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Anyone have experience starting the Camino in Biarritz? Advice?

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Deborah53

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, (2006)
Le Puy-Cahors, (2008)
Camino North Coast May (2019)
Dear Forum,

I'm thinking of starting in Biarritz instead of Irun as I have time and will, after all, be landing there. I have the French book, Rando edition, which starts in Bayonne, so it seems very possible, but it is dated: 2006. My goal, in this case, is planning the first stage from Biarritz to Hondarribia, then onward up the mountain and down again.

In need of a Sim card when arriving in Biarritz. Suggestions?
Suggestions for places to stay?
Advice against or for?

Leaving May 22. Arrive May 23.

Thanks to this forum for so much advice and information in planning thus far.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Starting the Norte in Biarritz is very simple. Get yourself to the Cite de l'Ocean at the south side of town. It is on several bus lines near the beach at Ilbarritz and quite easy to find. Start walking the along the D911 road south up the hill to Bidart. There are yellow arrows to follow. From Bidart follow the path along the Atlantic all the way to Hendaye. That will be 32km. You have now arrived at the bridge over the Spanish border ready to enter Irun.
Simcard: There is a large centrally located shopping center called BAB between Bayonne and Biarritz that has several phone stores and it is accessible by numerous bus lines, there is a Decathlon store nearby, etc. Recently I did a Google search for someone and found out there is a new phone shop downtown not far from the Grand Plage. However if you plan to be in Spain most of your trip you might want to wait until you are there to buy a simcard. I know the roaming situration has changed quite bit in Europe over the past few years but why deal with the hassle of having a phone with a French country code when you can have one with a Spanish country code.
Places to stay: Biarritz is not inexpensive. Le Petit Hotel near the Grand Plage is reasonable and there is a hostel/albergue/youth hostel near the train station in La Negresse that caters primarily to surfers. Once again you follow yellow arrows from La Negresse to get to it. It is about 20/n but tied into a chain of other youth hostels so there is some kind of membership fee involved. I have dropped a few pilgrims off here and they were fine with it. You can actually walk from this place through a small park to get to the Cite d l'Ocean.
Biarritz and Bayonne have lots of great sites to see and some of the best Basque food you'll find in the region.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 Francés, Le Puy / Francés (parts), 2018 Norte (Biarritz), Francés, 2019 Portuguese (Lisbon)
I did this route exactly a year ago, on Don's same advice! It was a tidy walk but quite doable and I made it to Irun that night. I actually took a train just out to the edge of the city to get a head start of about 5km . It's a nice day's walk, but something I will say is that at this time of the year you will find parts of the trail very tricky if it's been raining. I found there are slippery rocky parts of the path that get extremely muddy, and on occasions no alternative via a safe road instead.
 

Deborah53

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, (2006)
Le Puy-Cahors, (2008)
Camino North Coast May (2019)
Thank you again for some great advice. I didn't calculate correctly I realize. Biarritz to Hondaribbia is quite the full day. I was hoping to avoid the urban way through Irun and stay on the coast all the way in to Hondaribbia, but now need to rethink that plan in favor of a Spanish Sim card. Thanks for the insight.

I think if I could move to the Basque region I could really do no wrong to myself. Such beauty. Looking forward to my all too brief visit as the walking on toward Santiago will pull me.
 

Deborah53

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, (2006)
Le Puy-Cahors, (2008)
Camino North Coast May (2019)
I did this route exactly a year ago, on Don's same advice! It was a tidy walk but quite doable and I made it to Irun that night. I actually took a train just out to the edge of the city to get a head start of about 5km . It's a nice day's walk, but something I will say is that at this time of the year you will find parts of the trail very tricky if it's been raining. I found there are slippery rocky parts of the path that get extremely muddy, and on occasions no alternative via a safe road instead.
Thanks! Good to know. I'm struggling to decide where exactly to start the walk. Irun/Ciboure/Biarritz/Hondarribia...too many choices. Time is ticking.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 Francés, Le Puy / Francés (parts), 2018 Norte (Biarritz), Francés, 2019 Portuguese (Lisbon)
Thanks! Good to know. I'm struggling to decide where exactly to start the walk. Irun/Ciboure/Biarritz/Hondarribia...too many choices. Time is ticking.
Are you flying to Biarritz? Why not start at the airport! I did. I walked from my airport to my hotel in 15 minutes, and then to the train station the next morning early. From there you can take a light rail train a few km to get you to the trail. You should arrive in Irun early evening.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I suggested several alternative in another thread. I think it is the pre-Camino jitters. I am dealing with the same feeling starting from Le Puy in a few weeks.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Thanks! Good to know. I'm struggling to decide where exactly to start the walk. Irun/Ciboure/Biarritz/Hondarribia...too many choices. Time is ticking.
In 2016 on my Via de Bayona on the first day I walked Bayonne-Ciboure (nice albergue there) 26km and next day short stage to Irun, 16,8km. Not all the sections on the first day were well marked but it's almost impossible to get lost. Google Maps or GPS track would be helpful though just for the peace of mind.

Buen Camino!
 

Deborah53

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, (2006)
Le Puy-Cahors, (2008)
Camino North Coast May (2019)
Are you flying to Biarritz? Why not start at the airport! I did. I walked from my airport to my hotel in 15 minutes, and then to the train station the next morning early. From there you can take a light rail train a few km to get you to the trail. You should arrive in Irun early evening.
Yes, flying into Biarritz, arriving in the early evening around 6 pm. Thought about taking a bus whatever transportation possible to Ciboure, stay overnight and then walking the coastal alternative into Hondarribia (ferry) and then onward.
 

Deborah53

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, (2006)
Le Puy-Cahors, (2008)
Camino North Coast May (2019)
I suggested several alternative in another thread. I think it is the pre-Camino jitters. I am dealing with the same feeling starting from Le Puy in a few weeks.
BiarritzDon- Le Puy to Cahors was a lovely walk. A lot of up and down. Expect shorter stages than Frances for sure. The countryside was beautiful and memorable. I was sorry to leave it after less than two weeks time.
 

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