Albergues and Hotels on the Camino de Santiago (St Jean Pied du Port to Burgos)
So, your bags are packed, every item weighed and accounted for….you are ready to hit the road – the Camino de Santiago is calling.
No matter what your purpose, whether religious, spiritual or a physical holiday, there are going to be times along the Camino de Santiago where you will be tested – physically, mentally or spiritually. The views are amazing, and the terrain unrelenting, and then there are the challenges of living on the road with 100 of your closest friends, all from different cultures and travelling with different expectations.
As you walk, you will no doubt find people that you run into from town to town. You are walking the same path, maintaining the same tempo. Perhaps you both have the same Brierley book that seems to come out at every coffee stop along the way. You will also run into people who get under your skin, who you try to avoid….and then it happens….you are sharing a space smaller than your bathroom with 11 strangers…communal living at its finest! There are people who snore, others who set their alarms for the ungodly hour or 3:30 (seriously people, it is still dark out!!!) and those who feel that it is right for them to make lots of noise and talk amongst themselves at 5:30 as they are up, and that is all that matters! Anyone who has spent any time in an albergue or hostel knows that sound….the krinkle krinkle krinkle of plastic bags long before the sun comes up! Then there is the constant creaking of bunk beds as people slowly give in and get up…it is 6:30 am and the place is now empty!
What to do if you want to break free from the pilgrim race? A hotel? A Casa Rural? How do you know where to stay? While I am carrying the Brierly book, he rarely makes comment as to which are the nice places to book in advance if you decide you need a little R&R from the world of communal living.
I am only a fraction of the way through my walk to Santiago de Compostela, I thought I would share the places I have found along the way to ease the frustrations of the krinkle krinkle krinkle! I am loving the experience of the Camino, but September 2012 appears to be having record numbers of pilgrims on the route, and the race to find a bed at the end of the day has many albergues filled by 1pm! Succumbing to a little lack of bed fear, I found myself buying a Spanish cell phone and making the occasional booking so that I can slow down and experience the Camino de Santiago my way!
Pamplona – Pension Otano 948-227-036 This was a private albergue operated by 2 brothers just as you entered the old city. Very clean with small lockers at each of the beds. I am not sure if you are able to make a reservation, but when I decided to stay 2 nights, I was not asked to check out before 8 in the morning! Very nice on a rest day. Breakfast was included. While Pamplona was a little early for taking a break, my camera died and a little shopping was in order! Seems the mist and rain of the first day was tough on more than just the pilgrims – the electronics of my digital camera did not survive!
Uterga – Camino del Perdon 948 344 661 Another private albergue – although I would almost call it an oasis! It just appeared as I entered town – the patio area full of pilgrims having lunch. Once I sat down, I knew I would not continue to walk. They offer a wonderful pilgrim’s dinner in the evening and have a nice menu on the patio if you are just passing through. Not sure if they take bookings but it was a beautiful place to stay. Watch out – lights turn off early in the evening here!
Estella – Hostal Christina 948 550 772 More of a hotel than a hostal, but perfect for weary feet (Taking a Break in Estella). Perfectly located above a pharmacy and next to the town square, everything is close at hand. I shared with another pilgrim – the cost was 45 Euro per night for a private room with a ensuite bathroom.
Viana – no reservations are possible, but if you get into town early enough (only 15 places), I recommend staying at the parish albergue at the Santa Maria church. The rooms were very basic – only a gym mat for a bed, but the women who were running the albergue were fantastic and, inspite of the fiesta roaring all night long – one of my best sleeps on the Camino. The albergue is by donation only, and included both dinner and breakfast. It was a marvellous night and one I won’t soon forget!
Navarette – El Cantaro 941 441 180 This was the first time I had a reservation and the place was sublime! I was lucky to have such a marvelous and laid back group of people to share the room. The owners have had the private albergue for 8 years. The beds were quiet and there were lockers for everyone’s backpacks.
Burgos – Norte y Londres 947 264 125 What can I say but paradise! With 2 nights planned, a hotel was the only way I was going to go. Word on the street ffrom other pilgrims was that this was a great place to stay, and they were not wrong! Room was lovely and airy, the bathroom spacious, and they took credit cards! The hotel is right on the path of the Camino and very close to the Cathedral and all the sights. The rates were great – 49 Euro for one, 55 Euro for 2! I walked with another pilgrim who joined me the first night, splitting the cost. They are so used to dealing with pilgrims that they had no problems charing me a single rate for the second night. It was just what my battered feet needed!
Note: The phone numbers listed are taken directly from the John Brierley book. I stayed at all the places listed above and have only listed the places I really enjoyed. Not all places accept reservations, and I do implore you to stay at a place if you make a reservation. I was so disappointed to find empty beds in one private albergue from people who did not show up for their reservation. I walked with a person who was looking for a bed and was turned away as all the beds were booked and sold out due to reservations by other pilgrims. I don’t know if they found a bed in that town or were forced to move on to the next town – it just doesn’t seem right – if you book it – stay!!
This post is part of a series of posts on Albergues and Hotels along the Camino de Santiago. The recommendations are based on the experiences that I had as I walked the Camino de Santiago. In alberuges run by volunteers, experiences may be different from week to week as the volunteers change. I found most of the volunteers very happy to be there as they had previously done the Camino themselves and wanted to come back and be a part of it again. They also knew what you were going through and were very helpful.
Albergues and Hotels along the Camino de Santiago