Favorite Places on El Camino de Santiago

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One of the many reasons I choose to book my Camino accommodations ahead of time is because I want to take advantage of some of the amazing and special places along the way.  There are some unique and beautiful albergues, hostels and hotels to choose from.  So I did lots of research, stalked social media and always tried to find somewhere special.  Over the 800km, SJPP to Finisterre, here are my favorites. 

Roncesvalles:  Posada de Roncesvalles.  Whether you do the Pyrenees in one day or two, it is a long day.  Walking into the small charming hamlet of Roncesvalles is one of my favorite memories.  The guesthouse is comfortable and the breakfast was one of the best on the entire journey.  

Puente la Reina:  Albergue De Peregrinos Santiago Apostol.  This lovely albergue is just up a small side hill from the iconic bridge.  They have a lovely outdoor space.  Good facilities.  Even pre-COVID there was nice spacing between the bunk beds.  For someone that enjoys a mix of accommodations, this is everything an albergue should be.

Villa Franca Montes de Oca:  Hotel San Anton Abad.  This is both a luxury hotel and an albergue.  While you will pay more for a private room, they are pure luxury and very affordable.  Either way this is a beautiful historic building which was built in 1377 and used to be a pilgrim’s hospital.  It has an amazing bar and a great restaurant for both dinner and breakfast.

Burgos:  Meson del Cid:  This is another hotel but it is beautiful and located just feet from the Burgos Cathedral.  Our room had a magnificent view.  It is also literally just steps away from the Camino.  

Hontanas:  Santa Brigida:  This was my favorite albergue.  It is small with a friendly staff.  They had the best pilgrim’s dinner we had on our journey and when I mentioned it to others they either agreed or had heard the same from other pilgrims. 

Boadilla – En El Camio:  Definitely one of my top three albergues.  And based on the friendly hard-working staff it fights for first place.  They have a lovely garden area for lunch and the pilgrim’s dinner was very filling. 

Carrión de los Condes – Hotel Monasterio San Zoilo. I hesitate to put this one on the list.  It was pretty cool to stay in a Monastery.  The building and grounds were beautiful. There is a great garden bar where we hung out for hours.  However, the staff is not particularly nice.  And there is no pilgrim’s meal so we made a reservation at the restaurant and were up way too late.  But truth be told, I would stay here again.  

Leon – Hosperderia Monastic Pax.  This beautiful and friendly hotel is just minutes from the main Cathedral.  But it is located in a much quieter location and has its own square with several restaurants that appeared to be local favorites.  We were there over a weekend and saw several family gatherings.  This hotel had a mix of pilgrims, tourists and Spanish staying there.  They also have a daily pilgrim’s mass.

Santa Catalina de Somoza:  Via Avis:   I would stay here again, and if I am ever back in this part of Spain I will make it a point to return.  This has the feel of a boutique hotel and in other areas of the world you would pay a couple of hundred dollars a night to stay here.  Each room is individually decorated and there is an amazing common area.  The views are spectacular and the couple that owns the hotel was friendly.  They convinced me to stay for breakfast and I am so grateful they did.  By far my best breakfast on the Camino!

Las Herrerías: Paraiso del Bierzo.  Similar to Via Avis, this is a place I would love to stay even as a tourist.  The building was beautiful, the views were amazing and the food was outstanding. 

Outskirts of Sarria – Casa Morgade:  The views were amazing, the Sangria was fantastic and they have a cozy fireplace in the common area. Dinners are communal but it is not a set menu and they have a wide variety.

El Acebo de San MiguelLa Rosa del Agua:  Beautiful views, a historic building, a friendly host and a great breakfast.  Additionally, El Acebo de San Miguel is about halfway during the hardest downhill stretch of the entire Camino.  As I limped in after 4 pm I was so thankful to have a reservation at this charming spot.  I could not have walked the remaining 6km downhill into the next town.    

Palas de Rei, Spain – Rectory of Lestoedo:  This is another place that I would stay if just on vacation.  Our room was beautiful and comfortable.  I spent several hours reading in the common area with a glass of wine.  Both dinner and breakfast were some of the best of the trip.  The friendly staff made the entire experience fun and special. 

I won’t tell you my least favorite places I stayed but I will share which towns I will definitely avoid on future Caminos.  I didn’t stay in Sarria and was very glad. I did stay in Arzua and Arca and definitely would not recommend it.  Instead, I would stay in one of the smaller towns on the outskirts.   

I didn’t stay in Rabanal del Camino or O Cebreiro, but I really liked the feel of both and would have liked to spend the afternoon. For O Cebreiro, not only was it a beautiful spot, but the downhill slog to Tricastela would have been at the beginning of the day. 

And finally, if needing a short day or a rest day after Leon, I would recommend Ponferrada.  I spent a few hours there visiting the castle but there was definitely more to do.

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