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albergue in Roncesvalles full!!

Ianinam

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020
Pilgrims, be prepared! Holiday-season has started last weekend in France and in Spain. In Roncesvalles it is very busy this week and during the last days the albergue has been totally full as we are not allowed to use all the beds because of the Covid measurements for keeping distance.
This means that many pilgrims had to be referred to other places, but every time it turns out that all albergues and hostals are full up to Pamplona.

Taxi’s come and go and it is a great disappointment for many pilgrims that, after their tiring walk over the Pyrenees, they cannot find a bed in Roncesvalles and far beyond.

So if you want to cross the Pyrenees in the next weeks: arrange your bed in time and therefore: book in advance!
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
@Ianinam, do you happen to know how many places there are in Roncesvalles in total? In addition to the albergue, there is the hotel with hotel rooms and apartment rooms, the Casa Sabina and the Posada, and they all have beds, I believe?

And how many beds was the albergue able to offer not only before the pandemic but also before the health and safety restrictions were imposed by the regional government several years ago? Wasn't it nearly 300 beds then compared to the 90 beds or so now?
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Good question - re total Roncesvalles village beds. I have seen tents outside before now ... if this lack of spaces happens in other places it looks like a simple light tent could be a winner for a 2021 Camino, as well as being Covid safer.

Even a bivvi-bag - @Ianinam - could someone stay and use the facilities if they slept outside in a bivvi-bag? Or just on the ground in their sleeping bag?
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I have seen tents outside before now
Good question. I wondered whether the campsite of the Roncesvalles albergue was closed down by the regional government several years ago too for sanitary and safety reasons but don't remember. @Ianinam, can people put up tents these days?
 
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Ianinam

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020
Years ago we had approx. 400 beds. Apart from the albergue itself (183 beds) we had beds in portocabins and in so-called borda's on the campamento, furthermore we had the sótano with 40 beds. Since a few years we are not allowed to use the Campamento due to government regulations, and we are no longer allowed to use the sótano due to fire-safety regulations. We still use the overflow of the 'winter albergue' with 20 beds. So officially we have now 91 beds in the albergue (50% of the capacity due to covid regulations); this may be more in case of families and groups, who do not have to keep distance, plus the 20 beds in the winter albergue. And that's it ....
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Not if it meant missing out sections so early!

The temptation would be to taxi back to Roncesvalles in the morning I think ... the hospitelaros are as helpful as possible but can you imagine that feeling, when you arrive, tired after walking over a mountain, to be told that you have to taxi miles down route, maybe even to Pamplona?
The time, the cost, the disappointment .... ?
 
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JohnLloyd

Author of "Go Your Own Way"
Past OR future Camino
Francés - SJPDP to SdC - Autumn 2018
Portugués - Porto to SdC - Spring 2019
Francés again - ASAP
The temptation would be to taxi back to Roncesvalles in the morning I think ... the hospitelaros are as helpful as possible but can you imagine that feeling, when you arrive, tired after walking over a mountain, to be told that you have to taxi miles down route, maybe even to Pamplona?
The time, the cost, the disappointment .... ?
And a disconnect with those people you'd already met too...
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Years ago we had approx. 400 beds. [...] So officially we have now 91 beds in the albergue (50% of the capacity due to covid regulations); this may be more in case of families and groups, who do not have to keep distance, plus the 20 beds in the winter albergue. And that's it ....
@Ianinam, I wish you'd be volunteering in the Roncesvalles albergue during the whole season and regularly keep us up to date ☺️. It is so good to hear first hand reports from this summer and not have to rely on one's own memories or on anecdotes from years' back. Thank you again.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Yes, tents are welcome. We have many nice places for small tents, people in tents can use all the facilities (toilets, showers, laundry) of the albergue.
Ianinam,
Glad to learn that tents are welcome! Perhaps this news will lead to a surge in the search/sale of bivy bags or small tents in SJPdP. Hopefully all who stop at the SJPdP pilgrim office are told of the accommodation problem that awaits.
 
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The temptation would be to taxi back to Roncesvalles in the morning I think ... the hospitelaros are as helpful as possible but can you imagine that feeling, when you arrive, tired after walking over a mountain, to be told that you have to taxi miles down route, maybe even to Pamplona?
The time, the cost, the disappointment .... ?
A couple of years ago, I arrived (with reservations) to a foyer full of crying, desperate pilgrims who were told "no beds!" From that day forward, I have warned people to book, despite all those who walked years ago and said, "Don't worry, just go!" That is no longer good advice unless you have no schedule and no time limit. I'm not saying it is not the BEST way to go - but if you're on a schedule, not the smartest.
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I turned to Booking.com and now have a bunk at Albergue Irugoienea Espinal-Auzperri on August 29th just down the road from Roncesvalles. Look around, we are not tied to a specific town just because a guidebook sets it as a stage. And, much cheaper in time and money than a taxi.

I tell people that all the time. The etapas are not set in stone. Just walk! Many of the BEST places, in my opinion, are between stages.
 

Liz Anderson

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Years ago we had approx. 400 beds. Apart from the albergue itself (183 beds) we had beds in portocabins and in so-called borda's on the campamento, furthermore we had the sótano with 40 beds. Since a few years we are not allowed to use the Campamento due to government regulations, and we are no longer allowed to use the sótano due to fire-safety regulations. We still use the overflow of the 'winter albergue' with 20 beds. So officially we have now 91 beds in the albergue (50% of the capacity due to covid regulations); this may be more in case of families and groups, who do not have to keep distance, plus the 20 beds in the winter albergue. And that's it ....
Hi, I am walking the Camino and my husband is driving out small campervan, would we be able to park at roncevalles?
 
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Ianinam

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020
@Katar1na, I am back home now.I was there the first two weeks after the opening in June. Being a member of the working group that organises the groups of hospitaleros, I am daily in contact with the groups that are working there now, so I always can post here actual information about the situation there.
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Hi, I am walking the Camino and my husband is driving out small campervan, would we be able to park at roncevalles?
On the main road in Roncesvalles you will see a small side turning next to the Posada restaurant. Turn down there, it curves left and then unexpectedly is revealed a really big car park - coaches park there too - and you can walk from there to the entrance to the refugio that pilgrims arrive at, only a hundred metres.

No charge, no time limits. I knew a chap who parked a converted bus there, and returned after Camino.

The car park slopes a little - most level for parking a camper (and having a comfy night) is along the far end right hand side, facing inwards.

If your stop next day is Zubiri the municipal has a car park in front of the front door, off road.
Larrasoana, parking in front of the municipal.
Pamplona is tricky for parking a camper as you can't get into the underground car parks. There is lots of street parking but you might drive round for an hour trying to get a space. Better to walk through to Cizur Menor where the only refugio there has parking outside for a couple of vehicles.
At Puente La Reina stay at refugio Santiago Apostol, which is up a track after crossing the medieval bridge. Is a modern building with superb facilities though the building is ugly. Has parking in front, a campsite with shower blocks, and a swimming pool. Good quality plain cheap meals and cheap wine - friendly hospitelaros, one named Stalin! what's not to like! To drive to Apostol you need to leave town on the main road and come back on it from the other side.

Hope this helps! - if you have a fixed stages plan message me with your list and I will let you know parking facilities but if you are winging it, stopping when you get tired, then there would be too many!!

forgot to say! There is a car park at Eunate!! very quiet, free, campers do stop over but the likelihood is that you would be there by yourself or just one or two others - is marvellous to sit at Eunate when the stars are out xx
 
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Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
, we are not tied to a specific town just because a guidebook sets it as a stage.

This is excellent advice. So many people just follow the guide books start/stopping point out of convienence, but don't realize there are other accommodations in between those spots. I, too, a number of years ago had to learn this the hard way. A little bit of research goes a long way when it comes to one's comfort.
 
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David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Of course, there is no need to start in St Jean, heave over a high mountain and get turned away at Roncesvalles ... technically our physical pilgrimage starts when we leave home ... where we place our first step on Camino is our decision so just because "guide" books tend to start at St Jean it in no way means that we have to - they are guide books, not rule books. ;)
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
The thing is, after you've made it over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, who has the strength to carry on?


I know some pilgrims who can and did.
Walked from one of the villages before Saint Jean Pied de Port whole the way in one go to Espinal after Roncesvalles. They had been walking already for a couple of weeks and they were in a flow and did not see the need to stop in Roncesvalles.
 
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HPered

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hello everyone,
1st time posting here, starting my 1st Camino August 17th. I'm wondering if I should take a bivy with me so that I will never have to worry about not having a place to stay. Would that be advisable?
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Good advice based on the vacation season just starting, minimal bed space due to Covid restrictions and a good health choice for yourself to avoid as much human contact (distancing) from others. Bivy(s) weigh so little, but afford you with convenience, safety and warmth (summer warm). I certainly would take one.

Welcome to the forum and enjoy your trip !
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Hello everyone,
1st time posting here, starting my 1st Camino August 17th. I'm wondering if I should take a bivy with me so that I will never have to worry about not having a place to stay. Would that be advisable?

If I was going out this year I think I would carry something with me, maybe a simple cheap and light one skin dome but probably a cheap bivvi or even just a sleeping mat and insect hat .. though, looking today I found this.

Has to be an absolute rubbish tent I should think and who knows how long it would last - a Camino or just one night? (there is always gaffer/duck tape)
But, it is a tent, free-standing so good for verandahs etc, has a fly-screen door, they say it weighs only 818 gms and is (drum roll) £5.69 !! 😂😂

 
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
The thing is, after you've made it over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, who has the strength to carry on?
Agree with @SabineP and also note another possible option: taxi ahead then back to start next day (or skip that portion 😱). This is the time of summer vacation, albergues have covid rule occupancy limits, it’s a Holy Year (I believe) and lots of people wanting to travel after the last year locked down. I think it could be an expensive time to walk. Good luck to everyone doing it and Buen Camino!
 

Liz Anderson

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
On the main road in Roncesvalles you will see a small side turning next to the Posada restaurant. Turn down there, it curves left and then unexpectedly is revealed a really big car park - coaches park there too - and you can walk from there to the entrance to the refugio that pilgrims arrive at, only a hundred metres.

No charge, no time limits. I knew a chap who parked a converted bus there, and returned after Camino.

The car park slopes a little - most level for parking a camper (and having a comfy night) is along the far end right hand side, facing inwards.

If your stop next day is Zubiri the municipal has a car park in front of the front door, off road.
Larrasoana, parking in front of the municipal.
Pamplona is tricky for parking a camper as you can't get into the underground car parks. There is lots of street parking but you might drive round for an hour trying to get a space. Better to walk through to Cizur Menor where the only refugio there has parking outside for a couple of vehicles.
At Puente La Reina stay at refugio Santiago Apostol, which is up a track after crossing the medieval bridge. Is a modern building with superb facilities though the building is ugly. Has parking in front, a campsite with shower blocks, and a swimming pool. Good quality plain cheap meals and cheap wine - friendly hospitelaros, one named Stalin! what's not to like! To drive to Apostol you need to leave town on the main road and come back on it from the other side.

Hope this helps! - if you have a fixed stages plan message me with your list and I will let you know parking facilities but if you are winging it, stopping when you get tired, then there would be too many!!

forgot to say! There is a car park at Eunate!! very quiet, free, campers do stop over but the likelihood is that you would be there by yourself or just one or two others - is marvellous to sit at Eunate when the stars are out xx
Thank you so so much for all of this really useful information. We will probably sleep in the camper most nights but would happily pay to use the facilities in the albergues. We will also eat out every night too. My husband hopes to do some days walking with me and those days we hope to park up for a couple of nights and use albergues then. The plan is to follow the John Brierley book 'roughly' but obviously if I need to stop sooner or can walk longer then we will do that.
Thanks again for your information:)
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Hello everyone,
1st time posting here, starting my 1st Camino August 17th. I'm wondering if I should take a bivy with me so that I will never have to worry about not having a place to stay. Would that be advisable?
I don’t know if covid rules would allow, but I imagine albergues are desperate for money and may let people camp on their grounds for a nominal fee if their allotted beds are filled. Maybe not but couldn’t hurt to ask. Buen Camino
 

geraldkelly

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
I suspect this coincides with the start of the main holiday season in France and many other parts of Europe. I've been talking to lots of albergues over the last few weeks asking them about availability and many of them have said it's very quiet. Also several other people posting on here in the last month who are walking have said it's extremely quiet.
 
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jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I fail to understand why more people do not start in Madrid. It is a two week Frances with mountains, forest and Meseta. Then when you reach Sahagun you have the option to follow the Frances to Santiago, head north on the San Salvador when you reach Leon and finish on the Primitivo from Oviedo or continue on to the Norte. You can also stay on the Frances and pick up the Invierno at Ponferada. So many options without the extra stress of additional travel to other starting points.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I fail to understand why more people do not start in Madrid. It is a two week Frances with mountains, forest and Meseta. Then when you reach Sahagun you have the option to follow the Frances to Santiago, head north on the San Salvador when you reach Leon and finish on the Primitivo from Oviedo or continue on to the Norte. You can also stay on the Frances and pick up the Invierno at Ponferada. So many options without the extra stress of additional travel to other starting points.
I'd say mostly because many people don't know that it exists!
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Very little if any company on the Madrid though. I was so lucky to meet up with a lovely couple from Argentina who became my Camino family. Neither of us could speak the other's language but we had such fun.
 

hopefultraveller24

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2024
Pilgrims, be prepared! Holiday-season has started last weekend in France and in Spain. In Roncesvalles it is very busy this week and during the last days the albergue has been totally full as we are not allowed to use all the beds because of the Covid measurements for keeping distance.
This means that many pilgrims had to be referred to other places, but every time it turns out that all albergues and hostals are full up to Pamplona.

Taxi’s come and go and it is a great disappointment for many pilgrims that, after their tiring walk over the Pyrenees, they cannot find a bed in Roncesvalles and far beyond.

So if you want to cross the Pyrenees in the next weeks: arrange your bed in time and therefore: book in advance!
Or alternately bring a warm sleeping bag and bug spray and sleep under the stars? Seems like there is more planning to do now that things are being handled differently around Covid. I can hardly wait until we can set a new norm and get back to it.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
I fail to understand why more people do not start in Madrid. It is a two week Frances with mountains, forest and Meseta. Then when you reach Sahagun you have the option to follow the Frances to Santiago, head north on the San Salvador when you reach Leon and finish on the Primitivo from Oviedo or continue on to the Norte. You can also stay on the Frances and pick up the Invierno at Ponferada. So many options without the extra stress of additional travel to other starting points.
Speaking as someone who plans to do exactly that combination next time I get the chance (Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo) I still understand entirely why people choose to walk the Frances, especially first time pilgrims. It is the route that they have seen on TV or movies and read about in books. It is the one that has guide books written about it (since the 12th century). It is the one that for centuries has brought millions from across Europe to Santiago. Now, it is the one with the most infrastructure, and the strongest community of fellow pilgrims for mutual support. It really isn't that hard to understand what draws people to it.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Speaking as someone who plans to do exactly that combination next time I get the chance (Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo) I still understand entirely why people choose to walk the Frances, especially first time pilgrims. It is the route that they have seen on TV and read about in books. It is the one that has guide books written about it (since the 12th century). It is the one that for centuries has brought millions from across Europe to Santiago. Now, it is the one with the most infrastructure, and the strongest community of fellow pilgrims for mutual support. It really isn't that hard to understand what draws people to it.
Absolutely.
I didn’t really want to walk the francés again but this year, in view of all the complications, I thought it was my best option and I took it!
My preference was to discover new caminos, especially in France (the Vézelay was one) but I didn’t fancy wild camping nor carrying a gas stove etc… So I opted for the easiest option. And my family breathed a sigh of relief! 😂
And I am very glad I did, I loved it ❤️🙂
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Speaking as someone who plans to do exactly that combination next time I get the chance (Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo) I still understand entirely why people choose to walk the Frances, especially first time pilgrims. It is the route that they have seen on TV or movies and read about in books. It is the one that has guide books written about it (since the 12th century). It is the one that for centuries has brought millions from across Europe to Santiago. Now, it is the one with the most infrastructure, and the strongest community of fellow pilgrims for mutual support. It really isn't that hard to understand what draws people to it.
The wonderful thing about Spanish Camino's is they all have great infrastructure. The only thing Madrid, San Salvador, Mozarabe and others do not have are Pilgrims. The Mozarabe, imo, has the most supportive local community. What the Frances offers is the most convenient Camino. There are only two days you have to walk more than 17 km's and there are lots of Pilgrims.

That said, it is not the easiest to get too. Especially if you are starting in SJPdP.

I understand there is more information on the French route. That said, with the internet, Forums, Gronze and other websites, there is more than enough information on the on all the available Camino's.

In the past, I could understand people gravitating towards the French route. Now, with easy access to information on the other Camino's, I do not understand Peregrino's putting themselves through additional travel to walk the French vs. other more accessible camino routes.

You will enjoy the Madrid, San Salvador, Primitivo but do not expect much company until the Primitivo.

Best regards,
Joe
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
The wonderful thing about Spanish Camino's is they all have great infrastructure. The only thing Madrid, San Salvador, Mozarabe and others do not have are Pilgrims. The Mozarabe, imo, has the most supportive local community. What the Frances offers is the most convenient Camino. There are only two days you have to walk more than 17 km's and there are lots of Pilgrims.

That said, it is not the easiest to get too. Especially if you are starting in SJPdP.

I understand there is more information on the French route. That said, with the internet, Forums, Gronze and other websites, there is more than enough information on the on all the available Camino's.

In the past, I could understand people gravitating towards the French route. Now, with easy access to information on the other Camino's, I do not understand Peregrino's putting themselves through additional travel to walk the French vs. other more accessible camino routes.

You will enjoy the Madrid, San Salvador, Primitivo but do not expect much company until the Primitivo.

Best regards,
Joe
If you know of a resource like Gitlitz and Davidson's The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook for any other Camino route, I'm very interested to learn of it.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
If you know of a resource like Gitlitz and Davidson's The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook for any other Camino route, I'm very interested to learn of it.
The history and Culture of the Camino, while interesting, are not why I walk or what my continued journeys are about. My walk is more introspective. I am looking for time alone to self examine and develop a plan to change something about myself to improve and grow as a human being. They are small changes but doable.

I do enjoy Spanish culture and have learned a lot of history along the way but that is not my motivation.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

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