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Getting from USA to start Camino del Norte

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Time of past OR future Camino
Spring 2024
1100 miles: Appalachian trail complete
from Miami to Madrid
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dutchwalkagain: Unrelated to the pole traveling concerns; I can't figure my travel from USA to Spain. Can you provide insight. I read you fly from Miami to Madrid: is this a direct flight ticket? How do you get from Madrid to the beginning of the Norte Way if indeed that is where you have begun your journey in previous Camino walks?
Thank you, while I am an experienced backpacker in USA, outside of the US is a new experience for me and no idea how to plan,
Cindy "data"
 
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dutchwalkagain: Unrelated to the pole traveling concerns; I can't figure my travel from USA to Spain. Can you provide insight. I read you fly from Miami to Madrid: is this a direct flight ticket? How do you get from Madrid to the beginning of the Norte Way if indeed that is where you have begun your journey in previous Camino walks?
Thank you, while I am an experienced backpacker in USA, outside of the US is a new experience for me and no idea how to plan,
Cindy "data"
Hi Cindy, Yes direct flight from Miami to Madrid with Air Europa this time but also have done Iberia in the past. I book flights whenever I see a good price. Sometimes months in advance. Check very regularly. Miami is often the cheapest airport to get to Madrid. I never did the North way but normally take the train from Madrid Atocha (which you can reach by an easy train from the airport, I think there are even youtube video's on this ) to Pamplona after staying in Madrid 1 night to recover from jet lag. Then from Pamplona you can take the bus to SJPDP. But not sure about the North. On Omio.com you can book lots of transfers. Keep in mind that busses and trains often don't become available to book until several weeks prior to date.
 
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dutchwalkagain: Unrelated to the pole traveling concerns; I can't figure my travel from USA to Spain. Can you provide insight. I read you fly from Miami to Madrid: is this a direct flight ticket? How do you get from Madrid to the beginning of the Norte Way if indeed that is where you have begun your journey in previous Camino walks?
Thank you, while I am an experienced backpacker in USA, outside of the US is a new experience for me and no idea how to plan,
Cindy "data"
Cindy,
When I did Camino del Norte, I took a flight from Madrid to San Sebastián and a taxi to Irun. Very easy. Not expensive and very timely.
Lynn
 
Hi Cindy, Yes direct flight from Miami to Madrid with Air Europa this time but also have done Iberia in the past. I book flights whenever I see a good price. Sometimes months in advance. Check very regularly. Miami is often the cheapest airport to get to Madrid. I never did the North way but normally take the train from Madrid Atocha (which you can reach by an easy train from the airport, I think there are even youtube video's on this ) to Pamplona after staying in Madrid 1 night to recover from jet lag. Then from Pamplona you can take the bus to SJPDP. But not sure about the North. On Omio.com you can book lots of transfers. Keep in mind that busses and trains often don't become available to book until several weeks prior to date.
Check the app Rome2Rio. It will show you all ways to get there.
 
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There is no traditional beginning point for the del Norte. I like to start at the border at Irun, as the first day's walk to Pasaia is tremendous, and Pasaia is a great place to spend one's first rest. However, many people find Saint Sebastian a good starting point, or Bilbao. All of them are easily accessible from Madrid by train. If you are flying from Madrid to St Sebastian, note that the airport is at Hondarribia, just a few km north of Irun and also a possible departure point.
 
From Miami look at TAP to Bilbao. From Bilbao it is easy to back track to Irun or just start walking from there. Unfortunately or fortunately however you want to look at it, you will miss Pays Basque and many hills as well if you start in Bilbao.
 
Data: are you in Florida or Texas?!?! I would set your destination as Bayonne/Biarritz from whichever USA city you are near. Once you arrive in Southern France, you can literally start walking from that airport onto a Camino path which eventually (2-3 days) reaches Irun, the traditional starting city of the Norte. Or you can take a bus or taxi to the Spanish border, if that’s more your style.
 
I flew to Paris, stayed two days to acclimatize, and then took the train to Hendaye....the end of the TGV line. A 30 minute walk from the TGV station, I was at the start of the Norte in Irun, which is literally the same metro area as Hendaye.
 
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Cindy,

As far as where you should fly out of the US, the NYC airports (either JFK or Newark/EWR) are generally the cheapest for flights to Europe. Conveniently, transatlantic flights almost exclusively leave after 9pm, so you can book a cheap morning flight into NYC from your home city and have plenty of time to make the connection.

As far as destination airports, Donostia/San Sebastian, Biarritz, and Bilbao are the closest to the start— you can take a <2 hour bus or train to Irún/Hendaye from any of those. Bordeaux is ~4 hours away from Hendaye by train. None of those accept direct flights from the US, so you’ll have a layover somewhere if you choose to fly to one of those.

Places with direct flights from the US to consider flying into would basically be Paris (~6 hour train to Hendaye) and Madrid (~5.5 hour bus to IrĂşn).

My partner and I are flying from Minneapolis to JFK (NYC) in the morning, then JFK to Bilbao (overnight flight with a layover in Lisbon), for example. We will arrive at Bilbao in the afternoon, take the bus from BIO airport to San Sebastián (~1 hour 15 min) and stay overnight, then will take the train (40 min) to the starting point in Irún the next morning.

Use Google Flights to search for flights. Flight Connections will show you which airports you can fly to directly. Rome2Rio searches all kinds of transportation to find the best route between two places. Hope that helps!
 
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dutchwalkagain: Unrelated to the pole traveling concerns; I can't figure my travel from USA to Spain. Can you provide insight. I read you fly from Miami to Madrid: is this a direct flight ticket? How do you get from Madrid to the beginning of the Norte Way if indeed that is where you have begun your journey in previous Camino walks?
Thank you, while I am an experienced backpacker in USA, outside of the US is a new experience for me and no idea how to plan,
Cindy "data"
Leaving this coming Thurs. out of Arkansas. Flying to Madrid then to Bilbao. We are doing a 2-night stay in Bilbao then busing to Irun. We taking earliest bus to Irun then walk to Pasajes, stay overnite and finish next day to San Sebastian. Or you can take later bus and stay overnite in Irun and do the entire walk to San Sebastian in one day. At least that's the plan right now.:)
 
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dutchwalkagain: Unrelated to the pole traveling concerns; I can't figure my travel from USA to Spain. Can you provide insight. I read you fly from Miami to Madrid: is this a direct flight ticket? How do you get from Madrid to the beginning of the Norte Way if indeed that is where you have begun your journey in previous Camino walks?
Thank you, while I am an experienced backpacker in USA, outside of the US is a new experience for me and no idea how to plan,
Cindy "data"
I am flying Toronto to Madrid overnight of May 8 arriving 11am May 9. I then have an Iberia airline flight at 4pm arriving Irun at 5pm. I begin walking May 10. I looked at the train but found it would take too long. Hope that helps.
 
How do you get from Madrid to the beginning of the Norte Way if indeed that is where you have begun your journey in previous Camino walks?
There are direct flights from Dallas on Iberia. When I walked the Norte I booked a flight to San Sebastian, through Madrid. To get your connection it is a long walk. If it is tight make sure you make the flight attendant aware that you have a connection. I was given a pass that allowed me to skip to the head of the line at customs and also when I went through security again to get to my flight to San Sebastian. I stayed there for 2 days to recover. It is a beautiful city and a great place to eat and relax and get over jet lag. The third day I took the short train raid from to Irun. Got there a little early to make sure I got a bed in the albergue. Left the next morning. There may be cheaper ways to go for sure. I do not know from Dallas. That is how I did it and it was really easy.
 
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dutchwalkagain: Unrelated to the pole traveling concerns; I can't figure my travel from USA to Spain. Can you provide insight. I read you fly from Miami to Madrid: is this a direct flight ticket? How do you get from Madrid to the beginning of the Norte Way if indeed that is where you have begun your journey in previous Camino walks?
Thank you, while I am an experienced backpacker in USA, outside of the US is a new experience for me and no idea how to plan,
Cindy "data"
We flew Denver to Paris, Paris to Biarritz, took a bus from the airport to Hendaye France, quick hop. Walked 2 kilometers from there to Irun where we started. Simple really.
 
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dutchwalkagain: Unrelated to the pole traveling concerns; I can't figure my travel from USA to Spain. Can you provide insight. I read you fly from Miami to Madrid: is this a direct flight ticket? How do you get from Madrid to the beginning of the Norte Way if indeed that is where you have begun your journey in previous Camino walks?
Thank you, while I am an experienced backpacker in USA, outside of the US is a new experience for me and no idea how to plan,
Cindy "data"
I always fly into Madrid, as round trip tickets to and from there have always been the most economical for me traveling from the east coast. I am in NC and have never flown from Miami, usually the flights I’ve taken leave from somewhere in the NE, either Philadelphia or one of the NY/NJ airports.
From Madrid there are options— flying to San Sebastián and taking local transportation to your starting point is probably the most time efficient. I’ve always taken a train north from Madrid. Because after sitting on a plane for so many hours on an overnight transAtlantic flight, it’s nice to relax on the train where you can walk around and also see some of the countryside. From Madrid to San Sebastián is probably about a 4 hour train ride. Starting in Bilbao is of course an option but you’d miss some really pretty country between San Sebastián and Bilbao.
 
I flew to Paris, stayed two days to acclimatize, and then took the train to Hendaye....the end of the TGV line. A 30 minute walk from the TGV station, I was at the start of the Norte in Irun, which is literally the same metro area as Hendaye.
Same, same. Easy Peasy. I love staying a night in Paris. So much to see and do while walking off jet lag. Nice train ride to Hendaye too.
 
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dutchwalkagain: Unrelated to the pole traveling concerns; I can't figure my travel from USA to Spain. Can you provide insight. I read you fly from Miami to Madrid: is this a direct flight ticket? How do you get from Madrid to the beginning of the Norte Way if indeed that is where you have begun your journey in previous Camino walks?
Thank you, while I am an experienced backpacker in USA, outside of the US is a new experience for me and no idea how to plan,
Cindy "data"
I flew from Denver to and out of Frankfurt from there we flew to Bilbao and took a bus and Train to Irun where we started our journey.
 
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