In the surroundings of Santiago, just a few minutes away from the city by car, there is a magnificent range of accommodation options, especially rural tourism establishments, characterized by their integration within the rural environment, their tranquillity and their family atmosphere. This is where Galicia’s renowned hospitality is at its best.
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TYPES OF ACCOMMODATION AND CATEGORIES
Ideal for families with children, for groups of friends and for couples. These establishments are divided into 4 types (A, B, C and D) according to the characteristics of the building they occupy, with A being the oldest and most singular (“pazos,” castles, monasteries, rectories, etc), B rural houses, C farmhouses, which are still involved in agricultural activities, and D rural villages, with several buildings devoted to accommodation.
Although this is not an official classification or a commercial brand, it is worth mentioning that Santiago and surroundings stand out due to the large quantity of charming accommodation establishments. The city and its area therefore offer a truly unique range of accommodation options. Such accommodation is usually housed in small, picturesque buildings that have been carefully restored and equipped with all the comforts; an added attraction is the fact that each one has its own style, while all of them feature a warm, almost family-like atmosphere.
Classified from 1- to 5-star, these are defined as accommodation occupying all of one or several buildings, making up a homogeneous whole, with exclusive entrances, stairways and lifts.
Boarding houses, classified as 1-, 2- or 3-star, are the remaining accommodation establishments that do not belong to the hotel group, normally due to their smaller area (in rooms, for example) or the fact that they do not occupy independent buildings. However, this difference between boarding houses and hotels is sometimes imperceptible for guests and does not affect the price or quality: within the same category, a boarding house can have the same or better services, comfort, location or elegant aesthetics compared to a hotel with the same number of stars.
“Hotel Residencia” and “Pensión Residencia”
When a hotel or boarding house is accompanied by the word “Residencia,” this means that it does not provide dining services, although it might provide breakfast or cafeteria services for its guests.
“Paradores” are tourist accommodation establishments of the highest level, belonging to the Spanish State under the brand “Red de ParadoresNacionales” (Network of National “Paradores”). They are normally located in singular buildings of great artistic-historical interest: castles, convents, palaces, etc. Santiago features the “ParadorHostal dos Reis Católicos,” considered the oldest functioning hotel in the world, since it began accommodating pilgrims in the 15th century.
These are hotel establishments located in buildings officially declared to be of great cultural and heritage interest.
These are establishments that offer a wide range of dining services, in which Galician cuisine plays an important role.
The Santiago area features two spas with renowned mineral-medicinal and therapeutic waters, with also offer a variety of massages and beauty, relaxation and wellbeing treatments. They are ideal for resting while enjoying nature, outdoor sports and the local gastronomy. There are also an ever-increasing number of spas and saunas in many hotels, boarding houses and rural tourism establishments.
Tourist apartments and tourist houses
The main difference between tourist apartments and tourist houses is that the latter are rented as complete, independent buildings and they usually have a greater capacity than the former. Tourist apartments are classified as 1-, 2- or 3-key, according to their increasing quality, while tourist houses are not classified.
These are characterized as offering collective rooms, although they can also feature some individual or double rooms.
These belong to the Spanish Network of Youth Hostels. Prices vary according to age, but they are very economical. The one in Santiago is 3 minutes from the centre by car, although there is also a frequent city bus service.
This is a type of accommodation that only exists in Santiago and along the Way of St. James and is designed for pilgrims. The ones in Galicia have very cheap prices (€ 6 in 2013). They are governed by regulations limiting the rights and responsibilities of pilgrim guests. During the high season, the stay is normally limited to one night, except in cases of force majeure; in the case of the one in San Lázaro (Santiago), guests can stay for up to 3 nights.
Accommodation for religious travellers
Since Santiago de Compostela has been a religious destination since the Middle Ages, the city feature accommodation especially recommended for this type of traveller: guest quarters in monasteries, hotels located in former convents, retreat houses, etc.
The surroundings of Santiago have 6 camper areas, located in both urban settings and quiet surroundings close to nature [click here for more information in the Camper section].