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Best Route to St. Jean Pied de Port from North America

bill schmidt

New Member
Hi to all:

I am planning to travel from USA to St. Jean Pied de Port and wonder if the route via Paris or Madrid is the better way to access the Camino Frances. Any hints would be appreciated.

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Happy New Year!

My way may not be the best but it was exciting. I flew from Dulles into Madrid and then took the connection to Pamplona. I stayed in the albergue there and the next morning went by taxi to SJPDP. As it happened, I shared the ride with a couple who began in Roncesvalles. It was snowing in the pass and the ride down into SJPDP was fast, slippery and nearly the end of my beginning.

Check out the new fares for Ryanair from Ireland into Spain.

Buen Camino


PS I grew up in Chicago on the near Northside graduating from Lane before I entered the Marine Corps.


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Hi Bill, I live in New Zealand and flew into Paris to start the Camino in St Jean Pied de Port. It was a pleasant train ride, left at 10 am and got to St Jean around 4 pm or so. Very straightforward. I looked into going via Madrid, but it seemed more complicated and I like the idea of travelling East to West. Now I think you can even hop on the train at the airport without going through the city. Regards, Gitti


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Hi Bill,
i too, began from Madrid... but I was in Madrid for other reasons as well. IF you don't want to fly to Pamplona, you can get the train from Atocha to Pamplona, a bus to Roncesvalles and then a taxi over the mountain to SJPDP. I intended to begin in Roncesvalles and so I stopped witht the bus. It is possible that you will meet other pilgrims to share a taxi. I was asked, but as I was not beginning in Saint Jean, I declined. My next Camino will begin there and I shall probably do just that.
Buen Camino,


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I think the best way is to fly to Biarritz via Paris, take the city bus to the train station at Bayonne and the train to St. Jean. If you stay overnight in Bayonne you can catch the early train to SJ, getting there in time to check in at the Pilgrim Office and see the sights before walking up to Orisson to spend the night.
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Jeff said, walking up to Orisson to spend the night.

A very wise man is Jeff. The stop at Orisson, so early in my Camino, remains a highlight. Not only is the view on a clear day fantastico...the community dinner is sumptuous, the vino never seems to stop and the breakfast just what's needed to make the rest of the day journey to Roncesvalle a treat and not a trial (well it is still tough, but bearable).

Make sure you call ahead to make reservations. They will call up from the pilgrim office in SJPDP, but beds fill up fast.

Refuge-auberge OrissonMr Jean-Jacques EtchandyBP 9001364220 Uhart-Cize-Saint-Michel

Buen Camino


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I traveled from Atlanta to Paris, with a connecting flight to Biarritz...from the airport in Biarritz, I took a bus to Bayonne...from Bayonne, I caught the little local train to St Jean Pied de was a lot of travel for the first day but I was able to relax quite a bit in St Jean Pied de Port...
bill schmidt said:
Hi to all:

I am planning to travel from USA to St. Jean Pied de Port and wonder if the route via Paris or Madrid is the better way to access the Camino Frances. Any hints would be appreciated.


Hey brother, i started my camino in 2008 in St. Jean, taking a fast, train from paris for about 85 me into bayonne, for another 6 euro or so, to the train thru the country to st.jean. I think this route is the best, why waste petro in the air, i also came from the US...spare the air, take the bus or train. Have a blast!! bien camino !
Not sure if this is the "best" way, but it's how I did it in May 2007:
I flew into Paris (CDG), planning to spend the night in Paris to overcome jet lag. It turned out to be a nice sunny day, so it was a good decision. Good day for walking around Paris & seeing some of the major sights.

I had purchased an Air France ticket to Biarritz (BIQ is the airport code), thinking it was leaving from Orly, but no, I had to head back to CDG. :roll: Anyway, it was a great price for the ticket, less than the 85 Euro for a train, & I was in Biarritz in about an hour. Then the bus ride to the train station in Bayonne & the train to SJPdP.

If I do this again in September, I think I will fly through to Biarritz on the first day, then overnight it in Bayonne or go on to SJPdP, then take my time the next morning & end up at Orisson (hopefully they won't "lose" my reservation this time. :?

Buen Camino!
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I began in Amsterdam, because I love visiting the Ritman Hermetic Library there.
We then took a train to Paris, and from Paris to Bayonne, then to SJPP.

I loved that route, because I was able to visit the Louvre, also.
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Since it's cheapest to get a return ticket, you might consider flying into Madrid, and travel from there to SJPP. Very easy to get back to Madrid after your Camino is over, especially with the new cheap RyanAir flights...

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March - April fare on Iberia from Dulles Washington, DC round trip to Santiago is currently $160 with another $450 in taxes and fees.

Dulles to Pamplona with return from Santiago to Dulles is $501 plus $450 in taxes and fees.

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