Paradores on el Camino

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Parador de San Marcos

Paradores on el Camino

Interior photo of hotel room

What are Paradores?

What are Paradores and why should you consider staying in one while on the Camino?

Spain is a country filled with a rich history, awe-inspiring landscapes and some of the best architecture in the entire world. Spaniards are proud of their heritage and their way of life often mixes the modern with the historic. Paradores are the perfect example of mixing modern Spain with the history and culture of another era.

Paradores are historic buildings that have been converted into eclectic, luxury hotels. Castles, monasteries, and other unique structures have been preserved and restored by the Spanish government, maintaining the original and distinctive architecture of the building.

These hotels are the national pride of Spain and many people from all over the world travel to and around Spain just to stay in the Paradores.

The Paradores along the Camino have special significance to The Way, and some hikers choose to indulge and upgrade their Camino experience by staying in one of these historic hotels. Here are the top 5 Paradores along the Camino in my opinion:

1. Parador in Santiago de Compostela- Hostal dos Reis Católicos (hotel of the catholic kings)

One of the most famous and beautiful paradores in all of Spain is at the end of the Camino in Santiago de Compostela. Not only is this a beautiful place to end your Camino, but this parador also has the distinction of being the oldest hotel in Spain and claims to be in the top 10 oldest hotels in the world. Originally opened as a hospital for royals and pilgrims arriving in Santiago in 1499, this hotel sits perpendicular to the cathedral and up some stairs from the pilgrim office.

Guests enjoy views of the church and square as they enjoy breakfast or relax in their rooms. What makes this hotel special is the inner courtyard and separate cloisters that allow guests to feel like they're in their own private palace.

This is the most popular parador in the Camino and usually is completely booked several months out. If you'd like to stay at this spectacular 5-star hotel as a way to end your Camino, let us know and we'll try and secure booking.

Hotel Catholic Kings in Santiago de Compostela
Hostel of the Catholic Kings - Parador in Santiago

2. Parador de León- Hostal de San Marcos (Hotel St. Mark)

León, located 200km from Santiago along the French route, can be a great place to start your Camino or just to visit before you start your walk. The Hostal de San Marcos parador is housed in a 16rh century monastery. With only 51 rooms, this parador boasts modern rooms inside the original building and plateresque facade. The views from each room are bright and expansive and the inner courtyard and garden make this a hidden retreat.

3. Parador de Tui

Tui, the start of the last 100km on the Portuguese Camino, has a parador directly on the Camino. This hotel is an old Galician manor house with beautiful gardens, mountain views and an outdoor pool that can be enjoyed in summer.
Even being high above the city, it's just a short and scenic walk to the Tui cathedral or down to the Miño river that provides the border between Portugal and Spain. This hotel is recommended to stay in for the superb service, but also the relaxed and family feel of Spain and the Camino.

4. Parador de Villafranca del Bierzo

Located in the small little town of Villafranca del Bierzo, this parador is a welcome reprieve for those who started at St. Jean de Pied on the French Camino. This parador has a modern, austere facade, but inside there are stone alcoves and large rooms overlooking the plaza. Villafranca is a good place to spend a rest day before the challenging hike into O'Cebreiro. If you do happen to have an extra day, we strongly suggest taking time to visit Las Medulas, one of the exciting trips off the Camino.

5. Parador de Pontevedra

Along the Portuguese route, you'll find the charming city of Pontevedra. The classic parador in this city is the former 16th century manor house of the wealthy Counts of Maceda. Looking more like a mini-palace, this hotel feels like staying in a well kept museum with its stately rooms, antiques and private gardens. There is also a fantastic restaurant at the hotel that is not to be missed.

With only 96 Paradores in Spain, staying at one of these special hotels can elevate any Camino. Contact us today and see about staying in one during a self-guided or guided camino.

Buen Camino, friends.

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