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Booking Ahead

Spiritual Lady

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I have walked half the French in 2014 and would like to walk the whole this year, 2020.
How many albergues do I have to book in advance. I am walking from St Jean on the 25th July 2021.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
How many albergues do I have to book in advance. I am walking from St Jean on the 25th July 2021.
I would book Orisson if you want to break up the walk over the Pyrenees, or the new Auberge Borda which is just a little past Orisson. And also Roncesvalles. If it makes you feel more comfortable also book in Zubiri or Larrasoaña and Pamplona. After that you should have a good idea of the distance you can comfortably walk in a day.

In past years I'd say that you don't have to book anything in advance, but I've never walked during a pandemic before.
 

philmickm

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
first one Aug/Sept '18
I would book Orisson if you want to break up the walk over the Pyrenees, or the new Auberge Borda which is just a little past Orisson. And also Roncesvalles. If it makes you feel more comfortable also book in Zubiri or Larrasoaña and Pamplona. After that you should have a good idea of the distance you can comfortably walk in a day.

In past years I'd say that you don't have to book anything in advance, but I've never walked during a pandemic before.
Pre-covid, Orisson needed to be booked before you depart home, and you must have their email confirmation; you will not get in if you just turn up on the day.
 

Arn

Veteran Member
I've been checking availability at the usual stages between SJPDP and Pamplona: SJPDP is starting to open up and accommodation remains plentiful, Orisson is rapidly filling up as is Borda. Roncesvalles ditto. Zubiri and Larrasoana show no reasonably priced left. Urdaniz, between Zubiri and Larrasoana still has some availability for the dates you would likely arrive.
 
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chinacat

Veteran Member
I would book Orisson if you want to break up the walk over the Pyrenees, or the new Auberge Borda which is just a little past Orisson. And also Roncesvalles. If it makes you feel more comfortable also book in Zubiri or Larrasoaña and Pamplona. After that you should have a good idea of the distance you can comfortably walk in a day.

In past years I'd say that you don't have to book anything in advance, but I've never walked during a pandemic before.

Your post prompted me to search for Auberge Borda on the web.
I’ve just spent a happy half-hour surfing through the Orisson, Kayola and Borda sites, experiencing what can only be described as a form of ‘homesickness’ … or ‘hiraeth’ as we might say in Wales …

I won’t be going anywhere this year … 2022, perhaps?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
‘hiraeth’
"Somewhere, always, in my heart, is that sense of place. The place where I became and where I will always belong." Can't remember where I've nicked that from but "the place where I became" - hoo, that sets the hairs raising :)

I thought it might be Jan Morris but all I could find was this from a 2011 essay by Greer Mansfield: "Morris has written that her work is suffused with what the Welsh call hiraeth, an untranslatable word that evokes a melancholy yearning for something or someone, a wistful homesickness. Hiraeth seems like an obvious cousin to Portuguese saudade or Turkish huzun. All of these words hint at distance, homesickness, wistfulness, nostalgia, and longing, but hiraeth, saudade, and huzun are more than emotions or moods that afflict an individual at certain moments. They are different ways of naming an atmosphere in which life unfolds, sometimes even an aura that surrounds a particular place."

All of which is a significant departure from the OP's question. In answer to that I'll echo others. Book Orisson or Valcarlos, Roncesvalles & maybe Zubiri by which time they'll have a feel for how many pilgrims are on the road. The Bureau de Pelerin in St Jean will have provided current rather than speculative information on what and where is open on the road.

I used to plan on sleeping in a ditch or a church porch and be pleasantly surprised how often I didn't...
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I used to plan on sleeping in a ditch or a church porch and be pleasantly surprised how often I didn't...
At the age of 67, I am ready for that too. I always was. Never had to.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
There's no way to predict how many pilgrims will be on the trail this year and if it will be necessary to book beds in advance. Our three caminos have all been in Sept-Oct. First year we did not pre-book and had no problems getting a bed, but we mostly stayed in large municipal albergues. Second and third caminos there was much more pilgrim traffic and we ran into pilgrims that said no beds were available in Zubiri. And beds were scarce as far as Hornillos. Last camino and this one, we have prebooked evey night. This allows us to relax during our daily hikes and not have to scramble to get to our destination. Bob
 

GailGwyn

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
part Camino Frances (2013), Part Camino Norte (2014)Camino Frances (2019)Camino Portuguese (2020)
Your post prompted me to search for Auberge Borda on the web.
I’ve just spent a happy half-hour surfing through the Orisson, Kayola and Borda sites, experiencing what can only be described as a form of ‘homesickness’ … or ‘hiraeth’ as we might say in Wales …

I won’t be going anywhere this year … 2022, perhaps?
Yes, Hiraeth! I know exactly what you mean, (as a native of Wales). I hadn't been able to put into words before, the feeling I have for missing the Camino, but Hiraeth fits it perfectly.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
How many albergues do I have to book in advance. I am walking from St Jean on the 25th July 2021.
The short answer is that no one knows what the situation will be like in July 2021. The pandemic has had such a huge effect on the Camino infrastructure and no one knows how long that effect will linger and what it will be like at any particular time on the other side of the pandemic.

The slightly longer answer is that, even ignoring the effects of the pandemic, the answer certainly varied. Even knowing the time of year and the route that you are walking, and that you intend to sleep in albergues, there are still other important factors to consider. What time of day do you like to walk? If you are one of those people who likes to start walking at 5 am to avoid as much as possible the sun's heat (noting that you will be walking in July/Aug) then you might not need to book at all. If you like to start walking at 7:30 or 8:00, you may have a tougher time. Do you intend to follow the stages as set out in the guidebooks or stop at the villages "in between" the recommended guidebook stops? In the latter case, there will be less competition for accommodations? Do you intend to sleep in private albergues or those run by municipalities, religious organizations, or "friends of the Camino" organizations? For all but the private albergues, booking in advance may not be an option (although this may change, post-Covid, like everything else). How much would it bother you to find the first albergue you walked to full and have to walk to another in the same village (or in the next village)? All of these will affect the answer to your question.

For my 2016 Camino on the Frances, I booked the first two nights in advance (Roncesvalles and Zubiri). Then I didn't book any until much later when we were in Galicia. Towards the end of the Camino, I started booking them a night or two in advance. By that point, I had a good idea of what we were looking for in an albergue and we were staying then in mainly private albergues which (except for the one in O Pedrouzo) would take reservations. When we got to Triacastela and the first three albergues I tried were full, I decided to start booking a night or two out. Note: We did find an albergue with room in Triacastela. The same may have held true in the other towns. Except for O Pedrouzo, I saw no reason to risk it.
 
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Arn

Veteran Member
How can you tell?
How can you tell?
I've had a reservation since March 2021 and was told then, that once the all clear was sounded they (Orisson) would open for business (May 19, 2021) and they had many inquiries from pilgrims eager to start and stay at Orisson. Booking.com shows no availability at Orisson (thought that's no surprise), nor Roncesvalles or Zubiri. On the Forum and another popular Camino centric FB group, the number of inquiries about Orisson and other popular start sites reveal an significant number of pilgrims ready to get on Camino and start to reserve ahead. All these indicators point to the fact that once open, the rush to book reservations at any popular refuge/albergue/hostel will leave those hesitating in the dust. That's my best opinion.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Booking.com shows no availability at Orisson (thought that's no surprise),
I don't think that Refuge Orisson uses booking.com. Lots of places don't, or if they do they limit the number of beds/rooms available on booking.com.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I don't think that Refuge Orisson uses booking.com. Lots of places don't, or if they do they limit the number of beds/rooms available on booking.com.
I was going to "like" your comment to show that I agree but then I discovered that I have some news: the new albergue Borda that is 1 km further along the road is on Booking.com! Small dormitories with 4 beds and one Chambre Double with Vue sur Montagne - looks very nice. And you could stay for more than one night ... ☺️
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I don't think that Refuge Orisson uses booking.com. Lots of places don't, or if they do they limit the number of beds/rooms available on booking.com.
It is a good idea to book directly with the albergues by phone or their own websites: They then avoid to booking.com fee, and instead gets all the money.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
The short answer is that no one knows what the situation will be like in July 2021. The pandemic has had such a huge effect on the Camino infrastructure and no one knows how long that effect will linger and what it will be like at any particular time on the other side of the pandemic.

The slightly longer answer is that, even ignoring the effects of the pandemic, the answer certainly varied. Even knowing the time of year and the route that you are walking, and that you intend to sleep in albergues, there are still other important factors to consider. What time of day do you like to walk? If you are one of those people who likes to start walking at 5 am to avoid as much as possible the sun's heat (noting that you will be walking in July/Aug) then you might not need to book at all. If you like to start walking at 7:30 or 8:00, you may have a tougher time. Do you intend to follow the stages as set out in the guidebooks or stop at the villages "in between" the recommended guidebook stops? In the latter case, there will be less competition for accommodations? Do you intend to sleep in private albergues or those run by municipalities, religious organizations, or "friends of the Camino" organizations? For all but the private albergues, booking in advance may not be an option (although this may change, post-Covid, like everything else). How much would it bother you to find the first albergue you walked to full and have to walk to another in the same village (or in the next village)? All of these will affect the answer to your question.

For my 2016 Camino on the Frances, I booked the first two nights in advance (Roncesvalles and Zubiri). Then I didn't book any until much later when we were in Galicia. Towards the end of the Camino, I started booking them a night or two in advance. By that point, I had a good idea of what we were looking for in an albergue and we were staying then in mainly private albergues which (except for the one in O Pedrouzo) would take reservations. When we got to Triacastela and the first three albergues I tried were full, I decided to start booking a night or two out. Note: We did find an albergue with room in Triacastela. The same may have held true in the other towns. Except for O Pedrouzo, I saw no reason to risk it.
This is a very well thought-out post, @David Tallan ! Food for newbies. I normally do not book ahead, but sometimes, judging the traffic I may. Or if it's a place I really want to stay. And for the last 100 kms., again judging the traffic first.
 

Jarrad

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014
I'm not sure it's critical to book ahead if you are spending the night in SJPdP, BUT I know that for me personally it gave me peace of mind that I wouldn't need to spend time hunting up a place to stay and that I would have a place to drop my pack on arrival after a long travel day. Some have noted that they have favorite places to stay in Saint-Jean, so if you have a particular place in mind, that may also be a factor.

I agree with the comments about booking directly with the albergues. Cheaper, plus talking to an actual human on the Camino warms the heart.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
The Roncesvalles albergue can be booked on their website https://www.alberguederoncesvalles.com and only there. I checked for 25 July, 26 July and 27 July, days around the date when the OP intends to walk. On all three dates, you can still book at least 15 beds - the maximum amount of beds you can book in one go.

In normal years, July is not a peak month for pilgrims on foot in the section SJPP to Pamplona. The most popular periods in this section are early to middle of May and early to middle of September. Things may be different this year but there are many unknown factors concerning supply and demand for beds at the start of this year's walking season. It is also not known whether albergues will be back to full capacity in July or are still obliged to operate at reduced bed capacity - 50% of their usual offer or even less.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Fair enough. But it is too easy for people to be misinformed when educated guesses get passed along as verified facts.
Booking.com shows no availability at Orisson (thought that's no surprise), nor Roncesvalles or Zubiri.

Could not help checking...

Orisson does not use booking.com, so it is logically impossible to conclude that booking.com shows no availability.

For Roncesvalles, @Kathar1na was faster than me. In addition, there is still plenty of room in the hotel as well.

Borda does use booking.com. For some reason I can not make a reservation for a single night in July, but it is possible to make a reservation for two nights. I do not know the logic behind this.

Anyway, we do not know how necessary it is to book in advance in July/August during this post-pandemic transitional siuation, as this situation is new to all of us.
 
Last edited:

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I was going to "like" your comment to show that I agree but then I discovered that I have some news: the new albergue Borda that is 1 km further along the road is on Booking.com! Small dormitories with 4 beds and one Chambre Double with Vue sur Montagne - looks very nice. And you could stay for more than one night ... ☺️
I wasn't sure about Auberge Borda - that's why I said Refuge Orisson. 😉
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I wasn't sure about Auberge Borda - that's why I said Refuge Orisson. 😉
It's really new news, I just wanted to share it and I am like @Mark S., I can't help checking ;) : AUBERGE BORDA has been welcoming Booking.com guests since 26 Apr 2021.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Year of past OR future Camino
yes...
I booked Auberge Borda for September... I sent them a message on their Facebook page and they replied the next day. They have been really helpful and they don’t want a deposit yet because of potential COVID cancellations. I can’t wait to try it out 😊
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
How many albergues do I have to book in advance. I am walking from St Jean on the 25th July 2021.
Hi Again.
I have dome 4 Caminos and I have never booked ahead. My usual approach is to leave early 6.30 -7.00 and walk for 2 hours then have a break for breakfast. Walk 2 more hours and have lunch. Then consult my guide book and decide which places are 1 -2 hours away from me and set off with the intention of stopping after about an hour but being prepared to go on for 2 hours if the first place is full. It is a little hit and miss but it has always worked
Buen Camino
Vince
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Anyone who walked the Camino in the past 100 years might have to adjust their advice about booking ahead and get used to the 'New Normal' during Covid!

Every website - including the Correos - recommends booking beds, at least one or two days ahead. Times have changed. www.elcaminoconcorreos.com/es/blog/el-camino-de-santiago-ante-el-coronavirus
There are now restrictions on the capacity of albergues and capacity of rooms which has led to many albergues deciding not to open until they can be profitable again.

"One of the novelties in this year marked by Covid-19 is the recommendation to reserve hostels or other accommodations to spend the night on the Camino. This will guarantee that the pilgrim will find free places and open accommodation, in addition to consulting whether or not it is possible to spend the night in that town. This year some accommodations on the Camino may not be open, and most will have limited beds, so we recommend making sure before the places where we want to stop for the night. On our website you will find a list of more than 4,000 accommodations with their telephone numbers and contact emails that you can consult to plan your route. The Xunta de Galicia has created a web page ( https://alberguesxacobeo.gal/ ) where you can check the availability and make the reservation of its public hostels . It also has a telephone to do so: (+34) 881 250 888.

It must be taken into account that only 50% of the places offered in other years will be available, since they have been adapted to the safety and hygiene regulations: adapt the capacity, the equipment, the public spaces ... As indicated by the Department , pilgrims can reserve a bed from the day before until 1:00 p.m. the same day. From that time, if there are free places, they will be available for pilgrims who arrive without a reservation.
For its part, the Association of Private Hostels of Galicia (Agalber) has drawn up a map and a list in which you can find all those hostels that will be available on all roads during the winter months. You can see it here .
The Network of Albergues del Camino has also updated its website with information on open shelters. They also have an APP that you can download to have all the information at hand on your mobile. The pilgrims who choose the French Way will also be able to know in real time the free places in the hostels. It will be possible thanks to the LOT Hostels initiative , promoted by the Association of Municipalities of the Camino de Santiago (AMCS) in collaboration with the Government of Navarra, Aragon, La Rioja, Castilla y León and the Galician Association of Private Hostels (Agalber).
 
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John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.
Year of past OR future Camino
2012-2018 Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues Central and Seaside, Norte
I’ve a year on you Alex. I gazed into the fires of my 68th Beltane this year and danced with herself as is my right.
Which is an further departure yet from the OP’s question but a reminder that if I need 9 oxen to drive through the fires next year I’d better book them now 😉
You "youngins" crack me up! lol
 

Owensr23

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
A once a 100 year problem require a once a 100 year solution. Be flexible, be kind, the Camino will provide.

I past I only booked when I was going for a long day. In 2018 in Portugal I had a 40 km day and booked ahead so that arriving late I wouldn’t have to sleep in street or walk even further. That may have changed for the next few months.
 

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