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Way of Saint James from Sarria in group with guide

Types of accommodation on the Viando routes

Not everyone knows this, but when it comes to active tourism and hiking or trekking routes, the traditional division of accommodation by the number of stars is useless. And not only that, it can be confusing. It can be confusing. Why is that?

The star system is useless

Because this system takes into account a series of elements such as the existence of restaurants within the accommodation itself, or the size of the room or bathroom, which can be more easily defined for newly built urban accommodation, but which is difficult to apply to restored or converted buildings such as pazos, manor houses, lighthouses, monasteries, etc., or to traditional inns which, sometimes, have been serving walkers or pilgrims from all over the world for more than a century. 

Most of the accommodation we work with at Viando is in this type of building, which often means that some of the requirements for the higher categories are not met, even though the accommodation offers exceptional quality in terms of facilities, hospitality, relaxation and services. Thus, the number of stars is often unreliable. In addition, different countries have different regulations, so that a three-star accommodation in Spain may have little to do with a three-star accommodation in Scotland or Italy, which have their own classification requirements. Finally, as our proposals are mainly in rural and nature areas, the range of accommodation on offer cannot be limited to hotels. Pensions, inns, hostels, rural houses, refuges and other types of accommodation traditionally considered "lower quality" complete a range of possibilities on this type of trekking and hiking routes that should be managed to ensure the best rest stage by stage.

Viando's category system

For this reason, we at Viando have classified accommodation according to more general and balanced criteria, rather than specific requirements. In this way, we take into account their quality and overall offer for walkers and cyclists, whose type of travel also tends to spend more time away from the accommodation. In our programmes we offer you up to 4 types of accommodation: standardwith charmpremium y ahostels / sheltersTo do this, we combine hotels, rural houses, pazos, Paradors, inns, hostels and pensions that we know directly and that we test from time to time to maintain the demanding level of service that we have set ourselves. 

What do we call standard accommodation?

Standard accommodation would correspond to 1 to 2 star hotels, hostels and guesthouses, all of which we fully trust, which cover the daily needs of the walker and are usually very close to the route. Often the route passes through their door, in fact. You will not find luxury in these accommodations, but they are all well maintained and clean, and their staff are accustomed to the needs of walkers and pilgrims. In addition, all these accommodations have private rooms with their own bathroom inside. Within this group of private accommodation, this is the basic type of accommodation with which we work, so if you opt for it, you will get the best price for your programme.

What is considered charming accommodation?

Along the routes we propose, there is usually accommodation in buildings with history or with their own charm: restored traditional rural houses, small urban mansions, historic inns, etc. In general, these are accommodations with great attention to detail, design and tranquillity assured, and with a very exclusive dedication to their guests. This type of private accommodation is not available on all routes but, when it is available, it clearly is, the option we recommend the most for the outstanding price/performance ratio.

What types of accommodation are premium?

In our premium accommodation category we include the best establishments available at each point along the route. This type includes pazosThe most select option, and the one preferred by those who want to complete their experience with the unique quality offered by these places, is to stay in the convents and monasteries of the Parador network, boutique hotels, 4 or 5 star urban hotels, etc. This is undoubtedly the most select option, and the preferred choice for those who want to complete their experience with the unique quality offered by these places. Bear in mind that these accommodations are not usually located in the immediate vicinity of the route, so the programmes that offer this type of accommodation will often include the necessary transfers.

What types of accommodation are hostels and shelters?

Finally, on some routes there is an interesting range of hostels and refuges, which often offer accommodation in shared spaces. This means that rooms are shared, often with bunk beds, among small groups of guests who may not know each other. Bathrooms are also shared, similar to those in gyms, and are private spaces within the gyms. They often offer access to the kitchen, so that guests can prepare breakfast or dinner in the kitchen. Others have cafeterias or small restaurants with food services.