Galicia - Holiday Jewel of North Western Spain

by : Scott James

An extremely wide variety of tourist accommodation can be found in Galicia and Northern Spain. Visitor accommodation can be found to fit all tastes and even the choosiest customer will find something to suit their 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. Good accommodation can be found also in some of the various mountain refuges where the stunning views complement the high standard of the accommodation but also for those looking for a beach holiday on a budget there are lots of campsites to be found in the coastal areas.

As expected the hotels in Galicia and Northern Spain are extremely spacious very clean and comfortable. Hotels are categorized and awarded stars by the regional tourist authorities. The local tourist Authority awards between one and five stars for each hotel and the status of the hotel can be found by looking at a blue plaque near the hotel door.

You can usually find en-suite bathrooms or at least a shower in each Hotel bedroom. 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 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.

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.

It is estimated that there are approximately 92,000 registered beds in this territory, described as "Green Spain" and there are in excess of 1500 hotels.

The largest hotel chains in the area are called Grupo Sol-Melia and NH. The standard of accommodation in these hotels is extremely high. 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. Spain's first Parador opened in 1928 and now there is a wide network of them throughout the country. The idea behind the hotels when they were setup was that there should never be more than one day's drive from one Parador to another. The best known Parador in the area is the Parador de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela and this is in a former royal hunting lodge. Other Paradors can be found in monasteries, castles and 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.

A Parador might not necessarily be the best hotel in town, but it can be counted to deliver a predictably high level of comfort. The standard of each Parador is extremely consistent with comfortable and spacious bedrooms all furnished to the same high standard. 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.