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COVID Accommodation on the Camino

Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
A friend of mine is currently on the Camino cycling from Zamora to Fisterra. On his first day he had intended to cover 88 km. However he ended up having to do more than 120 km due to the difficulty of finding accommodation. He is an experienced peregrino having done more than 10 in the last few years and generally plans everything in great detail. I post this just as a warning to people thinking about starting their journey soon. It is going to be a long time before Camino accommodation gets back to what it was 2 years ago.3.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
cheap hotels, which are open and whose owners are less afraid of Covid than those who run hostels seem to be.
Of course hostels have more concerns about Covid than hotels. Hotels don't have unrelated people sleeping in the same room! Plus, it's my understanding that hostels are required by the government to use more restrictive Covid protocols than hotels.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012-2018 Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues Central and Seaside, Norte
A friend of mine is currently on the Camino cycling from Zamora to Fisterra. On his first day he had intended to cover 88 km. However he ended up having to do more than 120 km due to the difficulty of finding accommodation. He is an experienced peregrino having done more than 10 in the last few years and generally plans everything in great detail. I post this just as a warning to people thinking about starting their journey soon. It is going to be a long time before Camino accommodation gets back to what it was 2 years ago.3.
As has been mentioned, Zamora is on the VDlP which has many fewer accommodations than the Fraces or some of the other Caminos, even in a non-COVID year. When I did walked it in 2914 the stages were long and there was usually one small albergue at the end of each stage. And, many of these towns were tiny, no hotel either, just a lovely village. So if any one had been closed, it would have made for a very long walk.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Hello, dear pilgrims! Where can I find information of which albergue is open? I know some are closed. Is there some unique platform where I can find this information and make a reservation or I need to search contact for each separately? I am little afraid I will not handle this good. I am planning to walk Camino Ingles most likely. Thank you for any information!

Tina I know that @wisepilgrim is keeping track of open albergues here

There is also this website

And there is also Gronze - pick the particular camino and place.

For specific information about the Camino Ingles, see this area of the forum. Recent posts will possibly have news from people travelling there right now.

And Buen Camino!
 

Dave

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Hi Tina,

Here's a list I've prepared on the Inglés and Mar, to supplement all of those other helpful links.

Also, in case it's helpful, I wrote this piece on making reservations for the APOC page and I'll share it here as well...

Those returning to the Camino in 2021 will find it changed by the pandemic in many ways. One of the short-term consequences is that reservations have become far more important, at least for this year. In my communication with albergues and hotels on many routes, the message has been clear: book ahead.

For many pilgrims, this is a change. Maybe some of you are struggling with having that kind of structure, when you prefer to take each day as it comes. For some, it might just be a logistical challenge. How the heck can you go about making and managing all of these reservations?

If you're in that boat, this post is for you. For years now, I've been leading high school groups on pilgrimage, and that group experience has necessitated making a number of reservations in Spain, Italy, and France. Even when walking alone in France, it's far more customary there to book ahead, especially if you're requesting meals. So, I've had a lot of practice. Here's what I've learned...

I'm seeing many pilgrims translate "reservations required" into "well, off to Booking.com then!" And that's certainly a good resource. Some albergues and hotels now will direct you there for reservations and in those cases you have no other option. One of the things I like about Booking and other reservation sites is that you often get a free cancellation option, until just a couple of days before, so you can have confidence without total commitment. That flexibility is helpful.

However, you'll often pay more for the convenience of Booking. It's not a free service; we pilgrims are just blind to the expense it poses to accommodations. You will often get a cheaper rate by booking directly, with albergues and hotels alike. With hotels, in particular, you might be able to get a pilgrim discount by booking directly. Beyond that, many accommodations only make a portion of their beds/rooms available on Booking, so you might trick yourself into believing that everything is filled up, when in reality spaces are still available.

Try emailing accommodations directly. Put the date you're targeting in the subject line, for ease of reference (you'll potentially be sending a lot of these emails, after all). Be very specific in your requests to minimize follow-ups. Do you want a bed or a private room? Is it just you or others? Just one night, right? Will you have a local phone number or whatsapp? Include it if you do; give them a heads up that you don't if you won't, because they will ask for that.

It's fine if you don't have any facility with Spanish/French/Italian/whatever. I use Google Translate for all of my French communications and I'll polish up my Spanish and Italian. It works great, especially if you a) keep your sentences short, b) limit your clauses, and c) avoid any colloquialisms.

Depending upon the place, you might receive a request for a deposit. In France, it's quite common to have a gite ask for a deposit to be made by personal check. Every single time I've responded to politely note this was going to be challenging to pull off as an American, the gite has quickly waived the requirement. In other cases, it's possible to make a deposit via paypal or a credit card.

Typically--and especially if you don't have a phone or are unable to make a deposit--the place will ask you to reconfirm a day or two in advance and also to let them know if you're running late. "Late" varies from place to place, but it's usually around 3-5pm. I often have some long days, so I'm always sure to alert the albergue/gite ahead of time if I anticipate a later arrival. Email might work for confirmations, but it's quite common in France to ask your host one night to phone ahead on your behalf to the next gite, and you may be able to solicit the kindness of your hospitalero/a in Spain as well, especially if they aren't busy at the moment.

Remember that all of these accommodations have taken a financial hit over the last two years and every unfilled bed this summer is a real loss. If you make a reservation, they're counting on you to fill it. There's a lot of trust involved in a non-Booking reservation and every hospitalero/a has stories to share of pilgrims making several different reservations on a given day, in order to give themselves flexibility at the expense of the albergues involved. If your plans change at all, you've got to alert the albergues as soon as possible.

Finally, there are lots of places to track down email addresses for albergues. I've found Gronze to be good for albergues, though it's much more hit-or-miss with hotels. The latest guidebooks often have websites or email addresses, either in the books or on companion websites. And many places now have Facebook pages with direct messaging options.

If you're looking at the Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, or Mar, I've been working to compile updated lists of accommodations, email addresses, and their current status. I shared these once before, but they're all getting a new round of info right now, so I'll offer them here once more:
 
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