Camino Frances Day 8 – Azofra to Viloria del Rioja

Today’s stage is Day 8 and we’re walking from the quiet town of Azofra to Viloria del Rioja, another quiet town on the Camino Frances. If you haven’t stayed in a ‘donativo‘ albergue read on to find out about our first stay in one.

Day 8 Overview

We had a wonderful stay in Azofra at the municipal albergue and left early at 5.30am with our head torch on at the ready. It is pretty dark this early in the morning and very quiet.

The weather forecast has scheduled a very hot day today. Most Pilgrims will get up this early in the morning to avoid walking in the baking hot sun and this is exactly our plan today.

Day 8 on our pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and we’re feeling fitter and healthier. All this exercise is amazing but I’m really thankful for all the pre-training I did before leaving.

We left so early we managed to see the sunrise and it was truly breathtaking.

sunrise near Azofra

We decided to walk the whole way to Santa Domingo de la Calzada before stopping for our breakfast and managed to make it in 3.5 hours. We were really cruising !

We stopped in this lovely small city and had the obligatory cafe con Leche and a rather large Danish type thing. It was gorgeous !  

We also found this great water fountain next to the cathedral. Someone had to jump on and it was my mate Pilgrim Bob.

The small old town streets and cathedral are fantastic to walk around and a great way to waste a few hours if this is your last stop of the day. There  is also a tree lined streets with bars and cafes which is really pleasant and it was full of Pilgrims on the Camino.

Bob riding a bicycle in Santa Domingo de la Calzada

This stage of the Camino Frances takes us from small village to village and walking through fields of wheat for hours on end. It was pretty boring but the views and scenery are amazing. The picture below I took specifically for my daughter, Grace (she knows what it is)

picture of a door for grace

Our afternoon section of this Camino stage took us through Granon, Redecilla de Camino and Castildelgado and after a very hot 32km we arrived in Viloria del Rioja.

This village is a stop between stages according to the John Brierley guidebook.  We had decided not to book an Albergue and wing it, and had a choice of 2 Albergues. We decided to try out a ‘donativo‘ albergue as we havent tried staying in on of those as yet.

Donativo albergue

Donativo Albergues are maintained exclusively with donations from Pilgrims on the Camino and don’t receive any public funds.

They are mainly operated by veteran pilgrims who have walked el Camino de Santiago multiple times. A lot of these pilgrims have bought properties on the Camino and run these albergues for the love of the pilgrimage and to help pilgrims currently walking to Santiago. 

They are also sometimes run by local parishes, churches, monasteries or local people and are sometimes the best Albergeus on the Camino. But remember Donativo doesn’t mean free !

How do they work ?

Donativo typically means that you pay the price that you find fair and reasonable – what the size of that amount is, is up to you, and your ability to pay. Sometimes there will be a suggested rate for your bed for the night.

I suggest you leave it as clean as you found it. Your ‘donation’ will help fund the running of the Albergue and also to feed the Pilgrims arriving the next day. This is how it continues….. Pilgrims on the Camino arriving day after day.

Viloria del Rioja

Viloria del Rioja is actually a really small village and the choice of Albergue was small as there are only 2 in the village. We chose the Parada Viloria albergue. It was a donativo and the suggested rate for the night was €8 per person which included a pilgrim meal as well.  Fantastic value.

This means that the bed and meal are donation only. It was an old barn and a brilliant place to stay. The rooms we’re comfy but a bit basic and the beds are pretty close to each other. We’ve been on the Camino Frances for 8 days now so we’re used to it now.

Let’s hope the food is good.

Albergue Parada Viloria
donativo meal at albergue Parada Viloria

We sat with other pilgrims chatting about the Camino and eventually we were brought out an amazing Paella. It was delicious and washed down with a Rioja was a perfect end to the evening.

dinner in an albergue in Viloria del Rioja
German man serving paella in Viloria del Rioja

Accommodation in Viloria del Rioja

There are a couple of albergues in Viloria del Rioja and are there to mainly service pilgrims. One is bookable and the other is reservable via telephone.

If you haven’t tried a ‘donativo‘ on the Camino Frances yet, I recommend you give it a chance. The Parada Viloria Albergue was very good.

Refugio Acacio y Orietta

Parada Viloria albergue

I hope you enjoyed reading about the walking stage on Day 8 Azofra to Viloria del Rioja. To follow our journey read about our travels on Day 9 Viloria del Rioja to Villafranca Montes de Oca

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