My favourite albergues on the Camino are ones that fostered a sense of community and carved out time for personal reflection.
Beilari – St. Jean Pied de Port (775km to Santiago)
This hostel is full of love. I know that sounds cheesy, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it.
You’ll share communal, home cooked dinner. You play an ice breaker games that coach you into truly connecting with others.
And then after dinner, your hosts help you get a good night sleep. You’re locked in at 10 pm. Alarm clocks are not allowed. They wake you up at 6:15 am for breakfast.
Refuge Orisson – Orisson (768km to Santiago)
Whether your physically need it or not, why not take the time to enjoy these beautiful mountains? There are only a few places to stay, and Orisson is the most popular. They offer a beautiful communal dinner and breakfast. You really get a chance to know the group of people you’ll be walking with.
Albergue Hogar Monjardin — Villamayor de Monjardin (653km to Santiago)
This lovely spot is run by Dutch volunteers. There is a community dinner and an optional “Jesus meditation” in the evening. I was allowed to go to the meditation, even though I am not Christian. We had tea and discussed our experiences along the Camino after the meditation.
Albergue Municipal – Burgos (489km to Santiago)
I cannot quite put my finger on why I love this place so much. It’s a giant municipal albergue, so you’d think it would not be very memorable. But it has been designed it in a way that it feels small and intimate. The volunteers run a tight ship, but they are so incredibly friendly and patient while they do it.
There is no wifi — so you just have to talk to each other! And there are not many albergues to stay in Burgos, so chances are that you’ll run into people you know here.
And you just cannot beat the location next to the cathedral.
Albergue Amanecer – Villamentero de Campos (415km to Santiago)
You have to go a bit out of the way on one of the scenic detour to arrive here, but it’s worth it. It is a hippie hangout with goats, donkeys, geese and sheep running around. In addition to bunk beds, they also have alternative sleeping arrangements, like concrete tubes and cabins. And the communal dinner is so plentiful and so delicious.
Albergue de Peregrinos de Calzadilla – Calzadilla de la Cueza (388km to Santiago)
Right before this albergue, there is a 17km stretch of desert with no water, food or shade. Then you walk over a little hill and this albergue appears. With a POOL.
Albergue de las Madres Benedictinas – Sahagún (365km to Santiago)
One of my favourite albergues. Two priests were our hosts. Everyone was warmly welcomed in their own language.They led a multi-lingual discussion session with cookies and tea.
In the evening there was a potluck dinner where more than enough food and wine appeared. There was a private garden in the middle of the hostel. There was plenty of space, so groups could each get their own rooms without filling up all the beds or needing to pay extra.
Albergue Gaucelmo – Rabanal del Camino (240km to Santiago)
This is the most beautiful albergue I stayed in. It has a huge private garden, where they have tea and discussion every evening. There is a well-equiped kitchen. And the hottest water I have experienced on the Camino. Everything is by donation. They have a connection to the monastery next door, where you can stay for longer if you like.
The one controversial thing is that they say they are trying to keep things in the spirit of a “true pilgrimage.” So they ask you not to stay there if you have used vehicle support to get there. Now I think there are lots of reasons how people can have a “true” pilgrimage AND use a vehicle for help, but this is not my show to run.
Albergue Casa del Pescador – Ambasmestas (168km to Santiago)
Run by a delightful Russian family. There is pond with a relaxing wooden deck. They make the most amazing dinner with vegetables from their garden! We also enjoyed fish that they had smoked themselves.
What amazing albergues are missing from this list?
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