The Camino de Santiago is full of options when it comes to where to sleep, many of them charging very similar prices ... so, answering this question is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. The most famous accommodations are, of course, the hostels, but also among them there is a great variety: public and private, and associations both secular and religious ... and with a wide range of prices.
Each pilgrim should choose according to his own personality and situation, the type of Way that he wants to do, but we think that it can also be helpful to evaluate in a general way some services, pointing out the advantages and disadvantages of different types of accommodation.
The shelters are the most popular pilgrims' accommodation, present in all guides and specifically designed for pilgrims. For this reason, they are highly recommended and full of positive aspects ...
On the one hand, they allow you to remain immersed in the Way, to meet numerous pilgrims and to share with them your experience. In the hostels you can socialize, share experiences, advise, listen ... There are also many services. For example, in many of them it is possible to cook your own food, almost all have washing machines and dryers and, in general, the people who work in them usually have a lot of information about and knowledge of the Way, being able to solve the doubts and questions of any pilgrim.
Another very advantageous aspect is the price, which is usually low, even in the case of private shelters. In general, sleeping in a hostel is the cheapest option for the pilgrim. Among them the cheapest are usually the public, run by the local councils, costing about 5 or 6 € per night. In the case of private hostels, the prices are somewhat higher but not much, generally costing between 8 and 15 euros. There are also shelters of donation, almost all religious (parish or monasteries) that rely on donations, but they are few and in high season they are usually very full.
But there not only advantages! The low prices are made possible because the dormitories are usually communal, sometimes with a large number of bunk beds ... and not everyone can get a good night's sleep or put up with the noise and disturbances that can occur during the night ... The fact that some of the most famous hostels in the Way have chosen to create specific bedrooms for "snorers" says it all!
The biggest problem, however, is usually the lack of the beds. The problem is mainly concentrated in municipal hostels, where in high season almost all beds are occupied shortly after opening and these hostels do not accept reservations ... When booking is possible it is important to do it online to avoid the race for beds. In private hostels the problem is not usually so serious and finding a bed available is usually easier.
On the other hand, although their services take into account the needs of the pilgrims, they cannot offer any luxury service: linen sheets, a single bedroom with a private bathroom available cannot always guaranteed.
More information in our section Hostels guide: http://elcaminotheway.com/en/santiago-compostela-guide/hotels-guide-santiago-compostela