Staying in Monasteries and Convents
One way to make your travels both economical and interesting is to stay at a Monastery or Convent. Sounds like a great way to get to know the local people and sample their way of life….and it is. Here are some tips on staying in these religious houses and some things to watch out for.
Many of these facilities will offer daily Mass and other devotions that you will probably be welcome to attend. You have the opportunity, in a small way, to see what life is like in the particular religious community.
But you need to have realistic expectations:
1. Be aware that most of these are not hotels. Their purpose is different and so don’t expect fancy rooms. And, the bathroom may be down the hall and shared with others.
2. Most convents and monasteries have curfews. You cannot come in just any time you please which may limit you if you like to stay out late. Be sure to check before you go out or you may come back only to find yourself locked out for the night!
3. You need to make reservations in advance in most cases. Since rooms are limited be sure to contact the place you wish to stay several weeks ahead of your arrival. It may take several calls or e-mails before you get a response since obviously this is not their first priority.
Please note that the above information does not apply to the Paradors of Spain or the Pousadas of Portugal. These former convents and monasteries have been converted to hotels and therefore operate more like hotels.