A request from IrishGurrl on our camino Internet forum led me to do some thinking about my favorite albergues on the Camino Frances. After several tries I came to discover the 10,000 character limit on the Forum wouldn’t allow my 29,000 character response. So I’m posting this here so that it might be of some use to future pilgrims. The links go to the helpful Consumer Eroski camino site (in Spanish). My comments are in red.
Stage 1: S. Jean Pied de Port – Roncesvalles
- L’Esprit du Chemin. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port Many choose to stay here as they take reservations and are right in the thick of things on Rue de la Citadelle in “old” SJPP
- Refuge Orisson. Uhart-Cize This is a nice albergue, but at just 10 km outside SJPP is mostly used by those who don’t want to walk the whole way to Roncesvalles. It’s the only place to stop for a late breakfast or early lunch on the Route Napoleon, so everyone comes to know it anyway.
- Albergue de peregrinos de Roncesvalles. Roncesvalles (Navarra) 2008, 2012 — this is the monastery’s albergue, which has been greatly expanded and is now one of the finest albergues around. It’s in 2-3 stories, with semi-private double rooms in the top story and modern bathroom facilities. Most everyone stays here, though there are two hotels in Roncesvalles now as well.
Stage 2: Roncesvalles – Zubiri
- Albergue El Palo de Avellano. Zubiri I stayed here in 2011 and found it to be a nice, private albergue, though as I recall a little more expensive than the others. It’s also around the corner and on the main (auto) route, so a little harder to find. They have a nice common meal in the evenings and modern facilities, plus computer access.
Stage 3: Zubiri – Pamplona/Iruña
- Albergue de Larrasoaña. Larrasoaña (Navarra) Stayed here in 2008. A primitive, simple albergue with an annex across the street. Dormitories are blessedly small (5-6 people). Very basic. Hand laundry sink in the back yard.
- Albergue de Jesús y María. Pamplona (Navarra) If I’m thinking of the right one, I know people who stayed here in 2011. In an historic building in the heart of Pamplona. Renovated, but with an open concept that means sound carries all throughout the building (= noisy). But a nice place.
Stage 4: Pamplona/Iruña – Puente la Reina/Gares
- Albergue Familia Roncal. Cizur Menor (Navarra) Stayed here in 2008 and enjoyed the hospitality of the owner/hospitalero who helps pilgrims with blisters. Dormitories are 10-15 people. Nice place, and a nice alternative to staying in urban Pamplona.
- Albergue Santiago Apostol. Puente La Reina (Navarra)This albergue is very large and quite a distance (1-2 km) out of town and off the actual camino track. I walked here hoping it’d be a good choice, but the distance just makes it not a great option.
Stage 5: Puente la Reina/Gares – Estella/Lizarra
- Albergue Maralotx de Cirauqui. Cirauqui (Navarra) I love this little albergue and stayed here in 2008 and 2011. The hostess/owner is quite nice, has lots of good advice, and has a restaurant below the albergue with menu del peregrino and large tables that help create good pilgrim conversation. The upper porch is good for clothes washing and hanging out with pilgrims and the views from the south facing windows are gorgeous.
- Hospital de Peregrinos de Estella. Estella (Navarra) Stayed in a nice hotel in Estella in 2011.
Stage 6: Estella/Lizarra – Torres del Río
- Albergue Hogar Monjardín. Villamayor de Monjardín (Navarra) This is run by a Dutch (or Danish?) evangelical Christian group which puts on a nice, simple dinner and has devotions/chapel in the evening. In an historic building with simple accommodations.
- Albergue Isaac Santiago. Los Arcos (Navarra) Lovely stay here in 2011. The photos don’t do it justice. Friendly hospitaleros and nice, green lawn adjacent. Close enough to heart of Los Arcos. I’d stay here again.
Stage 7: Torres del Río – Logroño
- Alberguería Andrés Muñoz. Viana (Navarra) This albergue is famous for its triple decker bunk beds. Stayed here in 2008 and 2011. Right in “urban” Viana. Internet access. Lockers in rooms. Basic albergue that is nothing special but not a bad place.
- Albergue de Peregrinos de Logroño. Logroño (La Rioja) Have always stayed in hotels in Logrono.
- Albergue de Peregrinos de Navarrete. Navarrete (La Rioja) This is Navarette’s municipal albergue, which is 2-3 floors in an older, but renovated building. Cots in large dorm rooms. There was a long line of pilgrims waiting for beds when I arrived here in 2011 and I regret the pilgrims shoved their way into the hospitaleros’ office all hoping to be first. Don’t remember a kitchen here.
- Albergue de Peregrinos de Nájera. Nájera (La Rioja) This is a notorious albergue due to its single, very large dormitory of 100 +/- beds. Location is great, but a dormitory of that size is automatically a little grim.
Stage 9: Nájera – Sto. Domingo de la Calzada
- Albergue Municipal de Peregrinos de Azofra. Azofra (La Rioja) Perfectly delightful albergue with 2 beds per room, a nice person who does laundry and a fountain courtyard for sun and conversation.
- Casa del Santo. Santo Domingo de la Calzada (La Rioja) Perfectly good albergue on multiple floors in the heart of SDdlC. Friends stayed here in 2011 while I chilled out in the Parador by the church, which is my stop (2008 and 2011) while in this town.
Stage 10: Sto. Domingo de la Calzada – Belorado
- Albergue parroquial San Juan Bautista. Grañón (La Rioja) This is the albergue-in-a-church that most people really love. I haven’t stayed here, but everyone I know who has has loved it.
- Albergue municipal San Lázaro. Redecilla del Camino (Burgos)
- Albergue A Santiago. Belorado (Burgos) This is a big albergue with a dining room and a swimming pool (!). I have not stayed here, but I used the computer for 1-2 hours in 2011. It’s the first albergue you come to as you enter Belorado.
- Albergue Parroquial de Tosantos. Tosantos (Burgos) One of my favorite albergues. Common meal that everyone helps cook, simple mats on the floor. Community meal with Taize music as background. Simple accommodations, but this is camino living at its best in my opinion. Evening chapel with prayer in many languages.
- Albergue de Villafranca Montes de Oca. Villafranca Montes de Oca (Burgos) I believe this is the albergue by the side of the road that gets truck/traffic noise all night. Correct me if I’m wrong.
- Albergue El Peregrino. Atapuerca (Burgos) Nice, grassy lawn right on the main (and quiet) road in Atapuerca. Stayed here in 2011. Dormitories in sort of pre-fab buildings, but modernish. Not a bad place. Sunny.
- Albergue La Hutte. Atapuerca (Burgos) Stayed here in 2008 and just about froze. Fortunately they provided thick quilts since there was no heat. Adjacent restaurant. A few blocks off the camino and a little more simple than my taste, unless it’s been upgraded in the last 5 years.
- Albergue Municipal de Burgos. Burgos Great location in removated historic building. I always stay at the Meson del Cid very near here, but have heard good reviews of this albergue.
- Albergue Liberanos Domine. Rabé de las Calzadas In 2011 I found this to be a nice, small albergue after a short walk from Burgos. If you start from Burgos late in the day this is a good place to rest your head.
- Mesón Albergue El Puntido. Hontanas (Burgos) Stayed in this rambling albergue in the semi-deserted town of Hontanas in 2008. Some private rooms. I don’t believe there is a kitchen or communal meal.
Stage 14: Hontanas – Boadilla del Camino
- Hospital de Peregrinos de San Antón. Castrojeriz (3,6 km antes) This place is in the ruins of the medieval pilgrim hospital and a hauntingly interesting place to stay. I’ve walked through it and found it a little “rough” for my taste, but it would be an amazing memory for those willing to brave the lack of services.
- Albergue de Castrojeriz (El Camping). Castrojeriz Just as you come into town. Looks like a campground, but also is an albergue. About 1 km from the restaurants and services of Castrojeriz. I opted not to stay here in 2011, but then found the town’s other albergues full.
- Albergue de San Nicolás. Itero del Castillo (Burgos) I love this albergue. Stay here if you can get in! Only 12ish beds, I think. The Italian volunteers who run it cook a simple, communal meal and then have a footwashing ceremony. A very memorable stay!
Stage 15: Boadilla del Camino – Carrion de los Condes
- Albergue de Frómista. Frómista (Palencia) Right in the heart of Fromista. Stayed here in 2008. At first was told it was full, then finally the hospitalera opened an overflow room. Not sure why I wasn’t offered a bed right away. Hand laundry and clotheslines. No kitchen that I can remember, but ample restaurants immediately adjacent. Just across from Fromista’s famous church.
- Albergue Villalcázar de Sirga. Villalcázar de Sirga (Palencia) Stayed here in 2011 and enjoyed it just fine. The albergue is quite simple and there are few services in this tiny town. However, the altar pieces in the church are just amazing and well worth the 1 Euro cost of entry. These would be prized pieces in any museum in the world.
Stage 16: Carrión de los Condes – Terradillos de los Templarios
- Albergue de peregrinos de Calzadilla. Calzadilla de la Cueza (Palencia) Stayed here in 2011. Swimming pool! A simple albergue with large dormitories, but the grassy lawn makes up for it. Restaurant around the corner.
- Albergue de Terradillos de los Templarios (Jacques de Molay). Terradillos de los Templarios (Palencia) Stayed here in 2008. Kitchen in the albergue serves from a menu. Family owned and operated — nice folks. I’d stay here again.
Stage 17: Terradillos de los Templarios – El Burgo Ranero
- Albergue de Peregrinos Cluny. Sahagun (León) Big albergue in removated older building. Friends stayed here in 2011 and liked it fine.
- Albergue de Calzada del Coto. Calzada del Coto (León) Very simple and somewhat rough albergue. Chose to keep going when I passed here in 2011.
- Albergue de Calzadilla de los Hermanillos. Calzadilla de los Hermanillos. Corresponde al Municipio del Burgo Ranero (León) This was just fine and cheaper than the private albergue. Stayed here in 2011. Not memorable, but nothing wrong with it.
- Albergue Bercianos. Bercianos del Real Camino Francés (León) My 2008 rest stop. Cots (not bunks) and birds nesting above the inner stairway. Had a kitchen. Big, old, mouldering kind of place. But this is the Meseta.
Stage 18: El Burgo Ranero – León
- Albergue de Mansilla de las Mulas. Mansilla de las Mulas (León) Large inner courtyard makes this a special place because of all the pilgrim conversation that happens here. Rambling, older building (watch your step, watch your head), but a memorable stay. Stayed in 2008 and 2001.
- Albergue del Monasterio de las Benedictinas (Sta María de Carbajal). León I always stay at the Posada Regia hotel in Leon, but if you stay here remember that they lock you in at night before you can get out and enjoy Leon’s great nightlife! Oh, they do have a chapel service.
Stage 19: León – San Martín del Camino
Stage 20: San Martín del Camino – Astorga
- Refugio Parroquial Hospital de Órbigo. Hospital de Órbigo (León) A little odd to find a big mural of the Alps here, but there’s an Alpine feeling to this albergue. Nice grassy lawn in the back. Two floors of rambling rooms in the front and single floor annex in the back. Bathrooms are oddly placed around the inner courtyard. The archetypal albergue. Stayed here 2008 and 2011.
Stage 21: Astorga – Foncebadón
- Albergue de Murias de Rechivaldo. Murias de Rechivaldo (León) Friends stayed here 2011. Very simple, basic albergue on the main road (off the camino a couple of blocks)
- Albergue Casa Las Águedas. Murias de Rechivaldo (León) Right on the camino. A private albergue with mid-sized dormitories, washer/dryer, snacks, restaurant. Competent private albergue. Stayed here 2011. Would stay here again.
- Albergue Gaucelmo. Rabanal del Camino (León) This is the albergue of the Confraternity of St. James and is well-loved by pilgrims who stay here. Stayed here 2008 and found the British hospitaleros to be the very best. Basic, simple, perfect albergue. Don’t remember the kitchen, but ate a lovely meal across the street. Adjacent to the monastery that has nightly Vespers at 7:00.
- Albergue parroquial Domus Dei. Foncebadón Stayed here in 2011 and enjoyed the Bavarian hospitaleros. The overflow room (which doubles as a chapel) is ice cold at night. Communal meal cooked by pilgrims with chapel service. Good (but cold) memories here. (Remember, Foncebadon is nearly at the top of the mountains)
Stage 22: Foncebadón – Ponferrada
- Refugio de Manjarín. Manjarín (León) Some people love this place. I couldn’t get Hape Kerkeling’s review out of my mind.
- Albergue de peregrinos San Nicolás de Flüe. Ponferrada (León) Huge albergue. Stayed here in 2011. Good bathroom facilities and kitchen. Ponferrada needs a small, private albergue, but there’s nothing wrong with this giant one except the size.
Stage 23: Ponferrada – Villafranca del Bierzo
- Albergue de Cacabelos. Cacabelos (León) Double rooms in a semi-circle around the parish church. Not much shade, but nice to have semi-privacy. Friends have stayed here but I’ve not tried it personally as I always press on to Villafranca.
- Refugio Ave Fénix de Familia Jato. Villafranca del Bierzo (León) Stayed here in 2008. Rambling kind of “hippie” place that you either love or loathe. Communal meal.
- Albergue de la Piedra. Villafranca del Bierzo (León) Across the river from VdB but not too far from the heart of town.
Stage 24: Villafranca del Bierzo – O Cebreiro
- Albergue de la Faba. La Faba A beloved albergue. I think it’s vegetarian, with a communal meal, but haven’t stayed here personally.
- Albergue de O Cebreiro. O Cebreiro (Lugo) I always get a room at a Casa Rural here.
Stage 25: O Cebreiro – Triacastela
Stage 26: Triacastela – Sarria
- Albergue del Monasterio de Samos. Samos (Lugo) This is a very simple albergue in the basement of the monastery, accessed from the main street by the monastery’s gas station. One large dormitory with murals on the walls and bunk beds. Coed bathroom. Get there early to get hot water. It’s simple, but I like this place mostly for the Vespers at the monastery each evening and the beautiful monastery tour in the afternoon.
- Albergue Mercadoiro. Mercadoiro (Lugo) Nice, grassy lawn. Stayed here in 2011 and enjoyed a meal in the restaurant of the albergue. Rambling building with small rooms and modernish bathrooms. Would stay here again.
Stage 28: Portomarín – Palas de Rei
- Albergue Buen Camino. Palas de Rei (Lugo) I believe I stayed here in 2011, though the names of the various PdR albergues are a little confusing. If I’m remembering this correctly the albergue is a rabbit warren above the second floor. The Fire Dept would go crazy here as it’s easy to get lost in the little rooms and alcoves.
Stage 29: Palas de Rei – Arzúa
- Albergue Ultreia. Arzúa I believe I stayed here in 2012. Also has a hostel, if I’m correct. Nice place.
- Albergue Vía Lactea. Arzúa Stayed here in 2011. Room was sort of mildewy, but the kitchen and bathrooms worked out nicely. Sort of an outdoor shower. Dining room oddly placed in the front, far from the kitchen. A block or two off the camino, but a competent albergue.
I always bite the bullet and walk directly from Arzua to Santiago, so I’ve never tried any of the remaining albergues (I stay in the Altair Hotel in Santiago as a plush and comfy retreat after a long camino).
Stage 31: Pedrouzo – Santiago de Compostela
- Albergue del Monte do Gozo. Santiago de Compostela Famous for its size — some 400 beds in quonset hut style dormitories. To me it makes sense simply to walk the rest of the way into town rather than stay here, just a few km before SdC.