Bargain accommodation, delicious food and disappointing car hire in Santiago de Compostela - Santiago-De-Compostela-Banner-001.jpg Bargain accommodation, delicious food and disappointing car hire in Santiago de Compostela - The Travelling Eagles

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Published 23 May 2017

A day in Santiago de Compostela

They say it rains a lot in Santiago and that the cobbled streets look beautiful in the rain, well it was unseasonably sunny and dry during our stay so we never got to see and my raincoat never left my suitcase.

On our short visit we didn't venture into the more modern part of the city as of course we had to also visit the main attraction The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The impressive cathedral is the end point of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage that is made by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year. The rest of the day we spent wandering round the picturesque old town following is ancient streets, past lots of souvenir shops and stopping for coffee and tapas at outside cafes. 

Real value for money accommodation

We stayed at Hostal Seminario Menor or (Albergue Seminario Menor). We both had a private room which cost just £14 per room per night.

Albergue Seminario Menor
Hostal Seminario Menor  The pilgrim's hostel in an impressive converted monastery.

Our rooms had a single bed, small desk and chair, bedside table, wardrobe, washbasin and mirror. The mattress and pillow both had blue rubber covers. There was a bedside lamp and an electric socket should you need to charge anything. The window had wooden shutters and overlooked a picturesque courtyard and the terracotta rooftops of the monastery.  The rooms were very basic but perfectly reasonable for the price. I’ve noticed that they advise a bottom sheet and pillowcase are provided but that you should bring a sleeping bag. However a duvet in duvet case was provided in the rooms that we had, so perhaps the sleeping bag is just required for the dorms.

The hostel is located in front of the Belvis Park, offers wonderful views of the old town and is about 10 minutes walk from the famous cathedral. The hostel has private single rooms and single beds in mixed rooms. All the rooms share mixed toilets and showers. 

There are plenty of facilities including: cooking facilities, social rooms, TV, a self–service laundry, Internet, luggage lockers and outdoor parking for bicycles. There’s also a supermarket (a bit of an exaggeration, maybe mini-mart would be a better description) and vending machines for drinks and snacks.

A simple breakfast consisting of a giant croissant, coffee (or tea) and and orange juice is available from the mini-mart for just €3. Except for breakfast we ate out for our main meals but if you prefer you can prepare meals in the large common room which has a microwave, electric hobs and cookware. 

The best bits

  • Clean and cheap and reasonably quiet, the basics well covered.
  • There was a handy washbasin in my room.
  • The ‘supermarket’, it was really useful to be able to could get bottled water and fresh coffee.
  • Plenty of parking (we visited in May though, so not peak season).

The not best bits

  • The hostel requires that you go out during the day between 9am and 1.30pm while they clean and has a curfew of 12 midnight. Being out during the day wasn’t a problem for us as we were out anyway but we might have liked to stay out a little later one of the nights if it wasn’t for the curfew.
  • Unisex toilets… am I just being a prude here? I am onboard with unisex toilets but these ones had the urinal completely out in the open and you had to walk right past it to get to the cubicles…
  • Mum found the plastic covering on the mattress made her uncomfortable and sweaty. I honestly expected to feel the same but actually slept like a baby and I didn’t even notice it.

Overall I felt it was excellent value for the price but perhaps not suited to someone who is looking for a bit of luxury or who wants to stay out late and party. 

Eating out in Santiago de Comostella

I would have to say that it was a little expensive, but totally worth it. We ate a variety of seafood including muscles, scollops and langoustines. All delicately and interestingly flavoured with slightly unusual seasoning and sauces. We also had a quinoa and bitter fruit salad with was again unique, delicate and very enjoyable. And of course plenty of hearty bread to mop up all the delicious sauces with.

I just drank OJ (okay and a beer) as I was super thirsty but my mum reliably informs me the the house red wine was delicious and one of the best wines she had during our trip.

Aside from the food the restaurant itself was lovely. When you come into the building it looks a little dark and not particularly special but go downstairs and there is a bright and modern restaurant opening out onto a charming garden which is where we enjoyed our meal.

We fluked getting a table without booking but judging by how busy it got as the evening went on I think really we were lucky, so if you want to try this place out I would recommend booking.

We had an exceptional meal at AMOA.

Up to date contact details are on their website .

Car hire

Why is this subject always such a misery? We all want a good deal but it seems to me when hiring a car this might just not exist. For peace of mind it’s probably better just to pay more and go with a reputable and well known brand. 

We booked a car from OK Rent A Car via the website doyouspain.com. I thought we’d got a good deal. After waiting aaaages for the airport pick up to arrive and take us to the hire office again we had quite a long wait for them to sort out the paperwork. Although there was about 3-4 members of staff they only had one person doing the admin while the rest just sat around. We were given a pretty decent car which we had for 3 days, so far so good’ish. We returned the car with no problems and I got my return receipt to say they were happy I had returned the car in the condition that I had been given it. All good you think, but no.

I was told at their office (and it also says on their website) that my deposit (€600!!!) would be returned within 1-3 days. Over two weeks later and I still didn’t have it back.

I contacted OK Rent A Car and the only response I had was an email telling me that it sometimes takes a month and that was it. In the end I contacted my credit card company and they delt with getting the money back for me. What a hassle and leaves a bitter tase in your mouth :-( I will never hire from them again. DO NOT USE OK Rent A Car if you want your deposit back in any sort of reasonable time, even if you bring the car back in perfect condition.

Please let me know if you have any favourite car hire places or places that  should definitely be avoided.

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