Travel Guide

Albergues on the Camino de Santiago – a complete information

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We’ve stayed at greater than 100 albergues on the seven totally different routes of the Camino de Santiago. Some locations have been superb and have become an essential a part of our Camino recollections, some locations have been simply one other in a single day keep. Albergues are an essential a part of the Camino de Santiago. Even should you’re not the type of individual that’s comfy with staying in a dormitory I’d suggest discovering an ideal albergue in your Camino route (one with a communal dinner for instance) and staying there for one night time simply to experience the spirit of the Camino.

What’s an albergue?

In easy phrases, an albergues is a hostel for pilgrims. In the event you’re acquainted with hostels it gained’t be obscure the entire albergue factor. A regular albergue has one or a number of dormitory rooms with bunk beds (few have regular beds), a shared ablution complicated, a kitchen, and a typical space.

Methods to discover albergues?

A lot of the albergues, particularly public ones, are located proper on the Camino route; you don’t must stroll round with a GPS or map looking for them. In greater cities and cities there are often arrows pointing the way in which to albergues.

If you wish to plan your Camino itinerary upfront and be sure you’re going to remain solely at one of the best albergues alongside the route you may test evaluations of various albergues on Gronze.com. The one drawback of utilizing it’s that the location and a lot of the evaluations are in Spanish. We’ve got detailed itineraries for a number of Camino routes the place you could find info on each albergues we stayed.

Extra info for planning the Camino stroll you could find in our detailed publish Finest Camino de Santiago ideas.

Shoes lined up on a shoe rack and on the floor at the entrance of a public albergue on the Camino de Santiago
Pilgrims’ footwear on the entrance of a public albergue on the Camino

Public vs personal albergues on the Camino de Santiago

There are two varieties of albergues public (municipal) and personal. Public albergues are often run by the native municipality. Personal albergues belong to an individual or an organization. Each private and non-private albergues could be discovered on any Camino route the extra widespread the route is the extra albergues it has.  

Public albergues

Public albergues are often greater than personal ones, some have as much as 100 beds and are cheaper. Public albergues are solely for pilgrims strolling the Camino, vacationers can’t keep there. There may be often no bedding however most public albergues promote disposable sheets and pillow casing for 1 Euro. The amenities of municipal albergues differ, some are new spacious with good amenities, some are fairly outdated and really primary.

Municipal albergues don’t often permit baggage supply should you determine to make use of one of many baggage shuttle providers as a substitute of strolling together with your backpack you’ll have to keep at personal albergues.

One of the best municipal albergues are in Galicia run by the Xunta de Galicia. Most of them are new, spacious, with good facilities, clear, and comfy. In the event you determine to stroll the final 100 km on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela or select one of many shorter routes e.g. the English Method you gained’t have any downside discovering a very good and finances lodging.

A shared room with bunk beds in a municipal albergue on the Camino
A typical public albergue on the Camino de Santiago in Galicia

Personal albergues

Personal albergues are smaller and often extra comfy in addition to costlier. Some personal albergues are for donation. There are fairly a couple of albergues for donation on the Camino Frances. Personal albergues could be booked upfront over the cellphone or by means of one of many on-line reserving techniques. They’re not solely for pilgrims although the vast majority of folks staying there are often strolling the Camino. The facilities of personal albergues are often higher than these of the general public ones. 

A dorm room with bunk beds in a private albergue on the Camino
A typical dormitory room in a non-public albergues on the Camino

Most important variations between private and non-private albergues

Options Public albergues Personal albergues
Worth 5-7 Euro 10-12 Euro
Just for pilgrims sure no
Want a Credential sure no
Can keep greater than 1 night time no sure
May be booked no sure
Enable baggage supply no sure
Entrance doorways shut at 9 pm sure no
Most important options of public & personal albergues on the Camino de Santiago

Amenities

A regular albergue (public or personal) has a few dormitories with bunk beds (generally one massive room), a typical/eating space, a kitchen, and shared bogs and showers. As I already talked about personal albergues are often higher geared up. All albergues have sizzling showers and electrical energy, many have wi-fi. 

Ablutions

Showers and bogs are shared and often separate for women and men until it’s a very small albergue with one rest room. You’ll want your individual towel, cleaning soap, bathe gel, and so forth. No want to hold rest room paper all albergues we’ve stayed at supplied it.

If there are various folks in your albergue go to the bathe proper after the check-in earlier than unpacking and making your mattress, in any other case you may spend 30 minutes ready within the line.

Kitchen

About 80% of all albergues we’ve stayed at had a kitchen. Generally it’s a totally geared up kitchen with the whole lot you want for cooking, generally it’s very primary with a microwave and a few plates. At all times earlier than you go meals procuring try the kitchen to see if it has a range, pots, pans, and so forth. Some albergues (often personal) provide communal dinner and breakfast for donation or a set worth. 

A dining and cooking area in a public albergue
A kitchen and a dinning room in a public albergue on the By way of de la Plata

The price of albergues

Public albergues are the most affordable lodging possibility on the Camino. Costs differ a bit relying on the route, the typical worth of a mattress in a public albergues is between 5 and seven Euro per individual. On some Camino routes e.g. the By way of de la Plata public albergues are costlier – 10 Euro pp.

A mattress in personal albergue prices between 10-12 Euro on common. Within the Basque Nation on the Camino del Norte personal albergues are costlier, we paid 15-17 Euro on common. Fancier albergues value 20 Euro however these are actually comfy with greater beds, particular person lockers, curtains for privateness, bedding, towels, and so forth.

If you wish to understand how a lot it prices to stroll the Camino de Santiago try our publish The price of strolling the Camino. There you could find an in depth finances breakdown, money-saving ideas, and comparability of the price of totally different Camino routes.

Public albergues and their guidelines

These guidelines can differ a bit relying on albergue, route, and time of the 12 months however total they’re fairly customary for all public albergues.

Public albergues can’t be booked upfront; they work on the precept of first come first serve.

You’ll be able to keep at a public albergue just for one night time. There is likely to be exclusion e.g. should you really feel unwell.

The check-in is after 1 pm or later generally. Pilgrims who arrive earlier often begin queuing their backpacks in entrance of the doorway. It’s not essential to do out of season or on quiet Camino routes however on the busy routes just like the French Camino within the peak season, it’s the way in which to safe a mattress.

The doorway doorways shut at 9 pm should you’re out and are available again later you won’t have the ability to get inside. At all times be sure that to be again earlier than the closing time.

Lights in dormitories go off at 9 pm. No one will drive you to sleep in order for you. You’ll be able to learn or watch one thing in your cellphone however you may’t change on the sunshine within the dormitory.

The check-out time is eight am (generally 9 am). Everyone needs to be out by that point.

A backpack queue at the entrance of an albergue on the Camino
A line of backpacks on the entrance of a public albergue in Pamplona, Camino Frances

Are albergues open all 12 months spherical?

The overwhelming majority of municipal albergues on the Camino are open from Easter week until the top of October. There are some albergues that keep open in winter months most of them are on the favored Camino routes such because the French Method or the Portuguese Camino. In the event you stroll the Camino between April and October you may make sure that a lot of the public albergues will probably be open. The one exception is the Northern Method within the Basque Nation a lot of the public albergues are open solely within the peak season between July and September.

Personal albergues may open earlier or shut later it depends upon the route and the variety of people who stroll it low season. Nearly all personal and public albergues are closed in the course of the Christmas vacation between the 15th and 31st of December. In the event you determine to stroll the Camino in December I’d suggest staying for Christmas in a much bigger metropolis the place inns and hostels keep open whatever the vacation.

Strolling the Camino in winter you may battle to seek out open public albergues however on the intense facet, personal rooms in inns and visitor homes are considerably cheaper low season. In the event you keep each different night time at a lodge it gained’t break your finances.

What do you have to keep at albergues?

To have the ability to check-in to any albergue you’ll want a passport or an ID (for EU residents). 

To remain at public albergues each pilgrim wants a Credential (a pilgrim’s passport) with stamps. It proves that you simply’re strolling (biking) the Camino. Each pilgrim collects stamps at each place he/she stays alongside the route. On the finish of the pilgrimage, you’ll want your Credential for getting the Compostela in Santiago. For staying at personal albergues the Credential is often not required.

Our Credentials with stamps from public and private albergues on the Camino de Santiago
Our Credentials with stamps from totally different albergues on the Northern Camino

Helpful objects to pack

A light-weight sleeping bag – some locations have blankets some don’t have the identical bedding. I favor to have my very own sleeping bag moderately than sleeping on a mattress or underneath a blanket that is aware of how many individuals have used it earlier than. In its place, you may carry a sleeping bag liner. It’s smaller and lighter than a sleeping bag and will probably be sufficient for the summer season months. 

A headlamp – very helpful to have if you wish to learn after the sunshine went off, discover one thing in your backpack at nighttime or pack and go away early within the morning whereas others are nonetheless sleeping.

A fast-dry towel – you don’t get towels in albergues.

Flip-flops – nice for turning into and carrying within the bathe.

Yow will discover extra particulars on what to pack for the Camino for various seasons for women and men in our Camino de Santiago packing listing publish.

Execs and cons of staying at albergues

In the event you’re a seasoned backpacker and have experience of staying at hostels, sleeping in dorm rooms with 10-20 different folks, and utilizing shared amenities, staying at albergues gained’t be new for you. In the event you’ve by no means stayed in dormitories earlier than it is likely to be fairly difficult to do it each day for a few weeks. 

Execs

The apparent benefit of albergues is the worth, it’s the most affordable lodging possibility on the Camino, particularly public albergues that cost between 5 and seven Euro per individual which considerably reduces the price of the Camino particularly on an extended route.

Albergues are nice locations to fulfill folks particularly should you stroll the Camino alone. You’ll all the time discover somebody to speak to, to cook dinner collectively, or to exit. 

Staying at albergues is an essential a part of the Camino tradition. Even when it’s not your cup of tea I’d recommend staying for an evening or two at albergues only for the experience. 

Cons

The primary con is the shortage of privateness. You don’t get lonesome time in albergues, you share a room, a rest room, and a kitchen with different pilgrims. 

One other essential downside is not getting respectable sleep. The extra folks within the dormitory the tougher it’s to sleep; some pilgrims rise up very early earlier than 5 am and begin packing, some snore fairly loud, and so forth. It’s nearly assured that not less than each second night time you’ll get a snorer in your dorm. Earplugs are a helpful merchandise to have. If it’s a very loud snorer I placed on my earphones and change on enjoyable music, it often helps me to go to sleep.

Theft is one other disadvantage of albergues. We personally have by no means had something stolen in albergues however we’ve heard some tales of cash, telephones, and different valuables stolen from dormitories. My tip right here is rarely to go away your valuables unattended within the dormitory, use a locker if supplied (we all the time pack a small mixture lock), or carry a neck pockets or a foldable backpack each time you allow take it with you.

A communal dinner for pilgrims at private albergue in Guemes on the Camino del Norte
A communal dinner at a non-public albergue for donation on the Camino del Norte

Staying at inns on the Camino

It’s doable to remain in a non-public room each night time on the Camino. A lot of the routes have loads of inns and guesthouses. It’s rather more comfy however will work out fairly a bit costlier than staying in dormitories. In the event you’re going to stroll for every week or so the worth distinction gained’t be that important however should you’re planning to stroll for a couple of month it’ll make a giant distinction. Costs of personal rooms differ. On common you pay 25-30 Euro for a finances single room and 30-35 Euro for a double. It’s cheaper to remain in personal should you’re two folks as you may see the worth distinction between a single and a double room isn’t that massive.

In case your finances permits I’d suggest staying in personal each as soon as shortly. We often keep in a non-public room not less than as soon as every week generally extra typically if you could find a very good deal. It’s very nice to have some privateness after sleeping in dormitories. Some personal albergues have single and double rooms as nicely. Personal rooms with shared amenities (bathe, rest room) are cheaper than those with an hooked up rest room.

A standard twin room in a hotel on the Camino
A finances personal room in one of many visitor homes on the Camino Frances

Tenting on the Camino

Folks typically ask us concerning the prospects of tenting on the Camino. If you need to do it for the sake of saving cash it’s not price it. Until you’re planning on doing wild tenting which isn’t allowed in lots of locations in Spain specifically on the seashores. Public albergues are one of the best and the most affordable approach of lodging on the Camino. To pay between 5 and seven Euros to sleep in a mattress, to have a sizzling bathe, electrical energy and a kitchen isn’t a lot.

In the event you actually love tenting and moderately sleep in your individual tent at a campsite than in a dormitory then you’ll should do some planning. On some routes, we did see fairly a couple of campsites e.g. The Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino. Some have barely any e.g. the By way of de la Plata. Earlier than you determine to pack a tent ensure that the chosen Camino has sufficient tenting spots to make it price carrying additional weight.

Bedbug downside on the Camino de Santiago

From our Camino experience, I can undoubtedly say that strolling early within the season you cut back your probabilities of getting bedbugs in albergues. Many albergues shut for winter, earlier than opening once more in spring many do an annual cleansing which reduces your probabilities of getting bedbugs.

Bedbugs could be simply carried by one individual from albergue to albergue hiding in a sleeping bag, backpack, and so forth. You will get them anyplace however some albergues are well-known for having mattress bugs. If you wish to be sure you skip such locations test evaluations on Gronze if there are a number of folks complaining about mattress bugs I’d moderately not keep there.

Mattress bugs often disguise in picket cracks, underneath mattresses, and so forth. Albergues with tile ground, steel beds, and rubber mattress and pillow casing may look not very comfy however your probabilities of having mattress bugs there are smaller. Locations with outdated picket flooring and beds, wool blankets, outdated mattresses are good spots for bedbugs.

Out of seven Caminos, I’ve walked I’ve had a bedbug downside solely on the French Camino. I walked it in September after 1000’s of pilgrims had already walked it that 12 months. I used to be terribly bitten in a single personal albergue (I present the identify in my Camino Frances levels publish). A few occasions my pals had bedbugs in numerous albergues although all of them have been personal. 

Mattress bug bites are totally different from mosquito bites. Mattress bugs often chunk in a line following the vein. Their bites are very itchy, some persons are allergic to them. In the event you get up within the morning and see a row of bites you may nearly make certain you have been bitten by mattress bugs. On this case be sure that to test your sleeping bag, garments, backpack, and so forth.

Methods to reduce the probabilities of getting mattress bugs?

When you get to your mattress, raise a sheet/a mattress shortly if there are various mattress bugs you’ll have the ability to see them crawling. These guys should not very quick like many individuals assume.

Don’t put your backpack on the mattress.

At all times preserve your backpack closed away out of your mattress. I put a rain cowl over it for the night time to ensure mattress bugs gained’t have the ability to get in.

Some folks carry mattress bug spray and spray it on their mattress and sleeping bag. I, personally, have by no means used it subsequently I can’t say if it actually works or not.

Within the morning all the time test your sleeping bag (should you use it).

Camino planning sources



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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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