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Advice on itinerary please

magarac

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 2023
Good morning fellow pilgrims,

I am planing to do my very first Camino (Frances) in April, and would kindly ask for an advice.

Coming from California ( San Francisco ), it is bit of a logistics puzzle I am trying to solve regarding where to fly to/from. So far, I am thinking of having Madrid (via Frankfurt) as the main hub. I did lots of investigation via Google Flights, plus additional resources such as this forum, etc...
Below is the tentative itinerary, please feel free to comment / advice:


Day 1 ( March 29 )
2:40 PM San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
10:25 AM+1 Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
(6 hr 45 min layover FRA)
5:10 PM+1 Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
7:40 PM+1 Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)


Day 2 ( March 30 )
Overnight at MAD airport.


Day 3 ( March 31 )
Early flight to PNA + bus / taxi to St.Jean Pied de Port


Day 4 ( April 1 )
Start Camino


Day 30 ( April 30 )
Finish Camino


Day 32 ( May 2 )
From Santiago, return to Madrid either by:
(a) Fast train ( Santiago to Madrid by Renfa train )
(b) Flight SCQ to MAD
+
Overnight at MAD airport,


Day 33 ( May 3 )
6:10 AM Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)
8:40 AM Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
(1 hr 45 min layoverFrankfurt FRA)
10:25 AM Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
12:40 PM San Francisco International Airport (SFO)




Also, I tried directly via Lufthansa site multi-city search:
San Francisco to Pamplona
Santiago to San Francisco ( SCQ to FRA apparently available on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday )
but it seems there is no direct flight FRA to PNA as I am getting error message:
"We do not offer this connection for the requested travel period. Please select another routing or visit our page with worldwide travel destinations. (66002 - 931)"




Looking forward to your opinion / advice,

Best,
Magarac
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Are you sure that you can complete the Camino in 30 days?
Your time frame is very tight, and you haven't given yourself any leeway in case you need to slow down due to illness, injury, or just the desire to take it slower.
If this is all the time that you have due to work or other obligations I recommend that you start closer to Santiago. If you start in Pamplona then you wouldn't have to spend that time traveling to St Jean Pied de Port.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
TAP (Portuguese Airlines) and Iberia (Spanish) fly SF to Madrid via Lisbon. The connections should be much better than in Frankfurt, and 30 days is very short for SJPdP to Santiago. If you want to start in Pamplona, a better option might be SF to UK, probably Heathrow, then to Bilbao (probably from Heathrow), then bus/train to Pamplona, or even SJPdP.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
I would fly directly to Madrid or maybe even Bilbao. There are flights from Santiago to Frankfurt if that works for you. You can also take a train from Frankfurt to Paris and then Bayonne. This might work better for you if you cannot fly into Paris.

Your time frame is really, really short. Are you a really fast walker? I am slow and planning on 47 days from SJPDP to Santiago. You have no rest days, no days for when you might be ill or get hurt.

Use Rome2Rio for various connection possibilities.
 
First of all, congratulations on doing your first Camino. I am doing a partial again this spring with my 10 year old grandson, so I share your enthusiasm.

The travel arrangements to/from can feel daunting. I am from Minneapolis, so I have the same challenges. Simple fact is that no options are perfectly easy, and there is no single right answer. Your plan can work. I flew to Paris, then took high speed train to Bayonne, and caught a short train to SJPP. Getting to the start is harder than leaving because Santiago has a good airport with lots of low-cost airlines providing flights to the big cities. I took Ryan to London and then caught a flight back a day or so later. Many options. All complex. None right or wrong.

When I look at your itinerary the thing I would draw your attention to (as have others) is your budget of time for the camino itself. If you do only have 33 days with travel, you might consider as has been suggested to start in Pamplona. The first few days out of SJPP to Pamplona are memorable, but the connections to Pamplona are easier.

If you do not have a hard restriction on the time and have the flexibility to do a few days more, then I suggest you fly from San Francisco into someplace interesting - Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, London. Spend a day or so seeing that city and getting adjusted to the time change. Then do your hop to your jumping off point by short flight or train. Then give yourself at least 33 days of walking, more if you can. It is easy to kill time, slow down, take it as it comes. If you finish faster than you thought, then spend a few days in some other city at the end. We went to London and rewarded ourselves with a few nights of shows on the West End before returning home. Many people with whom we walked were going to Barcelona before heading home.

Most of all, don't stress over it. Many options, all of them OK if they get you where you want to go. As you will find on the camino there is no single right or wrong way to do anything. Enjoy the experience.
 
For your consideration. SFO to Dublin on Aer Lingus is a direct that arrives at 11:45 AM. Ryan Air to Biarritz departs 1:00 PM - I have done this transfer although you may have to run a bit (assuming you do not have checked bags). Then your return, depart SCQ to Dublin on Ryan Air - that would require a stayover in Dublin as that flight arrives 7:05 PM. Aer Lingus flight the following day at 12:05 PM with a direct back to SFO. The Express Bourricot shuttle from Biarritz to SJPP is very convenient and can be very inexpensive. I actually arrived last March 29 and took this Dublin-Biarritz-shuttle to SJPP option and worked out well.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
For your consideration. SFO to Dublin on Aer Lingus is a direct that arrives at 11:45 AM. Ryan Air to Biarritz departs 1:00 PM - I have done this transfer although you may have to run a bit (assuming you do not have checked bags). Then your return, depart SCQ to Dublin on Ryan Air - that would require a stayover in Dublin as that flight arrives 7:05 PM. Aer Lingus flight the following day at 12:05 PM with a direct back to SFO. The Express Bourricot shuttle from Biarritz to SJPP is very convenient and can be very inexpensive. I actually arrived last March 29 and took this Dublin-Biarritz-shuttle to SJPP option and worked out well.
Dublin is also a great town in which to take an extra day and just enjoy the city. Downtown Dublin in the spring is a delight.
 
Hmm - you would have to pay me lots of money to fly on Level Airlines - awful reviews and worst customer service in the industry.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Hmm - you would have to pay me lots of money to fly on Level Airlines - awful reviews and worst customer service in the industry.
Does saving money on fares equate to being paid the same amount of money? [rhetorical question]

We used Level in 2019 and had no complaints at all. I realize things change though. I haven't checked any reviews since then.
 
Good morning fellow pilgrims,

I am planing to do my very first Camino (Frances) in April, and would kindly ask for an advice.

Coming from California ( San Francisco ), it is bit of a logistics puzzle I am trying to solve regarding where to fly to/from. So far, I am thinking of having Madrid (via Frankfurt) as the main hub. I did lots of investigation via Google Flights, plus additional resources such as this forum, etc...
Below is the tentative itinerary, please feel free to comment / advice:


Day 1 ( March 29 )
2:40 PM San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
10:25 AM+1 Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
(6 hr 45 min layover FRA)
5:10 PM+1 Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
7:40 PM+1 Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)


Day 2 ( March 30 )
Overnight at MAD airport.


Day 3 ( March 31 )
Early flight to PNA + bus / taxi to St.Jean Pied de Port


Day 4 ( April 1 )
Start Camino


Day 30 ( April 30 )
Finish Camino


Day 32 ( May 2 )
From Santiago, return to Madrid either by:
(a) Fast train ( Santiago to Madrid by Renfa train )
(b) Flight SCQ to MAD
+
Overnight at MAD airport,


Day 33 ( May 3 )
6:10 AM Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)
8:40 Aéroport de Francfort (FRA)
(1 h 45 min d’escaleFrancfort FRA)
10:25 Aéroport de Francfort (FRA)
12:40 PM Aéroport international de San Francisco (SFO)




Aussi, j’ai essayé directement via la recherche multi-villes du site Lufthansa:
De San Francisco à Pampelune
Santiago à San Francisco ( SCQ à FRA apparemment disponible le jeudi, samedi, dimanche )
mais il semble qu’il n’y ait pas de vol direct FRA vers PNA car je reçois un message d’erreur:
« Nous n’offrons pas cette correspondance pour la période de voyage demandée. Veuillez sélectionner un autre itinéraire ou visiter notre page avec des destinations de voyage dans le monde entier. (66002 - 931)"




Dans l’attente de votre avis / conseil,

Meilleur

Good morning fellow pilgrims,

I am planing to do my very first Camino (Frances) in April, and would kindly ask for an advice.

Coming from California ( San Francisco ), it is bit of a logistics puzzle I am trying to solve regarding where to fly to/from. So far, I am thinking of having Madrid (via Frankfurt) as the main hub. I did lots of investigation via Google Flights, plus additional resources such as this forum, etc...
Below is the tentative itinerary, please feel free to comment / advice:


Day 1 ( March 29 )
2:40 PM San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
10:25 AM+1 Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
(6 hr 45 min layover FRA)
5:10 PM+1 Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
7:40 PM+1 Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)


Day 2 ( March 30 )
Overnight at MAD airport.


Day 3 ( March 31 )
Early flight to PNA + bus / taxi to St.Jean Pied de Port


Day 4 ( April 1 )
Start Camino


Day 30 ( April 30 )
Finish Camino


Day 32 ( May 2 )
From Santiago, return to Madrid either by:
(a) Fast train ( Santiago to Madrid by Renfa train )
(b) Flight SCQ to MAD
+
Overnight at MAD airport,


Day 33 ( May 3 )
6:10 AM Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)
8:40 AM Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
(1 hr 45 min layoverFrankfurt FRA)
10:25 AM Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
12:40 PM San Francisco International Airport (SFO)




Also, I tried directly via Lufthansa site multi-city search:
San Francisco to Pamplona
Santiago to San Francisco ( SCQ to FRA apparently available on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday )
but it seems there is no direct flight FRA to PNA as I am getting error message:
"We do not offer this connection for the requested travel period. Please select another routing or visit our page with worldwide travel destinations. (66002 - 931)"




Looking forward to your opinion / advice,

Best,
Magarac
Better looking for on : Rome2rio.com
From San Francisco to SJPDP
 
Good morning fellow pilgrims,

I am planing to do my very first Camino (Frances) in April, and would kindly ask for an advice.

Coming from California ( San Francisco ), it is bit of a logistics puzzle I am trying to solve regarding where to fly to/from. So far, I am thinking of having Madrid (via Frankfurt) as the main hub. I did lots of investigation via Google Flights, plus additional resources such as this forum, etc...
Below is the tentative itinerary, please feel free to comment / advice:


Day 1 ( March 29 )
2:40 PM San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
10:25 AM+1 Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
(6 hr 45 min layover FRA)
5:10 PM+1 Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
7:40 PM+1 Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)


Day 2 ( March 30 )
Overnight at MAD airport.


Day 3 ( March 31 )
Early flight to PNA + bus / taxi to St.Jean Pied de Port


Day 4 ( April 1 )
Start Camino


Day 30 ( April 30 )
Finish Camino


Day 32 ( May 2 )
From Santiago, return to Madrid either by:
(a) Fast train ( Santiago to Madrid by Renfa train )
(b) Flight SCQ to MAD
+
Overnight at MAD airport,


Day 33 ( May 3 )
6:10 AM Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)
8:40 AM Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
(1 hr 45 min layoverFrankfurt FRA)
10:25 AM Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
12:40 PM San Francisco International Airport (SFO)




Also, I tried directly via Lufthansa site multi-city search:
San Francisco to Pamplona
Santiago to San Francisco ( SCQ to FRA apparently available on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday )
but it seems there is no direct flight FRA to PNA as I am getting error message:
"We do not offer this connection for the requested travel period. Please select another routing or visit our page with worldwide travel destinations. (66002 - 931)"




Looking forward to your opinion / advice,

Best,
Magarac
In French we say : "Pourquoi faire simple quand on peut faire compliqué"
 
Prepare for your next Camino on California's Santa Catalina Island, Oct 27 to Nov 2
Hmm - you would have to pay me lots of money to fly on Level Airlines - awful reviews and worst customer service in the industry.
I would disagree about Levels in flight service… you are , however, completely accurate about the customer service aspect. In fact, they don’t provide any.
 
Consider Barcelona with a flight, bus or train to Pamplona.

Level airlines has a $329 US flight from San Francisco to Barcelona on Sunday, March 26.

I live in Mexico. Before my caminos I go to New York to visit my daughters. I discovered Level last year. The roundtrip flight was the best fare I could find anywhere. Yes I had to carry my own food on the plane but big deal. The plane was new and the seats were comfortable and the flight was no worse than flying any other airline.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
I personally need more time to get over jet lag than you are showing. Starting to walk that soon would make my first couple of days a miserable grinding fog. You may not be as affected.

I walk between 15 - 30 km per day, say 22 average. If you have a limited amount of time and know your capability, it's just math to find a starting place. But adding in a couple of rest days takes a lot of pressure off. If completing the whole CF is important, consider doing it in multiple years as many do. If you're time limited, finding the balance between "accomplishing" and "experiencing" can be more challenging. Good luck and
Buen Camino!
 
In French we say : "Pourquoi faire simple quand on peut faire compliqué"
Ditto that thought. I would break the trip down into smaller bites, starting with where you want to end your trip to start your Camino; then work backwards bit by bit, planning the connections so you don't end up with an overnight or a 6-12 hour layover. It is like doing a flow chart for a construction project and some of the major hubs for flights to and from SF and to and from the cities most pilgrims use to get to the Camino are the key for your planning. For example, I haven't heard anyone mention Miami, there are lots of flights from there to Spain, n'est pas.
 
As far as traveling to start your Camino - there are direct flights from SFO to Paris. From Paris you can either take the train to SJPdP with a quick transfer in Bayonne, or book a flight to Biarritz, then use Express Bourricot shuttle to get to St Jean.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I'm from the Netherlands. And always fly with Vueling (spanish) from Amsterdam to/from Bilbao or Santiago.
Is Amsterdam an option to fly at?
 
There are United flights from SF to Madrid that get in at 9:OO am. And there is a short flight on Iberia I think it is that departs MAD for Pamplona at noon, so you would be in Pamplona by 1:00. I have taken that combination three times now.
 
Thought I would put a spanner in the works here - have you thought of flying to England? Lots of domestic England-Spain flights and one can fly direct from Santiago to England at the end.
If you are not time poor it would allow you full jetlag recovery whilst you play the tourist (worth doing) - then hop over to Spain? Just a thought.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
If you are fit and used to walking back to back 20 mile days on varied terrains, with whatever size pack you intend to use, you should easily complete it including having a day to chill out in Santiago at the end. If you aren't fit, don't have experience doing back to back 20-25 mile days, then you have a high chance of injuring yourself.

It all depends on you. On my first camino I met a team of military personnel doing 40 mile days back to back, but they were used to doing that, right through to the 60 year old woman, totally unfit, with a 30kg pack trying to walk in flip flops who lasted about a quarter of mile out of Sahagun before her son called a taxi (and she looked ready to die at that point). I walk at 15-25 mile days on Camino. I like to walk from dawn to dusk. I have no issue doing those levels because I do them on other treks.

Know your limits and adhere to them.
 
Another thought... I always fly out of DFW, flight leaves late afternoon (use that afternoon to fly direct from San Fran to DFW ..Overnight on plane landing in Madrid around 9 am. Train from Atocha, 11ish to Pamplona then taxi to SJPdP on night 1 to sleep well.. This is definitely not the least expensive but is economical in time and tricky changes. It gives me time to get a SIM card and a bit of lunch before boarding the train in Madrid to Pamplona. Buen Camino!
 
I certainly hope you respond and thank the Forum Members who have offered you some great advice,
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
If you were to ask "Surely there are others coming from SFO and what are the thinking of doing?" I would be one of those people flying from SFO. I'll speak to my flight strategy to Spain/France since yours seems like an ordeal. May departure for me. And my first Camino also.

I use kayak.com mostly, since one is able to enter up to 3 cities outbound and inbound. And then it's a "show me what you got" search with all the permutations of airports and prices. (And I do flexible dates)

I consistently find Madrid to be attractive on price and layover airport (Toronto and not JFK, for example). Iberia has non-stops in and out of Barcelona for a quite low price. And then SAS with the cheapest with a stop each way in Copenhagen ... and the layover there coming back is enough to go explore for several hours outside the airport, and wouldn't that be worth the layover time.

To continue, per Rome to Rio, I'll do the best ground plan that works with transit schedules. Probably Train from either BCN or MAD (4 hours) to Pamplona and then Bus (Alsa) onward to SJPdP. (If MAD and I need to wait a bit for the train from Atocha station, I'll pop in to the Reina Sofia museum, which is a couple blocks away. See Picasso's "Guernica" and some Miro and Dali, and then you can leave.)

I don't know if this is advice, but maybe food for thought or something. I'd love for you to not have that layover on the front end if that means starting the Camino a day earlier than currently planned since time seems tight.
 
Check flights from SFO to Biarritz, France (take Bouricott transport to SJPdP/arrange ahead)
Depart from Madrid after taking fast train from Santiago.
Looks like Air France will do this and much quicker than the travel time you have.
 
I certainly hope you respond and thank the Forum Members who have offered you some great advice,
I'm sure the OP will, it seems they haven't been online since posting the question.

For my part I have found this thread very useful specifically with the travel from Madrid/Pamplona and Paris/Bayonne/ Biarritz so thank you from me.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Good morning / evening,

First of all - I am grateful for each and all feedback and let me provide some answers and context.

@All : thank you so much for your effort and advice ! Indeed, my time is limited (pun intended), and I am hoping 30 days for Camino itself would be manageable. For a reference, in 2019, I completed Tour Du Mont Blanc ( 165 km ) in 12 days, which averages to ~ 15 km/day. For Camino, I would be carrying similar load ( ~ 15 kg), but the daily elevation change would be less, so I think I could manage 25 / 30 km / day.

@Dick: thanks for suggestion, I just searched on Google Flights SFO to PNA with 1 stop option, but nothing shows up. Also, LHR to PNA gives me only 1 stop.
But with two stops, this combo looks favorable:
SFO ( leave AM ) to JFK ( ~ 2 hr layover ) to MAD ( arrive AM , ~ 1 hr layover ) to PNA ( arrive early PM )
SCQ ( leave AM ) to BCN ( ~ 6 hr layover ) to SFO

@Tim: thanks ! I see there is direct flight:
SFO to CDG ( arrive 10:25 am )
and train
Paris ( I guess Montparnasse 1 Et 2 ? ) leaves at 12:08 pm ( or 14:02 pm or 16:08 pm ) to Bayonne , with latest arrival at 20:03 pm.

@stevepjq / tim: thanks ! Interestingly Google does not list SFO to DUB to BIQ, only direct flight to DUB ( arrive 11: 45 am ). DUB to BIQ leaves at 12:20 pm , so not convenient. Indeed, just watched The Great Courses on Ireland, would love to visit Dublin and the rest of the country - without any rush !

@Rick: thanks ! Indeed, never heard of Level - direct flight arrives in BCN at 16:35 pm ( bit late ). This leaves option of overnight stay at BCN or leave BCN at 6:05 pm to MAD , to PNA arrive at 9:25 pm …. Return seems attractive:
BCN ( 14:25 pm ) to SFO

@Monasp: thanks ! Indeed Rome2Rio covers the “last-mile” i.e. all options to the final destination ! Again, SFO to CDG to BIQ seems nice, with early PM arrival at BIQ ! Hm, do not speak French yet, but found translation “Why make it simple when it can be complicated” …. sounds like story of my life :)

@estorildon: thanks ! Still processing all the info, but here is the first thanks + feedback :) Next one this evening ( SFO time ) !

Best,
Magarac
 
For Camino, I would be carrying similar load ( ~ 15 kg)
You only need to carry about half that weight or less on the Camino! Personally, I would start in Pamplona and save myself the time and hassle of getting to St Jean Pied de Port, and also have less pressure to walk long days.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Continuing:

@JerryStroebele: unfortunately, there is no direct flight to Pamplona from SFO.

@Philtration: indeed, balance is the key, hard to figure out in advance, only clear in retrospect after many trials-and-errors ….

@trecile: indeed, this afternoon, I read in details another post:
Paris to SJPP - Advice on my itinerary
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/paris-to-sjpp-advice-on-my-itinerary.76760/
"I would strongly consider flying down to Biarritz from CDG. ... but now Air France fly direct from CDG to Biarritz and you won’t even have to leave the airport, just change terminals which is a walk and then a 5 min shuttle bus ride. Stay overnight in Biarritz and then train to Bayonne the following morning (12 min fast train) and then train/bus from Bayonne to SJPdP."

@Myra13: thanks. Hm, not this time, no convenient connection from AMS to SjPdP ( at least compared to previous option from CDG ).

@Bob Howard: thanks. I just looked at United site, they do not list direct flight option (which is same observation as via Google Flight). Yes, that would be a “winner” since MAD to PNA is easy flight, and from Santiago I could take a train (or fly) back to MAD.

@David: thanks. Hm, have not considered going via England, not sure if I recall any mention of direct flight from England to BIQ.

@Pathfinder075: I’m reasonably fit, for example, last year I did a day hike to Mt Whitney, 10 miles up, ascending 6000 feet in 10 hrs, and back. I was wiped out the next few days :)

@Sparrow in Texas: thanks. Hm, interesting option - I got used to direct flights to Europe, but this one:
SFO ( 10:00 am ) to DFW ( arr 3:24 pm , dep 5:05 pm ) to MAD ( arr 9:05 am )
is indeed convenient. Then train to Atocha ( 37 min ), and train to Pamplona ( 3h 32 min , take a nap ), then to SjPdP and have the first night in EU, next day to rest and prepare.
What do you recommend for the way back ? I see Ibera:
SCQ ( dep 9:15 am ) to MAD ( arr 10:35 am , dep 12:20 pm ) to SFO
but 10:35 to 12:20 seems bit short considering all the security for inbound flights to US ….
If MAD is also returning airport, would you get first return tickets SFO-MAD-SFO and separately arrange SCQ-SFO ?

@goebel.travels: thanks. I just reviewed MAD option in previous note, indeed seems reasonable, on par with SFO-to-CDG-BIQ. Also, same question as to Sparrow: did you get separate one-way ticket(s) to EU and back assuming different arrival and departure airports ? Or Kayak would let you combine as you say “...up to 3 cities outbound and inbound” and you get all flights booked at once ( buy “return” with multi-city option ) ?

@Susan Peacock: thanks. The only direct flight from Madrid to SFO leaves at 12:20pm, too early for even earliest and fastest train from Santiago.

@Shaz Celeste: indeed - these two options seem very reasonable.

@Rick of Rick and Peg: thanks for the site:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/pamplona-to-st-jean-pdp-by-bus.78470/
"The timetable for Pamplona to SJPP is there and tickets can be bought for the period 16 March 2023 to 15 July 2023 (at least)."
There is one bus at noon, but from notes with Sparrow above ( MAD-Atocha-Pamplona ), I might be in Pamplona ( train station ) by 3-ish PM. In this case, only option is (shared) taxi.

@trecile: thanks for “twisting my arm” :) yes, I’ll keep this option in the back pocket as Plan B. I do like to research as much as I can, but at the end of the day I also go with “Plans Are Worthless, But Planning Is Everything:)



But first-things-first: next week I need to “negotiate” 5 weeks time off ( unusually “long" and kind of detested in corporate world ), and finalize the decision on flights/trains. Again, many thanks for great feedback and excitement of letting my mind wonder around Europe a bit before I hop on the plane ….

Best,
Magarac
 
@goebel.travels: thanks. I just reviewed MAD option in previous note, indeed seems reasonable, on par with SFO-to-CDG-BIQ. Also, same question as to Sparrow: did you get separate one-way ticket(s) to EU and back assuming different arrival and departure airports ? Or Kayak would let you combine as you say “...up to 3 cities outbound and inbound” and you get all flights booked at once ( buy “return” with multi-city option ) ?
Hi @magarac - I usually check the multi-city to see if I can return from an airport closer to where I end up (SdC in this case), but my response didn't take that into account. Just tried Multi-City and it seems Iberia has an SCQ to SFO via MAD; coupled with the SFO to MAD nonstop, the price is pretty good. But you could just take train to MAD if you got an RT ticket in and out of MAD, time allowing.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
A RT from SFO to MAD seems the most sensible. Get in in the AM take the noon flight to Pamplona (which was less than $100 last summer)--then either the train/bus to Bayonne or the once or twice daily bus to SJPDP from Pamplona. From Santiago, train to Madrid the day before your morning departure--you'd even have time to explore a bit of Madrid in the late afternoon and evening.
 
Quick update: I got my tickets:

Mar 28: SFO ( San Francisco ) to DFW ( Dep. 10:00am Arr. 3.24pm )
DFW ( Dallas ) to MAD ( Dep. 05:05pm Arr. 9:05am )
Mar 29 MAD ( T4 ) to PNA ( Dep. 12:25pm Arr. 13:25pm )
May 4: MAD to SFO ( Dep. 12:20pm Arr. 4:15pm )

Hope I will have enough time from arrival at MAD ( 9:05am ) to reach T4 to catch 12:25pm to Pamplona ? Then from Pamplona, hope to share a taxi with fellow pilgrims to SJPdP. Couple of days rest, and start on April 1 ( not a joke ).

Many thanks to all feedbacks - indeed, so many options to try next time !

Best,
Magarac
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
Quick update: I got my tickets:

Mar 28: SFO ( San Francisco ) to DFW ( Dep. 10:00am Arr. 3.24pm )
DFW ( Dallas ) to MAD ( Dep. 05:05pm Arr. 9:05am )
Mar 29 MAD ( T4 ) to PNA ( Dep. 12:25pm Arr. 13:25pm )
May 4: MAD to SFO ( Dep. 12:20pm Arr. 4:15pm )

Hope I will have enough time from arrival at MAD ( 9:05am ) to reach T4 to catch 12:25pm to Pamplona ? Then from Pamplona, hope to share a taxi with fellow pilgrims to SJPdP. Couple of days rest, and start on April 1 ( not a joke ).

Many thanks to all feedbacks - indeed, so many options to try next time !

Best,
Magarac
I have a taxi lined up for March 29th. If interested send me a message and we can contact the transport company to make sure they haven’t filled the other spots.
 

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