Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
Fancy a quite retreat?
An alternative and delightful way to see Spain is to stay in its plethora of monasteries. They provide an alternative and unique visit, but do remember many are working monasteries and convents, not hotels. If comfort, service and late nights are your requirements, then staying in a monastery is not for you. That doesn’t mean to say you can’t visit theses intriguing buildings, as many are open to visitors at certain times.
Monasteries were probably one of the earliest forms of shelter for the weary traveller. For over hundreds of years monasteries and convents have offered simple accommodation and refreshment to those approaching their doors.
Today, travel for pleasure is a huge industry and monasteries are turning to this more lucrative form of traveller to help maintain their buildings and their unique way of life.
Spain has a wealth of such accommodation that offer lodging from single to group visitors, some are for men or women only while others are available just for spiritual retreats. The one thing the majority of these establishments have in common is a curfew. Be in before the allotted hour, or take the consequences! Locking up hours vary between 9 -11pm, make sure you know what hour lock-up is.
Whatever your reason and need for travelling, fine lodging and a relaxing venue have to be top the list – for me anyway.
As an excellent form of very reasonably priced accommodation plus the assurance of a friendly welcome a stay in a monastery is not only novel but they are often situated in the most incredible historical buildings surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Monasteries as lodgings can be found on mainland Spain as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands, these historic buildings with their valuable artistic treasures can be like mini-museums. Visit one or two and you'll learn so much about the culture and history of Spain.
Choose your location from the 13th century walled city such as the Real Monasterio Santo Tomás, in Ávila, home town to Saint Teresa, or a location between mountains and the sea such as The Abadia Cisterciense de Santa maria de Viaceli in Cóbreces, near Santander on the north coast.
For more information on monasteries to stay in see the Spanish monastery site (see link below.)This is a great website to find out where the monasteries are, but it is only in Spanish.
Another fantastic resource is the book Lodging in Spain’s Monasteries guide book by Eileen Barish.