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Best way to SJPDP from USA

barryg

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
I would like some opinions (from pilgrims who have done it) about the best way to get to SJPDP:

I have, myself, done the following:

  • Taken the bus from Madrid to Pamplona, then the bus to SJPDP
  • Taken the train from Barcelona to Pamplona, the bus to SJPDP

This year I am considering one of the following four possibilities (but I am open to others from seasoned pilgrims):

  • Madrid to Pamplona via train
  • Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via train
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via Iberia airlines

I have semi-abandoned the idea of traveling from Paris, but I am open to suggestions from proponents of that route. I remember watching a Camino documentary where the documenter just seemed to hop on a train at DeGaulle airport and the next thing you saw was him arriving in SJPDP. Cinema fantasy probably.

I am leaning towards flying, as I don’t want to get caught up in all the stress of finding the proper train connections, or worse, bus connections.

If any of you kind pilgrims can offer me some counsel, I would appreciate it.

And I apologize for asking a question that I know has been answered and answered. I pray that you will reach into your vast experiences and guide me. Thank you!

Warmly,


Barry
 
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I've flown into Madrid and Paris, and I found Paris to SJPdP to be the most straightforward. I bought a ticket from Gare Montparnasse to SJPdP with a change at Bayonne. I liked that I didn't have to mess around with getting a taxi or going to the bus station in Pamplona.

I don't try to get to St Jean on the same day that I arrive in Europe. I prefer to have at least two nights rest before I travel to my starting point.
 
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I much prefer the train to flying, but that's a personal choice. I love the train and bus systems in Spain. The bus is also an option (Jimenez has a route from Madrid to Pamplona). I like the train because there is usually plenty of room, a bathroom on board much larger than the airplane bathroom, and I can see the countryside. Trains to Pamplona leave Madrid from the Atocha station. You can take the Yellow Express bus to the Atocha station from the airport for 6 euros.
 
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I much prefer the train to flying, but that's a personal choice. I love the train and bus systems in Spain. The bus is also an option (Jimenez has a route from Madrid to Pamplona). I like he train because there is usually plenty of room, a bathroom on board much larger than the airplane bathroom, and I can see the countryside. Trains to Pamplona leave Madrid from the Atocha station. You can take the Yellow Express bus to the Atocha station from the airport for 6 euros.
Also when you arrive in Pamplona, the number 16 city bus will take you from the train station to the bus station.
 
IF you can swing it and make friends quickly (look for the ones with backpacks) either on or before or after the train from MAD to Pamplona, share a taxi. Just gather up at the train station, there's a taxi line. I think it's now like $120 US (Oct. 2022)... If you get like 3 (or even more) other people it seems pretty reasonable to me after i've been traveling for like 20 hours. Also a nice way to meet new friends.
 
I'm not saying this is the best way but this is how I got to SJPP from USA. My first time on the Camino was last September and due to the flight times, the Air France fare, and the extra night in Bordeaux to recover from jet lag, I choose this route: flying direct to the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

After clearing passport control I walked over to the airport train station (see photo below). I relaxed--having tea and a sandwich--until my 6pm TGV train to Bordeaux. I arrived at 10pm and checked into my hotel right across the street from the train station, the Best Western Plus Gare Saint Jean. (Saint Jean is the name of the Bordeaux train station and not to be confused with Saint Jean Pied de Port.) After a very good night's sleep I woke up before dawn and was all rested and ready when the hotel's breakfast opened. After breakfast I walked back across the street to catch the 9:20am TGV INOUI to Bayonne. Bayonne was beautiful! I had a leisurely stroll about town and a lovely lunch and then returned to the train station to catch the afternoon train to Saint Jean Pied de Port.

Gare CDG.jpg
 
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I've taken the bus to Pamplona from Madrid airport and on to SJPdP more than once. It definitely makes for a long day and you get to Pamplona early evening but it is relatively inexpensive and user friendly. If you do it make sure you make reservations in Pamplona. In the past I have either taken the next day off to shake off jet lag or I made it a short walking day after sleeping in. You could also spend the night in Pamplona, foregoing the layover before the bus to SJPdP and catch the early bus the next morning to there.
 
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My first question would be where in the USA are you flying from? My favorite arrival point from ATL is Bordeaux, if it does not require a connex at CDG and then the very best is from MIA is Bilbao.
 
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From Paris and Madrid - I feel like they are different, but equally easy/difficult to get to SJPDP (both have to take the local bus/train to a train station to go to either Bayonne or Pamplona, then you have to take a bus/train/shuttle to SJPDP). With both - you could also fly to Pamplona and/or Biarritz. I feel like Paris does have more possible trains throughout the day to get to Bayonne compared to Madrid to Pamplona... but some are TGV with no changes and others are regular trains that usually have connections.

Barcelona seems a little more complicated... but I haven't done it.

My choice would be what I have done in the past - Madid to Pamplona via train. Unless the flight to Pamplona was very convenient timewise and affordable. Worth comparing both. But again - I feel like it is about equal to flying into Paris. So I would go with whichever is cheaper when you go to buy the tickets. The only advantage to Madrid compared to Paris is if you need to spend the night in Madrid before catching a train - it is much cheaper to do so in Madrid compared to Paris.
 
I've taken the bus to Pamplona from Madrid airport and on to SJPdP more than once. It definitely makes for a long day and you get to Pamplona early evening but it is relatively inexpensive and user friendly. If you do it make sure you make reservations in Pamplona. In the past I have either taken the next day off to shake off jet lag or I made it a short walking day after sleeping in. You could also spend the night in Pamplona, foregoing the layover before the bus to SJPdP and catch the early bus the next morning to there.
IS there an early bus to Pamplona? The Alsa app only shows one bus a day at 12:00
 
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IS there an early bus to Pamplona? The Alsa app only shows one bus a day at 12:00
That is the usual bus. I think sometimes they add a 2nd bus but during high season. But it seems to me the 2nd bus is later usually. Not sure.
 
Jimenez bus line also goes Madrid to Pamplona. There is a 7:30 am bus from the Avenida de Americas station and one at 12:15 pm from the Airport Bus terminal at T4. It is not a small country and so it just takes time to get from place to place. The train ride is about 3 hours. The bus probably takes longer if it stops several places.
 
From Paris and Madrid - I feel like they are different, but equally easy/difficult to get to SJPDP (both have to take the local bus/train to a train station to go to either Bayonne or Pamplona, then you have to take a bus/train/shuttle to SJPDP). With both - you could also fly to Pamplona and/or Biarritz. I feel like Paris does have more possible trains throughout the day to get to Bayonne compared to Madrid to Pamplona... but some are TGV with no changes and others are regular trains that usually have connections.

Barcelona seems a little more complicated... but I haven't done it.

My choice would be what I have done in the past - Madid to Pamplona via train. Unless the flight to Pamplona was very convenient timewise and affordable. Worth comparing both. But again - I feel like it is about equal to flying into Paris. So I would go with whichever is cheaper when you go to buy the tickets. The only advantage to Madrid compared to Paris is if you need to spend the night in Madrid before catching a train - it is much cheaper to do so in Madrid compared to Paris.
Thank you for the advice. I want to take the train from Madrid, but dread all those transfers. I’ve taken the bus before with a transfer in Soria. It went well, but I much prefer the train, if only for the bathroom. 😜. I’m 75 with a small bladder.

When I do a Rome2Rio search, it shows me a train from T4 to Atocha Cercanías with a transfer to Puerta de Atocha. R2R is not explicit about how to negotiate the transfer and it’s the minutiae that worries me. Where is Puerta de Atocha in relation to Cercanías?

I only worry so much because last time, when I took the bus, the bus left without my wife and I during a transfer (we HAD to exit to the bus station, they said). We were stranded and they took all our luggage and cell phones. I went through several hours of frustration trying to communicate my dilemma with very poor Spanish speaking skills. I don’t wish to repeat it.
 
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Atocha station has both the Cercanias and the regular lines in the same building complex. You get off the Cercanias train and go up the escalator and then you will follow the signs to the gates for the regular Renfe lines. Be aware that they don't post the train platforms on the electronic schedule signs until 20 minutes or so before the train leaves. You just stand and wait until the platform numbe is posted. That is normal. I am sorry you had a traumatic experience in the past with the bus and I hope this will be a better experience.
 
Depending on which airport you fly out of, the Madrid flights have been more expensive than Paris. I'm booked from LAX to Paris (ORLY) on May 1st for $400. The flight to Madrid was something like $1000. The train from Paris leaves from Montparnasse station at like 7:30am and arrives in SJPDP at around 1:30pm after transferring to a bus (right outside the train station) in Bayonne. I did this last September and it was pretty easy...though they do have a rail strike going on in France at the moment which is making it a little trickier to get there. You can book the train and bus transfer through the OMIO app. Other than that, I have also done Madrid - train to Pamplona - Bus to SJPDP... Time and difficulty is about the same.
 
My one and only Camino I did exactly what I wanted to do, to wit:
Fly EWR--> CDG overnight​
Arrive CDG, make my way to Montparnasse (I know Paris reasonably well so I am not getting "lost" anywhere and am not intimidated by the Metro)​
Checked into my hostel, walked to Gare Montparnasse and got the layout of the land and all the info as to "what to do tomorrow"​
Hung around for couple of hours at Ciemeterie Montparnasse then had a nice dinner​
Next morning after breakfast leisurely walked to the station and took the train ( TGV INOUI #8537) to Bayonne at which point I lucked out as they were bussing people straight to SJPdP from there (didn't have to make another hop on another train, else it would've been TER #867309 --> Autocar #405489)​
I wanted to spend overnight in Paris and honestly if i had more time I'd spend a full day or 2...
 
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That is the usual bus. I think sometimes they add a 2nd bus but during high season. But it seems to me the 2nd bus is later usually. Not sure.
Everytime I bused from Pamplona to SJPdP it was late in the afternoon and arrived in SJPdP around 7 pm I believe. I recall that because I let the albergue know what time I am checking in.
 
I have twice flown into MAD and then hopped the 12:00 direct flight to Pamplona--about $100 both times. No futzing around trying to find a train or bus. Like most, I love trains and have been all around Spain by train. But after an overnight flight to Madrid, I would prefer the least travel frustration as possible, and for me that means a quick flight to Pamplona getting in about 1:00.
 
Thank you for the advice. I want to take the train from Madrid, but dread all those transfers. I’ve taken the bus before with a transfer in Soria. It went well, but I much prefer the train, if only for the bathroom. 😜. I’m 75 with a small bladder.

When I do a Rome2Rio search, it shows me a train from T4 to Atocha Cercanías with a transfer to Puerta de Atocha. R2R is not explicit about how to negotiate the transfer and it’s the minutiae that worries me. Where is Puerta de Atocha in relation to Cercanías?

I only worry so much because last time, when I took the bus, the bus left without my wife and I during a transfer (we HAD to exit to the bus station, they said). We were stranded and they took all our luggage and cell phones. I went through several hours of frustration trying to communicate my dilemma with very poor Spanish speaking skills. I don’t wish to repeat it.
I think someone else answered your question about the train station locations which is good because I don't remember. The train from T4 to Atocha comes frequently and the train transfers are usually pretty easy to navigate. I find buses more confusing.

And I get your worry/frustration. I took a night bus and all announcements were in Spanish but at one particular stop everyone was getting off the bus to go to the bathroom so I did the same... and watched the bus drive away and it left me in a quiet state of panic wondering if I was wrong and I wasn't supposed to get off the bus. No one else seemed to be bothered, but I assume the announcement that was made was telling passengers that they could get off the bus to take a break while the bus refueled. Thankfully - that is what it was doing. How horrible you were left behind. Lesson learned though - at least keep your cell phone and valuables with you if you have to get off the bus for any reason. And then you can at least use google translate to communicate if needed.

I found taking the train was pretty easy because it was simply taking city trains to catch the train to Pamplona. I just always make sure I give myself plenty of time to navigate to the train station. City trains are usually very frequent, so if you miss one another is usually on the way. I aim to give myself about 3 hours from when my plane lands to get to any train or bus station - that way late planes or customs delays or missed city trains aren't a problem and I always have time to get to the train station. Then for the bus to Pamplona, there is only 1 a day at noon (sometimes 2 a day)... which usually means you spend a night in Pamplona so you have plenty of time in the morning to get to the bus station.
 
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Everytime I bused from Pamplona to SJPdP it was late in the afternoon and arrived in SJPdP around 7 pm I believe. I recall that because I let the albergue know what time I am checking in.
Mine was around noon or 1 pm in 2021.... it only went as far as Roncesvalles because it wasn't allowed to cross the border due to COVID yet... took a taxi the rest of the way. I don't remember my exact arrival time but I was at my albergue and then walking around town most of the afternoon/evening - so I think I arrived by 2-3pm.
 
Depending on which airport you fly out of, the Madrid flights have been more expensive than Paris.
Paris used to always be the cheapest city (second only to London at times) for me to fly to from the West Coast (often LAX). Since COVID though - Barcelona and/or Madrid are often cheaper. I like to do a google flight search and enter my dates and put in flying out of LAX and a few other cities - but for the destination I just put "Europe" and see where the cheapest flights are in Europe. Like I said - Paris/London used to be the cheapest... but not always the case for me anymore!
 
First thing is a confession. I'm a Brit and have never flown from the US to Europe. So I don't match your original spec. But I have some experience of travel to and from Spain over several decades. So please excuse my observations.

Unless you have found a very cheap fare then flying into Barcelona doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. The wrong side of the country with a complicated and potentially expensive journey to Pamplona before you take a bus or taxi to leave Spain only to return to it the next day on foot. Is starting from SJPDP really important? An entirely artificial notion that you must begin there for a "complete" Camino. Starting from Pamplona would make good sense unless you are fixated on a total Martin Sheen experience

Assuming you have decided that SJPDP is a must-do starting point then there are easier ways of getting there than travel via Barcelona . I happen to share your reservations about transit through Paris. How about using either London or Dublin as a hub? Book a return fare to either. Then a flight from London/Dublin to Biarritz to begin your CF journey. Cheap, quick and direct. Once you have reached Santiago you can fly to Dublin or London for your return to the US. No need to return to a distant Spanish airport for that first leg of your journey home. If flights from London/Dublin to Biarritz don't fit your travel plans then think about flying to Bilbao or Bordeaux then a short train journey to Bayonne. Adds a couple of hours but still more convenient than Barcelona!
 
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Paris used to always be the cheapest city (second only to London at times) for me to fly to from the West Coast (often LAX). Since COVID though - Barcelona and/or Madrid are often cheaper. I like to do a google flight search and enter my dates and put in flying out of LAX and a few other cities - but for the destination I just put "Europe" and see where the cheapest flights are in Europe. Like I said - Paris/London used to be the cheapest... but not always the case for me anymore!
Yeah, I used to fly to Madrid or Barcelona, but I just checked again and Paris seems to be the cheapest for May 1st for a direct flight.
 
Madrid fromUSA has always been a good choice for me.
1. It's easy to get to Pamplona or any starting point in Spain from there.
2. I overnight in Pamplona if going toSJPDP and take the morning bus and then can walk up to Orrison that same day.
3. I can get a morning train from SdeC to Madrid and catch an afternoon flight back to USA.
All very easy.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
May day? Isn't that when strikes and protests are often called for especially in France?

No, it is not!

Might be interesting to read up on some social history and labourlaws.



IMHO it is thanks to those who negotiated hard for labourlaws that most of us in the last decades are able to take leave off from work and walk a pilgrimage or take paid holidays!

Important note : my links must not be seen as political. I am aware of the forumrules regarding politics.
 
No, it is not!

Might be interesting to read up on some social history and labourlaws.



IMHO it is thanks to those who negotiated hard for labourlaws that most of us in the last decades are able to take leave off from work and walk a pilgrimage or take paid holidays!

Important note : my links must not be seen as political. I am aware of the forumrules regarding politics.
Ok, sorry, it is associated with historical strikes in the US. But it is a holiday in some european countries so travelers should be aware thar some stores and services won't be available.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
I've flown into Madrid and Paris, and I found Paris to SJPdP to be the most straightforward. I bought a ticket from Gare Montparnasse to SJPdP with a change at Bayonne. I liked that I didn't have to mess around with getting a taxi or going to the bus station in Pamplona.

I don't try to get to St Jean on the same day that I arrive in Europe. I prefer to have at least two nights rest before I travel to my starting point.
I agree, have done this twice and it is very strait forward, unless there is a train strike, which there has been for the past few days.
 
I would like some opinions (from pilgrims who have done it) about the best way to get to SJPDP:

I have, myself, done the following:

  • Taken the bus from Madrid to Pamplona, then the bus to SJPDP
  • Taken the train from Barcelona to Pamplona, the bus to SJPDP

This year I am considering one of the following four possibilities (but I am open to others from seasoned pilgrims):

  • Madrid to Pamplona via train
  • Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via train
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via Iberia airlines

I have semi-abandoned the idea of traveling from Paris, but I am open to suggestions from proponents of that route. I remember watching a Camino documentary where the documenter just seemed to hop on a train at DeGaulle airport and the next thing you saw was him arriving in SJPDP. Cinema fantasy probably.

I am leaning towards flying, as I don’t want to get caught up in all the stress of finding the proper train connections, or worse, bus connections.

If any of you kind pilgrims can offer me some counsel, I would appreciate it.

And I apologize for asking a question that I know has been answered and answered. I pray that you will reach into your vast experiences and guide me. Thank you!

Warmly,


Barry
For what it's worth: From the USA, I would repeat what I did in 2021: Fly to CDG, and arrive there early in the morning. Fly mid-morning-to-noon from CDG to BIQ/Biarritz-Bayonne. Spend the night in Bayonne. Take the early or noon train to SJPP, and start walking.
 
Atocha station has both the Cercanias and the regular lines in the same building complex. You get off the Cercanias train and go up the escalator and then you will follow the signs to the gates for the regular Renfe lines. Be aware that they don't post the train platforms on the electronic schedule signs until 20 minutes or so before the train leaves. You just stand and wait until the platform numbe is posted. That is normal. I am sorry you had a traumatic experience in the past with the bus and I hope this will be a better experience.
Thank you so much. This helps a lot. I would so much rather take the train.
 
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I would like some opinions (from pilgrims who have done it) about the best way to get to SJPDP:

I have, myself, done the following:

  • Taken the bus from Madrid to Pamplona, then the bus to SJPDP
  • Taken the train from Barcelona to Pamplona, the bus to SJPDP

This year I am considering one of the following four possibilities (but I am open to others from seasoned pilgrims):

  • Madrid to Pamplona via train
  • Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via train
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via Iberia airlines

I have semi-abandoned the idea of traveling from Paris, but I am open to suggestions from proponents of that route. I remember watching a Camino documentary where the documenter just seemed to hop on a train at DeGaulle airport and the next thing you saw was him arriving in SJPDP. Cinema fantasy probably.

I am leaning towards flying, as I don’t want to get caught up in all the stress of finding the proper train connections, or worse, bus connections.

If any of you kind pilgrims can offer me some counsel, I would appreciate it.

And I apologize for asking a question that I know has been answered and answered. I pray that you will reach into your vast experiences and guide me. Thank you!

Warmly,


Barry
After researching many different options I decided to fly into Madrid from Seattle and after a 2 hour layover, on to Pamplona via Iberia Air. I arrive in Pamplona about 5 pm and will stay the night. The next day I will get the noon bus to SJPP arriving 1:45 which will allow for an easy day. Bus tickets are available on Alsa.com. So many options so just go with whatever seems right for you. Buen Camino!
 
I flew last Sept from SFO to Paris direct because planes and trains come into and out of the same Charles de Gaule airport. Landed around 11a, figured out CDG airport and where to get the train, checked into hotel for a night, then easily got the TGV train early the next morning to Bayonne, another train to Biarritz, and then the final train to SJPP. Arrived around 3p and checked into my albergue, went to the pilgrim office, etc. Easy peasy and such a nice way to travel!
 
From California I’ve found the most efficient (not cheapest) route to get on the Camino:
LAX overnight to Madrid, arrive ~2pm.
5pm train Atocha to Pamplona, overnight.
Next day taxi to SJPdP, have lunch, buy poles, walk to Orisson.
Buen Camino!
 
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I looked at my Alsa boarding pass from late September 2018. I arrived at the Pamplona bus station from Madrid airport T4 at about 3:30 pm and took the bus there to SJPdP at 5:30 pm. Two hour layover at the bus station.
I don't know if that is the same schedule every year, but it's the same one I had in July 2016 as well.
 
I love flying from Northwest USA into Paris. Then fly to Biarritz, taxi to the Bayonne train station then on to SJPdP.

Even one night in Paris can do wonders for jet lag. Stay in a hostel (3 Ducks) then walk around and see the sights. Next morning wake refreshed and ready to get to SJPdP. Or press on same day, it's doable.
 
I've flown into Madrid and Paris, and I found Paris to SJPdP to be the most straightforward. I bought a ticket from Gare Montparnasse to SJPdP with a change at Bayonne. I liked that I didn't have to mess around with getting a taxi or going to the bus station in Pamplona.

I don't try to get to St Jean on the same day that I arrive in Europe. I prefer to have at least two nights rest before I travel to my starting point.
And it's so easy to catch up on sleep on a train.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
And it's so easy to catch up on sleep on a train.
Well… that depends on you. I can’t sleep on a bus, plane, train, or an automobile even if it would save my life haha… I try, but at most I can briefly nod off but my body won’t actually fall to sleep. A train is certainly the most comfortable though. Most trains anyway.
 
None of the responses here mention the choice of trains over planes in light of their relative environmental impacts. Since getting to Europe from North America necessitates air travel, once in Europe, with its myriad of train options, we always look to trains to lessen our environmental/travel 'footprint'.
 
I would like some opinions (from pilgrims who have done it) about the best way to get to SJPDP:

I have, myself, done the following:

  • Taken the bus from Madrid to Pamplona, then the bus to SJPDP
  • Taken the train from Barcelona to Pamplona, the bus to SJPDP

This year I am considering one of the following four possibilities (but I am open to others from seasoned pilgrims):

  • Madrid to Pamplona via train
  • Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via train
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via Iberia airlines

I have semi-abandoned the idea of traveling from Paris, but I am open to suggestions from proponents of that route. I remember watching a Camino documentary where the documenter just seemed to hop on a train at DeGaulle airport and the next thing you saw was him arriving in SJPDP. Cinema fantasy probably.

I am leaning towards flying, as I don’t want to get caught up in all the stress of finding the proper train connections, or worse, bus connections.

If any of you kind pilgrims can offer me some counsel, I would appreciate it.

And I apologize for asking a question that I know has been answered and answered. I pray that you will reach into your vast experiences and guide me. Thank you!

Warmly,


Ba

I would like some opinions (from pilgrims who have done it) about the best way to get to SJPDP:

I have, myself, done the following:

  • Taken the bus from Madrid to Pamplona, then the bus to SJPDP
  • Taken the train from Barcelona to Pamplona, the bus to SJPDP

This year I am considering one of the following four possibilities (but I am open to others from seasoned pilgrims):

  • Madrid to Pamplona via train
  • Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via train
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via Iberia airlines

I have semi-abandoned the idea of traveling from Paris, but I am open to suggestions from proponents of that route. I remember watching a Camino documentary where the documenter just seemed to hop on a train at DeGaulle airport and the next thing you saw was him arriving in SJPDP. Cinema fantasy probably.

I am leaning towards flying, as I don’t want to get caught up in all the stress of finding the proper train connections, or worse, bus connections.

If any of you kind pilgrims can offer me some counsel, I would appreciate it.

And I apologize for asking a question that I know has been answered and answered. I pray that you will reach into your vast experiences and guide me. Thank you!

Warmly,


Barry
We had a really good travel experience flying thru Paris last year for the Camino. We flew from USA (Minneapolis) to Paris, flew from Paris to Biarritz and then reserved a seat on the Express Bourricot van which picked us up at the Biarritz Airport. The ride was about an hour or maybe less and cost €19.
 
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I would like some opinions (from pilgrims who have done it) about the best way to get to SJPDP:

I have, myself, done the following:

  • Taken the bus from Madrid to Pamplona, then the bus to SJPDP
  • Taken the train from Barcelona to Pamplona, the bus to SJPDP

This year I am considering one of the following four possibilities (but I am open to others from seasoned pilgrims):

  • Madrid to Pamplona via train
  • Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via train
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via Iberia airlines

I have semi-abandoned the idea of traveling from Paris, but I am open to suggestions from proponents of that route. I remember watching a Camino documentary where the documenter just seemed to hop on a train at DeGaulle airport and the next thing you saw was him arriving in SJPDP. Cinema fantasy probably.

I am leaning towards flying, as I don’t want to get caught up in all the stress of finding the proper train connections, or worse, bus connections.

If any of you kind pilgrims can offer me some counsel, I would appreciate it.

And I apologize for asking a question that I know has been answered and answered. I pray that you will reach into your vast experiences and guide me. Thank you!

Warmly,


Barry

Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines.

I have researched most vectors from the U.S. to get to the Camino, and think (again from the U.S.) an overnight flight getting in at 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning, or thereabouts, and then a 1 hour flight from MAD to Pamplona seems the most sensible. Here's the MAD to Pamplona flight in mid-May.
Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines.

1678669656148.png
 
I would like some opinions (from pilgrims who have done it) about the best way to get to SJPDP:

I have, myself, done the following:

  • Taken the bus from Madrid to Pamplona, then the bus to SJPDP
  • Taken the train from Barcelona to Pamplona, the bus to SJPDP

This year I am considering one of the following four possibilities (but I am open to others from seasoned pilgrims):

  • Madrid to Pamplona via train
  • Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via train
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via Iberia airlines

I have semi-abandoned the idea of traveling from Paris, but I am open to suggestions from proponents of that route. I remember watching a Camino documentary where the documenter just seemed to hop on a train at DeGaulle airport and the next thing you saw was him arriving in SJPDP. Cinema fantasy probably.

I am leaning towards flying, as I don’t want to get caught up in all the stress of finding the proper train connections, or worse, bus connections.

If any of you kind pilgrims can offer me some counsel, I would appreciate it.

And I apologize for asking a question that I know has been answered and answered. I pray that you will reach into your vast experiences and guide me. Thank you!

Warmly,


Barry
I fly in to Madrid. Same day train to Pamplona. Noon next day bus to SJPDP. Jet lag out of the way! Walk.
 
I fly in to Madrid. Same day train to Pamplona. Noon next day bus to SJPDP. Jet lag out of the way! Walk.
My first camino this May and that's my plan. Land in Madrid 11 am and catch the train the same day, and have already booked my accommodation in Pamplona. The bus or taxi the next day to SJPP.
 
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My first camino this May and that's my plan. Land in Madrid 11 am and catch the train the same day, and have already booked my accommodation in Pamplona. The bus or taxi the next day to SJPP.
My accommodations were booked for Pamplona, SJPDP, Burguete, Zubiri and finally Pamplona again.
 
We had a really good travel experience flying thru Paris last year for the Camino. We flew from USA (Minneapolis) to Paris, flew from Paris to Biarritz and then reserved a seat on the Express Bourricot van which picked us up at the Biarritz Airport. The ride was about an hour or maybe less and cost €19.
We did the same thing except from Boston. We were 3rd in line when the Pilgrim'e office opened for the afternoon at 13:30.
 
Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines.

I have researched most vectors from the U.S. to get to the Camino, and think (again from the U.S.) an overnight flight getting in at 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning, or thereabouts, and then a 1 hour flight from MAD to Pamplona seems the most sensible. Here's the MAD to Pamplona flight in mid-May.
Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines.

View attachment 142937
This is what I am doing this year. Arrive MAD about 0630, 12:25 MAD to Pamplona. Start Camino from Pamplona the next day.
 
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I have gone via Paris and Madrid. I dislike long bus rides and am more hesitant than ever to take one after Covid19 popped up. We arrived in T1 on UA non stop at 9:15am. Had our luggage and were in a taxi by 10:00am. Caught the 11:30 train at Atocha and were at the train station a little before 3pm in Pamplona. We had prearranged a taxi for two and were immediarely driven to our accommodations outside of SJPdP on the road to the Napoleon route by 4:30 pm. For me that is the quickest and easiest option.
 
I fly in to Madrid. Same day train to Pamplona. Noon next day bus to SJPDP. Jet lag out of the way! Walk.
My first camino this May and that's my plan. Land in Madrid 11 am and catch the train the same day, and have already booked my accommodation in Pamplona. The bus or taxi the next day to SJPP.
My accommodations were booked for Pamplona, SJPDP, Burguete, Zubiri and finally Pamplona again.
Mine just about the same. I'am booked for Pamplona, SJPP, Burguete, Urdaniz, and Pamplona again.
 
I have gone via Paris and Madrid. I dislike long bus rides and am more hesitant than ever to take one after Covid19 popped up. We arrived in T1 on UA non stop at 9:15am. Had our luggage and were in a taxi by 10:00am. Caught the 11:30 train at Atocha and were at the train station a little before 3pm in Pamplona. We had prearranged a taxi for two and were immediarely driven to our accommodations outside of SJPdP on the road to the Napoleon route by 4:30 pm. For me that is the quickest and easiest option.
Just curious where you stayed outside St Jean. We have also booked a place about a mile outside the city on the Napolean route! Glad to hear you got so quickly out of the airport. We have a tight connection to our train after we land but no luggage stop as we are only bringing carryons.
 
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How about using either London or Dublin as a hub? Book a return fare to either. Then a flight from London/Dublin to Biarritz to begin your CF journey. Cheap, quick and direct. Once you have reached Santiago you can fly to Dublin or London for your return to the US. No need to return to a distant Spanish airport for that first leg of your journey home.
I'm surprised that @Bradypus is the only one to have mentioned this in the whole thread. I came to the same conclusion for my travel in May.
 
From California I’ve found the most efficient (not cheapest) route to get on the Camino:
LAX overnight to Madrid, arrive ~2pm.
5pm train Atocha to Pamplona, overnight.
Next day taxi to SJPdP, have lunch, buy poles, walk to Orisson.
Buen Camino!
How much was the taxi from Pamplona to SJPP? I am in the same pickle planning to go from Pamplona to SJPP. 3rd week of May.
 
My first camino this May and that's my plan. Land in Madrid 11 am and catch the train the same day, and have already booked my accommodation in Pamplona. The bus or taxi the next day to SJPP.

Mine just about the same. I'am booked for Pamplona, SJPP, Burguete, Urdaniz, and Pamplona again.
About how much was the taxi fare from Pamplona to SJPP?
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
I would like some opinions (from pilgrims who have done it) about the best way to get to SJPDP:

I have, myself, done the following:

  • Taken the bus from Madrid to Pamplona, then the bus to SJPDP
  • Taken the train from Barcelona to Pamplona, the bus to SJPDP

This year I am considering one of the following four possibilities (but I am open to others from seasoned pilgrims):

  • Madrid to Pamplona via train
  • Madrid to Pamplona via Iberia airlines
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via train
  • Barcelona to Pamplona via Iberia airlines

I have semi-abandoned the idea of traveling from Paris, but I am open to suggestions from proponents of that route. I remember watching a Camino documentary where the documenter just seemed to hop on a train at DeGaulle airport and the next thing you saw was him arriving in SJPDP. Cinema fantasy probably.

I am leaning towards flying, as I don’t want to get caught up in all the stress of finding the proper train connections, or worse, bus connections.

If any of you kind pilgrims can offer me some counsel, I would appreciate it.

And I apologize for asking a question that I know has been answered and answered. I pray that you will reach into your vast experiences and guide me. Thank you!

Warmly,


Barry
Paris and Madrid are probably the easiest destination airports. From Paris you can grab a train that takes you to Bayonne and then another train to SJPDP. From Madrid the train is faster than bus and takes you to Pamplona and then a bus to SJPDP. In the past when I have done that it's tricky to get a train that gets you to Pamplona in time to get the bus the same day, so I've had to stay overnight in Pamplona. For me coming from LAX the least expensive flights the past couple of years have been into Paris. I used to be able to get flights to Madrid or Barcelona for like $200 non-stop each way, but since COVID I think those routes are not as efficient, so Paris is the least expensive for me.
 
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I spent €120 on a weekend.
Thank you for the info. It would be great to find a fellow traveler willing to split a rideshare.
Does anyone know of a place to post availability to rideshare on a forum or bulletin or app?
 
If you are on the train or plane, look for people with big backpacks as you disembark. (Some may already have a shell attached which is a dead giveaway. ) Just walk up to them and ask if they want to share a cab.

There is an early train from Madrid that will get to Pamplona in time for the bus, but usually you need to stay over in either Madrid or Pamplona to make the logistics work for the bus.
 
Thank you for the info. It would be great to find a fellow traveler willing to split a rideshare.
Does anyone know of a place to post availability to rideshare on a forum or bulletin or app?
Yes, right here on the forum. You can start a thread on the Camino Francés forum and add the prefix "Ride Share" to it. There is a drop down menu with different prefixes next to the Thread Title box.

You can also contact the taxi company below. They will attempt to pool you with other pilgrims when you reserve in advance.

 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
I would like some opinions (from pilgrims who have done it) about the best way to get to SJPDP:
I read through the thread, and would just add my opinion:

Consider after the Camino:

If you are booking a round-trip ticket flying into Madrid is better because at the end of your trip, you'll be in Santiago and Madrid is quick, cheap, and easy to get back to by bus or train

From Santiago, Barcelona is a whole day by train, and Paris is even farther and way more expensive.
 
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If you are on the train or plane, look for people with big backpacks as you disembark. (Some may already have a shell attached which is a dead giveaway. ) Just walk up to them and ask if they want to share a cab.

There is an early train from Madrid that will get to Pamplona in time for the bus, but usually you need to stay over in either Madrid or Pamplona to make the logistics work for the bus.
I stand in Pamplona and took the noon bus the next day. You wake up refreshed. The bus is cheap and your all rested by the time you get to SJPP.
 
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