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First timer questions

Lofty1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 6th (2019)
Hola fellow pilgrims
I'm starting my walk on the 5th Oct arriving from Australia to Barcelona on the 3rd.
Advice for travel to SJP train and bus tickets, pre purchase or just on the day? Which train station, I see there are two?
Also recommendations for a Map App for Android phone with GPS tracking and off grid download.?
Lastly the thread to recommended Albergues. Very much appreciate all or any replies.
Buen Camino 🙏
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I arrived in Barcelona and travelled to Pamplona by train in 2016. I was staying close to Barcelona Sants, and walked to the station from my hotel, so I don't know quite how easy it might be to get there if you need to use public transport. My wife and I stayed near the border, and were picked up in Pamplona and dropped off in SJPP the next morning. This particular service has closed, but there may be others, and others will have information on other options.

My own preference for a mapping app on an Android device is OSMAnd+, which is the ad-free version. The freeware version is OSMAnd. They have good off-line mapping across all of Spain, including the Camino Frances route, but you could download standard gpx files as well from any source you trust. It also has live update options that I don't use. There are plenty of options here, with plenty of Camino specific apps - we will all have our own favourites.

On my first camino, I relied on the Brierley guide. When my wife and I walked the Camino Frances again in 2016 we used a combination of Gronze or booking.com if we were going to book online. I know favourites lists exist, and I have contributed to them, but I am not convinced about their utility. Take them with a grain of salt, and look for places that suit your own preferences, not mine or others.
 
Last edited:

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
There is a daily regular bus service - almost a pilgrim express! - 5 times a day I think, but not sure - that goes from Pamplona bus station to St Jean so is easy and cheap to get there. 22€.

See here - https://getbybus.com/en/bus-pamplona-to-saint-jean-pied-de-port

I understand the desire to go for 'favourite' refugios (though hospitelaros and conditions change so am with Doug - pinch of salt, no rose coloured glasses) but you will find when you are on the ground that your body will tell you when and where to stop rather than any timetable or schedule you create before you go.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Welcome, @Lofty1 .
Like Doug, I'm an OSMand aficionado. Once you've downloaded the app and maps (you get 7 in the free version and one map covers all of Spain) you have everything you need. I also downloaded tracks from wikiloc and used them as an overlay on the OSMand map. This works brilliantly for remote caminos; you won't likely need that for the Frances, but it can be useful where many arrows compete for your attention.
I flew to Biarritz, then took a shared Express Bourricot shuttle up to SJPP. The train leaves from Bayonne Station, which is a short bus ride away from the airport.
Buen Camino!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I like the Buen Camino app. It has offline mapping, it shows all the albergues, pensions, etc. It has a nice stage planning feature. It shows the route profile, and there's a bar at the top of the screen that shows you how far it is to the next town in real time.


They have a pretty good tutorial explaining all the features. The introduction is in Spanish, but at just past the one minute mark the tutorial in English begins.

 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Many people, myself included, use maps.me . The kml files for the tracks are easily obtained, and we can help if you decide to use that app.

(Edited to correct "kml")
 
Last edited:

Lofty1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 6th (2019)
Ok, thanks, yes I have heard of that one, I'll check it out :)
 

Lofty1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 6th (2019)
I like the Buen Camino app. It has offline mapping, it shows all the albergues, pensions, etc. It has a nice stage planning feature. It shows the route profile, and there's a bar at the top of the screen that shows you how far it is to the next town in real time.


They have a pretty good tutorial explaining all the features. The introduction is in Spanish, but at just past the one minute mark the tutorial in English begins.

 

Lofty1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 6th (2019)
Sounds good,
I like the Buen Camino app. It has offline mapping, it shows all the albergues, pensions, etc. It has a nice stage planning feature. It shows the route profile, and there's a bar at the top of the screen that shows you how far it is to the next town in real time.


They have a pretty good tutorial explaining all the features. The introduction is in Spanish, but at just past the one minute mark the tutorial in English begins.

 

Lofty1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 6th (2019)
I arrived in Barcelona and travelled to Pamplona by train in 2016. I was staying close to Barcelona Sants, and walked to the station from my hotel, so I don't know quite how easy it might be to get there if you need to use public transport. My wife and I stayed near the border, and were picked up in Pamplona and dropped off in SJPP the next morning. This particular service has closed, but there may be others, and others will have information on other options.

My own preference for a mapping app on an Android device is OSMAnd+, which is the ad-free version. The freeware version is OSMAnd. They have good off-line mapping across all of Spain, including the Camino Frances route, but you could download standard gpx files as well from any source you trust. It also has live update options that I don't use. There are plenty of options here, with plenty of Camino specific apps - we will all have our own favourites.

On my first camino, I relied on the Brierley guide. When my wife and I walked the Camino Frances again in 2016 we used a combination of Gronze or booking.com if we were going to book online. I know favourites lists exist, and I have contributed to them, but I am not convinced about their utility. Take them with a grain of salt, and look for places that suit your own preferences, not mine or others.
 

Lofty1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 6th (2019)
There is a daily regular bus service - almost a pilgrim express! - 5 times a day I think, but not sure - that goes from Pamplona bus station to St Jean so is easy and cheap to get there. 22€.

See here - https://getbybus.com/en/bus-pamplona-to-saint-jean-pied-de-port

I understand the desire to go for 'favourite' refugios (though hospitelaros and conditions change so am with Doug - pinch of salt, no rose coloured glasses) but you will find when you are on the ground that your body will tell you when and where to stop rather than any timetable or schedule you create before you go.
 

Lofty1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 6th (2019)
Thanks David and I totally agree. I don't plan to book anything, just suggestions to consider when I'm there.
 

Lofty1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 6th (2019)
Welcome, @Lofty1 .
Like Doug, I'm an OSMand aficionado. Once you've downloaded the app and maps (you get 7 in the free version and one map covers all of Spain) you have everything you need. I also downloaded tracks from wikiloc and used them as an overlay on the OSMand map. This works brilliantly for remote caminos; you won't likely need that for the Frances, but it can be useful where many arrows compete for your attention.
I flew to Biarritz, then took a shared Express Bourricot shuttle up to SJPP. The train leaves from Bayonne Station, which is a short bus ride away from the airport.
Buen Camino!
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Welcome............

Enjoy.............
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I use both Maps.me and OSMand. Since you don't seem to have much time to learn a new app, for ease of use I recommend Maps.me. You can do more with OSMand though. Both use the same database to create their maps.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I use both Maps.me and OSMand. Since you don't seem to have much time to learn a new app, for ease of use I recommend Maps.me. You can do more with OSMand though. Both use the same database to create their maps.
Honestly, for ease of use, a dedicated Camino app like Buen Camino is easier to use, with more complete information for the Camino than a maps only app. When there are alternate routes it explains the differences between the two. It shows the locations of Camino accommodations and points of interest. It has historical and cultural information. It shows the elevation gain/loss of each stage, and how much of the trail is tarmac vs trails.
Check out the video tutorial I posted above.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Honestly, for ease of use, a dedicated Camino app like Buen Camino is easier to use, with more complete information for the Camino than a maps only app.
I don't doubt that. I haven't used a dedicated camino app to review though that indeed may be the better way to go in this case.

[Edit:] Not much time for the OP to check out reviews of camino apps but this webpage gives a quick review of 13. I found it just a few minutes after posting the above.

 
Last edited:

Sher

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning first Camino May (2019)
Hola fellow pilgrims
I'm starting my walk on the 5th Oct arriving from Australia to Barcelona on the 3rd.
Advice for travel to SJP train and bus tickets, pre purchase or just on the day? Which train station, I see there are two?
Also recommendations for a Map App for Android phone with GPS tracking and off grid download.?
Lastly the thread to recommended Albergues. Very much appreciate all or any replies.
Buen Camino 🙏
I took the train from Barcelona Sants To Pamplona and then the bus to SJPdP in May.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
I thought that I would need a map of some sort before my first Camino but once I was walking I soon realised that I didn't need a map. Use the gronze.com website for information about the trail and Albergues.
 

agu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
In the beginning of this July I took the bus from Barcelona to Pamplona operated by Alsa. Bus station is near the Arc de Triomf metro station. Bus is not as fast as train, but I liked what I saw on the road.
In the afternoon I took another bus from Pamplona to SJPdP - this was one amazing trip!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
To combine your request for offline maps with GPS and for albergue recommendations, you could use a dedicated Camino app like textile suggested. Buen Camino and Wisely+ (formerly Wise Pilgrim) are two popular Camino apps. Buen Camino includes lists of albergues with ratings and Wisely+ has comments on the albergues from its users. Personally, I tend to take a number of dedicated apps with me as they aren't that expensive (especially in the context of what I am spending overall on the Camino with airfare and everything) and don't add any extra weight. Then I supplement them with Gronze.com.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Personally, I tend to take a number of dedicated apps with me as they aren't that expensive (especially in the context of what I am spending overall on the Camino with airfare and everything) and don't add any extra weight. Then I supplement them with Gronze.com.
I do the same, and I also have a couple of guidebooks on the Kindle app on my phone. In addition to Gronze, I also like Forwalk.org

 

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