Search 62305 Camino Questions

Is the Albergue in Roncesvalles a “must”?

MainelyStina

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning for Camino Frances (Sept/Oct 2023)
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

Tassie Kaz

Sempre Avanti
Time of past OR future Camino
2023?
Night One of my very first Camino & first time in an Albergue, I stayed in the Roncesvalles overflow accom (which is actually the one used in the film 'The Way'). Beautiful building but....
My initial Camino plan had been to stay mostly in albergues with perhaps a night here & there in a hotel. After that first experience, my plan changed to mostly alternative accom & the occasional albergue & from there (& ever since), I only stay in albergues if there is no other choice or if it is an especially significant 'can't miss' place.
My point in all this is; it's very much an individual, personal choice. The Albergue way of walking does not suit me one bit. If you feel you may regret it by not staying there (you know, that little niggle of 'I should have...') then by all means do...but if you're indifferent to it, you'll go merrily on your way & not look back.
'Must do' or 'essential experience' is different for everyone.
Happy planning & trails!
👣 🌏
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Apart from the points that others have made about "must" being a very individual and variable question, the general answer is really "no", for several reasons.

First, there's no "must" about starting in either SJPP or Roncesvalles, just personally my own first Camino started from the railway station at Logroño. Indeed, I have never started at either SJPP or Roncesvalles, and never will.

Also, that Albergue is often full, during high Camino season, so that alternative arrangements may be necessary.

And even so, there's the hotel there as well, so staying at that Albergue is not necessary for the pilgrim Mass and so on.

And personally, I have even been forced to sleep outside there a couple of times. And there are those who prefer to camp out generally.

So you see, don't think that you have to stay there, but do so if that is what you want.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction
I have added the tag "sjpp to roncesvalles" under the title at the top of this thread. If you click on it you will get a lot of threads discussing all aspects of that stage (both routes) from SJPP to Roncesvalles. You might find some interesting points there.

Personally, I liked the albergue experience in Roncesvalles. However, I don't see any place as a "must" on the Camino. If you experience "this", you cannot experience "that" - you cannot be in two places at once.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
The current albergue is a modern, multistory building where beds are arranged in cubicle-like spaces set in a large room. There is nothing great or terrible about it, but it’s a fair place to sleep in a very small village.

The church in Roncevalles does an evening Mass and pilgrims blessing which is quite lovely and worth attending if you are staying nearby, whether you are in the albergue, a hotel, or even a different village.

Neither the albergue nor the blessing are things you cannot experience elsewhere, so if it does not work out for your plans, seek out similar in all the other cities you will be walking through enroute to SdC.

Personally, I found the evening nice and the accommodations comfortable and would repeat it if I walked that route again.
 

Pafayac

On the way...
Time of past OR future Camino
2021: Le Puy-Cahors. 2022: Cahors-Puente La Reina.
I was a bit afraid about Roncevalles because the accomodation is huge (hundreds of pilgrims, spacious building...).
However the dutch hospitaleros are very kind and the organisation is very efficient: the sleeping stage is divided in 6 peoples rooms, you can have your clothes washed, food is good...
Roncevalles is a must !
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
I enjoyed my stay there, and it was a great place to connect with a lot of other pilgrims who have all just made the trek over the Pyrenees. For many it is day 1, and often Camino long friendships are made.
The albergue itself is well appointed with cubicles.
 
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
2023 Camino Guides
The 2023 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Camino Frances,
2019 C. Portuguese (inland).
I’ve stayed twice, years apart, including last month, October 22. I enjoyed it both times and would stay again. It’s a fair distance from SJPDP but it’s well worth the effort. It’s comfortable, the staff are very good and the facilities are good. Makes for a great start to the Camino.
 
Last edited:

Anhalter

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019 CF, 2022 CF
Despite walking all the way from SJPDP the first day, i did not catch much sleep that night in Roncesvalles, thanks to a lot of noise. The Dinner and Breakfeast were nothing to write home about aswell, but at least plenty. The evening itself with the newfound "brothers in arms" that walked the mountain on day one was quite pleasant and did form some rather strong bonds.
For my first camino, i think it was the right thing to stay in Roncesvalles. For my second camino i walked past it. Not sure about what I'll do next time.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
I did stop there after crossing the Pyrenees and it was a really amazing stay.
It was quite packed. Had to wait 30mins. to get my bed.
I showered, attended the pilgrims mass and had dinner in the Hotel with 7 other Pilgrims.

The only annoyance was the very noisy, very early departure of some Pilgrims on 4.30am.
I started on 5:45, had Breakfast in Zubiri and walked to Larrasoaña that day.
Next Spring I will walk the Portugues from Porto.

For me, it is not a "must". But it is the first, biggest and well known Albergue on the spanish side of the Pyrenees, if you walk the RN and that for I would like to stop there even a second time.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I did not enjoy it that much. It is a lovely building though. I had to wait in a long line to check in. Also had a top bunk and someone was smoking illegally in bed nearby so the smoke wafted over.

I did enjoy the mass. I liked the lockers in the cubicles. I was exhausted so there was no enjoyment of other ambiance.
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I have always been excited to get started when walking the Frances route from SJPdP, and although I've stayed at the muni in Roncevalles, I'm not sure I consider it a "must".
It has been bustling with pilgrims each time in the spring when I walk, and it is run like an efficient well-oiled machine. I was assigned in the newer section cubicles, and my only complaint is that the decent sized ladies' bathroom is very congested/busy. I have stood in line to wait a considerably long time for a shower or toilet; reminding me of busy airport bathrooms after exiting the aircraft.
I do have good memories of the soothing "wake-up" music that is piped in each morning; a very nice touch.
After reading some of these posts, I regret not attending the Pilgrim's mass.
 
Last edited:

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
We arrived early over the pass, and had to wait for the albergue to open. (We walked from Orrison.) We were assigned beds in cubicles-- it was modern, clean and comfortable. We had time to rest and explore and chat with others. And the hospitilaros did our laundry!! -For us, the pilgrims' mass was important and beautiful.
 

Attachments

  • 2A4DEF56-4873-456E-9D8E-A2094C46AB73.jpeg
    2A4DEF56-4873-456E-9D8E-A2094C46AB73.jpeg
    828.4 KB · Views: 40
  • EA58ED19-EFA1-4B9E-8BCA-9AAE7DFEF23E.jpeg
    EA58ED19-EFA1-4B9E-8BCA-9AAE7DFEF23E.jpeg
    4.9 MB · Views: 38
  • DB015A4A-F603-44B4-A374-4E94D87878A1.jpeg
    DB015A4A-F603-44B4-A374-4E94D87878A1.jpeg
    3.5 MB · Views: 41

Kathy F.

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2013, CF from Lourdes 2015, CP Porto 2022
The only "must" on your Camino is that you "must" do what you feel comfortable with. You will have so many experiences on your Camino that staying in Roncevalles will simply become one of many.

That said, I stayed there both times I traveled the CF and enjoyed both stays. You may find that the experience of the Camino is not in the place, but in the people (although there is something to be said for clean bathrooms, lots of hot water, and beds that don't squeak).
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
Difficult question to answer but are some things to possibly consider. The albergue is large but well organised. It is run by the Dutch confraternity and the wake up call at 6am with guitars and happy clappy songs is not to everyone's taste. It is well facilitised and I like the quad layout. The laundry service run by the hospitelaros is a really nice touch. The female bathrooms could be bigger and as a consequence particularly at check in and in the morning tend to have queues (lines). In terms of alternative locations, I have only tried the Hotel Roncesvalles which is lovely (especially after such a hard day), but expensive and you normally need to book way in advance. There is a new albergue in Burguete called the Albergue Lorentx which looks really nice. I guess whatever you choose to do, you are unlikely to go wrong.
 

isawtman

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2022
Ice Age Trail, 2014, 2019
I couldn't get in at Ronncevalles and had to keep walking to Burguete
 
Last edited:
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino
2023 Camino Guides
The 2023 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.

Zordmot

3rd CF in May 2022
Time of past OR future Camino
April-May 2022
Roncesvailles. I’ve stayed there on each of my 3 Caminos. I made my reservation and paid online way in advance each time so I’ve not been turned away as many others have. My evaluation of albergues has a checklist of “the usuals” such as ease of making a reservation, ease of checking in, comfort of beds, storage space, quality of showers, nighttime hours, availability of meals, etc. For these, I give it an above average rating. My judgement also is of “the intangibles”. Key is how this albergue contributes to the overall atmosphere of the Camino and how does it set the tone moving forward in one’s pilgrimage. On this second part it is decidedly mixed. Do I expect too much from an albergue? Perhaps. Staying there is certainly convenient coming off the mountain especially if you walk from SJPP in one day. Except for the communal evening meal and the evening mass, the overall experience leaves me feeling cold. Especially after a warm, welcoming albergue experience in SJPP and a long day that is physically and emotionally draining. Roncesvailles feels like I’m viewed as a number and a bother rather than a guest. I didn’t experience the hospitaleros as particularly welcoming and helpful, the environment doesn’t seem to encourage people to interact and get to know each other. The place feels unfriendly and institutional. It doesn’t give the emotional and spiritual recharge that I needed at that stage of the journey. That is strictly my personal opinion. The communal evening meal is an exception although the acoustics in those rooms is so bad that it’s almost impossible to have a conversation over the roar. The breakfast is a ripoff—but maybe it’s good to get used to viewing a coffee and a few pieces of stale bread as “breakfast”! If I’m a pilgrim again will I stay there? Hmmm.. I think I’ll be looking for other options. On my last Camino I stayed the first night in Orisson and Roncesvailles for the second, which I highly recommend over doing it all in one day.
 
Last edited:

Dean Morgenthal

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Primitivo January 2014
Ingles, September 2016
Muxia-Fisterra October 2016
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
In my opinion it’s a must and take up the offer of evening meal you will make new friends and laugh at how your feet ache also pop into church service even if not religious it sets the tone and you get blessing for safe Camino free of charge!
 

D74

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances x2, Finisterre & Portuguese central route
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
Id recommend staying there and signing up to the meal. It’s a great way of meeting your fellow pilgrims, most of whom have just started their journey so are keen to say hello and connect.

If you’re walking from St Jean, it’s a long day and your feet will thank you for stopping at Roncesvalles. It’s always been spotless when I’ve stayed there and it’s all housed in an impressive building

Buen camino
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
take up the offer of evening meal you will make new friends and laugh
The evening meal is definitely a nice highlight since it is served elsewhere at a choice of a couple of nearby restaurants. I have fond memories of interacting around a round table of eight people both times at La Posada.
 

Håkan Wiik

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plan to walk in September this year
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
Hello,
If you can avoid that alberque do that. Walk a bit further and you will find much nicer places to rest for the night
 

Rolotom

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances
Night One of my very first Camino & first time in an Albergue, I stayed in the Roncesvalles overflow accom (which is actually the one used in the film 'The Way'). Beautiful building but....
My initial Camino plan had been to stay mostly in albergues with perhaps a night here & there in a hotel. After that first experience, my plan changed to mostly alternative accom & the occasional albergue & from there (& ever since), I only stay in albergues if there is no other choice or if it is an especially significant 'can't miss' place.
My point in all this is; it's very much an individual, personal choice. The Albergue way of walking does not suit me one bit. If you feel you may regret it by not staying there (you know, that little niggle of 'I should have...') then by all means do...but if you're indifferent to it, you'll go merrily on your way & not look back.
'Must do' or 'essential experience' is different for everyone.
Happy planning & trails!
👣 🌏
Definitely an individual choice...I love them and wouldn't stay anywhere else!
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
The Dinner and Breakfeast were nothing to write home about aswell, but at least plenty.
While the meal itself was not great, I loved meeting fellow pilgrims at the communal dinner.
I prefer to skip the breakfast (again, not great) and just start walking.
is run by the Dutch confraternity and the wake up call at 6am with guitars and happy clappy songs is not to everyone's taste.
What? The two times I've been there it was Gregorian chants.
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

canyonhiker

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016
We did not stay there. We stayed in a hotel in Roncesvalles. In talking to people we met at Orrisson, who did stay there the feelings were mixed. They liked it, but didn't get much sleep between the noise and people getting up to use the bathroom and lights coming on because they are on sensors. But, as we had come over the Pyrenees in heavy rain, out hotel had no laundry and we were trying to dry shoes and clothes in a window while our new friends got laundry done at the alburgue.
 

cardifflad52

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2015 Inglis Way , March 2022 Camino Frances
Night One of my very first Camino & first time in an Albergue, I stayed in the Roncesvalles overflow accom (which is actually the one used in the film 'The Way'). Beautiful building but....
My initial Camino plan had been to stay mostly in albergues with perhaps a night here & there in a hotel. After that first experience, my plan changed to mostly alternative accom & the occasional albergue & from there (& ever since), I only stay in albergues if there is no other choice or if it is an especially significant 'can't miss' place.
My point in all this is; it's very much an individual, personal choice. The Albergue way of walking does not suit me one bit. If you feel you may regret it by not staying there (you know, that little niggle of 'I should have...') then by all means do...but if you're indifferent to it, you'll go merrily on your way & not look back.
'Must do' or 'essential experience' is different for everyone.
Happy planning & trails!
👣 🌏
Night One of my very first Camino & first time in an Albergue, I stayed in the Roncesvalles overflow accom (which is actually the one used in the film 'The Way'). Beautiful building but....
My initial Camino plan had been to stay mostly in albergues with perhaps a night here & there in a hotel. After that first experience, my plan changed to mostly alternative accom & the occasional albergue & from there (& ever since), I only stay in albergues if there is no other choice or if it is an especially significant 'can't miss' place.
My point in all this is; it's very much an individual, personal choice. The Albergue way of walking does not suit me one bit. If you feel you may regret it by not staying there (you know, that little niggle of 'I should have...') then by all means do...but if you're indifferent to it, you'll go merrily on your way & not look back.
'Must do' or 'essential experience' is different for everyone.
Happy planning & trails!
👣 🌏
My CF was partly Albergue and partly budget hotels as I felt at times I needed my own privacy as there were times in the Albergue that I wanted an early night yet could not get it .. I know there is a budget as it could end up being a costly affair ..I never stayed in Roncesvalles myself but walked further on to Espinal.. so don't think you have to take the Albergue to experience the Camino ..I came across many who had their bags dropped off every day so they did not have to carry it , some even had suitcases with a change of clothes every day . Everyone is different so do it as you see fit ..buen camino
 

Scott Sweeney

Veteran Member
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
No. We find Burguete much more comfortable, warm and great food.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST: Frances, Le Puy, Portuguese from Lisbon
The word "must" is very subjective. To me, the Roncesvalles albergue was like an impersonal warehouse, and the check-in a regimented assembly line. (Me: "Might it possible to have a lower bunk?" Curt response: "If you don't like the bed, you should leave.") It was difficult to sleep because it was very noisy -- the flushing of toilets alone was enough to make me levitate an inch above my bed. My second time in Roncesvalles, after walking from Le Puy, I stayed in a friendly, welcoming hotel and loved it. You definitely don't need to stay in the albergue to experience Roncesvalles -- the restaurants and the church are open to all.
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.

Quinranda

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016)
I've done both. First Camino, stayed in Orisson and then Roncesvalles. This year, I stayed in Borda ( truly lovely) and walked on to Burguette. I'm glad I stayed there once, but was equally glad this year to walk on a little further. For me, the "bonding" experiences happen at the smaller places. That said, for such a large place, it is very well run and in a spectacular location. I don't think you can go wrong either way. I'd say Borda was more of a "must do" for me this year. A really special way to start my Camino.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
One year we went to Mass and then walked down to Burgete in the dusk, arriving there in the dark. We booked a pension that night as we had arrived that morning from Costa Rica. The walk to Burgete through the woods, just the two of us, in the silence of the evening was a wonderful experience. I would do it again!
 

Trekker One

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. F.2014,15,16 &19 Portuguese '17, Primitivo '18
If you go in to your Camino thinking anything is a 'must', you probably need to change your mindset. Camino's are as indvidual as your finger prints.
If you have a list of things or a mental list to check off, it will likely add more frustration than joy.
Many will disagree, but my wife and I only very rarely prebook any accommodations when we walk. You will discover the Camino does in fact provide and in six walks we haven't had to sleep outside yet!
For us spontaneity has been more of a plus than a negative in our experience.
Life can be fairly regimented at home, we don't need more of that when we travel.
 

Trekker One

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. F.2014,15,16 &19 Portuguese '17, Primitivo '18
Wait, YOU’RE the very noisy, very early pilgrim departing at 5:45?!?!?! 😎. As an 8am walker, I guess it’s all in the erspective….
Haha...5:45 am is a bit early, but my wife and I for our early spring Camino's are typically walking before sunrise with our trusty head lamps on. Walking as the sun rises is the absolutely best and most magical time of the day and gives some of the best photo opps. One does need to pay more attention to the markers in the dark though.
We like to be at our destination early so we have time to enjoy our stops and look around.
But, each to their own. FB_IMG_1485961696933.jpg
 
Last edited:
2023 Camino Guides
The 2023 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

DyanTX

DyanTX
Time of past OR future Camino
CF Sept 22 - Nov 3, 2016
Definitely make a reservation if you plan to stay there. I was told (wrongly) that reservations could not be made there and when I arrived - very late and exhausted - ended up in the basement on the top of a rickety bunk. Don't have very good memories of the place except for the kindness of the hospitalero who helped me get one of the last dinner tickets.
 

Arctic_Alex

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022 (canceled)
CP 2023 (planned)
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims?

I had exactly the same question in 2019 when I arrived at Roncesvalles already around lunchtime after an early start in SJPDP in the morning. I was obsessed by the idea I had to stay there as it is such a well known place.
However the hospitaleros encouraged me to just walk on as I was still so fresh. So I spend 2 hours at the place exploring it and then continued on my path. When I arrived in Roncesvalles this seemed unthinkable, but when I continued it just felt right without any fears of missing out.
In fact I later ended up in a tiny albergue another 7 km down the road with maybe just 8 other people staying there. So it was a quiet but jolly evening and I made my walking friends for the next days, a young man from Belgium and a young woman from Sweden, who happened to be a prison guard. We had lots of fun together – and still it was a quiet start for my Camino which I needed.
So whatever way you are going to decide, your decisions will lock some doors and open up other doors which would have been locked otherwise. Hence there are hardly any "wrong" decisions :)
 

Arctic_Alex

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022 (canceled)
CP 2023 (planned)
Wait, YOU’RE the very noisy, very early pilgrim departing at 5:45?!?!?! 😎. As an 8am walker, I guess it’s all in the perspective….
5:45 is a good time for me 😎 .. I love walking an hour or two from darkness to dusk, so quiet, so peaceful.
And if you know your shit (aw we say), no one will hear you departing. Learned this in the military.
Breakfast is later on the way, either prepared already in the evening the day before, or just on the fly somewhere.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I agree that there are no "must stay at" places nor "must see" sites.
On my first Camino as I was walking that long stretch between Carrión de los Condes and Calzadilla de la Cueva another pilgrim was telling me about about his amazing stay at Grañon - where I hadn't stayed. I had a brief feeling that I had missed out on an important Camino experience, but then realized that it would be impossible to see and do everything that others say are "musts," and I had a wonderful Camino anyway.

That's one reason why I suggest that new pilgrims not read too many books or watch too many movies about other pilgrims' personal experiences - it can give you a bad case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and lead to disappointment.
 
2023 Camino Guides
The 2023 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.

mattythedog

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Roncesvailles. I’ve stayed there on each of my 3 Caminos. I made my reservation and paid online way in advance each time so I’ve not been turned away as many others have. My evaluation of albergues has a checklist of “the usuals” such as ease of making a reservation, ease of checking in, comfort of beds, storage space, quality of showers, nighttime hours, availability of meals, etc. For these, I give it an above average rating. My judgement also is of “the intangibles”. Key is how this albergue contributes to the overall atmosphere of the Camino and how does it set the tone moving forward in one’s pilgrimage. On this second part it is decidedly mixed. Do I expect too much from an albergue? Perhaps. Staying there is certainly convenient coming off the mountain especially if you walk from SJPP in one day. Except for the communal evening meal and the evening mass, the overall experience leaves me feeling cold. Especially after a warm, welcoming albergue experience in SJPP and a long day that is physically and emotionally draining. Roncesvailles feels like I’m viewed as a number and a bother rather than a guest. I didn’t experience the hospitaleros as particularly welcoming and helpful, the environment doesn’t seem to encourage people to interact and get to know each other. The place feels unfriendly and institutional. It doesn’t give the emotional and spiritual recharge that I needed at that stage of the journey. That is strictly my personal opinion. The communal evening meal is an exception although the acoustics in those rooms is so bad that it’s almost impossible to have a conversation over the roar. The breakfast is a ripoff—but maybe it’s good to get used to viewing a coffee and a few pieces of stale bread as “breakfast”! If I’m a pilgrim again will I stay there? Hmmm.. I think I’ll be looking for other options. On my last Camino I stayed the first night in Orisson and Roncesvailles for the second, which I highly recommend over doing it all in one day.
Absolutely agree, Zordmot. A bit above average, clean modern 4 person cubicals, OK dinner, lousy breakfast. Hosts professional, efficient, but sometimes very abrupt. Staying there was a must for me on my first Camino, and I would have liked to stay in the old basement section like in the movie. Stayed there on my third Camino, and experience was below average. I do not plan to stay there again unless time factors make it necessary.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023: Via Francigena, Lucca to Rome
I arrived late, and wish I had had time to explore the buildings and attend mass. I did enjoy being part of the large group & meeting so many people, even though overall I strongly prefer the smaller, more intimate albergues. It's also an iconic stop, so that's a plus. I'd place it under "a good stop" rather than a "must stop." If I walked the CF again it would be a toss-up whether I stayed there or further along.

As a side note: I did book mark a handful of "must stops" along the early stages of the CF. In the end I could have skipped most of them.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I’ve stayed 5 times in Roncesvalles. Time plays with my memory, so I might have the dates wrong, but doing my best:
The first time, in 2001, we were in a bunk room three flights of stairs above what I think is now a museum, in the long main building of the monastery.
The second time, in 2003, we were in the old youth hostel in what (I think) has become the current albergue. Beds, not bunks! But basic.
The third time, in 2004, we were in an old barn like building, below the main complex. It had newly renovated bathrooms but only two, and it was crowded. Many bunks in one large room.
The fourth time, in 2011? Not sure. The current albergue? Or maybe that was when we were in the barn.
The fifth time, in 2016, it was the current albergue.
The last couple of times I've skipped staying at Roncesvalles and walked instead to Burguete and stayed there.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021, 2022
A "must"? No. But after crossing the Pyrenees from either SJPDP or from Orisson (or the Valcarlos route), you will be very glad when you come upon it and most likely will be more than ready to rest for the day. For a first Camino - unless you are VERY fit and used to hiking such long distances over a mountain... I highly recommend planning to stay there so you don't injure yourself by pushing beyond your limits that first (or second if you stay in Orisson) day. After your first Camino, you will know your limits and you will know whether or not you are able to go beyond without risking increased risk of injury/exhaustion. It's also a good place to get to know other pilgrims.
 
2023 Camino Guides
The 2023 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

Camino Joe 2021

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021
The Hotel Roncesvalles was the place I met my first Camino angel. It was the morning after a cold solo walk from St Jean and Valcarlos in March 2022. My backpack and heart were heavy with fear and trepidation. The two previous days were lonely, scary, and intimidating. After getting sorely needed rest and a fantastic dinner and breakfast, I stepped into the cold morning with nervous anticipation. An eager and smiling confident pilgrim greeted me on the way out. The sun was rising and so were my spirits. I saw her on and off for a couple weeks. She outpaced me every time. I never got to properly say thank you Susan from Boston for being my angel and inspiring an old man to step lighter and more confidently. Buen Camino amiga, where ever you are today. MainelyStina, I wish you the same.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
A must? Nah, not in the least. Nothing (except for starting lol) on any Camino route is a must.
Is it a really cool albergue to experience? Yes. I've stayed there a few times but I've also bypassed it and stayed in Burguete.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I've stayed there three times and I've been grateful each time for a bed after a fairly long first day. But on the most recent stay I found it frantically busy and not an easy place to relax and rest. In hindsight I would probably have been happier to walk on a few km further to find a quieter bed for the night. Of course in busy periods your options may be very limited.
 

MainelyStina

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning for Camino Frances (Sept/Oct 2023)
Thank you so much to everyone for you replies, your insights, and your stories! I knew when I wrote it that “must” would be a “buzzy” word - and I thank you for answering in the spirit intended. All of your personal responses really help to paint a picture - and I truly do appreciate them!

Best,

Stina
 

cardifflad52

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2015 Inglis Way , March 2022 Camino Frances
Wait, YOU’RE the very noisy, very early pilgrim departing at 5:45?!?!?! 😎. As an 8am walker, I guess it’s all in the perspective….
Lol I know the feeling trying to catch up with your sleep only to have the drunks returning from the bar lol then you try and get back to sleep when someone next to you is snoring , then there are those up at the crack of dawn rushing out at 5am
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.

Roland49

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
Wait, YOU’RE the very noisy, very early pilgrim departing at 5:45?!?!?! 😎. As an 8am walker, I guess it’s all in the perspective….
Sorry, nope! I was the respectful and hushed pilgrim you didn't noticed as I sneaked past your bunk ;)

5:45 in summer is actual a late departure, if you take into account that I had several days with temperatures rising up to 38°C (100F).

To the editor of my previous posting: valid point.
 

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
What? The two times I've been there it was Gregorian chants.
I'm surprised this isn't mentioned more frequently. Waking to the sound of gregorian chanting, particularly at the beginning of a camino, is something I'd walk a long way to experience. How cool is that! What an incredibly perfect way to kickstart a camino! It's for this reason alone that I'm hoping to stay there.

Also, those modern sleeping pods look way better than traditional bunk beds.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago de Compostela (2022)
In my opinion it’s a must and take up the offer of evening meal you will make new friends and laugh at how your feet ache also pop into church service even if not religious it sets the tone and you get blessing for safe Camino free of charge!
If your not religious, in what way does it set the tone ?
 

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
If your not religious, in what way does it set the tone ?
In the same way that attending a midnight mass on Christmas eve sets the tone for Christmas, even if you're not religious. It's the vibe that's created, which anyone should be able to appreciate when they experience it.
 
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.

cardifflad52

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2015 Inglis Way , March 2022 Camino Frances
Shouldn't be too much of an issue when you are staying in an albergue that locks its doors at 10pm. 😉
Oh I know and switches the lights off too , trying to think which albergue did that . But the one in lograno though they did lock up the doors around about 10 , the dining room was still open so the party was in there..
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago de Compostela (2022)
In the same way that attending a midnight mass on Christmas eve sets the tone for Christmas, even if you're not religious. It's the vibe that's created, which anyone should be able to appreciate when they experience it.
Really ? getting a “vibe” from attending mass ?
 

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
Really ? getting a “vibe” from attending mass ?
We can quibble about what the correct term to use is. Call it a vibe, call it a feeling, call it whatever you like. I can't help you if you're unable to grasp that concept. I get a "vibe" every time I enter a temple, shrine or cathedral. I think most do. And I'm certainly not religious.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I get a "vibe" every time I enter a temple, shrine or cathedral. I think most do. And I'm certainly not religious.
I agree. I used to consider myself "religious" though I would not describe myself as such today. I have visited places of worship of many faiths in addition to my own Protestant Christian heritage. One of the reasons I walk pilgrimage routes such as the Caminos, the Kumano Kodo or the Shikoku 88 temple circuit is to keep some contact with lived spirituality and religious practice even if I cannot claim to be an orthodox believer in any real sense myself.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Standalone bars? Zero. But certainly you can always get a drink at a hotel bar Or restaurant 👍
 

Ianinam

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Yes, there are bars at the two restaurants and also in the hotel. But we close the door at 10 pm and we switch off the light. So people who stayed too long in the bar have to ring our doorbel and we will always tell them to be very, very quiet as everybody sleeps already and the dormitory is dark.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Really ? getting a “vibe” from attending mass ?
Part of the "Camino experience" not to be missed. 😶

Mass at Roncesvalles was a little shock for me who goes to church on and off but not regularly, whether at home or when travelling. It was the first time that I heard the announcement, made in English and addressed to pilgrims, how shall I word it, that not everything that went on was for everybody in the congregation. In other words, a "pilgrim" mass where people don't come to hear the sermon or recite prayers with content they understand or even know what is going on. And that is not "discussing religion" or criticising anyone, merely an observation that I made for the first time in Roncesvalles.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Waking to the sound of gregorian chanting, particularly at the beginning of a camino, is something I'd walk a long way to experience. How cool is that! What an incredibly perfect way to kickstart a camino! It's for this reason alone that I'm hoping to stay there.
@Ianinam will know whether piped Gregorian chants are the regular wake up call at the Roncesvalles albergue or whether the Dutch hospitaleros make use of a more varied program as one poster mentions a wake up call at 6 am with guitars and happy clappy song. Many years ago, I experienced this kind of wake up call for the first time in the Alps when soft harp music (also from a CD of course, not live) ended my slumber in a shared dormitory. Nicer than being barked at to get up, of course, but also de gustibus .... 😎
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Really ? getting a “vibe” from attending mass ?


Call it introspection then? Or for me : looking inwards to be able to feel more connected with the outside world . Or vice versa.

The rituals of a mass means for me the sharing of symbols and feeling part of a greater cultural history. A very lapsed catholic myself but there you go.... :)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
part of a greater cultural history
This is one of my main reasons for walking to Santiago and that includes of course more than the church buildings and the mass they offer for people walking on foot.

"Pilgrim" mass is not on offer on the Way of Saint James from Paris to SJPP but there were memorable events otherwise: When it was Sunday and I noticed, on the building opposite to my small hotel, an announcement that there was an evangelical church service about to start and I wrongly assumed that evangelical meant protestant 😂; it was different from what I had assumed but, thankfully, not "radical". And further south when I walked for a while with a French group with people who are active in their church and we ended up, unexpectedly, in a Latin mass, which did not please everyone in the group.

Nothing of the sort that I'd remember from the Camino Francés ... oh yes: the 30 minutes evening service at Rabanal, also often described as "a must" on this forum. It is essentially chanting of a Latin text (you pick up a leaflet so you can participate) alternating between a group in the altar space and the small congregation. It is described by forum members as Gregorian chant but you are not listening to the polished performance of a male choir. Several pilgrims left after 15 minutes! I am still annoyed about their behaviour.

So, new peregrinos, be aware when you learn about a "must" on your upcoming Camino before you set foot on it. For me personally, Roncesvalles as such (not its albergue or its pilgrim mass or its shared meals) remains a place where I will stay if possible and not walk through.
 
Last edited:

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
I can't really compare to staying in Burguete or somewhere else instead because I've always stayed in Roncesvalles. So accept this with that in mind. I have read accounts of others who have had great experiences staying in Burguete or Espinal.

For myself, I came to the Camino originally as something of a medievalist. That was a large factor in why I originally decided to do the Camino and what I was looking for from the Camino. And, as a medievalist, there really is something special about Roncesvalles. It is central to the story of Roland, which was a major part of medieval French literature. And the monastery there, I'm sure, was really a welcome landmark to medieval pilgrims crossing the Pyrenees.
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
Really ? getting a “vibe” from attending mass ?
Sure, why not?
I've walked the Camino various routes enough times to use all my fingers to count. I attend mass every chance I get when I walk it. From small village churches to the big cathedrals like in Santiago, Burgos etc. I especially like when they have a pilgrim's mass/blessing. Gives me big time positive vibes. I always leave the mass feeling blessed to just have the opportunity to walk the Camino, to be able to be there when so many who want to cannot. I realize how fortunate I am. How privileged. More blessed than I feel deserved to be sometimes.
I'm treading careful here so as not to violate forum guidelines on religious discussions, but I get asked quite frequently why I walk it so many times and I answer it's like routine maintenance for my soul. My spirit, my whatever. A spiritual/religious/physical kick in the ass that breaks me down and builds me back up stronger in all respects. Not totally comparing the two, but it kinda reminds me of boot camp and infantry training in the military. They tore our asses down physically and mentally only to be built back up stronger.
 

La Brique Jaune

Official member of la confradia del pinza del oro
Time of past OR future Camino
2017: SJPDP to Finisterre
(202?): I hope and need to
Hi Stina,

My input is don't be afraid to miss something. I trully believe the Camino is a chain reaction of events and choices. For myself, I like to think the fact I took the Valcarlos route instead of the Napoleon route made me encounter the people I needed to meet, even if wanted to walk the Napoleon route in first place. The only must I will say is: listen to yours feelings and be in moment.
 

MainelyStina

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning for Camino Frances (Sept/Oct 2023)
Hi Stina,

My input is don't be afraid to miss something. I trully believe the Camino is a chain reaction of events and choices. For myself, I like to think the fact I took the Valcarlos route instead of the Napoleon route made me encounter the people I needed to meet, even if wanted to walk the Napoleon route in first place. The only must I will say is: listen to yours feelings and be in moment.
I love that. Thank you! 🙏
 

Arctic_Alex

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022 (canceled)
CP 2023 (planned)
I love that. Thank you! 🙏
I do not believe in fate, but I do believe, that it is futile to try to optimise a camino in the details. Whatever the detailed choices are, something interesting and great will be the outcome. There are different possible ways, but all of them will be a worthy experience.
 

Gerbear975

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2022
I stayed at Borda and then Burgette. I don't regret it one bit. As others have stated, it's all in your mind. No matter which you choose, you will love it.
 
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.

bks

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Arles Route
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
I walked from Saint-Jean-Pied-de Port through Roncesvalles to Espinal in early October 2022. I wasn't interested in sleeping in a huge dorm or being forced to wake up at 6:00 am (even though I get up early) so I avoided staying in Roncesvalles. I did not pre-book but found a place in Espinal when I got there.
 

Texasguy

And so...we keep on walking ..
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Lebaniego y Vadiniese - October 2022
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)


I have done he French Camino from SJPD 4 times, and NEVER skipped the Albergue in Roncesvalles. For me, it sets the beginning of a great experience. This place brings a lot of new experiences, a los of hope, for the people starting the Camino Frances. You will begin with a group of people, some will leave later on, but the memories you create with the ones that continue with you after starting together, will be cherished forever.
I would not, and have not stayed in a hotel the first day of a Long Camino, i.e. French, del norte. It sets the beginning o very beautiful journey.

Buen Camino.
Texasguy
 

Gavala

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances April 2023
Night One of my very first Camino & first time in an Albergue, I stayed in the Roncesvalles overflow accom (which is actually the one used in the film 'The Way'). Beautiful building but....
My initial Camino plan had been to stay mostly in albergues with perhaps a night here & there in a hotel. After that first experience, my plan changed to mostly alternative accom & the occasional albergue & from there (& ever since), I only stay in albergues if there is no other choice or if it is an especially significant 'can't miss' place.
My point in all this is; it's very much an individual, personal choice. The Albergue way of walking does not suit me one bit. If you feel you may regret it by not staying there (you know, that little niggle of 'I should have...') then by all means do...but if you're indifferent to it, you'll go merrily on your way & not look back.
'Must do' or 'essential experience' is different for everyone.
Happy planning & trails!
👣 🌏
You simplified the very nature of how to travel. Not his way, not her way, but our individual way.
Having slept from doorways penniless and hotels which are embarrassingly expensive they have both presented personalities of grit, integrity and a story to tell from the heart.

The answer is to sit and think about what you imagine is the best for you but being prepared to change according to your attitude.

Sheep suffer the sheep ahead of them.
 

Jim Porter

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
Hi there! It was priceless for us ... in fact, on our second trip, we're going top spend more time there (on purpose, not just because we're older). For us, now it's a "never miss."
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Starting El Camino Norte in Irun June 3, 2015
Night One of my very first Camino & first time in an Albergue, I stayed in the Roncesvalles overflow accom (which is actually the one used in the film 'The Way'). Beautiful building but....
My initial Camino plan had been to stay mostly in albergues with perhaps a night here & there in a hotel. After that first experience, my plan changed to mostly alternative accom & the occasional albergue & from there (& ever since), I only stay in albergues if there is no other choice or if it is an especially significant 'can't miss' place.
My point in all this is; it's very much an individual, personal choice. The Albergue way of walking does not suit me one bit. If you feel you may regret it by not staying there (you know, that little niggle of 'I should have...') then by all means do...but if you're indifferent to it, you'll go merrily on your way & not look back.
'Must do' or 'essential experience' is different for everyone.
Happy planning & trails!
👣 🌏
I hear ya!! My sentiments exactly.
 
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2022
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
It was recommended to me as a solo walker, and it is where I met so many "Camino family" friends, so I would definitely recommend it for meeting people to walk with. And its fun!
 

truenorthpilgrim

Camino Mermaid
Time of past OR future Camino
CF - January 2023
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)

You've received countless opinions and I'll also give you mine 😉 I've stayed twice at Roncesvalles and I don't have a good or bad opinion of it. Throngs of pilgrims flow down through the Pyrenees, are shepherded through the front door, pay for bunks and meals and finally to their respective bunks, all rather efficiently and briskly. I'm not sure there's any other way to organize and shuffle throngs of exhausted pilgrims. Some may find that impersonal, but I've always found the dutch confraternity volunteers very kind and welcoming. The mass at night is quite special. I enjoyed having a beer and snacks at one of the bars before dinner. You'll meet a ton of folks, but if you choose not stay in Roncesvalles, rest-assured you'll still meet plenty of people along the way.

I would absolutely pass on breakfast though, not worth the price. Opt for breakfast after Roncesvalles. I Iike to walk about 20 minutes down the road to a bar called Goxona, open early for coffee and croissants. Or keep going to Burguete.
 
Last edited:

Schamber

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May and June 2022
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
We loved Hotel Roncesvalles! And the dinner in their restaurant was divine!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2013
2014
2015
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
I think it is. The staff is wonderful, and used to help set you up at places to eat a meal and the church survice that washes your feet!!? It is very large but partial walls divide every 2 bunk beds. The stone building is beautifu. I was amazed at the wash room (when I was there someone washed them for you at a reasonable fee), a library, a back yard, and a huge dining room with many vending machines.
The only thing I thought was mediocre (but not a deterren) was the bathrooms. I kept wishing I had bath shoes.
Once I arrived by about 4pm and was able to catch a 5 pm short, but wonderful, tour (though the tour may not be connected).
For me on both occasions, I was so glad to stay there, and will stay there in April. However, I do a more traditional hike except for a private room occasionally to treat myself.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I agree with all those who panned the dinners and breakfasts in Roncesvalles. The dinners are hard to avoid if you are staying there overnight, especially after walking from SJPDP, but the breakfasts can easily be missed and you will find plenty of offerings down the road.
 

adobberteen

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2018)
I only know my own experience, but when I look back on my camino, Roncesvalles is a highlight for me! It's a little bit of a "trial by fire" with the # of beds and people there, but the place really does have a spiritual feel that felt befitting of night one of my pilgrimage. A must? No. A great start to your camino? Yes. (Also, unless stopping at Orrison, my body could not have taken more on Day 1!)
 

craigmiller

Senior Walker
Time of past OR future Camino
2012: Astorga to Palas de Rei
2013: SJPP to Burgos
2014: Burgos to Astorga/Palas to Santiago
2015: Camino Aragones
2016: Muxia/Finisterra
I was curious for your opinions about whether or not a stay at the Albergue was something not to be missed for first time pilgrims? I’m really asking about the experience more than anything else. Or is one equally served staying either elsewhere in Roncesvalles or moving on to Burguete? (Based on a presumption of booking Orisson or Borda coming out of SJPP.)

Thanks as always,

Stina

PS: tried to do a search for this but didn’t find much, so if I missed something, please do point me in that direction. :)
It is a huge new albergue. Clean, modern facilites. But I would skip it if I walked through Roncesvalles again; the reason being that I am a light sleeper. It is long building with bathrooms at one end, so whenever someone gets up to go, their flip-flops reverberate up and down the hall. I didn't get much sleep.
 
Last edited:
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino

Most read last week in this forum

In the Spring of 2021, I posted “Getting Small”, about pack size and “The In-Between Places” about maybe taking a slower pace and staying in some of the villages and towns between the typically...
Back in 2019, my wife and I started the CF with the intention of doing it in stages: SJPP-Burgos, Burgos-Leon, Leon-SdC. With Covid, our travels were interrupted until last year. Fearing larger...
The attached photo shows a view from the alternative route from Irache to Los Arcos via Luquin. You can see the castle of San Esteban de Deyo on top of the hill above Villamayor de Monjardin. Can...

How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2022 Camino Guides
Top