Hostels in Spain

hotel room

Spain is brimming with budget accommodation, but it's easy to get lost in all of the overlapping and largely interchangeable terminology. So, to avoid any confusion, surprises or rip-offs, here's a quick run down of hostels and other budget accommodations in Spain.

Your cheapest and most basic option is what's known as a "fonda," which you can pick out by the blue sign with a white "F" outside the entrance. Often part of a joint eatery and inn, it's a popular option for backpackers who are just passing through for a night. Not very different are "casas de huéspedes" or "hospedajes," indicated by a blue sign with a white "CH." Casas de huéspedes are like guest houses and are generally used for longer stays.

The next step up - and just a hair under hostel status - are "pensiones." Seek a blue sign with a white "P" for a small, private hotel, which are attributed either one or two stars.

Spain's "hostales" - designated by a blue sign with a white "Hs" - are not the grimy hostels that come to mind upon hearing the word hostel. Instead, think of them as more like small, family-run hotels. Often found in a historic part of town, hostels will more often than not give you a good, clean and functional room that usually has a private shower.

Like hotels in Spain, hostels have a rating system of one to three stars. In terms of prices, a three-star hostel will probably cost you about the same as - if not more than- a one-star hotel, so keep in mind that a one-star hotel might be your best option.