Find a plce to stay in Galicia

By: Stephen Morgan

Northern Spain and Galicia offer an exceptional variety of visitor accommodation. 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 you want something slightly different then most people would head for one of the various exclusive hotels throughout the region or one of the "Paradors" that can be found in various key places throughout the area. Throughout the region there are various mountain refuges with stunning views as well as campsites in the coastal areas.

As would be fit any major country in the western world, hotels in Galicia and Northern Spain are spacious, comfortable and clean. The hotels are awarded between one and five stars and these are allocated by the local tourist Authority. Hotels (indicated by "H". on a blue plaque near the hotel door] are awarded from one to five stars from the local Tourist Authority.

Hotels usually have en-suite bathrooms or at least a shower in the room. Hostels and "Pensions" usually do not have en-suite facilities and have fewer comforts than hotels so as to be expected are slightly cheaper.

Don't assume that just because you might be forced to stay in a one or two star hotel that the quality of the service is inferior to a five star hotel because in some cases it might actually be better because the stars are allocated for the facilities the hotel can offer not 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.

It is advisable to plan in advance when you want to come to this area because as you would expect, prices and rates can vary on the season or time of year that you choose to visit. 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 small family-run establishments offering just a few beds.

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.

The biggest hotel chains in northern Spain are the Grupo Sol-Melia and NH with hotels in the main towns. The standard of accommodation in these hotels is extremely high. There is also now a growing number of small individually run hotels with a distinctive character and charm, for a memorable and relaxing stay.

In Spain you'll find an establishment called a Parador. 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. They are located close together so that there is never more than a day's drive to the nearest one. The Parador de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela, located in a former royal hunting lodge is possibly the best known Parador in the area. 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. Quite often you will find that they offer outstanding samples of regional cuisine. If you plan to tour in high season or to stay in the smaller Paradors, it might be wise to reserve the room. 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. As with most areas if you travel in the high season you will find accommodation can be quite expensive but if you are able to shop around you can quite often find special deals available.

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