Going on holiday to Spain? Find the right place to stay: self-catering accommodation, bed and breakfasts, casas rurales, pensions, cottages, budget hotels or backpacker hostels…

Spain welcomes over 52 million visitors each year; as such the tourism industry is very well developed in many areas, particularly the Costas and the islands (Balearics and Canaries). There are many types of vacation accommodation available.


The government created this hotel chain in 1928. Paradores are luxury hotels or inns located in special buildings such as converted Moorish fortresses, castles or monasteries. There are 85 of them around Spain and they remain state owned.

See these websites for more information and to find paradores:


There are over 10,000 hotels in Spain falling into four category types recognised by a letter symbol:

  • H: Registered hotels
  • HR: Residential hotel with no dining facility
  • HA: Hotels with self-catering apartments
  • CV: Holiday complexes

Hotels in Spain operate with a star rating:

  • 5 star: Outstanding, luxury hotel
  • 4 star: Highly superior hotel
  • 3 star: Highly comfortable, tourist hotel
  • 2 star: Good standard, tourist hotel
  • 1 star: Average standard, tourist hotel


Known in Spanish as an Albergue, these are competitively priced and ideal for those travelling on a budget. They are marked with an Hs symbol issued by the tourist board. A feature of hostels in Europe is the shared, dormitory-style bedroom and bathrooms.


Do not confuse a Hostal with a Hostel. A Hostal is small private hotel with limited facilities and services; a competitively priced alternative to a hotel.

Casas Rurales/Fincas/Villas

These are country houses available to rent. They range from large sprawling houses with large gardens to small, compact cottages in the country. A finca is a farmhouse and could be classed as casas rurales.

Villas are often located outside the main urban centres and are a perfect accommodation option if you have a transport. Villas often have good amenities including swimming pools and kitchen facilities.

Pensión/Fonda/Casa de Huespedes

pensión is a small but basic hotel usually offering a room but no dining facilities. A fonda is similar but has a small restaurant or dining room. A casa de huespedes is similar to a guest house.


The self-catering options can vary in size and standard. They are often in large high rise buildings, sometimes with no lift.


As the name suggests this is halfway between an apartment and hotel in that it is an individual accommodation unit but is usually within the grounds of a hotel and the hotels’ services (cleaning service and dining facilities) can be used by the guests in the apartment.


These are bed and breakfast style accommodations sometimes regulated sometimes not. Quite often it is a private house owner renting out rooms. Breakfast is not always offered.


The Spanish word for a campsite is camping, there are campsites all over Spain with varying quality of facilities. Northern Spain around the Costa Brava is the most densely populated area for campers.