While walking the Camino de Santiago, unless you are doing just a single day then you will likely want to stay overnight on one of the many hostels and refuges that are stationed along the routes. As I’m focussing on the Camino Frances, here is my list of all of the Refuges that are along that route.
At St Jean Pied De Port and other refuges, you can obtain a list of all the current refuges in Spain. When I obtained one of those lists I added the details to my set of “Lozano” maps.
I have reproduced this list here with comments on the refuges that I have actually stayed at. This list used to be found on a Finnish website that I used to refer to in the links section, but which is now inaccessable.
I have rated each refuge with my own star rating to indicate how good I thought it was. Only a few get the 5 star rating and one or two get only a single star because they were so awful. Since the beginning of 2004, a holy year, the number of refuges has greatly increased.
You are more likely to find one in small out of the way places than before. Also the bigger cities and towns tend to have at least three now due to the large numbers of pilgrims which were expected during the holy year.
The newer refuges tend to much better equiped than the traditional ones and one or two very old ones have closed down either permanently or for refurbishment.
In general the refuges in Galicia are modern, built due to the visit by the Pope in 1992. However they seem to have been built cheaply and they all had problems with the electricity supply which frequently failed leaving no cooking facilities or hot water. My cynical side says that this was so that the local bars did some extra business.
Refuges operate on a “first come, first served” basis. Preference is usually given to walking pilgrims and then to the cyclists. You cannot book a place in advance and most hospitaleros will not allow car pilgrims to stay there or allow a support car to “book” beds before hand. Quite right too, in my opinion.
In the unlikely event of having a horse with you then your options are very limited unless you also bring a tent with you.
When the refuges are full, which is frequent in the better months, then there are often many “hostels” or “pensions” (small private hotels or B&B) which are usually very nice and only $15 a night or thereabouts.
They have the benefit of having hot water and usually a private shower and of course a private bedroom! I used them a lot on my second Camino as the refuges were almost always full from Burgos onwards even in late May.
To stay in a refuge, you need to have obtained a pilgrim’s passport or credential. These can be obtained in most of the major cities on the camino. Or from one of the camino organisations listed above or from the pilgrims offices in St Jean Pied De Port and Roncesvalles.
The hospitalero will usually stamp these with their special stamp when you sign in to the refuge. Some of the stamps are quite artistic. Also bars and hotels often have a stamp and of course the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) will also have a stamp.
Finally, you need to have at least two stamps per day when walking the last 100KM of the Camino if you want to obtain the Compostela when you reach Santiago.
In the costs column in the table below, a “?” means I don’t know the price, a “D” means it a donativo or donation, otherwise the number is the price in Euros.
Click on the refuge name in the left hand column to see a mini-review and picture of that refuge.
Refuges & Hostals Info & Ratings Table
Refuges & Hostals Mini Reviews
St Jean Pied Du Port
Not sure what to say about this one as it is likely to be your first experience of a refuge. I found it to be ok every time I have stayed there. The town has really good restaurants.
I did not stay here but talking to people who did, they said it was an excellent private refuge.
After Huntto and about 8Km from St Jean Pied Du Port is another new private refuge built by the side of the road. This breaks up the journey so you don’t have to walk the whole way to Roncesvalles in a single day which is a great improvement. You have to book ahead though as it’s often full.
Be careful of this one due to the stupid rules about vacating the refuge during mass. See my diary for the reasons. I had a very bad experience here.
Update: They have now dropped the rule about vacating the refuge during mass and they have moved the whole refuge into another much larger building with vastly better facilities. I can now recommend it as well as the hostal above the bar and also the “La Posada” hotel also in the village. I have now stayed at all three places.
If the weather is bad, this can be one of the worst refuges on the camino as the toilet facilities are very poor and get dirty very quickly. When the weather is good it’s ok. There are no curtains on a very big picture window and a very bright light outside. You may have difficulty sleeping, I did.
Update: The refuge situation in Zubiri has changed considerably. There are several new small refuges, particulary on the short road from the bridge to the main road. The old refuge is still there and used as an overflow. There are also several small pensions opened up and sign for these can be seen all over the place and in the bars.
I finally got to meet the hospitalero and mayor in 2004. The refuge is very good, although there are no obvious shops or restaurants in the village. I say “no obvious” because this year I arrived early and waited about 4 hours outside the refuge. I observed various people driving up to a particular house nearby the refuge and walking out again, with satisfied looks, a few hours later and sometimes with silver foil packages in their hands. I can recommend the little bar right at the end of the village on the left. The owner is a real character and he sells a few pilgrim items in the bar shop.
Update: The refuge situation in Larrasoaña has also changed. In 2007, there was an overflow building to the main refuge and the bar at the top of the town had re-opened again.
Trinidad De Arre
I stayed here on my second camino and liked this one. We had wonderful weather after a day or two of damp weather and I have never seen so much washing out to dry in the hot sun at a refuge before.
A reasonable refuge in the center of the city. It’s up a long narrow flight of stairs though so it can be difficult to get up there with a backpack on and somebody else trying to come down the stairs.
Update: Again, lots of changes here with the old refuge closed down but many new ones opened up. Personally I still prefer to walk on until I reach Maribel’s refuge in Cizur Minor.
This is Maribel Roncal’s privately run refuge. Over the years she has updated the facilites considerably from the origonal garden house. There are no shops in the village so you need to buy food in Pamplona first or use the several good local restaurants. Or walk the 10KM to Cizur Major which has a supermarket. Maribel has upgraded all the facilities and there is now a second annex with excellent showers.
Puente La Reina
There are two refuges here, one on the way into the town and one on the hill on the way out of town. Also many hostels and two “parador” style hotels on the way in. On my first camino, the refuge had a system of triple bunks in a very dark and damp room in part of a building. Now the whole building is used and they have new but squeaky beds. The refuge on the hill is a brand new modern one with good beds and washing facilities. It also has its own restaurant. The hotel “Jueke” has an albergue in the basement of the building with also has excellent facilities. Not many people stay there though as it is not very well advertised. I only know because I stayed in the hotel this year in order to get a hot bath.
A good refuge on the way into town. Be careful of the breakfast though as it is a big con. Don’t buy it, get your own food. Can be noisy this refuge as the hospitalero seems to like playing loud music during the day. When I was there the first time, it was the same “enya” track several times a day!
Villamajor De Monjardin
A really good, Dutch run refuge. They provide an evening meal and an excellent breakfast. This was the first place I managed to find brown bread! It was freshly baked that morning, delicious!
This main one is run by some camino group. This is the famous “massage” refuge where the guy comes in every day to give foot or back massages. It didn’t try one myself as I didn’t like the look of him but people I asked said they were very good.
Update: There are now four albergues in Los Arcos. The municipal one and three private ones. All are fairly obvious when walking into the town. The first one I got to looked very nice inside. I didn’t look at the second. The third is accessable through a garage and is next door to the municipal one. I am told by someone, who’s opinion I respect, that it was very good.
Torres Del Rio
I stayed in this one in 2004. I found it very “cozy” although there are not many facilities there.
This is one of the few refuges that still have triple bunks.
A very big refuge on the left down a side street after you cross one of the big bridges over the river. It had a very nice fountain/pond in the grounds where you could bathe your feet. Actually very close to the town center and the restaurants.
This was a good refuge. When I was there, the hospitalera was a singer and did a special kind of evening service for the pilgrims although she is not ordained. She liked giving people hugs.
You need to have walked all the way from Logroño for this one, as sometimes one of the hospitaleros will not let you stay here if you stopped anywhere else on the way. There was not a very nice atmosphere here and I walked on to Azofra which was much nicer, although the refuge itself was not so well kept. I would rather have a nice hospitalero and a bad refuge than the other way round.
A nice hospitalero, but the refuge itself is a bit run down. It was full when I arrived with a group of German women and we were put into the “barn” where some famous king had slept. It was memorable to me for the guy playing the organ and for the birdsong.
Santo Domingo De La Calzada
This is the town where they keep the cock and the hen in a golden cage. Comes from a miracle which occured when a boy, who had been strangled, came back to life at the same time as the mayor’s dinner, which was roast chicken, also came back to life.
The best refuge on the camino. There is a special atmosphere here. Very friendly and hospitable. No beds, just mats, but very comfortable. Very few spaces though. The priest, if he is there, will take your name and say a prayer for you every day until a date you specify for reaching Santiago.
Redicilla Del Camino
I found this refuge to be a bit cold. It is right next to a church. On my second Camino, they had to open up an annex in a garage nearby to handle the huge number of pilgrims staying there. The second time there were storks up on the roof.
This is a brand new refuge in Belorado, set up as the old one is being repaired and upgraded. It was a little cramped but was nice and warm and had excellent showers and washing facilities. It’s quite close to the old one, just one street away.
Villafranca Montes De Oca
An awful dirty damp refuge in a tiny village which seems to be just one big truck stop. The refuge is right next to the road which is very narrow here and there is an endless stream of huge lorries passing by day and night. I would not recommend it except that the next one “San Juan De Ortega” can be worse.
Villafranca Montes De Oca 2
A very nice new refuge has been built on the other side of the road and on the hillside. I could not get inside to look but from the outside it looked excellent. Built for the huge numbers of pilgrims expected in 2004.
San Juan De Ortega
A very cold and unfriendly place now that the priest who used to serve the garlic soup is no longer there. I cannot recommend it. There is only one very small bar here and no shops.
This appears at, first sight, to be a very basic refuge. However be careful, as it’s very expensive at 7 euros a night and is actually owned by the hotel next door. It’s really a pityless commercial exploitation of the refuge system and in March 2004 in the winter conditions we had then, the pathetic wood stove provided no heating whatsoever and we all froze in the unheated sleeping room.
It seems to take forever to get through Burgos on the way to this one as it is near the outside of the city on the other side from San Juan.
Update: In 2005, the was a second refuge in the center of town but over the river in a converted old building. This was a very nice refuge but I don’t remember seeing many signs to it recently so it may have closed again.
Update: There is also another smaller refuge in the belfry of a church in the center of town fairly near the cathedral. It was nice and warm when I stayed there in 2007.
A nice little refuge on the way to Hornillos del Camino. If the Burgos refuge is full then this one is worth the extra walk.
Hornillos Del Camino
The refuge here is right before the church on the right as you walk up the only street in the village.
This one is supposedly run by a templar society and has the “benefit” of having no toilet facilities whatsoever and no food or shops. Both times I have been there, the same hospitalero was there and he seemed to be a rather depressed chap. Maybe he badly needed the loo!!
There is now a nice refuge here and two hostals. One bar here has the famous “Vitorino” who does the trick with the wine where he pours it on his forehead, runs it over his nose, and then drinks it in his mouth without spilling a single drop. The bar is a dirty place but the food is good. I was there in circumstances where we were very glad of the warn fire. It was also memorable for the endless number of dishes of food which he brought out for our meal. I have never eaten so much pork in my life at one meal.
Update: Vitorino’s bar was closed up when I walked past it in 2006.
The hospitalero here does not speak any English but has made many signs in pictures to show where the facilities are. It was memorable for the worst coffee I ever tested, ever! They play gregorian chanting music quite softly in the morning to wake you up. If the refuge is full then I can recommend the La Chava Hotel where Antje and I stayed in 2002.
Update: Alas the hospitalero died in a train crash a few years ago and the refuge is under new management now.
Itero Del Castillo
Boádilla Del Camino
There are three refuges here. One of the left immediately you enter the village. The second is in a building sharing a bar in the middle of the village. The third is right next to the church in the middle of the village but was closed for repairs in March 2005.
The local mayor owns all the hotels here and financed the refuge without a usable kitchen so you have to eat in his restaurant as well! The food is good though.
Población De Campos
I have always passed this place in the morning and it has never been open. But it always looked as if it had been occupied the night before.
Villalcázar De Sirga
A good refuge here only a few miles before Carrión De Los Condes. The Camino to this point is right next to the main road and passes though what feels like an endless sequence of bollards. The only reason I could see for having so many was to stop cars from the road driving onto the camino path!
Carrión De Los Condes
There are two refuges here. The old one on the way in to the town insists on having three people to a room to prevent any hanky panky. The other one is in the town center next to the church and has working washing machines.
Calzadilla De La Cueza
Immediately on your left just before you walk into the village. There is a large mural on the wall. Try the spicy garbanzo bean soup at the bar at the other end of town, it’s delicious.
Terradillos De Templarios
Although not stictly a refuge, Rebecca’s house “The Peacable Kingdom” is very welcoming of pilgrims.
One of the traditional refuges. The sleeping area is in the loft of the church and has an echo and occasionally small mice.
Calzada Del Coto
Bercianos Del Real Camino
El Burgo Ranero
There is a new refuge run by a brazilian chap now.
The refuge is a little tricky to find and its best to ask at the bar immediately on your left as you reach the plaza. There is a shop, but is closes early.
Mansilla De Las Mulas
Quite a nice new refuge in a converted building.
This one is part of a convent. It’s inside a very large building but the actual sleeping room itself is quite small. There are male and female toilets and a small kitchen. The hospitalero was very friendly.
Villadangos Del Páramo
We took the alternative route after Virgen Del camino and missed seeing this one.
Hospital De Orbigo
Hospital De Orbigo (New)
Hospital De Orbigo (Old)
There are actually two refuges here. The old one can be found by taking the road off to the right half way across the bridge and walking straight on for 500 meters. The newer one is found by walking across the bridge and into the old main street until just about the end. It is on the right hand side.
Pretty awful municipal refuge in an old school building. The rooms are on two levels and although there are loads of beds, the showers are minimal and you have to queue most of the time. The kitchen, although big had only a very basic two ring cooker. It did not work when we tried it.
Murias De Rechivaldo
Santa Catalina De Samoza
This one has the famous “cowboy” bar. I didn’t find the refuge itself.
Rabanal Del Camino
Rabanal Del Camino (British)
Rabanal Del Camino (Italian)
There are three refuges here, One run by the British. Allegedly they give you breakfast of tea or coffee and toast with marmalade. This year we stayed at the “Italian” one which was very nice. The “British” one was full. The third refuge is a horrible municipal one next door to the “Italian” one.
A brand new one is being built here. When we walked through this year it was not yet finished but there was a new hostal/hotel which was nice. There was no sign of any wild dogs.
This is Thomas the Templar’s refuge. Although Thomas is a really nice person, I would not really recommend staying here unless you have a particularly adventurous spirit as there are allegedly no toilets or showers.
The refuge itself is very small and most of us ended up staying at the unofficial one which was behind an excellent bar/restaurant.
Riego De Ambró
This is a fairly new refuge built in a converted barn. People I talked to who stayed here had only good things to say about it.
I found this refuge a little strange and I would not have wanted to stay there as it felt very funny. However Antje says that it was OK when she stayed there last year.
A brand new refuge built by the town in the park near the castle. I seem to remember it contained a lot of marble.
This one is very strange. It is divided up into little sheds with two bunks per shed. It is built in the grounds of the church on the way out of town. I stayed there for many hours one late afternoon and not a single person wanted to stop and stay there. However this year there were loads of people staying there and I found it very good when you want some privacy with your companion.
Villafranca Del Bierzo
Villafranca Del Bierzo (Old)
Villafranca Del Bierzo (New)
There are two refuges here very close too each other. The newer one is the first one you come across and the older one is run by the famous Jesus Jato. The new one has washing machines. They do a strange fire thing here. The famous “old” plastic sheet refuge no longer exists.
Vega De Valcarce
This one is quite old and has a bar in the bottom half of the building. There is actually another refuge here as well.
This one is run by two Buddhist brothers who will prepare a reasonable evening meal. However they play “Also Sprach Zarathustra” in the morning to wake everyone up!
I didn’t like the atmosphere here at all. It was very strange and I didn’t fancy staying more than a few minutes to look around. In 2002, my partner and I stayed in the refuge as we were both too knackered from the long climb up, but luckily it was the first refuge where we got any warmth. We needed it, as it snowed the next day.
Hospital Da Condesa
A new refuge. You need to buy food at Linares first as there is no bar or any shops here.
There are two refuges here. A very modern but slightly unpleasant one in the middle of the town and an older one on the way out of town. The older one was closed when I walked past it in October 2000 but it looked like it would have opened later that day.
The first refuge if you take the right hand path at Triacastela. A modern refuge with good facilities. But no bar or shops except in nearby Sarria.
The first refuge if you take the left hand path at Triacastela. The famous monastery with the Gregorian chanting. But a cold place as it is a monastic building. There is an excellent hostal across the road.
The kitchen has no pots to cook with. This is also true of many of the refuges in Galicia.
There are no shops here but there is a restaurant run by a local woman who seems to own everything in the village.
One of the dirtiest refuges I have seen. We all refused to stay there and walked to the next one at Gonzar. The second time I looked in, it was full.
They have a habit of turning off the electricity here so that you have to use the bar next door to eat and for warmth.
Hospital De La Cruz
Ventas De Naron
Palas De Rei
Ribadiso De Baixo
A refuge of character. Excellent washing facilities here for some reason.
See the comment for Sarria.
Looked for it but couldn’t find this one.
Monte De Gozo
A huge, horrible, holiday camp style refuge.
Another huge refuge with a problem with theft. I would not recommend that you stay here but rather in one of the excellent hotels in Santiago. Treat yourself as you deserve it for getting this far!
Update: A second refuge has been opened soon after Monte De Gozo which has 50 beds, a washing machine and a dinning area where people can eat. The price is 5 Euros.