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Atypical/memorable albergues on Camino Francés?

michal.don

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte 2022, Camino Francés - April 2024
Hello,
I'm walking the Camino Francés beginning the 16th of April from SJPdP, and would appreciate tips from the seasoned walkers amongst you :)
Do you have tips for "special" accomodation option along the way? I remember reading about a small albergue in a convent without hot water and electricity, but great atmosphere, but for the life of me can't find the thread.... I'm looking for this sort of things, and more interesting tips similar to this one/places which stand out in one way or the other.
Any answers truly much appreciated,
thanks,
Michal
 
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michal.don,
The albergue to which you refer sounds like Convento de San Antón just east of Castrojeriz.


Like other seasoned pilgrims I have many great memories of stops during 10 years of walking, ie 450 nights, in easier happier times. Here is one special memory.


My night at Roncesvalles monastery alone in the snow, January 24, 2009.

Do check out this earlier thread
for Best Unique and Comfortable Albergues on the Camino Frances with Communial Experiences.

Happy planning and Buen camino.
 
Last edited:
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They are not atypical, they are what albergues were meant to be like. Simple and often within a church. Zabaldika before you reach Pamplona; Santa Maria in Viana (closed for updates I think), Grañón San Juan de Bautista, San Anton after Hontanas (no electricity), San Nicholas after Castrojerez (no electricity), Santa Maria at Carrion de los Condes (singing nuns in the summer). Probably others. Mostly donativo.
Some more comfortable than others. All have a communal meal. None accept reservations or bag transport.

These are traditional albergues usually staffed by volunteers.
 
A 'must' stay (imo) is in Grañon, albergue San Juan Bautista and also, although I have never stayed there, Manjarin, albergue Tomás :)
I stayed at both of these way back in 2009 and they were both great and very special. We had one of our most joyous evenings at Manjarin. I don't think it's open anymore, though.

There used to be a really cool albergue that had a pirate ship. Does anyone remember which one that is and if it's still around?

I recently started reading Camino de Santiago: Sacred Sites, Historic Villages, Local Food and Wine. It might be a little close to your trip, but it has been great to read about all the different foods, lore, sites of the various regions. Things I had never heard before. If you have the Kindle app on your phone, it might be a fun reference.
 
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I love the parochials, myself, except for one I won't mention :)
Viana was special.
I've been hospitalera at San Anton and I love love love it.
Granon was great.
I love Piedra in Villafranca del Bierzo and Casa de la Abuela in Los Arcos.
Borda has become a favorite.
San Nicolas by Itero is very special
San Saturnino is wonderful in Ventosa
I loved Emaus but I heard they're closed.
Guacelmo is another.
I like the Carbajalas Convent in Leon.
So many . . .
 
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Good advice above. I will also say the Refugio Gaucelmo in Rabanal is a special stop. Another very welcoming donativo which provides afternoon tea for the group. It's worth attending Vespers in the nearby Inglesia de Santa Maria de la Asuncion; Gregorian chant followed by pilgrim blessing. Wonderful.
 
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Most of the albergues I have listed I have not stayed in for some years as I no longer walk much of the CF because of the number of pilgrims. But I do walk some of it to connect from one camino to get to another.
I really think all of these places, as well as others that have been mentioned really capture the camino spirit. My two favorite of the above listed are the donativos in Bercianos and in Rabanal. But I do not think you can go wrong at any of these. The only privately owned albergue is Casa Susi. She and her partner are wonderful. If you can't get in the other albergye I mentioned in Trabadelo is really good also.
 
Look, this is not helping my research into the next Camino I want to walk - the Norte/Primitivo? Or the Via Podiensis? - because now I’m getting sidetracked with memories of my favourite places on the CF, and thoughts about different albergues I’d try out next time :)
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Several memorable ones on the CF which have changed hands, so I have no idea what their current status is: Casa Magica in Villatuerta and Pilar in Rabanal.
I stayed in Pilar in Rabanal last fall; very nice, good food, but impersonal, some big groups.
 
Thank you all - I'll note all of your suggestions, and I hope I'll be able to stay at at least a few of the places you mention. I'm quite curious how the situation with albergues will look like, and how busy the Camino will be. :)
Michal
 
I stayed at both of these way back in 2009 and they were both great and very special. We had one of our most joyous evenings at Manjarin. I don't think it's open anymore, though.

There used to be a really cool albergue that had a pirate ship. Does anyone remember which one that is and if it's still around?

I recently started reading Camino de Santiago: Sacred Sites, Historic Villages, Local Food and Wine. It might be a little close to your trip, but it has been great to read about all the different foods, lore, sites of the various regions. Things I had never heard before. If you have the Kindle app on your phone, it might be a fun reference.
Albergue with the pirate ship is Albergue de Jesús in Vilar de Mazarife.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
One more! Casa Las Almas in Espinosa del Camino. Sabine and Urich are both wonderful people, and prior to the pandemic, ran albergue in Ambasmestas. A few years ago they moved to Espinosa del Camino and set up another warm and welcoming albergue. I've stayed with them three times over the years and it's always memorable.
 
SAN NICOLÁS DE PUENTE FITERO for pilgrim foot washing ceremony and common meal.

See the movie "Camino Documentary: Six Ways to Santiago".

In the morning, I discovered that I slept on a crypt in the floor!


-Paul
 
Look, this is not helping my research into the next Camino I want to walk - the Norte/Primitivo? Or the Via Podiensis? - because now I’m getting sidetracked with memories of my favourite places on the CF, and thoughts about different albergues I’d try out next time :)
BTW, SP, if you choose the Primitivo and can't make both Bodenaya or Samblisimo work (I didn't try either, since I was shipping a backpack), I highly recommend Albergue El Cruce, a private donativo in La Espina, down the street a little way from the Paradilla.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
BTW, SP, if you choose the Primitivo and can't make both Bodenaya or Samblisimo work (I didn't try either, since I was shipping a backpack), I highly recommend Albergue El Cruce, a private donativo in La Espina, down the street a little way from the Paradilla.
Thx @dbier
 
I stayed at both of these way back in 2009 and they were both great and very special. We had one of our most joyous evenings at Manjarin. I don't think it's open anymore, though.

There used to be a really cool albergue that had a pirate ship. Does anyone remember which one that is and if it's still around?

I recently started reading Camino de Santiago: Sacred Sites, Historic Villages, Local Food and Wine. It might be a little close to your trip, but it has been great to read about all the different foods, lore, sites of the various regions. Things I had never heard before. If you have the Kindle app on your phone, it might be a fun reference.
Casa de Jesus in Vilar de Mazarife has a ship of some kind in the yard and is a very nice albergue. I have fond memories of my stay there. Not sure if that is the one you are referring to.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Yes ST ANTON!!! Most magical night of my Camino, an absolutely amazingly beautiful spell binding place.
20231007_190136~2.JPG

Also special mention to the tee-pee place in El Ganso, a very unique experience run by a wonderful family.

There are lots more of course. Too many for one Camino.
 
I cast my votee for San Saturnino in Vendosa and also Albergue de San Miguel in Hospital de Orbido
I say hurry up for the latter before Arthuro sells it (he is such a darling host!0
 
Here are a few others from my CF in Sept/Oct 2023
Starting off w Refuge Orisson - a great communal meal where you found out why others were on the path! A great way to begin
Zubiri - Albergue Suseia for the lovely communal meal!
Are ( sub of Pamplona) -La Trinidad de Arre - history! One of the oldest still in use!
Azofra - municipal for the cubby rooms w 2 non bunk beds!
Tosantos - Albergue Los Arancones - sweet garden and great pilgrim menu and walking up to the chapel built into the hill is a must! Was not open when we visited but still worth the hike!
Leon - Hostel Convent Gardens -helpful host and great balcony windows in the thick of the city
El Ganzo - Indian way - Tpees and great paella communal dinner!
Villa Franca -Vina Femita this family run albergue was purpose rebuilt after a fire - clean, quiet and no bunk beds! Great front verandah - restful!
Samos - while we stayed elsewhere we found out you can stay at the monastery - hope to in future
Lavacolla-Albergue AFabrica - lovely rock walls and sleeping cubby’s!
Was great to revisit so thanks for asking! Jen
 
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Michel, Both Gronze and caminodesantiago.consumer.es. give feedback from pilgrims. I think that both are in Spanish but even if you know very little you can pick out good vibes. Buen Camino Lydia
 
They are not atypical, they are what albergues were meant to be like. Simple and often within a church. Zabaldika before you reach Pamplona; Santa Maria in Viana (closed for updates I think), Grañón San Juan de Bautista, San Anton after Hontanas (no electricity), San Nicholas after Castrojerez (no electricity), Santa Maria at Carrion de los Condes (singing nuns in the summer). Probably others. Mostly donativo.
Some more comfortable than others. All have a communal meal. None accept reservations or bag transport.

These are traditional albergues usually staffed by volunteers.
I agree with all the above but would also include: Oasis Trails and the donativo at Tosantos. The Verde albergue, amazing home grown food — the best dinner on my Camino
 
Thank you all for the next round of suggestions, I think I'll have to walk the Francés several times to try them all out, not possible in one go, probably :D
Michal
 
New Original Camino Gear Designed Especially with The Modern Peregrino In Mind!
Which town is this in? Looks amazing!
It is between Hontanas and Castrojeriz. It is totally off the charts amazing, not just the place but the atmosphere and the hospitelero and overall experience. I was very lucky in that we had beautiful weather, a starlit night and a great group of people staying there.
 

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