I first walked the Camino Francés in 2011 and I have been venturing back and forth each year to walk a section of this great way. Whether it be in La Rioja, Navarra or across the plains of the Meseta, this pilgrim has enjoyed the companionship of other pilgrims, the sights and most importantly, the albergues. This is where you meet other pilgrims, reminisce, and make plans for the days ahead.
Before I left for Spain each year, I would read through dozens of Camino blogs and posts on the Camino forum. There would always be recommendations for a good albergue, and naturally enough, I would take a note in my journal…just in case I was to stop off at said town or village. However, if I have enjoyed an albergue previously, I would generally return.
So after all these years walking the Camino Francés, here are some of my favourites..
- Albergue En El Camino – Boadilla del Camino
I discovered Eduardo’s little corner of heaven back in 2012 while browsing one of the many Camino forums. I must admit I didn’t think much of the outside but when I saw the inside…wow! I saw the pool and the brightly designed art and made a note that I would at least drop in for a cafe con leche the following year. The following June, I was walking from Logrono and had met up with four other pilgrims in Belorado. We walked from Hontanas on this particular day and I made the suggestion to check out ‘En El Camino’, which is at the back of the village. I suppose we could have chosen another albergue if I hadn’t made the suggestion. Once we entered, we were greeted by Eduardo! He would bring our packs to our bunks without asking for pay. I hadn’t come across this before. Since then, I never pass Boadilla without staying in ‘En El Camino’, more recently in September 2021.
- Albergue Parroquial Santa María – Carrion de los Condes
There are a number of albergues in Carrion de los Condes so I need to explain myself to some pilgrims who are unsure of the albergue. This is “the one with the singing nuns”. And while, it has singing nuns, it has so much more.
I arrived in Carrion de los Condes for the first time in 2013, a little lost and a little sore. I had lost my Camino family so I was unsure where they were staying. I knew they were ahead of me. I must have been looking around for 20 minutes when I saw Franco – an Italian pilgrim and good friend, waving at me to join the long queue for this albergue.
Apart from the singing, the nuns provide a communal meal which you are not required to attend. There is also a blessing in the church next door which is voluntary. In 2013, I was hurting so I was glad to have some food and just rest. The nuns didn’t mind you not attending their ceremonies if you did not wish. I had a greater appreciation for volunteers on the Camino once leaving this albergue.
In 2017 I was back and arrived into Carrion de los Condes on market day. The queue was no more bigger than it was in 2013. In place of nuns, we had volunteers. The nuns were on sabbatical but it didn’t lessen the experience. They encouraged all pilgrims to get involved in preparing the communal meal, in giving the blessing etc. It was a special evening. One of the volunteers found out I was from Ireland and was eager to know more about this great country. He wanted to come walking here in the future so we swapped details. I will be back again if I walk through Carrion.
Top tip: Breakfast is served but you might want to buy some of your own if you want to leave early.
- Albergue de peregrinos Casa del Cubo y de los Lerma – Burgos
Another municipal albergue but not in a small town or village, this time in Burgos. This albergue is massive with over 150 beds but it has all the facilities. It won’t surprise you that some pilgrims take a breather from albergues in the large cities and book a room in a small hotel or pension. Nevertheless, the municipal albergue was always full when I stayed there in 2013, 2015 and in 2018.
Another reason to love this albergue is the location of a bar right across from it’s entrance. It is a great place to meet your fellow pilgrim friends or to have breakfast the next morning. Burgos, being a large city, has got pretty much everything you need. However, I do look forward to start walking once the evening arrives as this particular albergue lacks the intimacy of Bercianos de Real Camino or Carrion del Condes.
Top tip: If you are not feeling well or injured it is possible to stay an extra night, just ask the volunteers.
- Ágora Hostel – Estella
If your budget can stretch this far for a private albergue, then go for it. Ágora Hostel is in Estella and I stayed there in 2018. You sleep in a capsule style bed with curtain. The owners are Alfonso and Adrienne and they were super helpful and friendly. I arrived way too early from Puente la Reina and they allowed to check in. You get a locker as well for any valuables. This was probably the most comfortable albergue I have stayed in.
There is plenty of space, it is clean and it is simple. Yes, it might be a little expensive at €20 but it is fine for the odd town. I was meeting Linda from SomewhereSlowly.com and it was handy not to have a curfew.
Top tip: Dinner is not served here, but there is plenty of great places in Estella – like Bar Pigor on Calle la Estrella.
- Albergue Cuatro Cantones – Belorado
One of the many albergues in Belorado but I remember stopping by in 2013 and enjoying my stay that I have always gone back. Owned by Jana and Iker, it has a restaurant and a pool if the temperatures are hot. I have always enjoyed my time here. The last time I stopped here was in 2018 and I hope to stay again in August 2023.
Belorado is a fairly large town with transport links to Burgos and Madrid.
- Albergue Casa de la Abuela – Los Arcos
- Albergue Izar – Viana
- Albergue San Saturnino – Ventosa
- Albergue de peregrinos de Azofra – Azofra
- Albergue de la Cofradía del Santo – Santo Domingo de la Calzada
- Albergue Hornillos Meeting Point – Hornillos del Camino
- Albergue El Puntido – Hontanas
- Albergue Rosalía – Castrojeriz
- Albergue Don Camino – Villalcazar de Sirga
- Albergue La Morena – Ledigos
- Albergue de peregrinos Domenico Laffi – El Burgo Ranero
- Albergue Santa Lucía – Villavante
- Albergue de peregrinos Siervas de María – Astorga
- Albergue Santa Marina – Molinaseca
- Albergue A Horta de Abel – Triacastela
- Albergue Santiago Km.0 – Santiago de Compostela
* I have not walked from Sarria on the Camino Francés since 2011 so I will update this list when I do. No doubt accommodation has changed since then.
- Links: Check out the below links for more information on accommodation on the Camino Francés
- Gronze.com – Excellent resource. Information about the many routes, including details of albergues and pensions (In Spanish)
- Eroski – Information and reviews of the many different routes and accommodation (In Spanish). A great resource.
- Accommodation on the Camino Frances – A detailed list of accommodation on the Camino Francés as of December 2017.
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