Search 59,165 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
A thought-provoking Camino memoir. This day-by-day account will inspire you.

Arriving in St. Jean before April 1.

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
I'm arriving in Madrid the morning of March 28th then head on up to Pamploma. I understand that the Napoleon Route will be closed until April 1 but the lower route should be open. My question is although I don't plan on making reservations once I start I would like to make one in St Jean the first night. When should I make that reservation? Typically can I cancel in case the weather is too harsh to get to St. Jean and I need to start in Pamploma?

Thanks in advance
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I'm arriving in Madrid the morning of March 28th then head on up to Pamploma. I understand that the Napoleon Route will be closed until April 1 but the lower route should be open. My question is although I don't plan on making reservations once I start I would like to make one in St Jean the first night. When should I make that reservation? Typically can I cancel in case the weather is too harsh to get to St. Jean and I need to start in Pamploma?

Thanks in advance
The Valcarlos route will be open. There might still be snow though but apparently it is doable if you keep on the road. (I haven’t walked it myself but this is what I heard from trustworthy sources 🙂)
I’d make a reservation in SJPP and tell them you’ll confirm nearer the date depending on the weather conditions and would that be acceptable to them?
 

anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
Hi @EL LECHERO

I've walked both the Napoleon and Valcaros routes - and enjoyed both very much. It was also on 1 April that I walked the Valcaros Route as the Napolean was closed due to snow and poor visibility

Something I didn't quite understand - You mention booking your first night in SJPP? But not sure that you will be able to get there due to conditions. Are you planning to walk back from Pamplona to SJPP to start from there? If you are taking transport - e.g. bus - from Pamplona to SJPP, I don't think the weather will impact your travels? But I haven't done that bus journey so maybe I'm wrong.

In any case, buen camino.
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
Hi @EL LECHERO

I've walked both the Napoleon and Valcaros routes - and enjoyed both very much. It was also on 1 April that I walked the Valcaros Route as the Napolean was closed due to snow and poor visibility

Something I didn't quite understand - You mention booking your first night in SJPP? But not sure that you will be able to get there due to conditions. Are you planning to walk back from Pamplona to SJPP to start from there? If you are taking transport - e.g. bus - from Pamplona to SJPP, I don't think the weather will impact your travels? But I haven't done that bus journey so maybe I'm wrong.

In any case, buen camino.
Thanks for getting back to me. I am unfamiliar with the road conditions across the Pyrenees. I'm form Washington State where the passes are brutal in winter time. So it seems that the Valcaros Route will be most definitely open at the end of March and getting to SJ will be no problem. I was just hate if both routes would be closed then I'd have to taxi back to Pamploma............btw any Pension/Hostel reccomendations?
 

anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
Thanks for getting back to me. I am unfamiliar with the road conditions across the Pyrenees. I'm form Washington State where the passes are brutal in winter time. So it seems that the Valcaros Route will be most definitely open at the end of March and getting to SJ will be no problem. I was just hate if both routes would be closed then I'd have to taxi back to Pamploma............btw any Pension/Hostel reccomendations?
Ok, I understand. As far as I know, the bus would usually run from Pamplona to SJPP in late March - others may chime in if that's not the case.

Regarding pensions / albergues/ hostels etc in SJPP - there are many to choose from and a lot of them are listed on the well known booking site - even beds in share dormitories - and with free cancellation up to a point, so that might be worth looking at. Or you can google and find many have their own websites or contact details to get in touch directly. SJPP is a small town so as long as you are 'in town' the location will be fine for starting your Camino. If you go to the pilgrims' office after you arrive they will have up to date information on weather conditions.

How exciting for you. Enjoy!
 
Pilgrim Pouch carry bags with different designs
A lightweight carry bag handy for walking, biking, traveling, & Caminos
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
PS regarding the bus from Pamplona - if it is running, it will likely be just once or twice a day - so would be good to check that out - and how it fits in with your arrival from Madrid. You may need to spend some hours or overnight in Pamplona - but that's no hardship.

I also know that some people have shared taxis from Pamplona to SJPP, sometimes arranging in advance via this forum.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
The Valcarlos Route is essential a paved two lane French Departmental Road (the D933) and a Spanish National Route (the N135), it does close from time to time when the snow removal crews can't keep up with a heavy snow fall. If a meter or more of snow falls in short period of time, the road is closed to all vehicular traffic. It would be as irrepsonsible to walk this route as it would be to walk the Napoleon under the same weather conditions.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have walked the Frances starting in early-mid April in 2015 and 2017. I have taken both the bus and train from Madrid to Pamplona, arriving in early afternoon. In April there were no buses running from Pamplona to SJPdP either time (not sure if one was offered in the morning). We used a private shuttle once, and a taxi service in 2017 which we arranged ahead of time online. The cost was €100, but split 4-ways was very affordable. We chose not to overnight in Pamplona as we had already planned to spend the night there when walking through the city a few days later.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
The Valcarlos route will be open. There might still be snow though but apparently it is doable if you keep on the road. (I haven’t walked it myself but this is what I heard from trustworthy sources 🙂)
I have, in early March. There was a bit of snow but it was a pleasant diversion. I did not have to walk on the road, except from the chapel down to Roncesvalles.

But mountain weather is capricious. So book in SJPP, with the possibility of cancelling a week or so out if the forecast is really rotten. Or just jeep the booking. If I were starting in SJPP and the weather was bad, I'd just go as far as Valcarlos - it will be raining down there - taking on the pass the next day when hopefully it will have cleared. Even if not you can always walk on the road. The pass is not exposed in the same way the Napoleon route is; it's pretty tame.
 
Camino Cups
Browse our selection of Camino Cups on the forum store
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
The Valcarlos Route is essential a paved two lane French Departmental Road (the D933) and a Spanish National Route (the N135), it does close from time to time when the snow removal crews can't keep up with a heavy snow fall. If a meter or more of snow falls in short period of time, the road is closed to all vehicular traffic. It would be as irrepsonsible to walk this route as it would be to walk the Napoleon under the same weather conditions.
Great Info.....What is your impression of the Valcarolos route as far as scenery and beauty. I can only walk 15 days. So Maybe I should start somewhere else......suggestions opinions?
 

kathyandthomas

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Primitivo in the future
Maison Bidegain Berria is a very nice B&B in Isopure, a small village adjacent to SJPP ( and an easy walk). The hosts are a charming couple. Breakfast is provided, and for a small fee, if you want, they will also provide a wonderful home cooked dinner.It can be reserved on Booking.com but may require a two night stay. We stayed there in 2017 and were very pleased.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I will chime in to say I have loved the Valcarlos route...twice, in fact! A nice variety of landscapes, views, horses, creeks, hills, and a few places along the way for coffee, lunch or dinner. We stay in the cute town of Valcarlos overnight before the final push to Roncesvalles.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Great Info.....What is your impression of the Valcarolos route as far as scenery and beauty. I can only walk 15 days. So Maybe I should start somewhere else......suggestions opinions?
That's tough one to answer.
There are several small Basque village on the way between Saint Jean and Roncevalles, the rest of the walk to Pamplona is pleasant and in 12+ days from SJPdP you could probably get as far as Burgos.
Alternatively, in 15+ days a start in Pamplona would be get close to Leon.
Another alternative would be to take the train from Madrid to either Burgos or Leon, from Burgos in 12+ days you will be able to walk the Meseta and might get as far as Ponferrada with a walk over the highest mountain route passing the Cruz de Ferro.
From Leon in 13+ days you could probably reach Santiago and walk through the mountains of Galicia.
There are a lot of options including walking the Camino Madrid to Sahagun and beyond.
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
That's tough one to answer.
There are several small Basque village on the way between Saint Jean and Roncevalles, the rest of the walk to Pamplona is pleasant and in 12+ days from SJPdP you could probably get as far as Burgos.
Alternatively, in 15+ days a start in Pamplona would be get close to Leon.
Another alternative would be to take the train from Madrid to either Burgos or Leon, from Burgos in 12+ days you will be able to walk the Meseta and might get as far as Ponferrada with a walk over the highest mountain route passing the Cruz de Ferro.
From Leon in 13+ days you could probably reach Santiago and walk through the mountains of Galicia.
There are a lot of options including walking the Camino Madrid to Sahagun and beyond.
Thanks so much. I did walk from Astorga to SDC in 10 days....and in retrospect should have slowed down. Walking from 7am to 5pm most everyday, all I wanted to do was eat, take a shower, and sleep. This time I want to slow down and only walk until 1pm or so. I guess what I am questioning is if it is snowing at the time of my walk and the Valcarlos is route is open, is it worth it to walk the road or would my time be better spent walking from Pamplona....nice to just bounce ideas off others who have walked.
 
Pilgrim Pouch carry bags with different designs
A lightweight carry bag handy for walking, biking, traveling, & Caminos
2022 Camino Guides
The 2022 Camino guides will be coming out little by little, most of them by the end of 2021. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Thanks so much. I did walk from Astorga to SDC in 10 days....and in retrospect should have slowed down. Walking from 7am to 5pm most everyday, all I wanted to do was eat, take a shower, and sleep. This time I want to slow down and only walk until 1pm or so. I guess what I am questioning is if it is snowing at the time of my walk and the Valcarlos is route is open, is it worth it to walk the road or would my time be better spent walking from Pamplona....nice to just bounce ideas off others who have walked.
I would walk from Pamplona.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
What is your impression of the Valcarolos route as far as scenery and beauty. I can only walk 15 days. So Maybe I should start somewhere else......suggestions opinions?
I have a different view than Don - not suggesting categorically ruling SJPP out as a starting point. It's really beautiful via Valcarlos. Even on the road.

But it depends on how hard it's snowing. Because for most of the way you'd be in rain or sleet, on "one of those days.' I had gorgeous weather; if it were hosing in SJPP? Yeah - start in Pamplona or Roncesvalles.
 

MaryLynn

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Thanks so much. I did walk from Astorga to SDC in 10 days....and in retrospect should have slowed down. Walking from 7am to 5pm most everyday, all I wanted to do was eat, take a shower, and sleep. This time I want to slow down and only walk until 1pm or so. I guess what I am questioning is if it is snowing at the time of my walk and the Valcarlos is route is open, is it worth it to walk the road or would my time be better spent walking from Pamplona....nice to just bounce ideas off others who have walked.
I found the Valcarlos route to be the less attractive walk of the two choices, as I remember, because there are tall woods on both sides of the trail for most of the way up the mountain and you don’t get the same expansive views of the mountains and valleys as you do on the Napoleon Route, and the trail on the Valcarlos Route is right next to the road, which can be very busy, while the Napoleon Route usually has very little traffic when the trail is near the road.
Considering the uncertainties of weather, jetlag, getting to St. Jean, and a physically challenging first day of walking, I think your time is better spent spending two days in Pamplona and starting your walk from there. Include the walk over the Pyrenees in your next Camino in a warmer and drier month.
 

Len Dacombe

Len from Canada
Past OR future Camino
April/May 2015 & September 2015
I'm arriving in Madrid the morning of March 28th then head on up to Pamploma. I understand that the Napoleon Route will be closed until April 1 but the lower route should be open. My question is although I don't plan on making reservations once I start I would like to make one in St Jean the first night. When should I make that reservation? Typically can I cancel in case the weather is too harsh to get to St. Jean and I need to start in Pamploma?

Thanks in advance
In 2015
i stayed at the Errecaldia B&B which is located dight at Port St Jacque( the start of the Camino Frances). It was a great place to stay before starting my Camino.
 
Create your own ad
€1,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
John Brierley 2022 Camino Guide
The most selling Camino Guide is shipping November 1st. Get your today and start planning.

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Considering the uncertainties of weather, jetlag, getting to St. Jean, and a physically challenging first day of walking, I think your time is better spent spending two days in Pamplona and starting your walk from there. Include the walk over the Pyrenees in your next Camino in a warmer and drier month.
Good point. Yes, with fewer days to walk, starting in Pamplona will get him farther along, and hopefully a tad of better weather by eliminating the Pyrenees.
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
Good point. Yes, with fewer days to walk, starting in Pamplona will get him farther along, and hopefully a tad of better weather by eliminating the Pyrenees.
Decisions, Decisions! I know I will come back again but I would hate to have missed a great part of the Camino. It would be easier to start walking in Pamplona for sure and I would get to experience some of the Meseta.......
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Decisions, Decisions! I know I will come back again but I would hate to have missed a great part of the Camino. It would be easier to start walking in Pamplona for sure and I would get to experience some of the Meseta.......
There's always going to be something that you miss. Don't let FOMO get to you!
 

anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
Decisions, Decisions! I know I will come back again but I would hate to have missed a great part of the Camino. It would be easier to start walking in Pamplona for sure and I would get to experience some of the Meseta.......
I didn’t realise your time was limited. I understand the feeling of maybe missing out but as @trecile says, don’t let that get in the way of your decision making. I think the Pamplona start is a great option for you and maximises your walking time as you won’t have to backtrack to SJPP. So much to love about the landscape, towns and villages between Pamplona and Burgos and then the magical Meseta. 😎
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
If you have only 15 days to walk in why waste one of them trying to get to a small provincial French town at the bottom of a hill? Travel Madrid to Pamplona; Burgos or Leon. Take up thy pack and walk ;)
Short, but sweet, @Tincatinker...good call.
 

NYSE

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
We stayed at Maison Donnamaria for 2 nights prior to our Camino and loved both the house and the owner Jean-François RABEUX. Here is the website: https://maisondonamaria.fr
Yes, I did the exact thing; two nights at Maison Donnamarie. Jean Francois, a lovely man, sold the inn in 2020.
 

anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
If you have only 15 days to walk in why waste one of them trying to get to a small provincial French town at the bottom of a hill?
Starting in Pamplona is a good option. On the other hand @EL LECHERO if a SJPP start is still in your mind, I would not be put off by this statement.

If you decide you'd like to start in SJPP - you may enjoy and appreciate the the town and those first few days of walking from there to Pamplona - as do many people.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Thanks for getting back to me. I am unfamiliar with the road conditions across the Pyrenees. I'm form Washington State where the passes are brutal in winter time. So it seems that the Valcaros Route will be most definitely open at the end of March and getting to SJ will be no problem. I was just hate if both routes would be closed then I'd have to taxi back to Pamploma............btw any Pension/Hostel reccomendations?
Valcarlos route will be open but there is always the possibility that snow may force you to walk the main road to Roncesvalles. My son had to do that in early March 2012 and found it extremely tough to the point he was ready to give up on his first day. He phoned me in great distress. We had to phone from Ireland to Ronvesvalles and the hospitalera drove down to find him and bring him up to the albergue. He was and is a young fit man but found it very tough. He did, BTW, gather himself together and walked all the way from Roncesvalles to Santiago in 30 days. So just be aware, just because it is open does not mean it is a lot easier than Napolean and in bad weather it can be just as tough
 
Learn how to Get "Camino Ready " 2nd Edition. In English, Spanish, German and Korean
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

Debora

Beautiful Burgos
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Santiago May (2016)
SJPdP to Belorado May (2019)
Beilari - place to stay 1st night in St. Jean Pied de Port
 

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 102 ratings
Downloads
15,327
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
7,993
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,761
Updated

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

Top