How to avoid the ‘race for beds’ on the Camino de Santiago

Published by



What is the ‘race for beds’?

The ‘race for beds’ strikes fear and anxiety into many pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. It is commonly defined as pilgrims setting off each day from the previous nights accomodation with the single goal of making sure they get a bed for the next night. In the article we look at ways of avoiding the race for beds on the Camino De Santiago. Quite rightly this causes huge anxiety amongst pilgrims and it is not something they may have been worried about before they arrived.

What time of year is the race for beds worst?

The busy months between May and August are the most crowded on Camino routes. It’s worth remembering that the most numerous nationality on the Camino are from Spain and therefore their public holidays in this country also coincide with the busy times on the Camino de Santiago. Therefore it is best to book ahead for these weeks in order to reduce the risk of a race for beds.

Can I stay in municipal albergues with lots of luggage?

Throughout the year it is possible to stay in the albergues with luggage (more than a backpack) however when the busy season is in full force you will not be allowed. This is to ensure that pilgrims have enough space. Private albergues are still available to those with luggage and can be found on numerous sites including Hostelworld.

Is there lots of accommodation in Sarria?

Sarria is the start point for the last 100km of the Camino Frances, the most popular of camino routes by far. Many worry about accomodation here, but you need not. You are only likely to miss out on the municipal albergues, and there is plenty of private accommodation due to the fact they are expecting these crowds every year.

Top tips for avoiding the race for beds

  • Leave early, arrive early – perhaps obvious but if you are one of the first out in the morning you will most likely arrive before the bulk of the pilgrims. Don’t take this to extremes however and wake up so early you will annoy others in your dorm.
  • Book a day or two in advance – booking ahead will calm the nerves allowing you to enjoy the walk.
  • Avoid staying in the main stages – most pilgrims prefer to stay in the towns that are associated with the main route. If you look ahead or just before these towns then there is often space to be found.
  • Word of mouth from fellow pilgrims – pilgrims are a great source of knowledge and they love to help. They may be staying in somewhere you havn’t heard of!
  • Try Hostelworld – Most pilgrims are using but Hostelworld has lots of accommodation that can’t be found elsewhere. See below for availability. Hope these tips help you avoid the race for beds on the Camino de Santiago.


John and Emma’s hiking gear. These are items we love to use when we go hiking, find them here on Amazon.

Osprey 40L, Multi, O/S

HOKA ONE ONE Mens Speedgoat 4 Textile Synthetic Trainers

HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Clifton 8

CWVLC Unisex Cushioned Compression Athletic Ankle Socks Multipack

Dr. Scholl’s Blister Cushions, Seal & Heal Bandage, 8 Cushions

Montem Ultra Strong Trekking, Walking, and Hiking Poles – One Pair (2 Poles)

Best Albergues on the Camino Frances: Our faves from 2023

THE BEST ALBERGUES ON THE CAMINO FRANCES: LOTUS EATERS TRAVEL FAVORITES. We recently walked the Camino Frances, the 780km pilgrimage from from Saint Jean Pied do Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. There are many reasons that we love walking the Camino. One of the reasons is the opportunity to stay in…


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Most of our planning is done using other blogs, but you can’t beat a guide book at the bottom of your case.

Find them here on Amazon.





Please note that some links on our website are partnered with affiliates. Using an affiliate links does not make it more expensive for you to purchase. We receive a small commission whenever you buy something which in turn allows us to keep writing independent travel guides and your support is greatly appreciated.

One response to “How to avoid the ‘race for beds’ on the Camino de Santiago”

  1. […] of the cities have albergues, often these cannot be booked in advance which can make you feel that you’re racing to get a bed. Additionally, the advantage of staying in a hostel rather than a walkers albergue, is that you can […]