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Santiago de Compostela

Private (22, 14€, March to November) Albergue Santos, on Rúa dos Concheiros on the Camino on the left about 2km before the cathedral. Laundry facilities, microwaves. Was Viejo Quijote. Tel 881 169 386

Private (24, 17€) Albergue Porta Real, also on Rúa dos Concheiros. Laundry facilities. Website albergueportareal.es Tel 633 610 114

Private (24, 16€) Albergue La Estrella de Santiago, on Rúa dos Concheiros, on the left. Kitchen with microwaves. Website www.laestrelladesantiago.es Tel 617 882 529 Open 09:00

Religious (173, 14€, Easter to October) Albergue Seminario Menor, off the Camino to the left. From Praza de San Pedro turn left on to Rúa de Blevís and follow the signs. Kitchen, laundry facilities, shop. You can stay as long as you like but you must vacate the albergue between 09:30 and 13:30 and return before midnight. Also private rooms. Website www.alberguesdelcamino.com Tel 881 031 768 Open 13:30

Private (20, 15€) O Fogar de Teodomiro, on Praza de la Algalia, a few minutes north of the cathedral. From the Camino turn right on to Rúa de Algalia de Arriba and walk about 200m. Kitchen, laundry facilities. No curfew. Price includes towels and sheets. Noisy and other negative reports. Tel 981 582 920

Private (62, 18€, February to November) The Last Stamp / El Último Sello, just to the left of the Camino at Praza de Cervantes. Kitchen. Good reports. Website www.thelaststamp.es Tel 981 563 525

Private (20, 18€) Albergue Azabache, on the left just before the cathedral. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Tel 981 071 254

Religious (35, donativo, July and August) Los Franciscanos, on Rúa dos Castiñeros which is north of Praza do Obradoiro along Rúa de San Francisco and then veering right and then left. This albergue intends to provide a space of tranquillity and reflection for genuine pilgrims. Opens 16:00. Fills up quickly. One night only. If you walk to Finisterre you can stay another night on your return. Doors locked between 22:00 and 08:00. Evening prayer service. Outside of the summer months this building is used as a albergue for homeless people.

Private (40, €18, March to December) Albergue km 0, on Rúa Carretas, the same street as the Pilgrims Office, from Praza Obradoiro go left in front of the Parador and turn right. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Website santiagokm0.es Tel 881 974 992

Private (34, 18€) Albergue Mundoalbergue. On Rúa San Clemente, which is two minutes walk west from Praza do Obradoiro, down the steps to the left of the townhall and continue straight. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Common room with fireplace. Website www.mundoalbergue.es Tel 696 448 737

Private (48, 18€) Roots & Boots, on Rúa do Campo do Cruceiro do Gaio, no 7, from Praza do Obradoiro walk west, down the incline in front of the hotel to Rúa das Hortas which you follow to the end then turn left. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Reported friendly. Website (hilarious) rootsandboots.es Tel 699 631 594

Private (20, 15€) Albergue Blanco, also down Rúa das Hortas to the end, then right. Laundry facilities, microwaves. Tel 699 591 238

Private (84, 17€, February to November) Albergue Turístico La Salle, on Rúa de Tras Santa Clara. When you reach the end of Rúa San Pedro turn right on to Rúa das Rodas and then again right on to Rúa de San Roque. It's the second street on the right. Laundry facilities, microwaves. Individual rooms, doubles from 30€. Tel 682 158 011

Private (26, 15€) Albergue Meiga Backpackers on Rúa dos Basquiños, same direction as Albergue La Salle, just a little further. Kitchen. Some negative reports. Website www.meiga-backpackers.es Tel 981 570 846 Open 10:00

Private (6, 16€) Albergue Basquiños 45, further along Rúa dos Basquiños on the left. Laundry facilities. Website www.albergueb45.com Tel 661 894 536 Open 10:00

Private (24, 15€, May to September) La Estación, on Rúa Xoana Nogueira, near the railway station. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Website www.alberguelaestacion.com Tel 639 228 617

Private (66, €18) Albergue Compostela on Rúa San Pedro de Mezonzo, near the railway station. Laundry facilities. Website www.alberguecompostela.es Tel ???

Pilgrims mostly stay around the historic old city, rarely venturing to the new part of town, which in any case is rarely necessary because the old city has all the facilities you're likely to need. Santiago offers a wide variety of accommodation ranging from five star hotels to rooms in private apartments. The quality varies greatly and there have been reports of bedbugs in some of the cheaper options (not those mentioned here). Also, you're not imagining things, in some of the small hotels you'll get a room for the same price as a bed in private pilgrim albergue.

The following have been recommended for private rooms: Hospedaje Mera on Portal da Pena, from about 25€ for singles. Tel 981 583 867 Bar Tita on Rúa Nova has rooms from about 30€. Tel 981 583 867. Seminario Mayor, in the old monastery opposite the cathedral on Praza da Inmaculada, has 'flexible' pricing starting at about 25€ for single rooms, and a good buffet breakfast. You can reserve from their website: www.sanmartinpinario.eu Tel 981 583 009 Café A Campana, on Rúa da Moeda Vella, just off Praza da Inmaculada has rooms from 25€ for singles. Its location is excellent although not everybody will appreciate its 'Fawlty Towers' style of management. A 'Camino Fossil aka veteran pilgrim' welcomes pilgrims in her home, details from her website www.egeria.house.

--- General Information

The Pilgrims Office / Oficina de Peregrinos (or to call it by its correct name Centro Internacional de Acollida ao Peregrino) is where you go if you want a Compostela certificate. It is on Rúa das Carretas, from Praza do Obradoiro facing the Parador walk left down the ramp and turn right, it's down the end on the left. It is open Easter to October 08:00 to 20:00, otherwise 10:00 to 19:00. In summer 2019 they introduced a high tech queuing system, but during busy times the best advice is be there early. Other times, late afternoons is usually good. Their website is www.oficinadelperegrino.com Also in the same location is a Left Luggage Office for pilgrims, where you can leave your backpack while you're visiting the cathedral, 2€, open until 20:30, and an office to buy bus tickets and a post office. There's a helpful City Tourist Office on Rúa do Vilar for good maps of the city, and various other leaflets about sights and events. They also organise guided tours with different themes, have MP3 audio guides and information about the Camino to Fisterra / Finisterre. If you want Camino souvenirs / gifts which are a little bit classier than what most shops around the centre sell pay a visit to Rosario Rey Praza do San Miguel dos Agros. On Rúa Nova is Pilgrim House, a US run meeting space for pilgrims which provides services such as printing boarding cards and laundry. Post Office on Rúa do Franco. Supermarket on Praza do Toural, at the other end of Rúa do Vilar from the cathedral. If you used Ivar's luggage storage service then you can pick your things up from Casa Ivar, see www.casaivar.com for details. There's a taxi rank on Rúa de San Francisco, just off the Praza do Obradoiro, from where taxis will take up to four people to Finisterre for about 80€ (the exact price is down to your negotiating skills). The bus to the airport is the 6A (and not, repeat not the 6), you can get it from Rúa do Hórreo, past Praza de Galicia, it usually runs every 25 minutes and takes about 45 minutes, cost 1€, however please ask at the Tourist Info Office for the latest on timetable and route. A new bus station opened in 2021 replacing the old one, it's on the opposite side of the train station from the city and accessible via a pedestrian walkway.

The cathedral is open from 07:00 until 20:30, entrance is through the door on Praza de Platerias. To avoid the crowds you may want to plan to visit at an off-peak time, early in the morning or in the evening. Embracing the statue of St James and visiting the crypt is from 09:30 to 13:30 and 16:00 to 19:30. A Choir Mass is held daily at 09:30 and a Mass for Pilgrims is at 12:00 (at peak times be sure to arrive early) and 19:30. The botafumeiro is swung on holy days and 'according to a calendar of liturgical services'. Although it can be swung on request, in exchange for a donation. You are no longer allowed to bring your backpack into the cathedral, see luggage store above next to Pilgrims Office.


Continuing its long tradition of hospitality towards pilgrims the five-star hotel, Hostal dos Reis Católicos, which is to your left when you're standing on Praza do Obradoiro facing the cathedral, provides daily free meals. It used to be a matter of showing up and queuing but nowadays only the first ten pilgrims to get their Compostelas on any given day are taken. The main shopping streets in the old city are a little away from the tourist drag are Rúa De Preguntorio and Rúa de Caldeireria, however the real action is in the new city around Praza Roxa.

If you want traditional Galician Pulpo (octopus), one of the best places is Os Concheiros, on Rúa de Berlin, which is on the Camino Francés before it gets to the old city, from the cathedral it's about a half an hour's walk. Octopus prepared in Galician style is known as Polbo á Feira. If you're tired of tapas and you never really warmed to octopus, there are lots of alternatives around town. Casa Manolo is the place to go if you need one last menú de peregrino for an affordable price with cheap wine included. It's on Praza Cervantes, on the Camino, it's a pilgrim favourite so it's wise to book. Newroz, at the south end of Rúa do Franco near the park does good kebabs and excellent falafel. On Rúa da Troia, near Praza da Inmaculada, is Bar Atlantico, a friendly place to hang out in the evenings, although it doesn't kick off till (very) late (by pilgrim standards). Petiscos Do Cardeal on Rúa do Franco has also been recommended for tapas. Casa de Xantar on Rúa San Pedro has also been recommended for local cuisine. Café Porta do Camiño, on the Camino where it crosses the road to enter the old city opens early. For bread an empanadas try the bakery A Tafona do Preguntoiro, near The Last Stamp Albergue. In the main food market on Rúa das Ameas, is a restaurant called Marisco Manía which will cook any fish you want from the market stalls. Restaurante San Clemente on Rúa de San Clemente - near Mundoalbergue, does free tapas with drinks. Besides that, all Galician specialities are available in the many tourist restaurants around Rúa do Franco.

If you find yourself yearning for cheap (drinkable) wine, pay a visit to Bar Orense where they serve red or white the traditional way, straight from the barrel in small enamel cups. 60c a go. Ask for 'tinto / blanco de baril'. It's on Rúa do Franco, on a small square on the right as you're walking towards the cathedral.

Accommodation on Booking.com


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Copyright © Gerald Kelly 2021. All text and photos.