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Our favourite albergues on the Camino Frances

Princess Kaguya

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino Fisterra (2018)
Dear Camino family,

In these dire times of home isolation and covid-19 pandemic, I thought I would turn lack of mobility into daydreaming about past (and future!) mobility, and be helpful to somebody else – who perhaps is planning their Camino Frances to celebrate the end of the pandemic! Below are some thoughts on the albergues my partner and I stayed in between September and October 2017. I marked our favourites in red & with a star.

SAN JEAN PIED DE PORT: We decided for a comfortable, holiday-style start at a B&B in Ispoure (15-20 min walk to SJPDP). It was in a lovely farmhouse surrounded by nature, very kind and helpful host. We loved it! We stayed at Maison Bidegain Berria

BURGUETE: There we no beds available in Roncesvalles so we stayed in Burguete at Camping Urrobi. Very large establishment, with plenty of space to dry your clothes, wooden bunks and a lovely restaurant downstairs with a generous EUR 10 pilgrim meal.

*ZABALDIKA: One of our favourites! Albergue Zabaldika is an albergue parroquial with a beautiful communal meal, service in the church and an intimate but spacious room with maybe 20 single beds. Surrounded by green on top of a hill. It’s first come first serve, donativo, no booking.

CIZUR MENOR: We stayed at Albergue Roncal and took a bus back into Pamplona to buy groceries. Has a nice big courtyard but wasn’t particularly memorable. Big dorm rooms.

MANERU: El Cantero. Well organised with a beautiful courtyard. Nice kitchen!

*VILLATUERTA: Casa Magica was one of our favourites. Great stone house with yoga room downstairs. Uplifting communal meal and all-round good atmosphere. Oh, and you could borrow hairdryers! Luxury!

VILLAMAYOR: Albergue Hogar (run by dutch volunteers). Nice old building with character but not the most functional (narrow passageways and generally feeling you a are a bit on top of each other). Bonus: they have a spinner to dry your clothes faster (free). Nice nearby bar where you can have dinner like a local.

*VIANA: Albergue Santa Maria (parroquial). One of our favourites! We slept on gym mats (my boyfriend slept on a table and I slept under that table) and we had a great time! Beautiful, engaging communal dinner. The hospitalero is a fantastic character, who also looked after my bf’s vegetarian diet!

*NAVARRETE: We liked Albergue Navarrete Centro Very large kitchen and large dorm. Small, characterful village.

AZOFRA: The municipal is very big but has a privacy plus with a cute set-up where they put up wooden panels to create twin bedrooms. One mini-deli/newsagents shop was open to buy small things for dinner. Plenty of bathrooms / showers. We enjoyed our stay there!

*GRANON: We stayed at Albergue parroquial S. Juan Batista. I believe this one needs no introduction, as it has a bit of reputation. Lovely all around! Although it was pretty comfy sleeping on the big mats on the floor in this vault type of room, the place won us over with its magical and thoughtful atmosphere. One of our favourites for sure!

VILLAFRANCA: We stayed at San Anton Abad (private). We liked the fact that it is basically adjacent to a very nice hotel and we could have a lovely pilgrim meal in there, feeling like a million bucks J The facilities were modern and functional.

VILLAFRIA: We had to stop at Hotel Buenos Aires here as all other albergues were full. Good service and comfort. I enjoyed my affordable chickpea and rice soup for dinner in the hotel restaurant (there was nothing open nearby, looked like a bit of a Far-West/ industrial area type of place).

BURGOS: Divina Pastora (albergue parroquial). We showed up early and queued as there are limited places (roughly 15). The albergue is cute but the hospitalera was very prescriptive and religion-oriented, which was a bit of a turn off. It was a pleasant experience all in all, and definitely a life experience so I’d recommend it!

*HONTANAS: We stayed at albergue privado Juan de Yepes. Great all-round! Small dorms with wooden bunks and ensuite, great communal meal, ace terrace to relax and plenty of space outside to wash & dry your clothes. Fully recommended!

BOADILLA: En El Camino (private). We got there very late, so missed a bit the pool fun, but the facilities are nice, the meal was good, there were plenty of showers and the pool outside is a fancy plus. Would recommend wouldn’t stop there on purpose if timing didn’t work.

CARRION DE LOS CONDES: We stayed at monastery Santa Clara. Was in synch with our expectations and we enjoyed it. Simple, peaceful setting. Most people seemed to be staying somewhere else, so it wasn’t crowded.

*LEDIGOS: Albergue La Morena (private) was a winner for us! Spacious dorm, nice bar / dining area, plenty of green space around to lounge and read. Particularly nice bathrooms. Recommended and one of our favourites!

*SAHAGUN: We stayed at the municipal and loved it! Quite an experience to be sharing a large floor with stone walls and wooden bunks with over 50 people! Dividers help give you some privacy. Showers / toilets are basic but the kitchen is nice and we cooked a lovely meal. Recommended!

*RELIEGOS: We loved Albergue Ada (private). Beautiful garden, welcoming hosts, nice meal and lockers in the room! What a quaint little village! We ventured to Bar Elvis for a glass and were surprised with an eccentric, buzzing place. Would recommend both!

LEON: We stayed at the monastery S. Maria de Carbajal. That’s the closest I can think of soldiers sleeping in barracks. Prime location, yet peaceful area behind the gates. Huge dorms, quite noisy at night. But a life experience that I would recommend!

*SAN MARTIN: Albergue Veira (private) was amazing! Best breakfast on the camino with so many healthy options! Very convincing communal dinner. Dorm was quite small and tight with 3 bunks, but ok. Definitely recommended!

ASTORGA: San Javier (municipal?). Great location near the cathedral, big dorm with single wooden beds, good bathrooms, nice inner courtyard and lounge area.

*RABANAL: Albergue Gaucelmo (donativo). Great from start to finish! Complimentary tea and biscuits. Spinner for clothes. Huge green space outside to hang clothes. One of our favourites!

PONFERRADA: Albergue Alea (private). We enjoyed this albergue (especially the dinner) but would not recommend staying in Ponferrada. Felt like an industrial, run-down town. Stay in Molinaseca (stop before) if you can.

*PIEROS: We stayed at El Serbal y La Luna (private) and we are so glad we did! Great quiet location away from it all, tavern-like eating area, wooden interiors, and great hospitaleros. Excellent vegetarian communal dinner. One of our favourites for sure!

*RUITELAN: Albergue Pequeno Potala. Little village in the middle of nowhere. Great hospitality and vegetarian communal dinner. Ok dorm and bathroom but that’s beyond the point. We loved it!

*FILLOVAL: Albergue Filloval (private). Probably my best memory of this camino. After some uphill hiking this little albergue is a tiny gem. Very few people, which added to the experience. Great bathroom. Hammocks surrounded by nature. We had dinner in a nearby restaurant / hotel, which was exceptional! No village / city centre, just a handful of houses. One of our favourites!

SARRIA: We stayed at La Casona de Sarria (private), all the way across town. Nice facilities but location is not super convenient as it feels it’s on the outskirts, with limited eating options nearby. On the bright side, it doesn’t feel busy like the centre of town! However, if I did it again I would stay at the oasis-looking Albergue Paloma y Lena (private), just before reaching Sarria.

*MERCADOIRO: Albergue Mercadoiro (private). Plenty of green space to relax, outside tables, gourmet food (alas more on the expensive side), nice sleeping facilities (we had the small dorm to ourselves!) and plenty of space to air dry your clothes. Feels more like a little resort. Highly recommended!

*LIGONDE: Escuela de Ligonde (municipal) Simple but functional. Converted school, away from the crowds. We took advantage of the kitchen (no dining options to be seen around). We loved the simplicity and cosiness of the place. Would stay again!

MELIDE: We stopped in Melide twice, once on the Camino Frances and once on the Primitivo. The first time we stayed at Albergue Anton (private). Great location, huge back garden with lounge chairs, nice all around. The second time we stayed at the municipal. Definitely a money-saver but dorms are huge and the overall experience wasn’t particularly exciting. It felt more like a hospital. The kitchen is huge and new but without utensils so unusable (this may have changed since 2018). I would go back to Albergue Anton for sure!

*RIBADISO: Albergue Ribadiso Xunta (municipal). This albergue has a medieval feeling and is the closest to what I imagine pilgrims in the old days would use. Located by the river (where we bathed!) in an idyllic location. No shops to be found around, so if you are planning to cook bring your food. Otherwise the nearby bar/restaurant has good food in a tavern setting at affordable prices. Fully recommended!

O PEDROUZO: Next time, I would skip this stop. This village feels a bit sad and unappealing. The albergue was ok, O Cruceiro (private), with a big kitchen / dining area and a large dorm (with lockers though!). Oh and there is a sauna too.

SANTIAGO: we stayed in different places, none of them was great but good enough. In 2017 we rented a room in a shared apartment for 2 days (unfortunately I don’t remember the lady’s name nor have her contact). Good enough option for privacy. We also stayed at Mundolalbergue. Great location very close to the cathedral, nice kitchen and garden. But noisy and crowded dorm. We also stayed at Albergue Alda, next to Hotel Alda. Old wooden building with steep stairs and small and damp bathrooms, but good kitchen and great location.

Wherever you stay, enjoy and make the best of it!

If you want to read a similar post about favourite albergues on the Camino Primitivo, go here.
If you want to read a similar post about favourite albergues on the Camino Finisterre, go here.
 

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