In the same way that you organize your backpack, your stages or any other aspect of the Camino of Santiago, you will also have to plan your nights and be clear about where you are going to rest at the end of each day.
That is why we are going to talk to you about the possibilities you have to spend the night during your tour, so that you can choose the one that best suits you according to your preferences or your budget.
When it comes to staying overnight, hostels are still the preferred option for most pilgrims. Not only is it the most common type of accommodation on the different Caminos of Santiago, but they are also usually located at key points along the route. And let's not forget that they are the cheapest option, whether we are talking about public or private hostels.
But hostels are not the most requested type of accommodation just because of their location or price. They also greatly facilitate contact with the rest of the pilgrims who follow the same route, allowing them to share experiences and start a conversation after a long day of walking. And, especially if you do the Camino alone, it will be something that you will end up thanking for.
If it is also about the type of accommodation you are looking for, these are the different types of hostels that you will find on the Way of Saint James:
Also known as public hostels, these types of hostels usually belong to the city council. They are a cheaper option than private hostels (from 5 euros a night) and you will undoubtedly find one at each stage.
However, hostels of this type fill up quickly, not only because of their price but because they do not allow prior reservations or for you to stay more than one night. The bunk beds are assigned in order of arrival: if you do the Camino de Santiago on foot you will have preference over those pilgrims who do it by bicycle, but even so, if this is the type of accommodation you are looking for, you should not wait until the last minute. We recommend that you try to leave early to arrive in time to save a bunk.
Parish hostels are part of the Church and, as their name suggests, are the responsibility of the parish where they are located. They are also a very economical option, because they do not have a fixed cost: pilgrims who stay in this type of hostels simply leave a donation.
As there is no minimum or fixed cost per night and since they tend to have fewer beds than private and public hostels, parish hostels fill up faster than any other. Therefore, if there is a type of hostel for which you need to be especially fast and arrive before the rest of the pilgrims, it will be for any parish hostel.
In recent years, the number of private hostels has increased considerably, responding to the also growing demand from pilgrims. For this reason, on very busy roads, as in the case of the French Way or the Portuguese Way, you will find several options for private hostels at each stage, without there being usually many problems to get a bunk bed.
This type of hostels has a higher cost (between 10 and 18 euros), they offer the same type of accommodation as other hostels (common rooms with bunk beds, although you can also opt for a private room in some of them), but they have extra services that make them more comfortable: washer and dryer, heating and air conditioning, Wi-Fi connection, or even a swimming pool.
If you prefer to do the Camino more comfortably, you can always choose to book your nights in a hotel, a hostel or a pension. Do not be influenced by the opinion of other pilgrims: not everyone is able to sleep with so many people and rest is important. If you need to book a night outside of a hostel or if you prefer this option for the entire Camino, it is a more than valid decision.
The advantages of this type of accommodation, apart from offering you greater comfort and privacy than hostels, is that you can also have more comfortable beds and other more exclusive services: breakfast included, laundry, a private bathroom ... Even a massage if you need to relax the muscles.
If you are going to opt for this type of accommodation, our recommendation is that you book in advance or let yourself be advised by an agency that can indicate the best options at each stage, since they will not be as easy to find as pilgrim hostels. You may even have to deviate a bit from the route to find them.
A rural house is another good option to spend the night, especially if you are going to do the Camino of Santiago in a group since it will be quite cheap and you will only share rooms and stay with known people.
Rural houses are usually in perfect conditions and offer you all the comforts you need. You will have privacy and all the services you are looking for to feel, precisely, at home. That is why it is a good option to spend the night, especially when you are already in Galicia, where they are typical and quite cheap. An ideal option to disconnect with your group of friends or family.
The last alternative that we propose to spend the night on the Camino de Santiago is to camp and sleep outside. Many pilgrims choose this way of spending the night so as not to stop feeling in contact with nature and live a more unique experience if possible, although they will always have to take the weather conditions into account.
You also have the possibility to alternate and leave the camping nights for special occasions, in which you are not excessively tired, the temperatures outside are especially good or you simply want to sleep outdoors. Days and nights of travel await you, so nothing better than variety to make the most of the experience that the Camino de Santiago offers you.
Of course, remember that although this night will be free by not paying for accommodation, you will not have the services that you will find in any hostel or pension, such as a shower or washing machine for your change of the day. Keep that in mind before giving yourself completely to adventure and nature.