One forum memberthat has walked the camino many times, explains his travling plans for his next walk.
My first goal was to get a cheap flight to Spain: I got it on www.norwegian.com : Ca 150 Euros from my hometown in Norway to Madrid. Then I went to www.booking.com and ordered a cheap stay in Madrid (I only need a bed for the night), near the Chamartin station, because I’ll take a cheap shuttle bus from the airport to Shamartin station, go in and buy a ticket to Pamplona there for the next morning (That station is for northbound trains; if you go south like Sevilla or Malaga, you should find a hotel/hostel near the Atosha station for southbound trains).
Right: So now I am in Madrid, at 4 pm in the afternoon. I have my train ticket for the next day, so of course: I check in at the hostel, relax, have a few tapas++, and go to bed. Next morning is an easy 4-5 hours trainride through the Spanish landscape,
I go to the Jesus y Maria albergue in Pamplona centre for a bed for the night. If you don’t have a pilgrim passport/credential, they will give you one for 2 Euros, and the next morning I am on the Camino, walking to Puente la Reina (or wherever I want to stop for the day).
I am writing this for the comfort of newbies: Having done many Caminos, this is now very simple for me, but I completely understand the anxiety of firsttimers. Just remember, Spain is a VERY civilised country with superb infrastructure. The only obstacle may be the language, but learn to be patient and polite, and all will be well.
Being retired, I haven’t purchased a return ticket: I am playing it by the ear. Much easier that way.
Important: For us over 60, it is possible to but a “Tarjeta Dorada” at railway stations. It costs 6 Euros, and will give you a 25 % discount on all train travels in Spain. It will be valid for a year to date after purchase. You will save a lot of money, and can donate it to the Forum
Buen Camino, and hope to see some of you on the Way!
Edit: For all those who go to Paris etc., all this fuzz about getting to get to SJpdP: (there is nothing saying you HAVE to start there: Start where you want): Go to Madrid, stay over, enjoy a nice city (Now you are where you need to be), take a morning train to Pamplona, take an afternoon bus/taxi from there to SJpdP: Much easier, cheaper, and more fun. Paris is overrated, IMHO.
Read all the responses he got on his post Camino travelling 101 from an oldtimer to newbies here.