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Hit . . . or Miss ! ! -- Accommodations on the Camino France

dlr47

New Member
We are starting our first pilgrim walk two weeks tomorrow. My wife has practice packed every day for the past 10 days -- sometimes more than once a day. :shock:

We are looking for recommendations from you who are experienced on the Camino Frances:

- Which albergues/hostals would you make a point of revisiting if you were to walk the camino again, and why?

- Conversely, which ones would you limp and hobble another 10 kilometres to avoid, and why?
 
I can't think of any I would *never* stay at again, but the albergue that I would love to stay at again is the private one in Boadilla del Camino. Looks dicey from the outside, but once you get through the gate & into the courtyard, it is paradise. :)

I documented the albergues I stayed at between Logrono & Leon on my blog, so please take a gander if you like.

As for SJPdP to Logrono, the only place I wouldn't stay again is the municipal albergue in Estella. I initially booked a bed there, but the only bed left was an upper bunk, there was no way to climb to the top & they ran out of hot water just as I showed up. So, I checked into the Hostal Cristina instead. :)

Roncesvalles: the municipal albergue--very nice, bathrooms were clean, had a place to put your boots & tons of newspaper to stuff them with to help them dry out.

Zubiri: the private albergue--again clean bathrooms, free internet, the hospitalero's wife washed & dried laundry

(on edit) Pamplona--stayed at the convent, although that appears to have closed when the new albergue opened (??) The photos I've seen of the new albergue look promising.

Puente La Reina: Santiago Apostol--private albergue, very clean & nice, the only downside is the steep hill you have to climb to get there (not fun after climbing the Alto del Perdon the same day!)

Estella--already covered

Torres del Rio--Casa Mari; very clean & nice, but I would not stop in Torres del Rio again; no restaurants & not much to see = stop in Los Arcos or carry on to Viana

Viana: Municipal albergue--3 tiered bunks (lucked out & got a lower one); clean bathrooms, nice town & place to stay

Logrono: both times, the municipal albergue has been full. The first time, I stayed with friends at a pension near the Cafe Moderno; the 2nd time in the parish albergue at the church.

Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions about the albergues. I have a list of the private network albergues as well.

Kelly
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Three stand out favourites in my memory would have to be Granon- the parish albergue-; the CSJ albergue in Rabanal; and 'Don Alvaro' in Sarria. Granon is quite 'simple' in that you sleep in mattresses close together on the floor, but there was a very special welcoming atmosphere there, and the hospitalero cooked a communal meal. The hospitaleros at Rabanal were very welcoming, there is a lovely garden area, and you can go to vespers sung in the church right across the square. There was also a special atmosphere in Don Alvaro, which has a lovely garden area out the back, that includes sun loungers!

In Astorga I stayed in San Javier and 'cooked' in the dormitory under the roof. Go to the municipal albergue instead: people loved it there and it was much cheaper. I never stayed in the refugio at San Juan de Ortega but knew several who did, and they universally hated it. They said it was cold and damp and over-priced. I never stayed in the municipal albergue in Portomarin either, but on a hot day apparently nobody could sleep as it was too hot in the dorm.

Unlike Kelly, I stayed in the municipal albergue in Estella and was quite happy there;-)
Margaret
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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:
Hello dlr47,
One thing I have learned at many CSJ of SA workshops and meetings is that everyone has a different idea of what the 'best' albergues are.
For some, the best are the most up-to-date, modern, all mod cons type of albergues.
For others, the best are the most basic, no running water, no electricity, dinner by lamplight type albergues.
For what it's worth, these are my favourites - most fall into the 2nd category.

My Top 10 list of basic/spiritual albergues:
*Eunate – meal by candlelight – walk around the church in the moonlight (Check opening times – sometimes is closed if there is no hospitalero)
*Granon – sleep on mattresses in the bell tower of a church – sing for your supper (Open all year)
*Tosantos – sleep on mattresses - pilgrim blessing in the attic chapel – pray for pilgrims who have left a prayer request (not sure of opening times)
*Arroyo San Bol - Run by Francisco, a Knight Templar – no running water, 1000yr old medicinal spring at the back, no electricity, no toilet –.(Open April – mid October)
*Convento San Anton – basic albergue in the ruins of the San Anton convent (Open to end of September)
*San Nicolas - magical sleep in the loft of a restored church – communal meal cooked by Italian hospitaleros, pilgrim blessing includes washing of pilgrims feet (late June to mid-September)
*Bercianos – ancient straw and mud house, watch the sunset before being allowed to have a communal dinner
*Manjarin – Atmospheric albergue run by Tomas the Templar - basic, no running water, electricity or toilet. Sleep in a stone barn on mattresses – stay for the Templario blessing and ceremony at 11am. (Open all year)
*Villafranca del Bierzo - Ave Fenix run by the Jato family for almost 30 years – Jesus Jato is a healer. (Open all year)
*La Faba – Albergue Vegetariano run by a German hippie who sells incense and Eastern jewellery: pick the vegetables in the field next door and help cook the dinner.

Go to this website if you would like a list of the more up-market, private albergues
http://www.redalberguessantiago.com
 

Dale

Active Member
I couldn't see where you said what your starting point is but if you are staying in Saint Jean Pied de Port, you will never regret making a reservation at L'Esprit du Chemin a private albergue run by a Dutch couple . It was my best albergue experience bar none this past April and May. Very popular so a reservation is a must.

Buen Camino my fellow Cannucks.

http://www.espritduchemin.org/
 

Annette

Member
Hit ...Or Miss....

Well, It depends on you and you only...
What are YOUR expectations?? What are you looking for...??

I've done the Camino Frances twice and Camino del Norte once...
I've stayed in very basic albergues and had great experiences... and I've met pilgrims who have stayed in the same albergues who hated staying there. - We all have our favorites... and dislikes... but what can be expected for only 5-7 euros a night??

I have stayed twice in El Burgo Ranero and twice in Terradillos de los Templarios both experiences were different... as I stayed there 2003 and 2005....

Also I stayed in the Miraz on Camino del Norte... before it even became an albergue... there were basicly NOTHING there... - even the guidebooks advised to continue on to Sobrado dos Monxes, as there were nothing in Miraz - However Bernhard, a German guy I was sharing the days with, and I chose to stay... and Paul from Austria also showed up... there were only the 2 of us... - It was one of my best Albergue experiences ever... - Today Miraz is an albergue... (I have not yes been there since it opened as an albergue)....

It is only your expectations that will make it a good or bad experience...
 

janea

New Member
My partner and I have recently completed the SJPP to Burgos section (we completed Burgos to Santiago last year). There is only one place that we would not stay in again and that is the large convent in Leon. We felt very unsafe there, it was only May (2007) but there was absolutely no air and when my partner tried to go outside to get some, his way was blocked by a pilgrim on a mattress in front of the fire escape.
Generally I would say that you will not always have a choice - try and stop when your body tells you to otherwise you will join the ranks of the injured and remember places will fill up.
But...we really enjoyed albergues with gardens. The parish albergue at Hospital de Orbigo last year and the Basilica de Arre convent in Trinidad de Arre were enjoyable because they were in lovely old buildings and had gardens to relax and chat to other pilgrims in. If you are interested in things botanical you could also aim for the municipal albergue at Azofra (in which all rooms are for 2!) and take time out in the early evening to walk a few extra K to the botanical gardens there.
In general we enjoyed the small places such as Tr de Arre (just before Pamplona) and just passed through bigger places doing some supermarket shopping on the way.
However we did enjoy our rest in Burgos this year - we stayed at Norte de Londres hotel which was very good value and spent hours in the cathedral. Hope you make some of your own great discoveries - Jane
 

Javier

Active Member
Wonderful, Trinidad de Arre, albergue

 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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:

dlr47

New Member
Thanks for all the very useful information. I have taken note of all your suggestions on this and many other topics; this board is very, very helpful and encouraging.

If others have more to add on this topic, please feel free to do so.

Two weeks today for our first short day of walking . . . SJPP to Orisson.

- Derek
 

Red Kite

Member
If you fancy a bit of luxury, and who doesn't from time to time, :wink:
I can recommend

La Cachara in Castrojeriz and

the Albergueria del Camino in Mansilla de las Mulas.
 

viajero

Active Member
When I think back to my "favorite" albergues, it seems my memories focus in on the commraderie of pilgrims rather than the albergues themselves so it is a bit difficult to recommend. In March it was relatively uncrowded. Sometimes a rather generic albergue (like the one at Gonzar) for example, became a favorite as there were just 5 of us staying there. With that in mind though...

*Ruitelan--Pequeno Potala Albergue--This was probably my favorite albergue. THe hospitaleros were amazing and cooked what was probably the best meal of my Camino. Once again, we were a small close knit group there which added to the memory.

*Astorga--ALbergue San Javier near the Cathedral. Again, the hospitaleros really looked after us. The kitchen/sitting area was nice. We went around the corner to the Gaudi restaurant for the pilgrim's menu which was delicious.

*Mansilla de Mulas--Laura was a super fun hospitalera--

*Molinaseca--newish albergue on the right hand side of the road just past the village. THe place was sparkling clean, beds not bunks, and Hospitaleros Alfredo and Cristina were helpful and kind. Molinaseca is a very charming town as well.


*Granon--Okay, I didn't actually stay here but EVERYONE I met who did stay here LOVED it. THey all chose it as their favorite and I felt a little sad that I missed out.

Albergues to avoid

*Larasoana--if it is really cold out, avoid it. I was there in early March and it was very cold and no places in town for food (no shops/bars/etc.)--although we did find a place about a mile out of town on the highway. I'm sure that other times of the year it would be fine.

*Fonfria--private albergue. Once again--avoid only if it is cold. It was actually one of the more modern, nicer looking places with a nice sitting area, sturdy bunks, and a nice bar/restaurant. When we were there it was freezing though--the coldest place of my Camino which I didn't understand as there was heat but they turned it off. In any other weather though, I think it would be good.

*Melide--this could just be me though---In March when I walked I was accostomed to staying at Albergues with anywhere from one other person to about 15 people. I was shocked when I got to Melide as it was packed with large groups--this might be the norm at many albergues during peak season but I just wasn't accostomed to it. To avoid a replay of this, we stayed the next night at the private albergue in Santa Irene (which was nice) and walked to Santiago the following day from there.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Fonfría is a lovely tiny village in the mountains, no mobile reception (only by a bend on the road, about 1 km away). The location could not be prettier, the hostel is very clean and new, and Angela, the owner, is lovely, she will cook for you and help you in anything she can.

Of course, it is very high up, and it can be very cold, but the views on those mountains are simply unique, to me, it was the best hostel in the Camino (together with Bercianos, another remote location)
 

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