‘Parador’ is the name given in Spain to luxury hotels managed by a state-run company and usually located in buildings of historic importance such as fortresses, monasteries and castles; but also new buildings set in nature reserves and areas of outstanding beauty.
Paradores de Turismo de España, the public company managing these luxury hotels, was founded by King Alfonso XIII to promote tourism in Spain. The first parador, Parador de Gredos in Ávila, was opened in 1928 by the King. Today there are 94 paradores from 3 to 5 stars all across Spain, many along the Camino de Santiago.
Parador comes from the Spanish ‘parar’ which means to stop, halt or stay. The concept behind parador is to open exceptional historic properties to the public, and use the hotels profits to maintain these beautiful buildings. Most of them also have excellent restaurants offering traditional cuisine at a high standard using local and seasonal produce.
Regardless of the parador date or style, they all are refurbished to high standard offering all modern comforts, as long as they comply with protected building regulations. Prices at Spanish paradores will vary depending on the room, region and season but they are a real treat to the pilgrim!
You will find various stunning ‘paradores’ along the Camino de Santiago routes:
Parador de Santiago
The most famous parador on the Camino de Santiago is the 5-star Hostal dos Reis Católicos in the Praza do Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela, just across from the cathedral. The building has been welcoming pilgrims for over 500 years and you will feel like you are stepping back in time as soon as you walk through the door. Whether you are staying or eating at the restaurant, it is a must-see if you are in Santiago.
Parador de León on the Camino Frances
16th century Parador de León, the monastery-hospital Hostal de San Marcos, featured in the movie ‘The Way’ when the main character, played by Martin Sheen, and some of his fellow pilgrims decide to treat themselves to a pampering night before continuing on their journey to Santiago.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the Camino Frances
Santo Domingo de la Calzada, on the French Way, has two beautiful parador: 3-star Santo Domingo Bernardo de Fresneda by the Convent of Saint Francis and the 4-star Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, located in the building of a 12th century pilgrims hospital.
Parador de Baiona on the Portuguese Coastal Way
The parador in Baiona is a picturesque medieval fortress with a spectacular location in the Monterreal peninsula, looking out to the bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Parador de Hondarribia on the Camino del Norte
This 4-star is located in a 10th century fortress overlooking the Bidasoa estuary, in the Basque Country. The original medieval building was founded by King Sancho of Navarra.
Parador de Tui on the Camino Portugues
The 4-star parador in Tui is a beautiful example of the Galician ‘pazo’ or grand house.
Parador de Villafranca del Bierzo on Camino Frances
This is a new building and 4-star hotel in one of the most stunning towns on the Camino Frances.
Parador de Ferrol on the Camino Ingles
This is a 3-star in a coastal Galician mansion, combining traditional styles and materials such as granite stone and traditional white ‘galerías’ windows.
Parador de Ribadeo on the Camino del Norte
The parador in Ribadeo, on the Camino del Norte, offers pilgrims spectacular panoramic views of Ribadeo Bay.
Parador de Vilalba on the Camino del Norte
At the 4-star parador in Vilalba you will feel like a medieval pilgrim as the building incorporates a 15th century fortress.
Parador de Pontevedra on the Camino Portugues
The 4-star is a 16th century Renaissance palace, former home of the Counts of Maceda, located in the historic centre of the city.
Parador de Zafra on the Vía de la Plata
Zafra is a stopping point on section 2 of the Vía de la Plata. Its 4-star parador is located in an imposing castle built in the 15th century for the ‘Duques de Feria’, a Spanish noble family.
For more information about staying in a parador during your Camino, our Superior Collection or to book your Camino trip, contact our travel specialists