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Albergues versus hostels etc

Amjam

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future May 2019
I'm a little confused about the various types of sleeping arrangements. My understanding is that the municipal albergues are by donation, the private albergues are a fixed price and are there hostels as well? Also do many of the albergues have female only dorms? There are 3 of us travelling together, would it be cheaper for us to get a private room in a hostel and are they available in most towns. We are starting from Leon. Thank you for any advice.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
More to come
The difference is that municipal and private Albergues (usually) cater for pilgrims, while Hostels cater for pilgrims, tourists, everyone. So, if you stay in an albergue, most likely everyone around will be a pilgrim as well.

I did both my caminos with my husband, and many times it was the same price to get a private room in a small inn or hostel than to get two bed at an albergue. So, I imagine that with the three of you, a similar thing may happen.

Staying with other pilgrims is quit fun though, as everyone has a similar goal from different motivations. I'd suggest mixing a bit of both and experiencing the variety of the camino :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Amjam,

Welcome to the forum.

Part of the confusion is because the term “albergue” translates into English as “hostel.” There are municipal albergues, private albergues, and albergues run by religious orders. Municipal albergues are only rarely by donation, but the price is usually 5 or 6 euros cheaper than the private albergues. Public run around 6, private around 12. Donativo albergues are few and far between, though some are public (like Ponferrada) and some are private (like Bodenaya on the Primitivo)

The Spanish word Hostales does not refer to US “hostels.¨ It is a private lodging offering, less fancy than a hotel, but usually more fancy than a pensión (rooming house is the word that comes to mind for pensión).

Many private albergues also have private rooms that are not dorm rooms, usually in the 30-50 euro range for a double, but rarely have I seen triple rooms in albergues. Triple rooms in pensiones, hostales, and hoteles are not too common either, in my experience, but you may find some.

In my experience, only the occasional albergue has sex-segregated rooms. Though it is a treat when it happens! Buen camino, Laurie
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
First of all, donation does not mean cheap or free; it means "donating" what one can afford which should be at least equal to the price of a night at another albergue.
Second not all towns have municipal albergues but they normally will have a private albergue.
Prices are listed normally upfront like one would find at a hotel.
Hostels are not albergues, they generally have a choice of accommodations of private rooms+bath or rooms with shared bathrooms and normally do not have dormitory type rooms.
Female only is not always an option but it does exist in many albergues.
A group of 3 traveling together would probably be best off with a room in a hostel, it might cost more but sharing the cost would be minimal.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
In general three persons in a hostel/pension/hotel will cost less than an albergue.
I very much doubt it. Try and get triple room for 18€! You can rarely even get double for that price...
Don't sell that to first-timers please. You can do better. At least mention that triple room in hostal COULD be cheaper than three beds in private albergue dormitory.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
I very much doubt it. Try and get triple room for 18€! You can rarely even get double for that price...
Don't sell that to first-timers please. You can do better. At least mention that triple room in hostal COULD be cheaper than three beds in private albergue dormitory.
I was thinking falcon meant on a per person basis? For a triple room, that would be a total of 54 Euro for a room shared by three people at 18 Euro apiece. Anyway, that's what I thought, but I might have interpreted it wrong. :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I was thinking falcon meant on a per person basis? For a triple room, that would be a total of 54 Euro for a room shared by three people at 18 Euro apiece. Anyway, that's what I thought, but I might have interpreted it wrong. :)
Are there albergues on Camino Frances with the price of 18€ per bed in a dormitory? Please tell me to avoid them next time :D
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); Fall (2020) I hope
Many of the private albergues have private rooms you can let for a bit higher price, but if you're splitting it three ways it won't be too much higher.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Many of the private albergues have private rooms you can let for a bit higher price, but if you're splitting it three ways it won't be too much higher.
So if I understand you correctly @falcon269 meant that triple room in albergue would cost more than triple room in pension/hostal/hotel??? Hardly...
Read his post once again.

I'm done splitting hairs here because I've said it all in my response to his post.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/?/Invierno ('19)
As you can see @Amjam, you're not the only one who is confused. It is confusing - because there are many options. If you can get a double room and an extra bed in a pension/hostale/or even hotel, 3 together might be cheaper than each paying (say) 15 Euros at a private albergue. But what you ultimately have a choice of on any given day in any given town will vary. Maybe there'll be a municipal. Or a private albergue with separate rooms...or, or, or...
Unless you're wedded to the idea of booking everything ahead, there's no need to figure it out now.
Wing it and see what happens!
;)
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Hostels are not albergues, they generally have a choice of accommodations of private rooms+bath or rooms with shared bathrooms and normally do not have dormitory type rooms.
I think that you mean hostales are not albergues. As @peregrina2000 said the Spanish word albergue translates to hostel, and hostel accommodations are dormitory style.
 

Bonita

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September ( 2015)
Three year’s ago when I was walking alone, I usually stayed in private albergues, The rooms were smaller. I’d ask the person in charge if he/she would try to put women in first, but if they had no choice, it was ok. I think it worked every time. At first they acted like they thought I was crazy. But, of course, most of the time, I got huge rooms.
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); Fall (2020) I hope
So if I understand you correctly @falcon269 meant that triple room in albergue would cost more than triple room in pension/hostal/hotel??? Hardly...
Read his post once again.

I'm done splitting hairs here because I've said it all in my response to his post.
My response was to the original poster. What I meant is that if three people split the cost of a private room in an albergue, the cost per person won’t be much higher than a single bed in that same albergue.
 

Pam Scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago compostella 2015
I'm a little confused about the various types of sleeping arrangements. My understanding is that the municipal albergues are by donation, the private albergues are a fixed price and are there hostels as well? Also do many of the albergues have female only dorms? There are 3 of us travelling together, would it be cheaper for us to get a private room in a hostel and are they available in most towns. We are starting from Leon. Thank you for any advice.
Welcome amjam. Unless you have to keep costs down just go and enjoy the experiences you will encounter by just mixing and matching depending on what's there. You will meet so many lovely people along the way and experience much more. Enjoy, Buen Camino😊
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Amjam - time of year is an important factor in finding accommodation- particularly on the Frances. Winging it is an appealing,romantic notion but if you are walking in the peak weeks, you may want to book ahead .
That is not applicable in traditional Albergues, but feasible everywhere else.
Loads of info. on this Forum’s resources section on accommodation.
Personally I avoid Albergues - I am the unashamed “ ensuite Pilgrim”
Buen Camino.
 

Titan160

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
none
Personally I avoid Albergues - I am the unashamed “ ensuite Pilgrim”
As one about to start the stroll in about a week, I also appreciate the clarifications w.r.t. accommodation.
So long questions short;

I'm guessing that at this time of the year (month of April - I know Easter falls on w/e 20th, but I expect to still be enroute at that point), w.r.t. accomm. I should be OK winging it, right?

If I want to stay in private rooms with a bath/toilet I don't have to walk down the hall to, _what_ should I be looking at please? I know the word Pension - which I know from DE as a small hotel/boarding rooms, but what else do the Spaniards call the style of accomm. I'm looking for pls?

I also read on some other thread, that you can get a full list of accomm. for the entire route if/when starting in St Jean PdP? Is this correct?

MTiA
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I know the word Pension - which I know from DE as a small hotel/boarding rooms, but what else do the Spaniards call the style of accomm. I'm looking for pls?
Pensión or Hostal with an a, not Hostel with an e.
I have stayed in hostals where I have my own private bath, but it's across or down the hall, meaning that I had to carry a key to the bathroom.
Another option are Casa Rurals. Always make sure that you have a baño privado, if you need your own private bathroom. A baño compartido is a shared bath.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I'm guessing that at this time of the year (month of April - I know Easter falls on w/e 20th, but I expect to still be enroute at that point), w.r.t. accomm. I should be OK winging it, right?
It depends on where you are on the key days. If you are arriving in a city that has big Easter celebrations throughout Semana Santa, you might want to book ahead. Once you have a good idea where you'll be, especially on Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat nights before Easter Sunday, you can make a more informed decision. Booking a week ahead for that occasion might be wise.

I also read on some other thread, that you can get a full list of accomm. for the entire route if/when starting in St Jean PdP? Is this correct?
Yes it is correct that you can get a list of all the traditional albergues, but that list doesn't include all of the private accommodation. No such list exists - you can use various guide books, websites, etc., but even then you won't see all of the lodging options.
 

Titan160

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
none
t depends on where you are on the key days. If you are arriving in a city that has big Easter celebrations throughout Semana Santa, you might want to book ahead. Once you have a good idea where you'll be, especially on Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat nights before Easter Sunday, you can make a more informed decision. Booking a week ahead for that occasion might be wise.
Thanks.

18-22nd, I'm expecting/looking/hoping to be somewhere around; Rabanal del Camino, El Acebo, Ponferrada, Villafranca del Bierzo, O Cebreiro.

Are these big places?
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Are these big places?
It's more a case of whether they are popular destinations for non-pilgrims, especially the cities with major processions, etc. Ponferrada is one of those - I spent a couple of nights there during Easter week - it was a great experience, but I'd recommend making a reservation.
 

Awakekiwi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June (2016)
I'm a little confused about the various types of sleeping arrangements. My understanding is that the municipal albergues are by donation, the private albergues are a fixed price and are there hostels as well? Also do many of the albergues have female only dorms? There are 3 of us travelling together, would it be cheaper for us to get a private room in a hostel and are they available in most towns. We are starting from Leon. Thank you for any advice.
I think you'll find that the situation changes as you walk so in some towns a better deal will be another option.. but booking ahead also limits your flexibility with schedule.
I recommend a combination of all options..
For example using the large donativos in some locations to save money and also for the special experience of sharing with many in a large old cathedral or church is special.
Play it by ear.. go with th flow as they say!
This opens you up to more opportunities for interesting lodgings and situations..
Sleeping on a mat inside a church for example because all the dorm rooms are full can be a special humbling or bonding experience..
there were two of us, longtime friends and we
usually looked a few days ahead up the track to gauge options as we walked and decide on the best Lodgings based on attraction and convinence or "specialness".
For example the chrurch with the Italian priests who wash your feet.. that happened entirely by divine "chance".. we were super sore that day and after some special unplanned spontaneous stops that day to see amazing sights our evening plans were thawted.. and so we came across that church.. they were full.. overflowing 100% full. BUT we had our tents.. so he let us pitch our tents around the back in the georgeous church grounds and we joined everyone for dinner (we had an uncanny ability of arriving around 6pm dinner time or later many days)
So we had the most amazing sleep under the stars after delicious fresh pasta and rose wine.. oh the wine was delicious! Playing music and laughing in the evening... and a great night sleep on the soft grass
so my recommendation?
Go with the flow and let intuition be your guide and you will find amazing places to stay.
of course a tent is not the norm.. but I just wanted to include that special moment in time for me.
The best laid plans.. as they say.
Next time I walk I'm planning to have three months up my sleeve so I don't have to rush 25kms per day and can stop where I want to volunteer and so on..
but I digress :)
 

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