An Introduction to Places to Stay in Northern Spain and Galicia

By: Scott James

All forms of tourist accommodation can be found in Galicia and Northern Spain. Accommodation can be found that will fit all forms of budgets and even the most particular tourists will find something to suit their particular needs.

If it is luxury that you are after then the best advice should be to head straight for the exclusive hotels and "Paradors" but to be honest even the basic family "casas rurales" are extremely good value for money. The region is dotted with mountain refuges with stunning views not to mention that in the coastal areas you can find quite a few campsites.

The standard of accommodation in the area is extremely high as you would expect from Galicia and Northern Spain. The categorisation for the hotels is awarded on a star system and these are allocated by the regional tourist authorities. If you need actual visible proof of the standard of your hotel you can find confirmation indicated by a small blue plaque near the hotel front door.

You can usually find en-suite bathrooms or at least a shower in each Hotel bedroom. Do not expect to find en-suite facilities in the smaller Hostels and "Pensiones" but you might be surprised in certain cases.

Don't equate the number of stars on the outside door of the hotel to necessarily match the standards of the accommodation that is on offer and this is because in Spain the stars are allocated on the facilities on offer not necessarily the quality of the service. The more exclusive hotels offer all kinds of extra facilities, such as air conditioning, on-site parking, internet-access and rooms with televisions as well as facilities for the disabled.

The cost of accommodation as in most cases varies from season to season therefore it is wise to plan in advance. A popular option available in all of the autonomous regions of northern Spain are hostels (hostales) and guest houses (pensiones) which are cheaper than hotels. These are usually establishments that can only offer a few beds and by and large are family-run.

There are in excess of 1,500 hotels with a total of 92,000 beds registered in the territory of "Green Spain" -- the Atlantic regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque country.

Grupo Sol-Melia and NH are the biggest chain of hotels in the area. Their facilities are of a high standard and include internet-access amongst other features. Latterly there have been a growing number of smaller privately run hotels that offer memorable relaxing accommodation available.

In Spain they have dotted throughout the country a series of state run hotels that are known as Paradors. These are classified from between three to five stars. The first Parador opened in 1928 and there is now quite a comprehensive network throughout the country. The theory behind them was that they should never be more than a day's drive from one to another. In Santiago de Compostela you can find possibly the best known Parador in the area and this is the Parador de los Reyes Catolicos. Other Paradors can be found in Castles, Monasteries and various other monuments'. You will quite often find that there are a growing number of purpose built Paradors and these can quite often be found in either towns of historic interest or areas of spectacular scenery.

The local Parador might not be best hotel in town but it will usually deliver a predictably consistent standard of comfort. The standard from each Parador to Parador very rarely varies with comfortable spacious bedrooms to be found throughout. Some also offer fine regional cuisine. It is usually wise to plan ahead and book your accommodation if you wish to use the network of Paradors. Bookings can be made either using the Central de Reservas which is a centrally based service based in Madrid or you can contact each Parador direct. Rates can be expensive it is worth looking for special deals especially in the high season but to be brutally honest this has to be the same anywhere you go.

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