Private hostel (24, 17€) Albergue Porta Real on Rúa dos Concheiros on the Camino on the left about 2km before the cathedral. Laundry facilities. Website albergueportareal.es Tel 633 610 114
Private hostel (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 hostel (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 hostel between 0930 and 1330 and return before midnight. Also private rooms. Website www.alberguesdelcamino.com Tel 881 031 768 Open 13:30
Private hostel (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 for about a minute. Kitchen, laundry facilities. No curfew. Price includes towels and sheets. Noisy and other negative reports. Tel 981 582 920 Book here!
Private Hostel (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 Book here!
Private hostel (20, 18€) Albergue Azabache. On the left just before the cathedral. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Tel 981 071 254
Religious Hostel (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 hostel intends to provide a space of tranquillity and reflection for genuine pilgrims. Opens 1600. Fills up quickly. One night only. If you walk to Fisterra you can stay another night on your return. Doors locked between 2200 and 0800. Evening prayer service. Outside of the summer months this building is used as a hostel for homeless people.
Private Hostel (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 981 588 625
Private Hostel (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. Tel 699 631 594 Book here!
Private Hostel (20, 15€) Albergue Blanco, also down Rúa das Hortas to the end, then right. Laundry facilities, microwaves. New in 2017. Tel 881 976 850 Book here!
Private Hostel (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 981 585 667
Private hostel (30, 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 hostel (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 Hostel (24, 15€, May to September) La Estación, on Rúa Xoana Nogueira, near the railway station. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Tel 981 594 624 Book here!
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, some of the small hotels are about the same price as private pilgrim hostels.
The following have been recommended: Hospedaje Mera on Portal da Pena, from about 25€ for singles. Tel 981 583 867 Bar Tita on Rúa Nova has rooms also 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 with 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 also has cheap rooms, 25€ for singles. Its location is excellent although not everybody will appreciate its 'Fawlty Towers' style of management.
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. It is open April to October 0800 to 2100, otherwise 1000 to 1900. 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 2030, and an office to buy bus tickets and a post office. There's a helpful Tourist Information Office on Rúa do Vilar. They can give you a good map of the city, and various other leaflets about sights and events. They also organise guided tours with different themes, mp3 audio guides, and have 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. There is also internet access and printing (although not always paper) at the Municipal Library which is at the beginning of Avenida de Xoan XXIII, very near Albergue Los Franciscanos. (They also have a selection of books) 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 Fisterra for about 80€ (the exact price is down to your negotiating skills).
The cathedral is open from 0700 until 2030, 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 0930 to 1330 and 1600 to 1930. A Choir Mass is held daily at 0930 and a Mass for Pilgrims is at 1200 (at peak times be sure to arrive early) and 1930. 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 not allowed to bring your backpack into the cathedral, see luggage store above next to Pilgrims Office.
Private hostel (10, 12€) Albergue Casa Riamonte in a locality called Castelo. Turn right shortly after Ventosa at a turn-off signposted A Ameixenda Santa Mariña. It's 600m off the Camino. Breakfast 3€. Laundry facilities. Tel 981 890 356
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Copyright © Gerald Kelly 2018. All text and photos.