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2019 Camino Guides

A question from New Zealand :)

Mazzy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
#1
Hi all - Maz here from New Zealand. I'm walking the Camino Frances next September so I'm happily doing all my research now. I believe from what I've heard so far that it is best to fly into Paris and out of Madrid afterwards. I only have a month off work so want to make the most of everything. I was originally planning to fly into Madrid as I heard it's the cheapest option out of NZ but someone talked about a bus trip with hairpin bends between Madrid and St Jean Peid de Port. I'm not keen on buses at the best of times, let alone one that will teeter over the edge of a precipice to get me to the start of the camino. Advice anyone please?
 

lissie45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Frances 2019
#2
There are flights into Barcelona as well as Madrid. Singapore Air or Emirates check options on sky scanner but book direct. From Barcelona it’s a short train trip to Pamplona - maybe start there with limited time? I don’t find much difference in airfares between these 3 flights, but France is a lot more expensive than Spain, so I wouldn’t worry about $50 on the airfare.

If you are worried about the bus ride to sjpp, maybe you should reconsider walking that’s part?
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#4
Don't forget that in Spain they drive on the wrong side of the road (compared to NZ & UK).

Sit on the left (driver's side) and you won't see down into the gaping chasm so much. Seriously, I'm with you. Sat next to the driver in a Landie careering down from the Atlas mountains - scared me witless but then I'm a whimpy Pom rather than a Roughtie-Toughtie Kiwi ;)

SJPP does make for a pretty good launch pad though, steel yourself and go for it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#6
If you want to land in Spain there is a good possibly that you could share a taxi for the Pamplona to SJPDP trip. It may not be as scary as a bus. Or you could bus to Roncesvalles and start from there or walk from there to SJPDP by one route and then take the other route back to Spain the next day.

The Pyrenees you cross over I consider more like their foothills.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#7
Hi all - Maz here from New Zealand. I'm walking the Camino Frances next September so I'm happily doing all my research now. I believe from what I've heard so far that it is best to fly into Paris and out of Madrid afterwards. I only have a month off work so want to make the most of everything. I was originally planning to fly into Madrid as I heard it's the cheapest option out of NZ but someone talked about a bus trip with hairpin bends between Madrid and St Jean Peid de Port. I'm not keen on buses at the best of times, let alone one that will teeter over the edge of a precipice to get me to the start of the camino. Advice anyone please?

Hairpin turns...? Yes... Lots of those. This past August, my wife joined me at Santiago. After my month-long volunteer stint, we toured northern Spain in a rental car. I wanted her to see what I see.

From Pamplona, we drove the reverse pilgrim route to Saint Jean Pied de Port. YIKES! It was fine until we turned right just past Roncesvalles to follow the Valcarlos (mostly road) route.

I have been driving for almost 50 years, and have owned several high performance sports cars. My experience includes motocross events. I have driven many a mountain twist and turn. Mountain driving does not scare me... But this road caused me to pay attention, every second.

The stretch from Roncesvalles to SJPdP and back, via the road is positively the most twisted road I have ever driven on...PERIOD! True too, most of the bends have no guard rails and the drop off past the edge is, well, dramatic in the extreme.

If sitting in a bus watching this sort of view distresses you, do not take a bus from Pamplona or Roncesvalles over the Pyrenees. That said, these drivers are skilled and know where the next hairpin turn is...there are dozens of them. You can use Google Maps, satellite view to confirm what I am saying here.

Hope this helps.
 
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Davidmm

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#8
Last year we went via Paris, and this year via Barcelona. Going via Barcelona was infinitely easier. Booked the train to Pamplona and the bus to SJPP. Stayed in an Airbnb in Barcelona and a night in an Albergue in Pamplona. We had no problem changing our bus booking to an earlier one, at no cost. I would however book the train as it was full. The Barcelona train/underground is great, and the bus to SJPP ,no problem - I am terrified of heights.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Camino de Saint Jacques 2018
#9
Last year I flew into Bordeaux and caught a train to Saint Jean de Pied de Port
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
#10
Hi Maz, I'm from Sydney and flew into Madrid, then flew into Biaritz, then train to SJPDP; at the end I flew SDC to Madrid to home last year. All flights worked well and were relatively cheap. The train to SJPDP is full of pilgrims, is a great start to your trip and will get you excited.
 
#13
It's a great TGV train trip from Paris Montparnasse station to Bayonne, about 5 hours. Another little train leaves from Bayonne. It goes up the River River valley to Start Jean Pied de Port. Takes about an hour. I find it best to spend the first night in Paris then catch the 7.30ish TGV to Bayonne.
Regards
Gerard
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Via dela plata, via Francigena
#14
Hi all - Maz here from New Zealand. I'm walking the Camino Frances next September so I'm happily doing all my research now. I believe from what I've heard so far that it is best to fly into Paris and out of Madrid afterwards. I only have a month off work so want to make the most of everything. I was originally planning to fly into Madrid as I heard it's the cheapest option out of NZ but someone talked about a bus trip with hairpin bends between Madrid and St Jean Peid de Port. I'm not keen on buses at the best of times, let alone one that will teeter over the edge of a precipice to get me to the start of the camino. Advice anyone please?
Ki Ora Mazzie ! . We went from Barcelona to Pamplona by train, and organised a van to pick up 4 of us..to go to Roncesvalles. We had bikes, and cycled to SJPDP to get our Credential...and cycled back. I booked it all online..and it all worked a treat. Good Luck and Aroha !
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2020)
#15
Hey @Mazzy i look forward to hearing how you go. I may be there next September as well. I was planning on 2020 but my little kiwi wants to go to university in Barcelona next year. I was planning on flying into Barcelona and then getting to SJPdP via the train but hadn’t worked out the Pamplona to SJPdP bit yet.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles (2016) Camino Portuguese (2017) Considering Invierno 2019
#16
There are direct feeder flights to Biaritz from London Stansted and Paris.
However if you only have a Month Barceleona a start from Pamplona/Roncesvalle is more realistic.
Do not be slave to the fact that you have to start in SJDP! Remember Pilgrimage starts from leaving your home and arriving at your destination. The official requirement for a pilgrimage certificate is that you walk the last 100K and get two stamps a day in your pilgrim passport.
If you try and do your pilgrimage in too short a time, the higher daily KMs walked, may lead to injury/exhaustion and could spoil your enjoyment. As a sugestion, if you are running short of time it is allowable to miss a section. Some people complain that the section between Burgos and Leon on the meseta can be very boring. Having a rest day in Burgos and taking public transport to Leon allows you to see two very beautiful Cathedral cities!
 

Alastair Calder

Ap Hamilton New Zealand
Camino(s) past & future
Have completed San Jean to Santiago in 2015 and Porto Santiago 2017 PlanningVia Podiensis 2019
#17
Hi all - Maz here from New Zealand. I'm walking the Camino Frances next September so I'm happily doing all my research now. I believe from what I've heard so far that it is best to fly into Paris and out of Madrid afterwards. I only have a month off work so want to make the most of everything. I was originally planning to fly into Madrid as I heard it's the cheapest option out of NZ but someone talked about a bus trip with hairpin bends between Madrid and St Jean Peid de Port. I'm not keen on buses at the best of times, let alone one that will teeter over the edge of a precipice to get me to the start of the camino. Advice anyone please?
Hi Mazzy
Alastair here from Hamilton
We took a flight in Barcelona spent a couple of days there then took train to Pamplona and then bus to SJDP it’s easy can send you more info if you would like
Cheers Ap
 

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