Sleeping, Eating and Drinking
September is already out of (high) season in Spain and Portugal so that we never had any problems to find a room for the night. We preferred private accomodation to hotels or hostals, though we often ended up in hotels because private accomodation is either not sufficiently advertised or simply not available. However country hotels turned out to be also very pleasant and we usually didn't regret staying there. Two times we managed to find accomodation where the mother of the house cooked the dinner for the guest herself. Without surprise, we enjoyed these most. Here is an address list where we stayed.
It is difficult to nominate the one and only best accomodation. Many were good - the best were probably the following three...
- Casa de Pardo in Esperante (which is about 6 km from Lugo centre)
We liked the country house Casa de Pardo very much for its classy interior. Despite our cycling clothes we immediately felt like lord and lady. Also the mother of the house cooked two delicious meals for us - luckily we stayed there two days.
- Casa A Pastora in Cambados
In the Casa A Pastora we ate the best mussels of our life. The landlord grew them on his own mussel bank at the coast, i. e. they were extremly fresh, and the landlady cooked them together with vegetables from her own garden. Best of all (though a bit embarrassing), they offered us such a quantity of mussels on the second day that even we had difficulties to finish them. The room was nice, just like the big garden. I will never forget the landlady who managed to give me a lot of touristical hints despite my very basic knowledge of Spanish.
- La Casona de Entralgo in Laviana
Our room in La Casona de Entralgo was very spacious and nicely decorated. Not to mention the bathroom with gold-plated taps. The traditional Asturian restaurant was unfortunately closed on the day we stayed there; the breakfast gave us an idea of what we had missed.
The worst room was the one in Matosinhos near Porto - a bit smoky with a shower that was partly broken. But we shouldn't compain - it was obvious from the price that we shouldn't expect luxury.
If you are a pilgrim or got yourself a pilgrim pass for whatever reason, you can get price reductions in some accomodations. We heard about this, but didn't investigate in detail because we just didn't feel like pilgrims.
Turismo Rural / Agroturismo
In Spain, accomodation lists are published by the counties. As always, they do not cover all offers. The local tourist offices will have more complete lists. This was how we found Casa A Pastora.
Here are some links we found useful:
- Cantabria: http://www.turismoruralcantabria.com
- Asturia: http://www.infoasturias.com
- Galicia: http://www.turgalicia.es
In Portugal, manor and farm house as well as cottages are listed here:
- Portugal: http://www.portugalsolares.com
We actually never tried the rural accomodation in Portugal. Either we had difficulties to make a reservation, there was none on the planned route or it was just too expensive. However we regret this a bit and would do it differently in our next holiday in Portugal - which will happen for certain.
As already stated above, we enjoyed the best seafood in the turismo rural in Cambados. Unlike our previous holidays in France and Italy, we found rarely private accomodation that offered dinner and hence often had to go to restaurants. Except for Santiago de Compostella and Porto, restaurant prices were a bit lower then in Germany and the quantity of food was always sufficient for hungry cyclists - if not even too much.
A very nice restaurant in Arcos de Valdevez (Portugal) was O Pote, Rua Amorim Soares - 54 4970-598 Arcos de Valdevez. Tel. : +351 258 515 245. E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last, but not least one warning: If you leave the touristical areas, please bare in mind that you may not find a restaurant in the evening. This happended to us in Vila de Cruces which is a typical dormitory town in Galicia where all restaurants were closed down on Monday evening. But once in a while one can also eat cheap bar food...
We expected typical mediterranean style breakfast and were surprised to get often rich meals with cakes and juice. Maybe we were just lucky, maybe northern Spain is different from the rest of Spain.