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Beginning the end of March

Hi everyone,
I've been working on the details and now I'm getting ready to buy the plane tickets. I'm going to arrive in Madrid on March 26th and from there I'm thinking of taking a bus to Pamplona, and then maybe a cab (or bus) to Roncesvalles. Just wondering if anyone else out there might be planning on starting their camino around this time. I know there were some people thinking about starting in early spring; has anyone made definitive plans? I guess I'm getting a little nervous, but also very excited that this is actually going to become a reality!
Hello Arlene, I am planning to start on 1st of June from SJPP (hope snow has melted on the Pyrinees...). Leaving from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Paris, Beaulieu and SJPP. I had not thought about the possibility of leaving from Roncevalles and going to Madrid from Rio.... Where are you leaving from? Is there any reason why you are not starting in SJPP? :roll: :roll: Pardon my curiosity but I am trying to gather all the information I can. Thank you, Sumachado. :lol: :lol:


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
I left from Madrid... took the train to Pamplona (from Atocha - 4 hours ... VERY comfortable) and the bus from Pamplona to Roncesvalles. (6 euro, 1.5 hours). From there you can take a cab to SJPdP if you want... however, since Roncevalles is the traditional Spanish starting point, I decided I would start from there. A cab from Pamplona to SJPdP is approximately 65 -75 euros, a girl I met on the train did that as she didn't want to wait for the bus. I didn't think it was worth the money. I spent my afternoon exploring Pamplona at my leisure and then when I walked back, I didn't need to stay there... but rather kept on going to Cizur Menor. If you are leaving from Madrid, I would strongly recommend the train to Pamplona.
Buen camino,
Hi Sumachado,
I'm coming from the US, flying out of Philadelphia. There's no major reason why I chose to start from Roncesvalles instead of SJPP. I guess because it's the starting point in Spain, and I figure it will save me a day. I have about 35 days to do this. I actaully wish I could be starting a little later in the season (May/June)but my schedule won't permit it. I'm curious about how cold it will be; I just have to be prepared for anything. I'm dressing in layers. :)


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
Hi Arlene,
You can get the metro at Barajas. It can be a little tricky if you arrive at the new terminal (T4), but it is doable... there is an underground connecting train that will take you back to the main airport. From there... just ask for "Metro" or follow the "M" ...the Madrid metro is modern, clean, bright, comfortable and extremely safe. It will take you directly to Atocha (with two changes, I believe). If you check on http://www.renfe.es, you can get a timetable for the daily trains to Pamplona - however, I don't think you can buy your ticket online without a pin (and you must be in Europe to get it!) but there is a ticket office just as you enter the station from the metro. Security is tight on the trains... your rucksack will be scanned just like in an airport.
Just outside the station in Pamplona, there is a bus to downtown... ask the driver for the bus station... the correct bus will take you right to it. The bus for Roncesvalles leaves Pamplona at 6pm daily. I took the 7 am train from Atocha - arrived Pamplona 11am. I had lunch, went to the tourist office and spent the afternoon touring the city, cathedral, etc. Then as I said, I didn't have to stop there on my Camino.
Buen Camino,
Hello Arlene;
Here's the instructions to get from the Barajas Airport to Puerta de Atocha Station that Grant Spangler so graciously provided me for my camino last April. I followed them to the letter and got to the station safely in the mist of the morning rush hour.

If you’re arriving at Madrid in an International flight, you will arrive at Terminal 4. The easiest and cheapest way to get to the city and its train stations is through the Metro. The station is at Terminal 2 and it takes about 15 minutes to walk through the terminal to get to the station. Just follow the Metro signs carefully and don't despair. You'll get there. The Metro line at the airport is the #8. The cost is 1 Euro for the entire trip. Buy your ticket (you need Euros) and get on board.

Take Linea 8 Dirección Nuevos Ministerios (5 stations)
Change at Nuevos Ministerios to Línea 10, Dirección Puerta del Sur (3 stations)
Change at Tribunal to Línea 1 Dirección Cangosto, get off at Atocha RENFE. (6 stations)
DO NOT get off at ‘Atocha’, one stop earlier; get off at ‘Atocha RENFE’ also called Puerta de Atocha station.
Allow 35-45 minutes for the trip.

Beware that two of the places pickpockets abound are the airport and the Metro. They want to catch the tired traveler in jetlag, so just be aware of your surroundings and your bags.

Buen camino to you :arrow:
Train travel is very easy in Madrid but one must be very careful as there are expert pickpockets in the train and on the station. As you get out especially at Plaza Sol beware of any one dropping coins at your feet, the natural instinct is to bend down to pick them up and this exposes the rear and pockets are then picked. The other trick is to shove something in your face, such as a baby or picture and whilst you are distracted you will get pick pocketed. Keep all valuables next to your body, and attached with a cord or chain, distribute them into two or three packets so if one is lost you still have another. Do not expect much help from the Police.

If you have credit or ATM cards make sure you have the toll free number to call to report the loss and stop the cards, there are plenty internet cafes and you can phone from there.

The ticket booths are sometimes attended by grumpy tired workers and although they have stacks of train schedules and maps they will sometimes be very rude and refuse to give them to you. Get a Metro map from the hotel, tourist center or airport. This is the negative, the positive is that in general Madrid has much to offer and there is much to enjoy, spend a few days there and out to the countryside.
Buen camino.


New Member
Hello Everyone ....

I started my Cammino this September and thanks to other pilgrims I had everything planned about how to arrived in St. Jean.

However i can suggest another option:

I took a night train to Pomplona - arrived in Pomplona at around 06.00hrs. I could see there was another Pilgrim who was easy to identify from his backpack on the train and agreed to take a taxi to St. Jean Pied de Port. At the train station we met other Pilgrims, and another girl joined us with the taxi. It cost us 75 Euros - so we only had to pay 25 Euros each and arrived in St. Jean Pied de Port only 90 minutes later.

After a good breakfast, all you need is to head for the Pilgrims office and start off the Cammino. That way you will save a day and have the opportunity to see the magnificent scenery at St. Jean Pied de Port.

Buen Cammino
Chax :D
Just one update on the Madrid metro. As of May, the metro station at T4 is open and couldn't be easier to find and use. There's a metro information desk as well and they will give you recommendations on the most direct route (trayecto). Any ticket bought going to or from the airport has a little supplement, I can't remember if it's .3 euro or something in that general ballpark.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Train Stations in Madrid

Hola, there are two main train stations in Madrid,

Atocha in the south side
Chamartin in the north side

since the airport of Barajas is North side of Madrid and you are travelling North of Spain, it makes no sense going to Atocha, you are better off taking the underground (metro) from Barajas Airport to Chamartín.

Normally, Spanish trains are not particularly overcrowded, so getting a ticket should not be a big issue. Nevertheless, try http://www.renfe.es to find out about timetables, prices and bookings.

Buen Camino!


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
I believe that Chamartin is for international trains ... such as those going to Paris and they do not stop anywhere near Pamplona. There is no train station in Roncesvalles nor SJPdP. I am nearly certain that the only Renfe trains to Pamplona depart from Atocha.

When I returned to Madrid from taking my students to the airport by metro in July, 07, I believe the metro supplement was 1euro (so total cost to get into Madrid from Barajas - 2 Euro). In the last couple of years I've used the metro often to get in and out of Madrid/Barajas...it is particularly handy without luggage... some of the metro stations do not have escalators or they are "en obras"... under repair!

You have lots of excellent information here now. Metro is the way to go!
Buen Camino,
Thank you all so much for this excellent and very detailed information on using the metro!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I feel much better knowing how to get from the airport to the train station.
Muchas gracias,
Our flight arrives in Madrid at 7.30 a.m. We were thinking of taking a taxi to the train station as we want to get the 10.00 a.m. train to Pamplona.

If we used the metro would we get there in time? (it would be a lot cheaper than the taxi I think :? )


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
HI Mouse,
I think you'd be cutting it really tight! You must fiugure on an hour to get through immigration and get your luggage. Then the walk to the metro...45 minutes to get into Atocha (especially if you are unfamiliar with the Madrid metro and need to read the signs)... and you have to buy your ticket. Even by taxi it could be really tight. I would be sure to have a "plan B" if I were you. You might make it either by taxi (yes, much more expensive) or by metro... but maybe not... also, your plane could be delayed a few minutes landing... I hate to sound like a pessimist...you might be really lucky and all falls into place... but an alternate plan is advisable, I think.
Buen Camino,
The 10 am train is the one we hoping to get but there is a later train and also buses so don't think it will be a problem (at least hope not!!!)
Hi, Mouse,
Because the bus station is much closer to the airport than Atocha is, you might find it easier to make a 10 o'clock bus to Pamplona. Buses leave from Avenida America at the "intercambiador", which is a huge underground bus docking station. The Alsa (bus company) web site shows some schedule changes at the end of the year, but it looks like service levels are about the same. From Terminal 4 at Barajas there is a city bus that goes directly to the Avenida America bus station, with maybe one or two stops along the highway. I've taken it and it's much easier than the metro, and even in early morning the traffic wasn't much of a factor. (Traffic seems to really jam up right at Avenida America heading south). The bus from Madrid to Pamplona takes about 5 hours, and you can get your ticket right before departure unless it's some sort of huge holiday. Buen camino.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Taxis, trains, buses in Madrid

Chamartin is not only for international trains, all trains going north call at Chamartin, that is where I took the train to go to Burgos when I did my pilgrimage.

It should be an easy metro ride, just take the metro to Nuevos Ministerios, then change to the line that goes to Chamartin, it should be some 45 minutes

Time being so tight, I would consider taking a taxi, the ride should be below 20 euro

In any case, enjoy!

you can find a map of the madrid underground network at


Buen camino!
Hi, Amancio,

Yes you're right that trains to Burgos from Madrid leave from Chanmartin. But the trains to Pamplona, at least according to the RENFE website and my vague memory, leave from Atocha and do not stop at Chanmartin. Based on the information I can see, I wouldn't go to Chanmartin looking for a train to Pamplona. Laurie
Amancio said:
"Time being so tight, I would consider taking a taxi, the ride should be below 20 euro"

Based on personal experience using both, when time is so tight, it's safer to take the metro or you'll be tied up much longer in traffic at the peak of the morning rush into the city. Passenger traffic in the metro at the time will also be heavy but with your training for the camino, you should be able to make the connections without any hassle.

As to the cost of the taxi ride, the last time I took it was closer to 30 euro, if you do not get overcharged.

Best of luck in your camino planning 8) and buen camino :arrow:


Active Member
Deirdre said:
There is no train station in Roncesvalles nor SJPdP.
Um...I can't speak for Roncesvalles on this, but there is a train station in St. Jean. I took the train from Bayonne to St. Jean in order to begin my trek there. Do you perhaps mean to say that there are no trains running to St. Jean from Spain...? :arrow:


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
Correct, VT, sorry... Since Arlene was speaking about leaving from Madrid, I was refering to that. While in Madrid with students during June/July, I checked with the tourist office for the most expeditious means of getting to both Roncescalles and SJPdP. It was they who advised me: train, Atocha - Pamplona; bus, Pamplona - Roncesvalles; taxi, Roncesvalles- SJPdP. Ultimately given my "novice" hiking status, I opted to begin from Roncesvalles - I figured if it is good enough for the (majority of) Spaniards, it was good enough for me! ALthough the next time (if I opt again for the Camino Frances) I'll begin in SJPdP, I have no regrets.
Buen Camino

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