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Best airport/transportation options if beginning in St. Jean

Camino(s) past & future
Walked from O'Cebreiro to Santiago in 2016
Planning to walk from Burgos this June, 2018
#1
Hello,
For my next Camino I would like to begin in St. Jean. I will be flying from US, and I'd like some advice about the best place to arrive. Also, I'm looking for bus or train options from the airport. Thus far, I only have flown into Madrid and bussed up to various starting points on the Camino. This will be my first time beginning in France and I could use a bit of guidance. Thanks so much.
Lynne
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#2
Fly into Charles de Gaulle airport, and catch thé train from Garé Montparnasse to Bayonne, then the train to SJPP. May or may not require an overnight stay in Paris, depending on when you arrive at CDG. Train tickets can be booked online with your local mirror of the raileurope website - tickets are emailed to you as PDFs dams day. Easey peasey!
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#3
If you plan to walk the entire Camino Frances then you are likely to want to arrive at Biarritz and leave from Santiago or the nearby Vigo or A Coruña airports. A suggestion: how about booking a return flight to either London or Dublin, a one-way flight to Biarritz and another from Santiago back to London/Dublin to catch your transatlantic flight home?
 

ghostdog

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2019)
#4
I agree with LesR. I researched this yesterday. Very helpful information for purchasing train travel on the following website. https://www.seat61.com/websites/voyages-sncf.htm As he mentions, I found two different price structures for my tickets. I was diverted online from SNCF to Rail Europe but found www.trainline.eu much easier to use and the price was less expensive. Might be a US & CA issue. I will be traveling from Austin TX so this may not be the same online experience for you but I thought I would share.
Buen Camino!
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
#5
If cost and time figure into it, we’ve found that the Bordeaux and Madrid airports work well for those wanting to get out of N. Am. (not sure your departure point). Madrid — train to Pamplona — and bus or taxi to SJPDP. Bordeax — train to Bayonne — and whatever is working from Bayonne to SJPDP.
I avoid having to layover in the the US, so I’ve done a layover in Amsterdam that was only 1 hour instead of 3 at JFK (with US customs etc) — this was out of Toronto.
Those flying from the west coast of the US likely have to lay over at JFK or Atlanta, so I think if you want to avoid a costly hotel in Paris then Madrid is still the best bet for avoiding a layover in the EU (Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris layovers all have city-hopper type flights to Bordeaux). But if you are already laying over somewhere else you may still prefer direct from there to Madrid.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#6
Lynne, we are starting in St. jean this Oct so I have recently reviewed all of the options. I have done it both ways actually in the past. A lot depends IMO on your flights. Can you Fly nonstop fo Europe from your location... .and how early in the morning do you arrive?
Suggest you give yourself at least an extra day to deal with Jetlag before you climb the first section. You could stay overnight in Paris, or land in Spain, train to Pamplona, stay overnight and then take bus the next day (Alsa.com) to St. jean. Without knowing your best flight connections it is difficult to advise. If you can fly with one stop to Biarritz that would be great too. But again, you need to weigh the time and cost with the best connections.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF Spring 2016
CF Autumn 2017
VDLP Spring 2020
#7
Since you are familiar with flying into Madrid and using busses, that might be more comfortable. I think you can get a bus to Pamplona and then another bus to Saint Jean Pied de Port. Many people on this forum can give details.

I flew from Los Angeles to Paris Charles de Gaulle, took the dedicated bus to the Montparnasse train station (used to be called the Air France bus, now it is called Le Bus), stayed overnight in a hotel near the train station (many, many options), then the next morning took the train from Montparnasse to Bayonne, then a local train from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port. Sounds a little complicated, but it was easy and I had never been to Europe. Also, the overnight pause in the Montparnasse area helped me adjust a little to the time change, and Montparnasse is a charming area in which to walk around, eat, and prepare for the long journey. (Paris has no shortage of charming areas...)
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#8
If you book train tickets ahead of time never use Raileurope to purchase point-to point tickets! Loco2.com or traineline.eu much better options.

If you book train ahead from Madrid to Pamplona, use Renfe for schedules but there are also user-friendly websites which are the easiesr to book with and get tickets printed from.
Again see seat61.com and check our Spanish trains.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Francés April 06, C. Fisterre May 06, C. Frances Oct 17, C. Portuguese Oct 18, C. Inglese Nov 18
#9
Flew easily into Bilbao from west coast canada via Frankfurt, then bus to Bayonne and train to SJPDP. Bilbao is beautiful! Everything just clicked. Buses and trains extraordinarily efficient!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#10
Pau airport is also an option if you get cheap tickets. Depends from where and when. Then the train to Bayonne and further to SJPdP.

Buen Camino
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#11
Hello,
For my next Camino I would like to begin in St. Jean. I will be flying from US, and I'd like some advice about the best place to arrive. Also, I'm looking for bus or train options from the airport. Thus far, I only have flown into Madrid and bussed up to various starting points on the Camino. This will be my first time beginning in France and I could use a bit of guidance. Thanks so much.
Lynne
Hi, Lynne...

Last year, I flew out of Seattle to Charles de Gaulle, with a one hour layover in Reykjavik in between. Then an inexpensive short flight to Biarritz where I caught my Express Bouricott shuttle ride to St Jean.

This September I fly out of Seattle to Madrid. There I will catch an inexpensive flight to Biarritz where I will, again, take the Express Bouricott shuttle to St. Jean.

As you can read from all of the responses, there are a number good options to get you to SJPdP. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#12
Fly in to Paris (de Gaulle), and then to Biarritz. Most Biarritz flights leave from Orly (which is a different airport), but there is a free shuttle bus. It's very easy, but leave yourself time, at least 4 hours.
Then either Express Bourricot from Biarritz airport (email ahead to reserve a place), or the train from Bayonne.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked from O'Cebreiro to Santiago in 2016
Planning to walk from Burgos this June, 2018
#14
Hi, Lynne...

Last year, I flew out of Seattle to Charles de Gaulle, with a one hour layover in Reykjavik in between. Then an inexpensive short flight to Biarritz where I caught my Express Bouricott shuttle ride to St Jean.

This September I fly out of Seattle to Madrid. There I will catch an inexpensive flight to Biarritz where I will, again, take the Express Bouricott shuttle to St. Jean.

As you can read from all of the responses, there are a number good options to get you to SJPdP. :)

Thanks for your response. But something you said interests me.

Do you do this every year? I finished mine this June and am thinking about returning next year because I love being there so much. However, I was wondering if I should wait longer to return. I have read about people who go every year. I am interested to know why want to return so soon. Also, do you walk the full Camino each time? Thanks again!
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
#15
Thanks for your response. But something you said interests me.

Do you do this every year? I finished mine this June and am thinking about returning next year because I love being there so much. However, I was wondering if I should wait longer to return. I have read about people who go every year. I am interested to know why want to return so soon. Also, do you walk the full Camino each time? Thanks again!

3 or 4 caminos every year but i live in Ireland. Cheap 2 hour flight to Bilbao or Biarritz or Santander or Porto or Vigo . Booked for Ingles and finnisterta october and then French way from sjpdp to astorgo oct nov. Maybe i am a camino addict
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#16
Thanks for your response. But something you said interests me.

Do you do this every year? I finished mine this June and am thinking about returning next year because I love being there so much. However, I was wondering if I should wait longer to return. I have read about people who go every year. I am interested to know why want to return so soon. Also, do you walk the full Camino each time? Thanks again!
I think that if someone decides to return, and I suspect the large majority don't, it is based on their individual internal clock of wants and needs. :) I look at it this way: A lot of people travel to Europe or other destinations every year... especially if they are retired or have a lot of earned vacation time as part of their job's benefits package. Other folks who would like to return each year have to put off doing so until they earn enough money to afford the trip or the vacation time.

I will, Lord willing, walk the Frances from SJPdP to SdC this September/October. My son, Caleb, will join me at Leon, about 18 days after I depart SJPdP. Last year, Caleb and I both started in SJPdP with the plan that he had to go back to his job after ten days of walking, while I would continue on to Santiago de Compostela. As it turned out, by the time we reached Burgos -- where Caleb was to leave for home -- I also needed to depart due to a developing medical condition that required surgery at home.

So, this year it feels like I need a bit of 'continuity', which is why I am starting again in St Jean. But Caleb and I will finish the pilgrimage together. :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#17
3 or 4 caminos every year but i live in Ireland. Cheap 2 hour flight to Bilbao or Biarritz or Santander or Porto or Vigo . Booked for Ingles and finnisterta october and then French way from sjpdp to astorgo oct nov. Maybe i am a camino addict
Nah, what made you think this??? :D :D :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#18
I have walked the Camino every year for 8 years since 2011. I had the luxury of starting in Biarritz for 4 years because I was living there. I have flown from the US to Bordeaux and Bilbao to get back to Biarritz numerous times. It is about 2 hours by train or bus from either place and a fairly seamless connection, look at Rome2Rio for details.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#19
Thanks for your response. But something you said interests me.

Do you do this every year? I finished mine this June and am thinking about returning next year because I love being there so much. However, I was wondering if I should wait longer to return. I have read about people who go every year. I am interested to know why want to return so soon. Also, do you walk the full Camino each time? Thanks again!
I finished my first Camino in. September 2016, and was back in July 2017, and in July again this year for the Norte. I hope that I can do it every year - provided I want to. I'm inspired by the octogenarians that I read about here and elsewhere who are still walking the Camino.
If you book train ahead from Madrid to Pamplona, use Renfe for schedules but there are also user-friendly websites which are the easiesr to book with and get tickets printed from.
I haven't had any problems with the Renfe site if I use PayPal for payment. And I find their app easier to use.
 

E V Waight

It's the journey, not the destination.
Camino(s) past & future
September (2017)
Possible September (2018)
Holy Year (2021) (all three Gladys, John and I)
#20
Hello,
For my next Camino I would like to begin in St. Jean. I will be flying from US, and I'd like some advice about the best place to arrive. Also, I'm looking for bus or train options from the airport. Thus far, I only have flown into Madrid and bussed up to various starting points on the Camino. This will be my first time beginning in France and I could use a bit of guidance. Thanks so much.
Lynne
Hi. I did the Frances last September. I flew into Madrid and took a bus from the airport to Pamplona. At Pamplona bus station I shared a taxi with other pilgrims to St. Jean. There are always pilgrims there looking to share a taxi. Fare is approx 100 euros. Very scenic drive.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - not yet completed
#21
Hola Lynne. In 2015 we flew Newark to CDG (arr. 7:55) cleared customs, etc and made a very easy connection to EasyJet to Biarritz (10:55); the EXPRESS BOURRICOT shuttle departed at 13:30 to SJPP. Of course schedules may have changed but you get the idea. Chao.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2 Camino Frances completed, 1 Camino Portugues completed from Porto
#22
Hello,
For my next Camino I would like to begin in St. Jean. I will be flying from US, and I'd like some advice about the best place to arrive. Also, I'm looking for bus or train options from the airport. Thus far, I only have flown into Madrid and bussed up to various starting points on the Camino. This will be my first time beginning in France and I could use a bit of guidance. Thanks so much.
Lynne
Hi - heading for my 6th camino and have found Madrid to be best point of entry to camino. MAD is cheaper than CDG generally (although if you get cheap flight/train combo from CDG that’s also a good option), 4-5 hours bus to Pamplona than 90 bus to SJPP. No hassle, many others doing the same, and if something goes awry (aka French train strikes), you are already on the camino and can start from Pamplona or Roncesvalles. And for a short camino, nothing beats the 2.5 hour bus trip to Burgos. Get the Alsa bus app and see if you like the time combos.
 

stinmd

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - May 2015; Camino del Norte/Primitivo - July/August 2016; Camino Portugues - Sept 2017
#23
Hola Lynne. In 2015 we flew Newark to CDG (arr. 7:55) cleared customs, etc and made a very easy connection to EasyJet to Biarritz (10:55); the EXPRESS BOURRICOT shuttle departed at 13:30 to SJPP. Of course schedules may have changed but you get the idea. Chao.
I did exactly that three years ago -- no train, no layover, no sweat!
 

E V Waight

It's the journey, not the destination.
Camino(s) past & future
September (2017)
Possible September (2018)
Holy Year (2021) (all three Gladys, John and I)
#24
Hello,
For my next Camino I would like to begin in St. Jean. I will be flying from US, and I'd like some advice about the best place to arrive. Also, I'm looking for bus or train options from the airport. Thus far, I only have flown into Madrid and bussed up to various starting points on the Camino. This will be my first time beginning in France and I could use a bit of guidance. Thanks so much.
Lynne
Since you have done this before and are somewhat familiar through Madrid, I recommend Madrid and bus Alsa into Pamplona. At bus station in Pamplona there are always taxis waiting for pilgrims. That is what I did Sept. 2017. You may consider sharing 100.00 euro fare with other pilgrims. There are always pilgrims as well waiting to "carpool". It is easy, simple and safe. This process of course all depends on your arrival time in Madrid. The only overnight would be SJPDP. You start walking the following morning. Buen Camino.
 



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