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How to start an albergue?

sarah17

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances, 2021
Hi! Does anyone know all the steps and paperwork needed to open an albergue? There seems to be little information on the internet, but maybe I don't know were to look... I'm a EU resident, but do I need to be a spanish resident to start a business? Does a property need some kind of tourism/albergue permission on it, and if so, if you buy one, can you start out immediately?
Any help would be more than welcome!
Sarah
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Hi! Does anyone know all the steps and paperwork needed to open an albergue? There seems to be little information on the internet, but maybe I don't know were to look... I'm a EU resident, but do I need to be a spanish resident to start a business? Does a property need some kind of tourism/albergue permission on it, and if so, if you buy one, can you start out immediately?
Any help would be more than welcome!
Sarah
There is some information on this forum. Try a search using various words.

One thing that I took from a prior thread on this is that initially many people who start an Albergue from scratch start it as a Donativo (donation only) place until they have proven the need and navigated the local rules relating to tourism related accommodation businesses.

The other obvious option is to purchase an existing Albergue.
 

sarah17

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances, 2021
There is some information on this forum. Try a search using various words.

One thing that I took from a prior thread on this is that initially many people who start an Albergue from scratch start it as a Donativo (donation only) place until they have proven the need and navigated the local rules relating to tourism related accommodation businesses.

The other obvious option is to purchase an existing Albergue.
Thank you for replying! I found the according threads on this forum, but i couldn't find anything about the exact procedures to be a legal operating albergue. Is buying an already operating albergue the savest option? does it always come with the needed paperwork? Or is their any site were I could find such information?
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Procedures and regulations depend on the autonomous region in which you plan to set up or buy an albergue. Obviously buying an already existing albergue is the easiest route.

There are different albergue classifications (donativo and albergue turístico being two) and with each different classification there are different tourism and health regulations in place. These regulations (especially for an albergue turístico) are enforced with yearly inspection.

My suggestion is that you figure out where you will be then contact a  gestor who can walk you through the procedures and help you with the paper work.

Forgot to mention, I suggest you volunteer as a hospitalera before you take such a huge step. And learn Spanish which will help you communicate with the locals, Spanish authorities and pilgrims.
 
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sarah17

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances, 2021
Procedures and regulations depend on the autonomous region in which you plan to set up or buy an albergue. Obviously buying an already existing albergue is the easiest route.

There are different albergue classifications (donativo and albergue turístico being two) and with each different classification there are different tourism and health regulations in place. These regulations (especially for an albergue turístico) are enforced with yearly inspection.

My suggestion is that you figure out where you will be then contact a  gestor who can walk you through the procedures and help you with the paper work.

Forgot to mention, I suggest you volunteer as a hospitalera before you take such a huge step. And learn Spanish which will help you communicate with the locals, Spanish authorities and pilgrims.
Thank you so much for replying! I know being a hospitalera is very hard work. Lucky I'm already learnig Spanisch ;) I think you never know how such a big step will turn out in reality in regards of anything, so the risks are being included in the disicion. So I understand the regulations are different for each region on the camino? Let's say I want to open an albergue touristico, than the easiest way is to buy an already excisting albergu, which will come with yearly inspections. And a gestor could figure out the paperwork of the albergue before buying it?
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Thank you so much for replying! I know being a hospitalera is very hard work. Lucky I'm already learnig Spanisch ;) I think you never know how such a big step will turn out in reality in regards of anything, so the risks are being included in the disicion. So I understand the regulations are different for each region on the camino? Let's say I want to open an albergue touristico, than the easiest way is to buy an already excisting albergu, which will come with yearly inspections. And a gestor could figure out the paperwork of the albergue before buying it?
There are quite a few steps along the way but as I said, first decide where you will be then find a gestor to help you out.

Before buying or renting a place you will have to register with the foreign police to get a NIE card. Without that you can't open a bank account or get Spanish health insurance. Once again the gestor can help you here too. It's possible to do this by yourself but without Spanish this will be difficult.
 

K_Lynn

Buen Camino!
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021
Hi! Does anyone know all the steps and paperwork needed to open an albergue? There seems to be little information on the internet, but maybe I don't know were to look... I'm a EU resident, but do I need to be a spanish resident to start a business? Does a property need some kind of tourism/albergue permission on it, and if so, if you buy one, can you start out immediately?
Any help would be more than welcome!
Sarah
I met the couple who own this albergue https://www.casabanderas.com/our-journey last year. Their site discusses some of the things they needed to do to purchase and set up their albergue and may help your research. One of the first things you will need is a lawyer (Spanish) to help navigate you through the bureaucracy. Good luck!
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I met the couple who own this albergue https://www.casabanderas.com/our-journey last year. Their site discusses some of the things they needed to do to purchase and set up their albergue and may help your research. One of the first things you will need is a lawyer (Spanish) to help navigate you through the bureaucracy. Good luck!
This is an American couple, being from the EU is a lot easier as there is no need to go through avisa process. I personally never used a lawyer, a  gestor can handle everything in my opinion, also cheaper.

The couple mentioned above is in Galicia which has different rules than for example Castilla y León.
 
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sarah17

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances, 2021
I met the couple who own this albergue https://www.casabanderas.com/our-journey last year. Their site discusses some of the things they needed to do to purchase and set up their albergue and may help your research. One of the first things you will need is a lawyer (Spanish) to help navigate you through the bureaucracy. Good luck!
Thank you! I will look on their site!
 

sarah17

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances, 2021
This is an American couple, being from the EU is a lot easier as there is no need to go through avisa process. I personally never used a lawyer, a  gestor can handle everything in my opinion, also cheaper.

The couple mentioned above is in Galicia which has different rules than for example Castilla y León.
Thank you! I will look for a gestor then, in the area of interest (yet to be decided ;p).
 

sarah17

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances, 2021
There are quite a few steps along the way but as I said, first decide where you will be then find a gestor to help you out.

Before buying or renting a place you will have to register with the foreign police to get a NIE card. Without that you can't open a bank account or get Spanish health insurance. Once again the gestor can help you here too. It's possible to do this by yourself but without Spanish this will be difficult.
I think finding a gestor will be the first important step, but it will be difficult indeed!
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Great topic of discussion. I'm sure many have thought about this question at least once while walking a Camino.
 

DavidR

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Past: April 2018
Future: October 2022
Thank you so much for replying! I know being a hospitalera is very hard work. Lucky I'm already learnig Spanisch ;) I think you never know how such a big step will turn out in reality in regards of anything, so the risks are being included in the disicion. So I understand the regulations are different for each region on the camino? Let's say I want to open an albergue touristico, than the easiest way is to buy an already excisting albergu, which will come with yearly inspections. And a gestor could figure out the paperwork of the albergue before buying it?
Another thing to consider more generally is reviewing how strong your business skills are. Because in the end it is a mini business and will need operational things done as well as management things (like marketing and accounting). And figuring out how much money you need to live off so you have some sort of targets and way to balance your personal needs. And figure out what you'll do in the off season, and how to manage staff (if you need them) and al of that. Its very exciting but also a big commitment of energy and resources!

Definitely worth volunteering at one for a couple of months to get a feel for the lifestyle and see if you wanna repeat that lifestyle for another 5 or 10 or 15 years

And even speak to other foreigners who have bought or setup albergeus in different towns and ask to meet with them in December when its quiet and talk through their experiences

Good luck! 🥰🙏
 
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xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
I walked with a Danish citizen a few years ago who weas planning to open an albergue but was stopped by Covid outbreak.

He claims that any EU citizen can apply for a very low interest loan or a grant from a certain EU Commission that funds construction of facilities that are on or near historical sites--- such as albergues, Back in 2019 we talked to owners of two newly refurbished albergues who told us that was how they financed their albergues. Being a US citizen none of it applied to me so I really did not pay much attention to what we were told. My Danish friend still is thinking of refurbishing an existing building into an albergue.

BTW--he says you MUST refurbish an existing building and it MUST be on a marked Camino route.
 

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