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TIPS Please - Amazing Albergues Experiences - Astorga to Ponferrada

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 15,16,18
VdlP 23, Invierno 23, Fisterra 23
My next Camino will be somewhat more remote and lonely than my previous experiences, which have only been on the Camino Frances so far.

But, I'll be joining the CF for a few days, crossing between the VdlP and the Invierno.

Not having had much exposure to the Albergue 'community' thing in the past, I thought this would be a good chance.
And I imagine my VdlP and Invierno stages are likely to be far more isolated and won't have much of that.

At this stage, I'm planning some shorter stages on the CF part, as a bit of a break, and also I like to take it slow over the mountains. So very loose planning would involve staying at:

Astorga.
Rabanal (always stayed in Foncebadon previously)
El Acebo (or Riego to break up the downhill stretch)
and finally Ponferrada.

I've been checking out some Albergues on Gronze, and have made some notes from some blogs etc.
So I have a couple of ideas......

But I'd love to hear some recommendations for Albergues in those four locations.

Nice welcoming places, communal meals, pilgrim prayers..........
all those things and others that might have made your stay very special.

What do you suggest?
 
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As an alternative to Astorga, look at the private albergue in Murias de Rechivaldo. Lovely albergue with private rooms too, if you prefer. And a bar ;)
Peregrinopaul,
Was that the Albergue Casa Rural Las Águedas ? I stayed there twice several years ago and liked the several vernacular structures encircling a central open pato. Also in the dorm shower room before each shower stall were 2 pair of swinging doors. In the space between you undressed and left your clothes; as you moved through the second set to the wet shower stall your clothes stayed dry. Great idea.
 
New Original Camino Gear Designed Especially with The Modern Peregrino In Mind!
My next Camino will be somewhat more remote and lonely than my previous experiences, which have only been on the Camino Frances so far.

But, I'll be joining the CF for a few days, crossing between the VdlP and the Invierno.

Not having had much exposure to the Albergue 'community' thing in the past, I thought this would be a good chance.
And I imagine my VdlP and Invierno stages are likely to be far more isolated and won't have much of that.

At this stage, I'm planning some shorter stages on the CF part, as a bit of a break, and also I like to take it slow over the mountains. So very loose planning would involve staying at:

Astorga.
Rabanal (always stayed in Foncebadon previously)
El Acebo (or Riego to break up the downhill stretch)
and finally Ponferrada.

I've been checking out some Albergues on Gronze, and have made some notes from some blogs etc.
So I have a couple of ideas......

But I'd love to hear some recommendations for Albergues in those four locations.

Nice welcoming places, communal meals, pilgrim prayers..........
all those things and others that might have made your stay very special.

What do you suggest?
You may be surprised that on some days there are quite a few pilgrims in albergues on the VDLP. I started in mid October last year. Quite a few was 6 or 7 but it was nice. Once you start walking who knows where they all are!
Astorga I stayed here: It is owned by a mother and her teenage son. Just wonderful people and single beds and a really nice breakfast. I paid more than I usually do but it was worth it!
The albergue in Rabanal was pretty basic but really warm and inviting. The owners were really nice and has a really nice pilgrim atmosphere.
In El Acebo the hostel was clean and owners really nice. Food in their restaurant was good and nice views all around.
In Ponferrada I stayed at this wonderful donativo. They hospitaleros did all they could to welcome you. Last time I stayed it was late November and there were about 30 people there. I was lucky to arrive early and I got one of the rooms with just 4 bunks. It was a really nice night chatting with Pilgrims and just relaxing. I used it as a rest day and there was no problem staying two nights. I arrived on the first day early before they were accepting pilgrims and they locked away my backpack and let me put a small sack on my bed to claim it and I went and walked around Ponferrada. Later that day there were lots of food trucks for two days and I had some really good and inexpensive food there.
Have a great VDLP it is definitely an experience. It will be a radical departure from the CF.
But change is good, for me at least, when it comes to experiencing new caminos.
 
Peregrinopaul,
Was that the Albergue Casa Rural Las Águedas ? I stayed there twice several years ago and liked the several vernacular structures encircling a central open pato. Also in the dorm shower room before each shower stall were 2 pair of swinging doors. In the space between you undressed and left your clothes; as you moved through the second set to the wet shower stall your clothes stayed dry. Great idea.
I am in awe your memory for all things camino. Like you, I have stayed there twice, but couldn't remember its full name - I thought of pulling out an old credencial! Yes, it is a gem of a place and the owners were obviously very proud of their property. I particularly liked the enclosed courtyard, and the fact that the camino track was right outside the door.
It just brought to mind an albergue I very much wanted to stay at, a few km from Villafranca de los Barros on the VdlP. It was a converted wine press compound and was full of character - apparently. I remember approaching it on a brand new bitumen approach road from the N630, with its own new bridge over the railway, only to find a place falling into rack and ruin. I've often wondered if anyone ever resurrected it.
Sorry, I'm meandering.
Just found this picture of my beer at Las Aguedas.
Las Aguedas (1).jpeg
 
I Totally LOVED Albergue So Por Hoje in Astorga! Nice Hospitalera, very clean place, close to many sights and eateries.
From Astorga I moved to Rabanal del Camino and stayed at Albergue La Senda which was very comfy and overall good. (Hopefully they will or already did open the communal kitchen - to me thats a big plus in the whole experience that I unfortunately could not participate in.... during my May/June walk they were all closed)...
Anyways - cool place and the Cantina El Tesin next door cranks out good grub


P.S. To get to So Por Hoje - once you enter Astorga and get to the top of that hill, the Camino arrows tell you to go left. Consult your Google Maps and if you actually go right - you will save yourself good 20mins of 'aimless wandering' (as was relayed to me by my German Camino-du-jour fellow pilgrim)
We got to that intersection more or less at the same time, he went left and I went right. I was at albergue within may be 10 mins, he showed up (from the opposite side of the street) good 20-25 minutes later, quite winded, slightly warm and out of breath (not to mention thirsty)
 
Last edited:
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As an alternative to Astorga, look at the private albergue in Murias de Rechivaldo. Lovely albergue with private rooms too, if you prefer. And a bar ;)

Ah, nice idea @Peregrinopaul

Having stayed in Astorga a couple of times, a change of location would be good.
I remember passing through Murias de Rechivaldo. Looked like a nice place.
 
You may be surprised that on some days there are quite a few pilgrims in albergues on the VDLP. I started in mid October last year. Quite a few was 6 or 7 but it was nice. Once you start walking who knows where they all are!
Astorga I stayed here: It is owned by a mother and her teenage son. Just wonderful people and single beds and a really nice breakfast. I paid more than I usually do but it was worth it!
The albergue in Rabanal was pretty basic but really warm and inviting. The owners were really nice and has a really nice pilgrim atmosphere.
In El Acebo the hostel was clean and owners really nice. Food in their restaurant was good and nice views all around.
In Ponferrada I stayed at this wonderful donativo. They hospitaleros did all they could to welcome you. Last time I stayed it was late November and there were about 30 people there. I was lucky to arrive early and I got one of the rooms with just 4 bunks. It was a really nice night chatting with Pilgrims and just relaxing. I used it as a rest day and there was no problem staying two nights. I arrived on the first day early before they were accepting pilgrims and they locked away my backpack and let me put a small sack on my bed to claim it and I went and walked around Ponferrada. Later that day there were lots of food trucks for two days and I had some really good and inexpensive food there.
Have a great VDLP it is definitely an experience. It will be a radical departure from the CF.
But change is good, for me at least, when it comes to experiencing new caminos.

Those look like great suggestions @lt56ny . Thanks for taking the time to list them..... :)
 
I am in awe your memory for all things camino. Like you, I have stayed there twice, but couldn't remember its full name - I thought of pulling out an old credencial! Yes, it is a gem of a place and the owners were obviously very proud of their property. I particularly liked the enclosed courtyard, and the fact that the camino track was right outside the door.
It just brought to mind an albergue I very much wanted to stay at, a few km from Villafranca de los Barros on the VdlP. It was a converted wine press compound and was full of character - apparently. I remember approaching it on a brand new bitumen approach road from the N630, with its own new bridge over the railway, only to find a place falling into rack and ruin. I've often wondered if anyone ever resurrected it.
Sorry, I'm meandering.
Just found this picture of my beer at Las Aguedas.
View attachment 134184
I enjoy your meandering. Here is my pic from 2004 which was their first season. Happy memories indeed.
Murias de Rechivaldo.jpg
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
I Totally LOVED Albergue So Por Hoje in Astorga! Nice Hospitalera, very clean place, close to many sights and eateries.
From Astorga I moved to Rabanal del Camino and stayed at Albergue La Senda which was very comfy and overall good. (Hopefully they will or already did open the communal kitchen - to me thats a big plus in the whole experience that I unfortunately could not participate in.... during my May/June walk they were all closed)...
Anyways - cool place and the Cantina El Tesin next door cranks out good grub


P.S. To get to So Por Hoje - once you enter Astorga and get to the top of that hill, the Camino arrows tell you to go left. Consult your Google Maps and if you actually go right - you will save yourself good 20mins of 'aimless wandering' (as was relayed to me by my German Camino-du-jour fellow pilgrim)
We got to that intersection more or less at the same time, he went left and I went right. I was at albergue within may be 10 mins, he showed up (from the opposite side of the street) good 20-25 minutes later, quite winded, slightly warm and out of breath (not to mention thirsty)

Many thanks @CWBuff . There are mixed reviews on Gronze for Albergue So Por Hoje, (mainly just on price though) but Albergue La Senda seems very positive.

Afternote. On re-reading the Gronze reviews for Albergue So Por Hoje it's mainly about price, one bathroom and having to leave before breakfast at 7:30 am. The rest is very positive. Lots of great reviews on booking dot com though. Always worth reading between the lines on these reviews..... and sometimes one bad one looks 'out of place'.

I often browse reviews in the evening when walking to consider where to stay the next day.......
 
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Hi Robo -

Two recommendations -

Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal - it’s the CSJ-run albergue - gorgeous main building and barn with beautiful garden - good facilities - afternoon tea served by the hospitaleros each day - donativo. Vespers and a pilgrim blessing at the church opposite each evening.

La Casa Del Peregrino at El Acebo - stunning hotel and albergue at the end of the village - built by a former pilgrim - olympic-sized pool - fabulous food - a resort on the Camino! Worthy of a two-night stay if you feel you need a rest day.

Buen Camino!

Cheers - Jenny
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
La Casa Del Peregrino at El Acebo - stunning hotel and albergue at the end of the village - built by a former pilgrim - olympic-sized pool - fabulous food - a resort on the Camino!
Stayed there myself, 22 Sept 2021, because the other place in El Acebo, where I had reserved a room, completely shut down without notice to me.... Has zero "Ye Olde Spain" charm but is very nice. after a long, tough day.... Food was excellent.... Would not rule out staying there again.
 
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Hi Robo -

Two recommendations -

Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal - it’s the CSJ-run albergue - gorgeous main building and barn with beautiful garden - good facilities - afternoon tea served by the hospitaleros each day - donativo. Vespers and a pilgrim blessing at the church opposite each evening.

La Casa Del Peregrino at El Acebo - stunning hotel and albergue at the end of the village - built by a former pilgrim - olympic-sized pool - fabulous food - a resort on the Camino! Worthy of a two-night stay if you feel you need a rest day.

Buen Camino!

Cheers - Jenny

Thanks @JennyH94 . I had Refugio Gaucelmo as a good option. Not sure about La Casa Del Peregrino though? Having walked past it a few times it looks inviting, but I was also tempted by great reports about...

The communal meal thing is something I'm seeking.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
I am in awe your memory for all things camino. Like you, I have stayed there twice, but couldn't remember its full name - I thought of pulling out an old credencial! Yes, it is a gem of a place and the owners were obviously very proud of their property. I particularly liked the enclosed courtyard, and the fact that the camino track was right outside the door.
It just brought to mind an albergue I very much wanted to stay at, a few km from Villafranca de los Barros on the VdlP. It was a converted wine press compound and was full of character - apparently. I remember approaching it on a brand new bitumen approach road from the N630, with its own new bridge over the railway, only to find a place falling into rack and ruin. I've often wondered if anyone ever resurrected it.
Sorry, I'm meandering.
Just found this picture of my beer at Las Aguedas.
View attachment 134184
I too echo your your sentiments. It blows me away when people can pick out places in photos or can describe albergues they stayed in years earlier or have a list of little cafes/restaurants etc from caminos past.
 
Thanks @JennyH94 . I had Refugio Gaucelmo as a good option. Not sure about La Casa Del Peregrino though? Having walked past it a few times it looks inviting, but I was also tempted by great reports about...

The communal meal thing is something I'm seeking.
The best meals on the camino are not in Michelin restaurants but in communal meals in a donativo especially.
 
I Totally LOVED Albergue So Por Hoje in Astorga! Nice Hospitalera, very clean place, close to many sights and eateries.
From Astorga I moved to Rabanal del Camino and stayed at Albergue La Senda which was very comfy and overall good. (Hopefully they will or already did open the communal kitchen - to me thats a big plus in the whole experience that I unfortunately could not participate in.... during my May/June walk they were all closed)...
Anyways - cool place and the Cantina El Tesin next door cranks out good grub


P.S. To get to So Por Hoje - once you enter Astorga and get to the top of that hill, the Camino arrows tell you to go left. Consult your Google Maps and if you actually go right - you will save yourself good 20mins of 'aimless wandering' (as was relayed to me by my German Camino-du-jour fellow pilgrim)
We got to that intersection more or less at the same time, he went left and I went right. I was at albergue within may be 10 mins, he showed up (from the opposite side of the street) good 20-25 minutes later, quite winded, slightly warm and out of breath (not to mention thirsty)
I had to laugh when I saw what you wrote about the aimless wandering. I too loved the Albergue and recommended it also. When i was wandering aimlessly 3 teenage boys asked me if I was looking for So Por Hoje. They all laughed and escorted me two doors down to the albergue. I had been wandering for a good 10 minutes myself. Well worth it though. Such a good evening and morning breakfast!
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Thanks @JennyH94 . I had Refugio Gaucelmo as a good option. Not sure about La Casa Del Peregrino though? Having walked past it a few times it looks inviting, but I was also tempted by great reports about...

The communal meal thing is something I'm seeking.
Hi Robo -

You could be in luck with both Gaucelmo and La Casa del Peregrino as regards a communal meal.

Gaucelmo has a well-stocked kitchen and occasionally pilgrims will do a group meal where everyone chips in some euros. I’ve volunteered there three times over the years and the group dinners I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in have been wonderful.

La Casa del Peregrino does a communal meal … here’s a photo of my entrée when I stayed there in 2019 - gazpacho … the rest of the meal was just as beautifully presented and absolutely delicious!

573DE464-F150-4FF1-9515-121B89ECF1AD.jpeg

To solve your El Acebo ‘dilemma’ 😉 perhaps make El Acebo a rest day and have the experience of both Santiago Apostol and La Casa del Peregrino.

Cheers - Jenny
 
Sounds great @JennyH94
Though Gaucelmo doesn't take bookings. (like many of course)
As a slow walker I might get there too late to secure a bed.
Astorga to Rabanal for me is almost 7 hours.
Or maybe I'll do a very early start from Astorga, or stay closer the night before 🤔

This might be by downfall in trying Donativo Albergues.....

Having heard so much about Gaucelmo, I'd love to try it.

We shall see what unfolds.......... :)
 
Stayed at La Case del Perigrino in El Acebo. Would not stay there again. Women have to walk out of their room, down a hall, down a flight of steps and then up a flight of steps to use the WC at night. Men don't. You cannot sit up in bed and the sheets looked like they hadn't been changed in a while. There was no place to put your packs either in a very crowded room. No thanks.

For Ponferrada, I really liked Albergue Guiana. Womens room with our own bathroom, elevators, huge common room and kitchen, snack and coffee automats. Made everything easy.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Stayed at La Case del Perigrino in El Acebo. Would not stay there again. Women have to walk out of their room, down a hall, down a flight of steps and then up a flight of steps to use the WC at night. Men don't. You cannot sit up in bed and the sheets looked like they hadn't been changed in a while. There was no place to put your packs either in a very crowded room. No thanks.

For Ponferrada, I really liked Albergue Guiana. Womens room with our own bathroom, elevators, huge common room and kitchen, snack and coffee automats. Made everything easy.

wow. and it get's an 8.4 on Booking dot com from 511 reviews........

Albergue Guiana looks good, though a bit too modern and clinical looking for my tastes. ;)
 
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Robo - Well, we stayed in Pieros the next night, at Albergue El Serbal y la Luna, which made up for the modern albergue in Ponferrada. Interesting, unique place, and probably the most comfortable bed on the CF.
 
Robo - Well, we stayed in Pieros the next night, at Albergue El Serbal y la Luna, which made up for the modern albergue in Ponferrada. Interesting, unique place, and probably the most comfortable bed on the CF.

Indeed! That one looks great and gets good reviews 🙂
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
@Robo, it sounds as if you are looking for the true albergue experience but, if you have a change of heart, the albergue La Senda has a one room cabin across the road at the side of their camping area. You have to step outdoors to get to the adjoining private bath. Anyway, this was what we got in 2015. It didn't cost much more than two beds would in the albergue.
 

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