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Best stops and albergues between Astorga and Santiago

shierly

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Astorga - Santiago April 2019).
Hi all,

I am starting my first camino on April 20 from Astorga, and I'm giving myself 13 days to do the walk. Would love to hear recommendations for albergues/CR between Astorga and Santiago, best towns to stay in, and any other tips!

Thanks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Astorga (2018)
Frances/Invierno from SJPP (2019)
The night after Astorga I stayed in Manjarín and that was my best night in years (in terms of how well I slept!).

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea (and I hadn’t heard about the place before I stopped there otherwise I might have avoided it!), it’s very very frugal, there is no hot water or electricity, BUT:

You are at the top of a ridge and have beautiful views over two magnificent valleys.
No electricity means pitch black at night, so the stargazing possibilities are out of this world.
Absolute peace and quiet.
Wonderful atmosphere at communal dinner and breakfast.

The night after, I stayed at San Nicolas de Flüe in Ponferrada and the hospitaleros were aghast that I had stayed in Manjarín and said I deserved a medal for staying there. 😂 That’s when I started hearing all the whispered gossip about what a weird place it is. But I loved it and really recommend it!
 

HighlandsHiker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015 & 2016); Portuguese (2017); Le Puy/Norte/Primitivo/Verde (2018). 2019 - San Salvador+
Shierly, you're going to like Astorga and that last section of the Frances. I loved Albergue la Escuala in La Laguna de Castilla on the way up to Do Cebreiro. Remote enough to feel far away up in the mountains, good food, nice people. I also liked Albergue A Reboleira in Fonfria - Fonfria being a tiny dairy cattle farm compound. The albergue is run by a nice family, the cattle are walked down the road right in front of the albergue, they have dinner in the palloza behind the albergue (a traditional type of Galician structure) and food is available all day. Nice courtyard to rest in too. I also stayed in some inexpensive pensions along that stretch, in case you'd like to hear about those. The only CR I stayed in was near Ligonde-Eirexe, and I wouldn't recommend it. Your time is coming up soon! Buen Camino!
 

Chris Day

Hesed Walker
Camino(s) past & future
Frances '14 '15 '16 Sect '17&'18
VdlP /Sanabres / Finistere 16
Portuguese & Ingles '17
Norte '18
Thanks HIghlands Hiker for the recommendation of Albergue A Reboleira - I've not noticed it before - a great looking alternative and a change to Triacastela and will now plan to stay there next week. Thanks again.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
My favourite part ... I would whole-heartedly recommend you stay in Rabanal, and the English Confraternity's donativo (not free) Gaucelmo behind the church is a wonderful place. They serve afternoon tea in the huerta and a simple breakfast before you leave in the morning and the whole place is lovely. From there I usually go to Acebo (Mesón de Acebo has a back garden with wonderful views) rather than Molinaseca, to split the challenging - and spectacularly beautiful! - downhill trail in two so I can enjoy it twice. I second La Escuela though I usually carry on to O Cebreiro. Morgade is nice if you want to avoid the usual places after Sarria; there are lots of lovely mid stage albergues in the countryside so no need to go from town to town. You will love it, buen camino!
 

HighlandsHiker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015 & 2016); Portuguese (2017); Le Puy/Norte/Primitivo/Verde (2018). 2019 - San Salvador+
Thanks HIghlands Hiker for the recommendation of Albergue A Reboleira - I've not noticed it before - a great looking alternative and a change to Triacastela and will now plan to stay there next week. Thanks again.
Let us hear what you think, Chris. Also, if you decide you want an inexpensive room there, they don't have them bookable online but if you ask when you arrive they might have one in the building where the family lives. Buen Camino to you!!
 

Bala

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Thanks HIghlands Hiker for the recommendation of Albergue A Reboleira - I've not noticed it before - a great looking alternative and a change to Triacastela and will now plan to stay there next week. Thanks again.
I'll second that endorsement. Although the place is on the larger side, the family that runs it create a warm, friendly atmosphere. They offer fresh food featuring local dishes in the bar and a really fun communal meal in the thatched roof adjacent building. It was cold, rainy, and snowing a bit when I was there last May, so I didn't spend any time outdoors, but the grounds looked like they'd be quite inviting on a nice day. Enjoy!
 

Trude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
El Acebo is a lovely village with great mountain views La Rosa Del Agua at the beginning of the village for private rooms and El Meson is a great Albergue.......
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
The Frances from Pamplona and part VF, first-aid helper and hospitalera
I'm with Nidarosa re Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal. Their hospitaleros are volunteers from all over the world and you'll receive a lovely welcome. The kitchen there is well-equipped and the two shops in Rabanal (Susannah just around the corner and Sarah on the main path through the town) provide everything you would need for a nutritious meal if you want to cook for yourself or perhaps consider a shared meal with the other pilgrims staying at Gaucelmo. The whole place has a beautiful vibe. The church opposite has Vespers at 7pm every night and a pilgrims' blessing at 9.30pm - it's a wonderful experience. Rabanal has two restaurants attached to their own accommodation - El Meson and La Posada de Gaspar. Kim from the US opened a small hotel/b&b last year in Rabanal - it's called The Stone Boat - and I believe it's lovely. Rabanal is around 22kms walk from Astorga which makes it manageable for a first day, or in fact any day.

Below is a photo of the lovely garden between the main building and the barn at Gaucelmo, with the huerta that Nidarosa mentioned at the end of the path through the archway. On days that are too cold to have afternoon tea outside the hospitaleros serve the afternoon tea in the salon - check out the huge teapot with the cutest tea cosy! The afternoon tea is a terrific way to meet other pilgrims.

BTW - stock up with the chocolate when you're in Astorga - the town is the chocolate capital of Spain!

Buen Camino on those ancient, sacred and magical paths -

Cheers from Oz -

Jenny
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
Hi all,

I am starting my first camino on April 20 from Astorga, and I'm giving myself 13 days to do the walk. Would love to hear recommendations for albergues/CR between Astorga and Santiago, best towns to stay in, and any other tips!

Thanks!
Hello Sheirly, my friend & I are doing the same route/timing in late Sept/Oct. It's our 1st Camino so can't help with lodging but would love to know your planned route. Buen Camino. it's coming soon
 
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shierly

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Astorga - Santiago April 2019).
Hello Sheirly, my friend & I are doing the same route/timing in late Sept/Oct. It's our 1st Camino so can't help with lodging but would love to know your planned route. Buen Camino. it's coming soon
I will let you know when I get back! :)
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Don't know what towns you have your heart on stopping in, but I liked the albergue in Fonfria (just past O'Cebreiro) and the communal meal they have at night.
 

BPG2017

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
I'm glad someone mentioned Morgade. (That's about ten km. after Sarria). I spent two nights at Casa Morgade - I had to put in a rest stop because of foot pain - and it is the nicest memory of my Camino. NOTHING to do except to enjoy the scenery and country sounds, good food, peaceful meditation, talks with fellow pilgrims and family atmosphere.53301
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past - Camino Frances April-May (2017)
Future - Camino Frances (Meseta) Madrid or Ingles (June 2019)
Hi all,

I am starting my first camino on April 20 from Astorga, and I'm giving myself 13 days to do the walk. Would love to hear recommendations for albergues/CR between Astorga and Santiago, best towns to stay in, and any other tips!

Thanks!
Shierly- if possible stop in Villafranca del Bierzo. Pretty little town & it's a must stay at the stunning albergue Leo. Fabulous, charming hosts- Maria & Mercedes will make you very welcome. Mercedes' husband played guitar as we ate breakfast in front of the fire in the dining room next morning. Precious memories. Buen camino.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Acebo (Mesón de Acebo has a back garden with wonderful views) rather than Molinaseca, to split the challenging - and spectacularly beautiful! - downhill trail in two
Highly recommend these comments
 

Rowena

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015), Chemin de Saint Jacques (2016), Geneva Way (2017), Camino Frances (2018)
I really enjoyed albergue El Serbal y la Luna, in Pieros, just past Cacabelos, with vegetarian communal meal, as well as the monastery at Samos with great restaurant right across the street, and San Xulian, mentioned above.
 

Acordner

New Member
Rabanal Del Camino was the most special place I stayed on the entire CF and I slept at Hosteria A Cruz de Ferro and had an amazing dinner there as well with a lovely group of pilgrims. It's one of my most special memories.
 

Svenolavo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino francés 2010-14, 2016-17, and July 2019 (deo volente).
1. As several other pilgrims have suggested, Gaucelmo in Rabanal del Camino is very good. You will not regret staying there.
2. Avoid staying in O Cebreiro - it is a tourist trap and you will be treated as a tourist. Instead, stop at lovely La Faba and stay at the German albergue there. You can have coffee in O Cebreiro next morning.
3. Molinaseca is a fine place to stop, but the albergues are unfortunately not that great. Stay at the small hotel on the other side of the bridge leading into town, on the right.
4. Also, Villafranca del Bierzo is lovely. But, again, the albergues are not good (this also goes for that very popular one). Instead, stay at La Puerta del Perdón, a small hotel.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
4. Also, Villafranca del Bierzo is lovely. But, again, the albergues are not good (this also goes for that very popular one). Instead, stay at La Puerta del Perdón, a small hotel.
1000% correct , stay in the small hotel and relax in a great little village.
That very popular albergue is very dirty and we talk from experience .
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
1000% correct , stay in the small hotel and relax in a great little village.
That very popular albergue is very dirty and we talk from experience .
In Villafranca del Bierzo I like Albergue-Hospedería San Nicolás El Real, a converted convent. There is an albergue portion and a hotel portion with very reasonable rates.

 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/?/Invierno ('19)
Heartfelt agreement with all of these recommendations, (especially Refugio Gaucelmo and Rabanal, Villafranca , and the Cofraternity albergue in La Faba as a wonderful place to stay, and a much better option than O Cebreiro):
I'm with Nidarosa re Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal. Their hospitaleros are volunteers from all over the world and you'll receive a lovely welcome.
El Serbal y la Luna, in Pieros
Villafranca del Bierzo is lovely. But, again, the albergues are not good (this also goes for that very popular one). Instead, stay at La Puerta del Perdón, a small hotel.
Avoid staying in O Cebreiro - it is a tourist trap and you will be treated as a tourist. Instead, stop at lovely La Faba and stay at the German albergue there.
the albergue in Fonfria
Casa Morgade
I also very much liked Albergue El Beso, a few kms West of Triacastella (if you choose not to go to Sarria via Samos).
Buen Camino, @shierly !
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Wow, COMPLETELY disagree with Svenolavo!!! I guess that’s the beauty of the Camino: so many different options and experiences for each unique pilgrim!

The pilgrim mass at O Cebreiro is one of our fondest memories and truly was a moment of “what the Camino is all about” even for non-religious folks. There was ZERO tourist activity going on, but it was early May and stormy, so perhaps that changes in summer.

Tricastella was lovely and our albuergue on the right-hand side as you exit town was very nice: pilgrim kitchen, bar, clean and spacious bunk rooms, etc. Several of the nicer restaurants in town had pilgrim meals that were a definite step above the oft-mentioned “chicken cutlet and fries” plate.
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
Shierly- if possible stop in Villafranca del Bierzo. Pretty little town & it's a must stay at the stunning albergue Leo. Fabulous, charming hosts- Maria & Mercedes will make you very welcome. Mercedes' husband played guitar as we ate breakfast in front of the fire in the dining room next morning. Precious memories. Buen camino.
My parents and I are booked in to stay at albergue Leo on Easter Sunday - sounds heavenly!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
For my ten Euro cents stop in Cacabellos. I stayed at La Gallega its on Calle Santa Maria (the main drag you enter from the East). There are a number of good restaurants and bars. From there your next stop, a "not to be missed" is Casa Susi in Trabadello. If you follow the valley trail from Villafranca its the first albergue you find on the left, look for an Australian flag. It is fairly new, opened in 2017. All single beds, its donativo but they also do a vegetarian meal for about E7-10 . (I have to confess I have met Susi a number of times, she did reside in Australia for a number of years, but this does not reduce the recommendation). From there is a shorter day for the climb up to O'Cebreiro. Buen Camino;)
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
Since many suggestions are in the last quarter of the CF I’ll chime in.

Albergue Leo in VillaFranca del Bierzo – very nice, excellent owner family

Bar La P’tit Pause in VillaFranca del Bierzo – excellent food and owner

El Refugio – restaurant and albergue in La Faba. 5 Km before O’Cebriero. Excellent food and operators.


I tend to get carried away when I comment on this forum so if you’re a “just the facts” kind of person, stop here and save yourself the impending frustration.


Albergue Leo in VillaFranca del Bierzo was a really nice experience. It’s an old house converted into in an Albergue. It feels authentic and upscale and intimate relative to the more typical warehouse Albergue experience. There are many rooms and I can only tell you about the room I stayed in. I was on the second floor, there were 2 sets of bunk beds and one single bed in my room. The mattress was very comfortable. We had a private bathroom/shower that was recently remodeled and was 4/5 star in cleanliness, beauty, workmanship and functionality. I believe the family also lives here. The mother and daughter are incredibly friendly, helpful and sincere as is the father who did most of the bartending. The lobby has a good feel and some room to relax and there is a tiny bar to get a cold beer or whatever you desire. When walking down the stairs you can see into the kitchen. Unfortunately they don’t offer dinner to their guests but they have a huge dinning room table. The night I was there they had what appeared to be a large family dinner (12+ people at the table) or perhaps it was a special occasion and local friends were also invited for this dinner party?? I don’t know but it was fun to observe the laughter and exuberant dinner experience they had. It could only have been better if I spoke spanish and had been sitting with them all. The included breakfast was tea/coffee, bread/toast and EXCELLENT jam along with a huge bowl of fresh cherries which were in season when we walked through here in mid June. I was planning to walk further this day and stopped in Leo only to ask about a place to eat lunch nearby. They referred me to Bar La P’tit Pause about 5 minutes back and up towards the Plaza Mayor. It was a tiny, informal, unimpressive looking place with 4 tables inside and 3 tables outside. The outside tables were simple but nicely decorated. The food was Excellent in both taste and presentation. I could have eaten a bit cheaper but this was well worth the small additional expense. The food was so good I decided to stay in town that night so I could go back for dinner. I checked with the owner to make sure they were open for dinner. He told me he was making the best lasagna I would every eat for dinner that night. He was right. I ate the pilgrim dinners 80% of the time. That might have contributed to my enhanced appreciation of the food at this place but I truly believe it was unusually good.

I had a chance the next day for another incredible food and people experience at El Refugio in La Faba. My destination this day was O’ Cebriero. I was walking with someone who also wanted to get there and I had communicated to someone else the day before that I would meet them for dinner that evening in O’ Cebriero so I had to be there. It was my only appointment of the camino. If not for the prearranged date, I would have stayed at El Refugio to experience the dinner, get more time with this lovely cooking couple and then spent the night in the 9 bed albergue. Never in my life have I had the thought…”I’d like to eat at a vegetarian restaurant today”. I’ve never been to a vegetarian restaurant. The operators and cooks (not owners) of this place were incredibly beautiful souls and extremely talented in the kitchen. They were free spirits that traveled the world and had been in this spot for a couple of years. Some would refer to them as hippies and I can’t disagree but only if your mind is filled with every possible positive thing you associate with the word hippy. They stayed with others in a home across the street where they grew all the vegetables and raised chickens etc… These people were very special, magnetic, creative, beautiful…I just wanted to stay there with them for a few months, sharing meals, weeding the garden, feeding the chickens, playing with their kids and new puppy. I had my first Lentil burger and a wonderful salad and a few Estrellas for lunch. This food was as good as anything I’ve ever eaten. Everything was perfect in the world during that short hour. I did not see the room and beds but I will stay there if I do the CF again and that same couple is there. The only criticism I’ve read about the place is there is just one shower for 9 people but everyone noting that deficit still gives them 5 out of 5 stars. Apparently there is another very highly regarded Albergue in La Faba with 60+ beds and great garden area. I think I heard it was a German fraternity. So, if you get to La Faba and you are not up for another 5km of steep hill climbing, reward yourself with a meal and overnight in this incredibly quaint little village. O’Cebriero does feel like Disney Land compared to the beauty and authenticity of this place.

The picture is of the beautiful chef at El Refugio in La Faba
 

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Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I ate the pilgrim dinners 80% of the time. That might have contributed to my enhanced appreciation of the food at this place but I truly believe it was unusually good.
And not much difference in euro's either
 

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