Private hostel (15, 10€, March to November) A Pedra, on the right at the start of the town, beside tourist information. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Website albergueapedra.com Tel 982 530 130 Open 11:00 Book here!
Private Hostel (27, 10€, March to October) Albergue Oasis, just after A Pedra on the left. In a classy, modern building. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Website www.albergueoasis.com Tel 982 535 516 Open 11:30 Book here!
Private hostel (100, 10€, March to November) Alma do Camiño, on Rúa Calvo Sotelo, a wide street which branches right off the Camino, on the right. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Breakfast. Website alberguealmadelcamino.com Tel 982 876 768 Open 11:30
Private hostel (25, 9€) Albergue O Barullo, on the Camino on the right. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Restaurant. Tel 982 876 357 Open 13:30
Private hostel (28, 10€) Albergue Credencial on the Camino on the left. Laundry facilities. Breakfast. Website www.alberguecredencial.es Tel 982 876 455 Open 09:30 Book here!
Private hostel (41, 9€, March to October) Albergue Puente Ribeira, on the Camino on the right. Laundry facilities, microwaves. Website www.alberguepuenteribeira.com Tel 982 876 789 Open 11:00 Book here!
Private hostel (22, 9€, March to October) Albergue Casa Peltre, on the Camino on the steps up to the old town. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Tel 606 226 067
Xunta Hostel (40, 6€) Albergue de Peregrinos de Sarria, a little to the right at the top of the steps. Laundry facilities. Modern. Tel 660 396 813 Open 13:00
Private Hostel (16, 10€, April to October) Albergue Mayor, on the left on the Camino. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Tel 685 148 474 Book here!
Private Hostel (28, 10€) Albergue Casino, on the Camino on the right. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Tel 982 886 785
Private Hostel (41, 10€, March to December) Albergue O Durmiñento, on the Camino on the left. Laundry facilities. Evening meal. Breakfast. Reported nice. Tel 982 531 099 Open 11:00 Book here!
Private Hostel (45, 10€) Albergue Internacional, on the Camino on the right. Laundry facilities, microwaves. Tel 982 535 109
Private Hostel (28, 10€, Easter to October) Albergue Obradoiro, on the Camino on the right. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Website www.albergueobradoirosarria.es Tel 982 532 442 Open 11:00 Book here!
Private Hostel (42, 9€, March to November) Los Blasones, on the Camino on the right. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Evening meal, breakfast. Website www.alberguelosblasones.com Tel 982 530 666
Private Hostel (40, 9€) Albergue Don Álvaro, on the Camino on the left. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Website alberguedonalvaro.com Tel 982 531 592 Open 12:00 Book here!
Private hostel (30, 9€) Albergue Matías, on the Camino on the left. Laundry facilities. Café / restaurant, recommended. Website matiaslocanda.es Tel 982 534 285 Open 11:00 Book here!
Private hostel (22, 10€, May to October) Albergue dos Oito Marabedís, up Rúa Maior and turn left when you see the sign, on Rúa Conde de Lemos. Kitchen x 2, laundry facilities. Tel 629 461 770 Open 12:00
Private Hostel (28, 10€, April to October) Albergue San Lázaro, from Rúa Maior turn right on to Rúa do Colexio / Calaxa and continue about 500m until you see Rúa San Lázaro on your left. Laundry facilities, microwaves. Website alberguesanlazaro.com Tel 982 530 626 Open 11:00
Private Hostel (24, 10€) La Casona de Sarria, same direction as Albergue San Lázaro. Laundry facilities. Breakfast. Good reports. Website www.lacasonadesarria.es Tel 982 535 556 Open 12:00 Book here!
Private Hostel (18, 10€, March to October) Albergue Barbacoa del Camino, continue straight up Rúa Maior, then along Rúa Castelo, then continue straight. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Breakfast. Tel 619 879 476 Open 11:00
Religious hostel (100, 10€, April to October) Albergue Monasterio de la Magdalena, on the Camino 400m after Rúa Maior, on Avenida La Mercede. Laundry facilities, microwaves. Website www.alberguesdelcamino.com Tel 982 533 568 Open 11:00 Book here!
Sarria is a major town with all facilities. Tourist Information on the right at the beginning of the town. Most pilgrim hostels are on or near Rúa Maior, where there are also restaurants and cafés which open for breakfast. Supermarket, fruit shop and bank on Rúa de Matías López, continue straight where the Camino turns left up the steps. More banks and pharmacies on Rúa Calvo Sotelo, on the way to the train station. Good hiking shop and a pharmacy just before the steps. Sarria is the most popular starting point on the whole Camino Francés because it is the most easily reached point which is just before the 100km mark. Fiestas San Xoán 24 June.
Sarria is the main starting point for people who are walking the last 100km. If you're walking in summer you will notice a sudden increase in the number of fresh-looking people energetically (and often noisily) passing you by. That makes this an appropriate moment to mention: Sarria to Santiago
A few years ago I spent a night in the town of La Bañeza on a little-frequented part of the Vía de la Plata. It was mid-winter and already the sky was darkening when I arrived. An old lady who lived across the street from the municipal hostel gave me the key, told me where the shops and restaurants were and where to leave the key in the morning. Then she left me to my own devices.
I was alone in the hostel. This wasn't a surprise. I hadn't see another pilgrim in about two weeks so I was used to the solitude by now and I had my routine: shower, wash clothes, shop for the next day, then there would hopefully only remain a couple of hours to kill until the restaurants opened at 9 (this being 'off-Camino' restaurants worked on 'Spanish time'). Then after dinner, bed.
The municipal hostel looked like it dated from the 1950s and had once been a girls primary school. Now, besides housing the occasional errant pilgrim, it also served as the local community's shrine to the Camino. And it contained every type of Camino artefact imaginable, banners, books, posters, maps. There was even a surprisingly big piece of wood purported to come from the house where Santo Domingo de la Calzada was born.
This was all assembled by the local Friends of the Camino.
But what struck me most were the photos. Loads and loads of photos carefully arranged into display cases, dated and labelled, all of them of groups of people, smiling, mostly middle-aged in summer clothes, with sticks and backpacks, the instantly recognisable paraphernalia of pilgrimhood. Sometimes it was a daytrip to a local place of pilgrimage but often too the background and labels identified places along the Camino Francés in Galicia which were familiar to me.
The people were familiar too, with their tiny backpacks and their air of a Sunday outing, these were the people I'd seen many times between Sarria and Santiago, waiting at bus-stops, eating sandwiches out of the back of a van, sitting outside a café greeting their companions' arrivals with a mixture of cheering and jeering.
These were the people who we long-distance pilgrims sometimes disparagingly refer to as 'tourists' or 'turigrinos', because they sully the silence and solitude of 'our' Camino with their good-humoured, excited babbling.
But these are also the people who provided the wonderful hostel in La Bañeza where I got to sleep for free, and many, many other hostels all over Spain which we all get to use. They're the people who make the Camino what it is, welcoming and accessible to people like us.
So, be nice to them.
ps. A point to remember if you're walking in summer and you still want to avoid the crowds is that most people who start from Sarria do so at the weekend.
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Copyright © Gerald Kelly 2018. All text and photos.