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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

paradors

#1
has anyone any experience / recommendations for a parador in which to stay after finishing the Camino? My wonderful partner is planning on meeting me once I've completed (end of October ish, probably) and we're going to take some time together in which to re-connect. One of the things we've talked of doing is a night of unashamed luxury in a parador, although I'm wondering how easily that will sit after weeks of refugios. Any thoughts? Our current thinking is that the one in Santiago is not the right one for us, maybe the one at Baiona overlooking the sea?
 
#2
Hi, Jane,
The paradores web site has a great clickable map, http://www.parador.es/es/portal.do and I can give opinions on some of the ones in the vicinity of Santiago. I've stayed in a fair number over the years, but usually on some ridiculous promotion that puts the price down in the $100 range (before the dollar collapse against the euro, of course).

I haven't stayed in the Baiona parador, but have been inside, walked around it, had a drink there. It's an incredible place, in a very privileged position. The fort's walls ring it, and there is water in every direction. The town of Baiona is touristy, cute, and has tons of good seafood.

Looking at the map, I came up with a couple of other possibilities, too, all relatively close. My hands down favorite is Santo Estevo, in a very remote place a short drive from the city of Ourense. It is along the Sil River Canyon, an old monastery with three or four cloisters, one of them Romanesque. Rooms are done in a modern style, very comfortable but nothing wow-producing. It's the public spaces, the cloisters, and the environment, with lots of walking trails in all directions, that is just spectacular. But the area has lots of little towns and lots of falling down ancient churches in spectacular sites. We spent two nights there last year and spent one day along the Sil River and the other along the Minho. It was great.

Other possibilities -- Ribadeo -- very pretty town on the Ribadeo estuary near the ocean. It's the place where the Camino del Norte turns south towards Santiago, right over the Asturias border, first town in Galicia. I walked the norte last summer and we stayed there one night. All rooms have a balcony that looks out over the river, and it's a very nice town. Lots of beautiful coast within short driving (or walking if you're still inclined) distance, the 8 or 10 km walk from Tapia to Ribadeo was one of the prettiest on the Norte.

Pontevedra -- another really pretty town, probably more medieval architecture than Ribadeo. I haven't stayed in the parador but have walked by it on the Camino Portugues. It's in one of these medieval manor houses and is right in the middle of the pedestrian historic distric.

Going a little further south, the paradores in Verin and Tui are both in historic buildings -- the one in Verin (on a variant of the Via de la Plata) is out of town on a hill near the castle. Nothing spectacular but in a good location for touring southern Galicia. Tui is right on the Portuguese border across the river. I was walking the camino portugues and stayed in the albergue, but we visited the parador and it's very nice, recently remodeled I think.

Of the other paradores in the area, I would not recommend Vilalba (a town on the Norte, but it's really an uninspiring place, thought he parador is in a castle tower) and Ferrol, which is not one of my favorite Spanish cities either.

So, this is probably way more information than you wanted, but I figured that it might help others with the same question.

Laurie
 
#3
Laurie, thank you so much for your detailed reply - exactly the kind of information I've grown to expect from this Forum!

We'd looked at the parador near Ourense and it's top of the current favourites list but it was good to hear your experience of Baiona as well. I suppose that one of my concerns is whether I shall feel comfortable sinking into splendour after so many weeks on the Camino, do you have any feelings on this?
 
#4
Hi, Jane,
I've actually had a number of conversations on this topic and thought a lot about it -- Luxury on the Camino, well in your case it will be Luxury AFTER the Camino. Maybe others will add their thoughts, but I'll give you my opinion, which is not very helpful -- and that is that it depends so much on the person.

On my first Camino in 2000, my walking partner and I splurged and stayed in paradores in Santo Domingo, Leon, and in Santiago. We were torn. First, there's no doubt that some of the group we had met and were friends with strongly disapproved. And we also felt a bit strange about it, but there's no denying that the stops were extremely comfortable and a real treat. I didn't particularly like the "feel" of the Leon parador, but it is georgeous. And the one in Santiago was amazing, and the staff was incredibly nice and polite to us (they must be used to this). We have walked several more times since then and we have stayed again in Santo Domingo, but not in the other two. Santo Domingo is kind of "cozy", just comfortable without being over the top like the others.

We have met a fair number of people who splurge and stay in the parador in Santiago at the end of the walk. Everyone I've met has enjoyed it a lot even if it did feel strange. I assume that the people who don't think it is a fitting end to a pilgrimage just don't stay there so we probably don't have a scientific sampling of how the parador affects your sensibilities after you've been walking.

I guess my bottom line is -- the entire "real world" feels alien after the Camino, so why not enjoy the "real world" in all its luxury if you want to splurge? Laurie
 
#5
In my opinion, the three best paradores are, in this order: Granada (Into the Generalife Gardens) Santiago de Compostela and Leon (San Marcos).

But all of them have been made in incredible buildings. To choose one or another depends on the kind of resting you are looking for.

The best, to choose the yours in http://www.parador.es. But, if you are looking for something special tell us, and I can suggest the most similar one.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 
#6
Javier, you are wonderful! We had hoped to visit the Alhambra last September for my birthday but failed to book tickets early enough and so were disappointed. I hadn't thought about the parador there for our post-Camino visit but it looks and sounds perfect. Thank you for putting the idea into my head :D
 
#7
What about booking in advance. I cannot say for sure the exact date I will finish the camino... I assume the chances of booking into the santiago parador on the day of my arrival are pretty slim? anyone know?
 
#9
Michael, I think you can make your reservation when you are arriving, for example when you are in Cebreiro or Sarria, it's not difficult to imagine how many days do you need to arrive from there in Compostela.

Another option is to reserve when you arrive in Compostela ... for four days later, and to continue to Fisterra. And back to enjoy of the Parador.

Buen Camino!!

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 
#10
If possible, I would suggest making a reservation prior to your arrival.

The Paradors have many promotions and it requires some research and thought to ascertain if any apply. the promotions must be asked for at the time of booking and are subject to availability and a calender.

At the Parador of Santiago de Compestela, I am lucky (or so I am told) to qualify for the 30% discount being aged over 60.

I eat in the restaurant here (I don't usually suggest hotel food) since the quality and ambiance is so good. The last time I stayed, one member of our party was delighted to eat from the celeriac free menu. A discount of 20% of the half board rate is available for a stay of two nights.

I suspect the visitor standing at the reservation desk will pay the full price and certainly cannot consider all the options properly.

I have stayed at the Parador of Bayona (Baiona) a couple of times and agree with Laurie that it is a fabulous place. My second favourite in the region.

I also stayed for a wet Christmas at the Parador in Pontrevedra when the situation in the old town was a great advantage. the whole visit was a success.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#11
Jeez, what a wonderful thread!
I could write volumes about the paradors, (I actually have done!) but my favorite post-camino spot falls right about the middle of the hotel spectrum.

Just south of Finisterre is a fishing village called Muros. You can get there on the Santiago-Finisterre bus. There are two family-owned hotels there, and some pensions, the freshest seafood possible (the chalkboard in the restaurant window tells you what the men caught today), even a wood-oven pizzeria.

I spent three days post-camino at the A Muradana hotel, right on the waterfront. Me and another camino bud managed to nab the penthouse, with a balcony overlooking the crystalline water and seagulls stepping around on the roof and chattering. At about 3 p.m. every day, a pod of dolphins came right up to the sea wall and played in the waves! It was reasonably priced, low-pressure, simple, and quiet. It wasn´t luxurious, but it was just about perfect.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#12
I stayed one night at the Parador in Santiago, just for the heck of it. The 2-star hotel I booked when I arrived had only a single-night vacancy, so the next morning I trapsed over to the Parador and asked for a single night there. The rooms weren't open until the afternoon, but they kept my backpack in a luggage room until check-in time.

It was a great place to stay. The chambermaid (doesn't that sound hoity-toity) gladly took care of my wash (including my sleeping bag), the breakfast buffet the next morning was excellent, and I got some nice souveniers and gifts for the family at the gift shop. There were also various activities going on there, such as flamenco dancing, live music, and a booming disco on the 2nd floor.

The only issue I had was getting in at 3AM after a night of revelry with some fellow pilgrims - if someone hadn't exited the hotel via the front door while I was trying to find my way inside, I would've been stuck. The hotel door attendant let me right in once I flashed my hotel ID card (each guest gets one).

I didn't take advantage of the free pilgrim meal down in the kitchen. It would've been nice, but I was spending most of my meal times with a group of Spanish pilgrims anyway. They were a cool bunch.

Anyway, I recommend at least one night at the Santiago parador, just to celebrate the trek's end. Finishing the Camino was certainly a great excuse for staying at a 5-star hotel. :arrow:
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#13
Hi VInitinto,
Haven't seen you around the Forum in a while... welcome back!
Buen Camino,
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#14
Deirdre said:
Hi VInitinto,
Haven't seen you around the Forum in a while... welcome back!
Buen Camino,
Thanks - my access to the site has become limited of late - but I still try to get on now and again to see the latest. By the way, I checked out your picture album via the link you posted here on another thread - nice pictures! :)

Take care,

VT
 
#15
Best gift to yourself! Give it a try if it falls within your limits. We traveled back through Leon and spent 4 days while I got over a cold before we took on Paris.


EAGLEAK
 

Dutch

Straightforward
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC sept '13
Porto-SdC May '14
SdC-Finis/Muxia May '14
SJPP-Finisterre sept '14
Pamplona-Burgos march '15
Porto - Sdc may '15
Camino salkantay june '15
SJPP - SdC aug/sept '15

Pacific Crest Trail april thru sept 2016
#17
I stayed in the parador in santa domingo. This was nice.

Last time in SdC i enjoyed the free pilgrim breakfast at the parador in SdC and afterwards i walked around the parador and had a look at some of the rooms. It was cleaning time, so alot of doors were open. Didnt go in of course, but my eyes did have a peek inside in several different rooms and must say, eveything looked very old and old fashioned. There was nothing in me that said, man....wish i stayed here.

The building is fantastic, thats true. I liked the public areas, but the rooms just didnt look that inviting to me.
 


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