There are three types of albergues; parochial, municipal and private. Parochial are run by churches or international religious organizations. Many of these accept donations for your bed. Others charge around €5 to stay for the night. Sometimes you sleep on pads on the floor of the church. They offer few services other than a place to sleep and go to the bathroom.
Municipal albergues are located in most cities. They offer basic services and are run by the city. Generally, you will pay €6-10 to sleep on a bunkbed and have restrooms, showers and have use of a kitchen and dining area. Private alburgues are located in many villages and large cities along the camino. They are individually owned and generally have fewer beds and fewer beds per room than church run or municipal albergues. We prefer private alburgues on the camino.
Most private albergues charge between €7-12 per person to sleep in bunk beds, generally with fewer people in each room. I thought I would share some pictures from a typical private albergue.
Today’s private albergue has a nice courtyard where pilgrims can meet and socialize.
They also all offer a washing sink where you can hand wash your clothes. Small hangers are available for sun drying. Some newer private albergues offer washer and dryer services for a fee.
Boot rack and blankets at private. Lots of municipal and most churches do not have blankets available.
Sandy making tonight’s dinner in the kitchen.
Nice communal dining area.
If this had all bunk beds, this would be a typical room. We were first in today, so we jumped at the opportunity for the two ground floor beds.
Another photo of the bedroom. Nice and dark and fewer beds is an indicator of a good night’s sleep.
Nice clean communal bathrooms.
Private albergues offer men’s and woman’s bathrooms and showers. Most offer at least three. All have HOT water. Some church alburgues do not have showers. All municipals do, but do not count on hot water.
Tonight, we stayed at a great private albergue, ate a nice home made pasta dinner (which cost under €5 at the mercado) took a nice HOT shower in a very clean facility and ended up sleeping alone in our room which cost us €14 total. Not too bad a deal for living in Europe!