Accommodation & Hotels in Spain

EuropeSpainAccommodation & Hotels in Spain

There are many types of tourist accommodation, from hotels, guesthouses and rented villas to camping and even monasteries.

“7% VAT not included” is a common indication for guesthouses and mid-range hotels: always check the small print when choosing where to stay. VAT is called IVA in Spanish.

Small villages

Apart from the coasts, Spain is rich in small inland tourist villages, such as Alquezar: with narrow medieval streets, charming silence and seclusion, always a good choice of restaurants and affordable accommodation.

Casa rural, bed and breakfast in Spain

For warmer accommodation, consider the country house. A country house is the rough equivalent of a bed and breakfast or a gîte. As the name suggests, not all houses are in the countryside. Some are in small towns and in almost every province.

Rural casas vary in quality and price throughout Spain. In some regions, such as Galicia, they are strictly controlled and inspected. Other regions do not apply their regulations so rigorously.

Hotels

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Many foreign visitors stay in hotels organised by tour operators offering package holidays in the most popular seaside resorts on the coast and islands. For the independent traveller, however, there are hotels all over the country, in all categories and for every budget. In fact, thanks to the well-developed domestic and foreign tourism market, Spain is arguably one of the best-served European countries in terms of the number and quality of hotels.

Paradores

A parador is a public hotel in Spain (3 to 5 stars). This chain of hostels was founded in 1928 by the Spanish King Alfonso XIII. The unique aspects of a parador are its location and its history. They are mainly found in historic buildings such as monasteries, Moorish castles (like La Alhambra) or haciendas. Paradors are the opposite of the uncontrolled development found in coastal areas like the Costa del Sol. Hospitality has been harmoniously integrated into the restoration of castles, palaces and monasteries to save representative monuments of Spain’s historical and cultural heritage from decay and neglect.

The Parador of Santiago de Compostela, for example, is located next to the cathedral in a former royal hospital dating back to 1499. The rooms are decorated in an old-fashioned style, but still have modern facilities. Other notable paradors are located in Arcos de la Frontera, Ronda, Santillana del Mar (Altamira Cave) and more than a hundred other places throughout Spain.

The paradores serve breakfast (approx. 10 euros) and often offer very good, typical local cuisine (approx. 25 euros).

Accommodation prices are reasonable, considering that the hotels are often located in the heart of the picturesque regions. They range from €85 for a double room to €245 for a twin room (as in Granada). Two of the most beautiful paradises are in Leon and Santiago de Compostela.

Some special offers are available:

  • People who are over 60 years old receive a discount.
  • Young people under 30 can visit the Paradore at a fixed price of 35 euros per person.
  • If you stay two nights with half board, you will receive a 20% discount.
  • A dream week with six nights is cheaper.
  • 5 nights at € 42 per person.

Special offers do not always apply, especially in August; they are not valid and may require advance booking.

Hostels

There are many youth hostels. Prices vary from 15 to 25 euros per night. Note, however, that Spanish “hostales” are not really hostels, but rather small, unclassified hotels (usually with no more than a dozen rooms). Their quality can vary from very rudimentary to reasonably intelligent.

Apartment rental

Renting a self-contained flat for a short period of time is an option for travellers who want to stay in the same place for a week or more. Accommodation ranges from a small flat to a villa.

The amount of holiday accommodation available depends on the region in Spain you want to visit. Although they are widely available in coastal regions, large capitals and other popular tourist destinations, if you want to visit small inland towns, you will find more rural casas.

What is the difference?

There are three designations for hotel-type accommodation in Spain’s larger cities: hotel, hostal and pension. It is important not to confuse a hostel with a hostal; a hostel offers backpacker-style accommodation with shared rooms, while a hostal is very similar to a guesthouse and is usually cheaper than a hotel.