who snores
- After the parish shelters, they have the earliest door-closing times (22:30 or 23:00).
Private shelters in the Camino de Santiago
Private hostels are the preferred choice for pilgrims who want to have certain amenities, but without spending a lot of money on accommodation. This type of establishment is managed by private companies.
The best things about private shelters on the Camino de Santiago
- They are the third most economical option to stay on the Camino de Santiago. Prices usually range from 8 to 15 euros, depending on the route you take.
- There are fewer people per room. Unlike public hostels where there can be 50 or more people in the same room, this type of accommodation usually works with rooms of 15 or 20 beds.
- There is a wide range available. As with public shelters, in most classic end-stages you’ll find private shelters.
- Reservations welcome. Unlike public hostels, private shelters can be reserved. This will allow you to complete the stages without having to get stressed about finding a bed or not when you arrive at your destination.
- There are all kinds of private shelters, but some are like small hostels and have all kinds of services. Even swimming pools.
- Generally, being privately run, pilgrims are more welcomed.
The worst things about private shelters on the Camino de Santiago
- As we said before, there are all kinds of private hostels. Occasionally, this type of accommodation on the Camino de Santiago offers a terrible service in relation to its price, when compared to public hostels.
- Even if there are far fewer people in a room, if it’s your turn to share it with a snorer, your rest will be equally affected.
- Not all of them accepts pets. This is an inconvenience for animal lovers and an advantage for all those people who prefer not to have animals around.
- They also have a door-closing time.
Hostels and boarding houses on the Camino de Santiago
Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago who stay in hostels and boarding houses are not only looking for the comfort of this type of accommodation, but also the freedom and flexibility they provide. Unlike hostels, this type of accommodation is not only linked to the Camino de Santiago, that is, they accept guests other than pilgrims.
The difference between a hostel and a boarding house is quite imperceptible. In many cases, they are considered synonymous. However, in most cases, hostels have a more communal feel than boarding houses, with more common spaces in which guests can gather together.
Positive aspects of hostels on the Camino de Santiago
- They offer shared and single rooms. If you are looking for privacy and do not want to spend a lot of money, then this type of accommodation is a good option on the Camino de Santiago. You’ll even find rooms with private bathrooms.
- Their services are generally of better quality than in shelters.
- Accommodation that allows you to enjoy a certain degree of privacy are the most economical (between 15 and 20 euros per bed in a shared room).
- Shared dormitories have fewer beds than hostels.
- Common spaces are usually quite pleasant and it’s easy to meet people in them.
- Reservations permitted.
Disadvantages of hostels and boarding houses
- The price of a single room with a private bathroom in a hostel may be similar to that of a hotel.
- Don’t forget the bunk beds. In dormitories, you will still have the problem that you may have to sleep in the top bunk (All pilgrims hate them! Who wants to go up and down metal stairs after 20 km?).
- In dormitory rooms you still run the risk of not being able to rest properly.
- Generally, they do not allow animals.
Hotels and cottages on the Camino de Santiago
Hotels and cottages are the easiest and most comfortable option for the Camino de Santiago. Both types of accommodation always offer private rooms and their own bathroom. Obviously, they are the most expensive alternative, but within this category, you will find a wide range of prices.
Advantages of staying in a hotel or cottage
- You can rest more comfortably at the end of each stage and you can get double rooms for 40 or 50 euros.
- You make sure that you’ll rest well because you have your own room.
- You’ll enjoy that comforting bath every pilgrim deserves much more after finishing a stage. Having a private bathroom is a luxury and a pleasure. Remember that the body needs a lot of care during the pilgrimage.
- They have much more charm. Especially the cottages, in which you can breathe in a family atmosphere.
- Their services and facilities are much better.
- In most cases, they are places that are located near places of interest or surrounded by beautiful scenery.
- They offer dinner and breakfast services. This avoids having to start walking in the morning in search of a place that is open for breakfast or having to go out in the afternoon to find a restaurant for dinner.
- They’re more expensive. We should know how to choose them so that the price is according to the quality of the service.
- You have to know how to choose them, so that you get value for money.
Other types of accommodation
Shelters, hostels and hotels or cottages are the most common types of accommodation on the Camino de Santiago, but they are not the only ones. Depending on which of the Camino de Santiago routes you decide to take, you can also find other types on offer.
Campsites on the Camino de Santiago
Campsites are places that are prepared for camping, but many of them have bungalows or small cabins in which to stay. This type of accommodation is quite common on the Camino Portugues. Prices range between 25 and 30 euros.
They are a mix between cottages and boarding houses. This type of establishment is not categorized with the star rating system and their services are usually quite basic. They are the least common type of accommodation found on the Camino de Santiago.
An aparthotel is like a hotel, but they also have a kitchen included. This type of accommodation is a good option if you are doing the Camino de Santiago with a large group, although they are not so common on some routes.
We hope that with this article you have seen a great range of options that you will find on the Camino de Santiago in which to stay. In Santiago Ways we work exclusively with hotels, cottages (or pazos in Galicia) and with some hostels.
If you want us to help you organize your accommodation on the Camino de Santiago, do not hesitate to contact us. Call us, leave us your comments, write to us through Facebook. Our team will manage the reservations for you, to ensure the most comfortable hotels, cottages and hostels along the Camino de Santiago.