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I am traveling to Spain (especially Andalusia) next month by motorcycle and I am looking for a means of cheap accommodation for over-nights (one night at time). Of course there are the Youth Hostels, but are there alternatives?

For example, if you travel to Italy, you can look for “Agriturismo” along your road; in France, for “Gîtes de France”; in England, for “B&Bs”; and so on. Are there any comparable organizations/labels/names in Spain?

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    What is cheap for you? – JoErNanO Mar 16 '15 at 9:02
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The only "differential" accommodation in Spain are the "Paradores Nacionales" (literally "public inns" or "public hotels"). These are a kind of luxury hotels that are property of the Spanish Government and are established in public interest locations.

These are not comparable with B&B or "gites" in the fact, these are not-very-expensive luxury hotels instead of cheap guesthouses. Also, the fact that the property is public (government) instead of private makes a big difference.

The closest concept to B&B, "gites" or "agriturismo" in Spain are "casas rurales" (rural houses). These are a kind of accommodation that consists in a full house or room that you rent and which are located in a rural area (may be a in a small or big village, probably in the countryside, rarely in a city). You can rent this kind of properties per day, but sometimes the owner asks to rent at least a minimum number of days. The prices of the "casas rurales" are not fixed and these could be from very cheap (cheaper than hostels in some cases) to a very expensive (more expensives than a Parador). A couple of sites to find this accommodation: TopRural or CasasRurales (only Spanish)

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    Thanks for the tips! Especially the "TopRural" website, it will be handy. – Antoine Mar 16 '15 at 12:44
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Pensions or Hostels

Setting aside free camping (which I do not think should be your first choice, seeing as driving a motorbike after sleeping on the floor is something that requires quite a bit of stamina) pensions in Spain provide accommodation at cheaper rates than hostels. Of course this comes with several tradeoffs, including old worn out rooms, lumpy beds, shared bathroom with the entire building or floor, no hot water after a certain hour, reduced safety (no night reception) etc. depending on the establishment of course.

All of this is from my personal experience. Indeed I have slept in a pension in Cadiz in a room whose door wouldn't lock, in an uncomfortable bed. And I woke up with a handful of people outside my room peeking in presumably to check out what was available to steal. I have also slept in a pension in Zaragoza which was nothing more than the extension of an old woman's flat. I had a bed and shared bathroom and everything went great. The point is that pensions have lower standards than hostels, and this is something to keep in mind.

Casas Rurales

The Spanish equivalent of the French Gîtes de France are the Casas Rurales. These are often manors which are rented to large groups or families, and have all the amenities you can think of - kitchen, pool, etc. I mention then here anyway because it is indeed possible to rent a room for cheap in a Casa Rural, especially during low season, and when the house isn't occupied by anyone. I did this a couple times in small villages that had no hotels let alone pensions. Just find the Casa (they are usually marked with street signs like the Gîtes) and call the owner's number you will usually find on the front door.

Final Notes

For more information see this website detailing the meanders of accommodation in Spain.

  • Casas Rurales is only in Spanish. Ouch! But thanks for the tips. – Antoine Mar 16 '15 at 12:46
  • Many of the general hotel booking sites also do cheaper accommodation and also in Spain, I have used booking.com in Barcelona and north from there. In Barcelona I used a place called a Hostal, which was more a hotel than a hostel. – Willeke Apr 24 '15 at 18:54

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