Where to Stay Along The Way
If you have an unlimited budget, you may choose from a full range of accommodations along the Camino, from donation only albergues (donativo) at the most basic end of the spectrum to five star hotels at the other end, and every kind of lodging in between. If you are on a tight budget and hoping for cheap lodging every night, it is important to note that not every town has all the options. We give more detail in our Guidebook, but these excerpts will help you begin to plan.
The only way to guarantee a bed for the night, especially during peak times for pilgrims like the summer, is to book ahead with albergues and hotels that take reservations, and then stick to that schedule. By scheduling ahead you forfeit a degree of spontaneity and freedom, but certain amenities or a cheap price tag might be non-negotiable for you. If you do want to book ahead at a private albergue or hotel, many are listed on popular websites/apps. We used the Booking.com app most often. If you hope to reserve a bed at cheaper places, which are usually not on a hotel booking site, a good way to do that could be to ask the hospitalero (host/manager) where you are staying to recommend a place ahead on your journey and call for you. Often you can reserve a spot this way, but the nature of the Camino is such that if you have not arrived by 2-3:00 pm to claim that reservation, it will probably be given away to someone else who walks in, unless you call around 2:00 pm to confirm that you are coming, and will arrive at such and such time.
If you are wondering whether or not you will get the “full peregrino experience” if you do not stay at the big municipal albergues, and opt for more amenities, the answer is, “Yes, you are a true peregrino.” Much of the good camaraderie and shared experiences of the journey happen as you walk and at meals, so make your lodging plans according to what works for you, and find other pilgrims to join for dinner if you want to socialize.
As always we recommend personalizing your decision. There are many ways to walk the Camino, and what is right for one person is not necessarily right for everyone.
Here is a glossary of terms for better understanding of what is available song the Camino.
Municipal albergues, or hostels, are government operated and offer dormitory style rooms with as many bunk beds as will fit in the space. 4-6 Euros.
Parish albergues (parroquia) are operated by the local Catholic Church or diocese. Some offer a pilgrim mass and most serve a meal. 4-6 Euros or donativo.
Monastery albergues (Monasterio or convento) are run by either monks or nuns and vary in their facilities. 5-8 Euros, some donativo
A variety of associations and local governments operate albergues along the routes. They are usually run by volunteer staff, many of whom have experience on the Camino. 6-8 Euros
Private albergues are operated by individuals or groups, and vary greatly in their facilities, amenities, and number of beds. Amenities range from a bunk in a dormitory style room sharing a communal bathroom to semi-private and private rooms with semi-private and en suite bathrooms. The prices range from 8-40 Euros. Breakfast is often included or available.
Hotels are operated by individuals, chains, and the government, generally have private rooms with en suite bathrooms, and range 35-130 euros and up for a double room. Breakfast is often included.
It is worth mentioning again that companies do exist that will provide travel services to set up all of your accommodations for your Camino journey based on an agreed upon itinerary, schedule, and budget.