A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Luggage Transfer Correos

Alberques and first time walker

2020 Camino Guides
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP France to Santiago 2020
I'm walking from St. Jean Pied de Port leaving in early May and planning to take my time and enjoy the experience.

Since I have never walked the Camino before, I wasn't aware there were so many different types of Alberques?! Is there somewhere I can learn more about the differences between them?

And, I'm curious which ones are outstanding as in "awesome experience, don't miss staying at this one". Have any of them really stood out in your experience as being a "must stay" option?

Is there any need to book ahead during May and early June? I like the feeling of wandering and going with the flow. But I also want a place to sleep at the end of the day.

Thank you!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but will I be fit enough for 2020?
It's Albergue BTW but I don't understand the question - what do you mean by different types? Basically there are municipal ones run by a local authority and private ones run commercially.
Guacelmo in Rabanal is good so is Ribadiso just before Arzúa.
Many municipal ones do not allow pre-booking - it's turn up and bag a bed.

Edit - Sorry, should have said hello, rude of me (shamed by @SYates)
 
Last edited:

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Hi and welcome to the forum @Creativeguy ;-)

Any guidebook will have at least a basic description of the albergues. Mainly they differ by ownership (parish, monastery, town, local government etc) and equipment/services offered. All of them offer the basics: showers, toilets, place to sleep etc. Some of them also offer to organize communal meals, pilgrims prayers/blessings ... In short, every albergue is different, so try to stay in as many different ones as possible ;-)

BC SY

PS Some are Donativo/Donation only - they are often the ones that touch the pilgrim's heart, just remember that Donativo doesn't mean free, it means everybody is invited to leave what they can. If you want to read more about them, here is a blog post I wrote about them: http://egeria.house/what-is-a-donativo-albergue-anyway/
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP France to Santiago 2020
Thank You! I received comments on a post about taking a sleeping bag suggesting there were many different types of Albergues?

...." Municipal, Parochial, Donativo, posh-end private or rough & ready?"

I wasn't aware of that?? Thus, my confusion about what the difference between them is?
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
Is there any need to book ahead during May and early June?
I find these days that it is a good idea, in May and June, to book the first few nights between St Jean Pied de Port and Pamplona. Roncesvalles and Zubiri/Larasoana have become bottle necks. After Pamplona just go with the flow . . . .
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I find these days that it is a good idea, in May and June, to book the first few nights between St Jean Pied de Port and Pamplona. Roncesvalles and Zubiri/Larasoana have become bottle necks. After Pamplona just go with the flow . . . .
I totally agree. You have chosen one of the most popular months to start from SJPDP, and the first few days there are many "in between" places to stop until you reach Pamplona. The majority of pilgrims will stop in Roncesvalles, then Zubiri/Larrasoaña, so book those ahead. And Orisson if you want to ease into the Camino and split the walk over the Pyrenees
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
A small word of advice. There are some albergues that are loved by all for a variety of good reasons. I can tell you the best experiences I have had in albergues were created by the people I met and the circumstances that transpired on the day I was there. I have stayed in some of the all time favorite albergues and it was fine and have stayed in dumps and had memorably (usually good) experiences. You can’t plan your camino, your future experiences or your happiness. It is one step at a time pilgrim!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Hopefully Via de Bayona/Burgos to Ponferrada/Camino de Invierno
And, I'm curious which ones are outstanding as in "awesome experience, don't miss staying at this one". Have any of them really stood out in your experience as being a "must stay" option?
Trouble is, you’re likely to get as many different answers as there are pilgrims here! Some people will love ... say, St Anton or Rabanal or Grañon or Manjarin ...
Others will recoil in horror !
Frankly, when it was my first Camino, I was grateful for any place where I could sleep for the night! And if it was awful, then it was still fun! (I’m thinking of Larrasoaña Municipal 😁).
Makes good memories 😉
I wouldn’t worry too much about it. As for booking ahead, I just don’t know, seems to be the way to go nowadays? Leaving this for people who walked same months as you are planning. (I walk in Summer, no probs then).
Buen camino 🙂
ps: I would book ahead for Santiago though.... I always do.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP France to Santiago 2020
A small word of advice. There are some albergues that are loved by all for a variety of good reasons. I can tell you the best experiences I have had in albergues were created by the people I met and the circumstances that transpired on the day I was there. I have stayed in some of the all time favorite albergues and it was fine and have stayed in dumps and had memorably (usually good) experiences. You can’t plan your camino, your future experiences or your happiness. It is one step at a time pilgrim!
Thanks for the reminder...things always work out for me!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Thank You! I received comments on a post about taking a sleeping bag suggesting there were many different types of Albergues?

...." Municipal, Parochial, Donativo, posh-end private or rough & ready?"

I wasn't aware of that?? Thus, my confusion about what the difference between them is?
Broadly and loosely, that is simply the administrative structure that runs or manages the albergue. All of those 'types' will offer similar facilities AND quality of facilities. Some are run badly, some superbly. Some are in great condition with wonderful services and others are, well. . .

All offer basic dormitory lodging. Some also offer private rooms.

Some offer meals.

So use a resource which provides a description and information about albergues within the area you plan on stopping over at. Often the resource guides will also list services nearby: grocery shopping, laundry services, restaurants, pharmacies, etc. There are some good resource guides in the Resources section of this Forum and can be downloaded as a PDF file for printing.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I'm walking from St. Jean Pied de Port leaving in early May and planning to take my time and enjoy the experience.

Since I have never walked the Camino before, I wasn't aware there were so many different types of Alberques?! Is there somewhere I can learn more about the differences between them?

And, I'm curious which ones are outstanding as in "awesome experience, don't miss staying at this one". Have any of them really stood out in your experience as being a "must stay" option?

Is there any need to book ahead during May and early June? I like the feeling of wandering and going with the flow. But I also want a place to sleep at the end of the day.

Thank you!
It's Albergue BTW but I don't understand the question - what do you mean by different types? Basically there are municipal ones run by a local authority and private ones run commercially.
Guacelmo in Rabanal is good so is Ribadiso just before Arzúa.
Many municipal ones do not allow pre-booking - it's turn up and bag a bed.

Edit - Sorry, should have said hello, rude of me (shamed by @SYates)
Hi Creativeguy and welcome to the Forum. I understand your question. Personally, I think it is a little more complex than Jeff explains above. Here are some of the types of albergues I've run across:

There are the municipal albergues, run by the local municipality (or, in Galicia, often the regional authority or Xunta). These often have a set price at the lower end of the scale and often provide basic amenities. They often do not take reservations and operate on a "first come, first served" basis.

There are the parochial albergues, run by local religious institutions. These may also have a set price (generally at the low end of the scale) or may be "donativo" by donation (see note below on donativo). They also tend to be at the more basic level in terms of the amenities provided, although they often provide a warm and hospitable welcome which is an important amenity indeed! Many have communal meals. These also generally don't take reservations and operate on a "first come, first served" basis. Many offer some sort of religious service in the evening.

There are association albergues run by various "Friends of the Camino" associations. These are most often donativo. They also tend to be at the more basic level in terms of the amenities provided, although they often provide a warm and hospitable welcome which is an important amenity indeed! Many have communal meals. These also generally don't take reservations and operate on a "first come, first served" basis, often modified by certain preferences (e.g. accepting walkers before bicyclists).

And then there are the private albergues run by individuals. These generally have fixed prices (although I have run across at least one that was donativo). They generally cost a bit more than the other types but provide nicer amenities. They are more likely to have washers and driers, wifi, nicer beds (for example the "pod-style" bunks) although some of these amenities are spreading to the other types of albergues. They often take reservations. Some have communal meals. Some are tun like businesses. Others are run as labours of love by former pilgrims.

There are a number of threads on the "must see albergues". I would use the Search functionality and do a search on "Favorite albergues" and see what comes up.

In terms of the need to book ahead, I would book the first few days and then see how it goes. When I walked in 2016, I booked Roncesvalles and Zubiri and then didn't book again until well in Galicia towards the end of the Camino.

As promised above, a quick note on "donativo" or "by donation" albergues. Some people see these as the cheapest type of albergue. You can pay as little as you want. I don't count myself among that number. That way leads to no more donativos. Others will figure out what they received (bed, meals, etc.) and what they would pay for similar at a non-donativo albergue, perhaps adding a bit to cover for the people who pay less. Personally, my preference is to donate according to what I would like to be provided to pilgrims in the future, since my donation is what is enabling that.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP France to Santiago 2020
It's Albergue BTW but I don't understand the question - what do you mean by different types? Basically there are municipal ones run by a local authority and private ones run commercially.
Guacelmo in Rabanal is good so is Ribadiso just before Arzúa.
Many municipal ones do not allow pre-booking - it's turn up and bag a bed.

Edit - Sorry, should have said hello, rude of me (shamed by @SYates)
No worries!
 

Martin 888

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019, Camino Frances 2020, Camino del Norte 2021
Hello and welcome......you’re going to love it......would recommend staying in Casa Susi In Trabadelo near to the Galician border .....wonderful allbergue with a great story behind it......google it. I’m also walking the Frances for the second year running starting in SJPdP on May 8th....can’t wait ! Buen Camino !
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
I'm walking from St. Jean Pied de Port leaving in early May and planning to take my time and enjoy the experience.

Since I have never walked the Camino before, I wasn't aware there were so many different types of Alberques?! Is there somewhere I can learn more about the differences between them?

And, I'm curious which ones are outstanding as in "awesome experience, don't miss staying at this one". Have any of them really stood out in your experience as being a "must stay" option?

Is there any need to book ahead during May and early June? I like the feeling of wandering and going with the flow. But I also want a place to sleep at the end of the day.

Thank you!
Start walking at 6:30/7, walk for 6 hours then you have found the 'must stay' albergue. Well, maybe push to 7 hours. Starting from St Jean, I recommend booking a stop at Orisson, a definite experience not to be missed. Then book a stop at Roncesvalles for no other reason than to get dinner booked early but you need to book a bed to book dinner. After that, every albergue is a good albergue but I look for ones that have the option for dinner and/or breakfast. I have stayed in all kinds of albergues and have never had any complaints about any but then all I need is a bed with food as a bonus.
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
Another vote for Casa Suzi.
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgo (2019), SJPdP (2023?).
If you have an android device then can I suggest you download https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.moemke.android.mycamino&hl=en_AU

It takes a few hours to work out how to use it but it is incredible. I have used in on my last 5 Camino's and will be using it again this year. Only works for the Frances.

List all the hostels, albergues, etc., phone numbers, web addresses, prices, number of beds, other facilities, etc.

You can create an itinerary with ease and change it with ease as well. It's free but if you make a donation you get to see the weather in any town you look at.
 

Jacobus

Pilgrim since 2008
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2008 09 14
Del Norte 2011. Portuguese 2015, 2017Ingles 2015 Fisterre 2015.
24EF3B4B-4C6E-4651-952D-11C955404171.jpegAlbergue la laguna sunset
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP France to Santiago 2020
If you have an android device then can I suggest you download https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.moemke.android.mycamino&hl=en_AU

It takes a few hours to work out how to use it but it is incredible. I have used in on my last 5 Camino's and will be using it again this year. Only works for the Frances.

List all the hostels, albergues, etc., phone numbers, web addresses, prices, number of beds, other facilities, etc.

You can create an itinerary with ease and change it with ease as well. It's free but if you make a donation you get to see the weather in any town you look at.
Thank you...however, I'm on an iPhone. Did get wisely/wise pilgrim so will check that out. Cheers!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP France to Santiago 2020
Progress! Thank you community for all your help! After feeling like I was drinking from a fire hose, things are falling into place with more clarity emerging. Most importantly...I'm reminded of my intention to flow with the Camino and make the most of all experiences. Perfect!
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Hello fellow pilgrim,

Is there any need to book ahead during May and early June? I like the feeling of wandering and going with the flow. But I also want a place to sleep at the end of the day.
I walked in July last year and did book ahead just one albergue on the way.
I did stay in all types of albergues, Donativo, Municipal, private owned.

For a start: there are lists here in forum for the beginners ;-)

I wasn't disappointed from a single albergue, I was turned away (one before Sarria, one after Sarria) two times but managed to get a bed for the night at the albergue next door ;).

One of the best experiences on the CF was the donativo alberque of Grañon (Parroquial Bautista) with communal meal and a visit to the church.
There are many lovely albergues on the CF, and if I walk it again, I will try to stay at different locations in different albergues.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP France to Santiago 2020
But your 'Camino(s) past & future' says you walked from SJPDP to Santiago in 2013. 😕
Thank you...I didn't realize that was there? I was planning a "future" walk, my mom fell fracturing a femur and I dropped back in full-time caregiving mode canceling plans for the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago March 18 , Camino Frances June 18 Camino Frances May 19 ,May 2020
I find these days that it is a good idea, in May and June, to book the first few nights between St Jean Pied de Port and Pamplona. Roncesvalles and Zubiri/Larasoana have become bottle necks. After Pamplona just go with the flow . . . .
Excellent advice especially for a first timer as your confidence will have grown after these initial early days . I would add that personally after a hard or difficult day the rating or reputation for an Albergue will mean less as you will just fall into bed and be happy just to have reached anywhere but dawn always brings a new day and new challenges. 😊😊😊
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Trouble is, you’re likely to get as many different answers as there are pilgrims here! Some people will love ... say, St Anton or Rabanal or Grañon or Manjarin ...
Others will recoil in horror !
Frankly, when it was my first Camino, I was grateful for any place where I could sleep for the night! And if it was awful, then it was still fun! (I’m thinking of Larrasoaña Municipal 😁).
Makes good memories 😉
I wouldn’t worry too much about it. As for booking ahead, I just don’t know, seems to be the way to go nowadays? Leaving this for people who walked same months as you are planning. (I walk in Summer, no probs then).
Buen camino 🙂
ps: I would book ahead for Santiago though.... I always do.
When I think of albergue experiences I think of my first camino too and do you know which one pops into my brain second? (The first one is Roncesvalles because it was the first albergue I ever slept in). Number 2 is Larrasoana for sure! It was a nightmare, and awful just as you said. But the only fun moment was walking out and thinking the next time I step foot in this place will be when hell freezes over!:)
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
Another vote for Casa Suzi.
On a slightly different note, did I read somewhere that Casa Suzi had building structural problems and would not be open this year which would be a pity cause all reports about it are great
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Number 2 is Larrasoana for sure! It was a nightmare, and awful just as you said. But the only fun moment was walking out and thinking the next time I step foot in this place will be when hell freezes over!
I stayed in the municipal in Larrasoana in November 2012. The winter room with the heater was full by the time I arrived, but the well dressed hospitalera (featured in one of the camino films I’ve seen) offered me a bed in the unheated upstairs section. It was wonderfully quiet and I slept well. The boys in the heated room all grumbled about how stinky and noisy it was. I was grateful to have a roof and a bed.

Context is everything. :)
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I stayed in the municipal in Larrasoana in November 2012. The winter room with the heater was full by the time I arrived, but the well dressed hospitalera (featured in one of the camino films I’ve seen) offered me a bed in the unheated upstairs section. It was wonderfully quiet and I slept well. The boys in the heated room all grumbled about how stinky and noisy it was. I was grateful to have a roof and a bed.

Context is everything. :)
Exactly true and we all have our own context! :)
 

rometimed

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(SJPdP: 2015, June2020!) (Eng Way: 2015)
The only albergues I stayed at where I was truly concerned with my sanity were in Larassona (Municipal?) and Najera (definitely church run and by donation).

But honestly wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.
 

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum







Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter






Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.3%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 52 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 185 15.2%
  • May

    Votes: 297 24.4%
  • June

    Votes: 86 7.1%
  • July

    Votes: 23 1.9%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.2%
  • September

    Votes: 349 28.7%
  • October

    Votes: 149 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 6 0.5%
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock