The best way to get a well-deserved rest between stages is by staying at one of the albergues of the Camino de Santiago. It is perhaps the most traditional and affordable option available. Not only will you enjoy the experience, it will also give you the chance to meet other pilgrims and share your experiences and stories.
We’ll tell you a little more about the albergues you can find. The Public Network of Albergues of the Camino de Santiago is directly managed by the Xunta de Galicia (Government of Galicia), which is responsible for many facilities for pilgrims along the Way. This perpetuates the centuries-old tradition of religious orders looking after pilgrims and providing for their basic needs.
These albergues have many bunk beds available, bathrooms, common rooms, washing machines, and in most cases are adapted to different needs.
Aside from this public network of albergues, there are also private albergues, managed by other types of institutions or by private individuals. The main differences between the former and the latter are the rate per night—with the latter generally a little higher—and the services and facilities available. There’s usually one public albergue and several private albergues at each stage of the Camino.
You can find a wide variety of accommodation options on the Camino de Santiago, but one thing they all have in common is their affordable price. All these albergues—whether public or private—have reasonable prices, which can range from €6 to €15 per night.
Let’s take a look at public albergues first. Staying at public albergues generally costs more or less €6 per night. One important thing to bear in mind is that in order to stay at one of these government-run albergues, it is necessary to show the pilgrim’s passport, which will then be duly stamped for you to get your Compostela at the end of your Camino.
Some disadvantages to these albergues are: the large rooms to be shared among many people, they do not accept bookings, you can’t send your backpacks to them and they tend to fill up quite quickly early on during the day. The order of arrival is important, but generally speaking, priority is given to pilgrims with physical limitations, those on foot, those on horseback and those riding a bicycle in this order. Pilgrims using support vehicles come in last.
Now, in contrast to public albergues, private albergues tend to be smaller and cozier, with a more personal touch, and the shared rooms as well as the bathrooms are generally for less people. Some even have private rooms available—with or without en suite bathrooms—but obviously at a different price. All of them have common rooms and designated areas for washing and drying clothes. Some of them also provide meals, such as Casa do Rego, which organizes community dinners and serves breakfast in the morning for those who don’t wish to set out on an empty stomach. Practically all of them accept bookings, which means that with a little foresight, no one should be left without a bed.
We encourage everyone who’s thinking about walking the Camino to get information on the accommodation options available along the way. We recommend drawing up a small list of all the albergues available with their characteristics, price, number of rooms, etc. in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.
We’ve shown you the different accommodation options available on the Way of St. James, from the most modern and comprehensive to the most traditional and basic. All of them have one common goal, which is to give pilgrims a well-deserved rest, while trying to make their stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible.
What’s more, most of them can be found in stunning spots, where you can rest between long days of walking and also get away from it all by visiting some sights or simply taking in the views of nature at its best around you.