Spain Guide


Santiago de Compostela Accommodation

Each year millions of visitors pour into Santiago which has a wide variety of accommodation to handle those who flock here for religious reasons, business meetings or simply to enjoy the many delights of one of Spain's most beautiful cities.

The city's status as one of the leading religious centres of the Christian world, its famous university and its importance as the administrative capital of Galicia have all led to the development of different types of accommodation to suit all needs and budgets.

Historic buildings have been sympathetically converted into luxurious hotels, modern hotels have sprung up to meet the demands of the business fraternity and cheap hostals shelter the many budget conscious "pilgrims" who arrive here via the Santiago Way.

Without doubt the most famous hotel here is the glorious Hotel Dos Reis Catolicos in the Plaza do Obradoiro. It's believed to be the oldest hotel in the world and is certainly one of the most spectacular in Europe.

Now the jewel in the crown of the state run chain of Paradors, the hotel had humble beginnings at the end of the 15th century when it was created as a pilgrims' hospital by a royal decree from King Ferdinand and his Queen Isabella.

It originally served as a shelter for devout worshippers visiting the tomb of St James after their exhausting journey along the Camino de Santiago.

If you're a poor exhausted pilgrim these days there's no way you're going to be able to afford to stay here but take the opportunity of a guided tour. The hotel is built around four courtyards, each with its own covered walkway, gardens and fountains.

A Gothic chapel hosts weekly concerts and the sumptuous rooms range from the dictator Franco's former bedchamber to palatial suites with canopied beds, oil paintings and hand carved antique furniture.

Another historic hotel providing first class facilities is the luxurious AC Palacio del Carmen in the city centre near the Obradoiro Square. Once the old Convent of las Oblatas, the elegant architecture of this five star hotel will make you feel as though you've stepped back in time.whilst still enjoying ultra modern services. Hotel facilities include a jogging track, sauna, gym, heated pool and sophisticated business centre with modem hook ups, secretarial services and video conferencing.

There are many mid range three and four star hotels, many of which provide excellent business facilities and health and fitness centres.

If you're watching the old Euros, head for one of the city's hostals or pensions which provide much more basic facilities but clean and comfortable accommodation at an exceptionally good price.

Students are well catered for with special accommodation blocks, shared self catering apartments and host families who accommodate those on short term study courses.

If you're heading for the city via the Santiago Way and you've successfully applied for a special pilgrims' pass you'll be able to stay at one of the very basic "refugios" for next to nothing. These are religious shelters, traditionally set up to provide shelter for poor pilgrims. But don't forget your sleeping bag (and ear plugs because chances are you'll find yourself sleeping next to the world's champion snorer!).