Paradors and Guesthouse in Northern Spain and Galicia

Northern Spain and Galicia offer an exceptional variety of visitor accommodation. Visitor accommodation can be found to satisfy all tastes and even the choosiest customer will find something to suit their 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 hotels are awarded between one and five stars and these are allocated by the local tourist Authority. 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’ll find in hotels that they have at least a shower in each room but more usually en suite bathrooms. 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. As is usual in most quality hotels the standard facilities on offer include air conditioning, televisions in each room, facilities for the disabled, Internet access and on-site parking.

Two or three star hotels are the most popular in this region and their rates vary on the season or time of year that you stay there. It has been found that in this area quite often the hostels (hostales) and guest houses are actually more popular; the fact that they are cheaper may have something to do with this. Quite often these small establishments are family run and may be limited to just the few beds so yet again it is wise to plan ahead.

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 biggest hotel chains in northern Spain are the Grupo Sol-Melia and NH with hotels in the main towns. 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. 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. Various monasteries, castles and other monuments have been used for Paradors elsewhere. Some Parador’s have been purpose built often in spectacular scenery or in towns of historic interest.

You can rely upon the Parador to deliver a consistently high level of comfort but it might not necessarily be the best hotel in town. The bedrooms are usually spacious and comfortable, and all furnished to a standard that varies little from Parador to Parador. Some also offer fine regional cuisine. It might be wise to book in advance if you are planning to visit the area either during the high season or if you wish to stay in one of the smaller Paradors. Paradors can be booked through the Central de Reservas in Madrid or by calling 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.