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How to get to Saint Jean Pied de Port

alxis

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Camino Frances May-June 2019
#1
What is the best recommended way to get to SJPDP? What airport should I fly into and what trains/buses to take from there to SJPDP?
Thanks!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#3
What is the best recommended way to get to SJPDP? What airport should I fly into and what trains/buses to take from there to SJPDP?
Thanks!
Where do you come from?
I fly to Biarritz airport then take bus to Bayonne and from there train to Saint Jean pdePort.
I am sure if you do a ‘search’ on the forum you will find a lot more answers. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#5
I live in Biarritz part of the year and when I return from the US I generally fly to Bordeaux or Bilbao depending on the departure and arrival times, connections and price. Both cities are about 2 hours from Biarritz, there are several trains from Bordeaux and less buses from Bilbao. Getting from the airports to the bus/train stations are easy and inexpensive.
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Camino Frances" 2013, "Burgos to Leon," February 2014 - "Frances" June '14
#8
Boston Dublin Aer Lingus

Dublin Biarritz Ryanair

Just leave enough time in Dublin to collect bag and recheck in
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#9
Flying from Boston in early May
There are cheap flights from Boston on Norwegian and Level. Check for gotchas like having to pay extra for seats with safety belts. ;)

From either the bus station or train station in Pamplona you may meet other pilgrims. Sharing a taxi with 3 others brings the fare down close to what you would pay for the ALSA/Conda bus from Pamplona to SJPDP, about 22 euros. Street bus line #9 outside the train station brings you close to the bus station.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#10

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#12
As a crazy "purist", I'd personally always recommend flying into Bordeaux then walking straight from the airport to SJPP -- which would be a little over 200K on the Tours route through the Landes (which can be mesmerizing at times), and then through beautiful, friendly, gastronomic and tasty Gascony.

But if you haven't the time or energy for an extra 200K, then easiest is really just train from Bordeaux to Bayonne (you will clearly have a better choice of flights to Bordeaux than to Biarritz), then either the train from Bayonne (if it's running) or the bus up to SJPP. Quick and easy.

A good halfway solution, to get some hiking strength into your legs before the Pyrenees, and also to have some experience of a quieter Camino leading to the Francès, might be to make your way to Mont-de-Marsan (on the Vézelay Way), and skip the Landes but keep the 100K of Gascony.

Buen Camino in any case !!!
 
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twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#13
and just one more potential complexity:

if taking Air France planes, public busses or trains in France, don't forget to check the Strike date schedule for May. Last May was my first visit to France on my way to SJPdP. I was unaware of this scheduled transportation strike phenomenon but got lucky because my travel dates did not fall on strike dates. Apparently the law requires these work stoppages be scheduled in advance so everyone can make other plans. I don't know if the transport companies settled their differences and now have a multi year contract resulting in a strike free 2019 or if this starts over again like an unpopular seasonal event each spring. Maybe those who live in or travel yearly in France can shed some light on this.

My travel day from Paris to SJPdP was on May 12th and below is the published strike dates calendar. I also heard that sometimes strikes happen that are not scheduled, air traffic controllers or baggage handlers etc...that could effect your travels. As "insurance", I had a overnight bus ticket booked from Paris to Bayonne just in case my morning flight was effected. I was able to cancel it via text/email after I boarded my morning flight and had only a small penalty, I think about 5 or 10 Euros due to the advance notice of cancellation greater than 6 hours if I remember correctly.

To remove the inconvenience of a last minute issue with public train or buss from Biarritz to SJPdP I reserved a seat with a private shuttle bus company called Express Burricot. They can take 1 to 8 passengers. If you are the only passenger its expensive, I think around 90 Euros and if there are 5 or more passengers it's 19 Euro each.

There are several private Coach bus companies in France that tend not to be effected by strikes. As a foreigner that spoke NO French and barely any Spanish I found the app Rome2Rio very helpful for any transportation arrangements regarding bus or train. It is a very clear, easy to use interface with tons of good information. Good luck with your Camino, you will love it.


strike dates.png
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#14
I don't know if the transport companies settled their differences and now have a multi year contract resulting in a strike free 2019 or if this starts over again like an unpopular seasonal event each spring. Maybe those who live in or travel yearly in France can shed some light on this.
Well, the Unions and the Government and the SNCF have entered an uneasy truce ; and whilst there might always potentially be some strike action in 2019, concessions on all parts have been made, and I'm unsure as to how much stomach for "struggle" remains in the grassroots Union membership.

There are some strikes that seem to follow the patterns of the football (soccer) season, but these tend to be localised mostly in Paris and some other large cities, leaving most of France and most TGVs and Intercity trains mostly unaffected (last year's strikes were a significant exception to the general rule).

Having said that, these were NOT the worst transport strikes I've ever witnessed -- the 1995 strikes lasted about a month, and there was basically 95% of all public transport throughout the whole country at a standstill. (I believe the 1968 strikes were even worse than that)

That month, I would walk to Univ in the morning and back home in the evening, in bitter cold and often chilling rain, sleet, or snow (the snow was the easiest), as most had to do, or cycle or rollerblade or skateboard, as petrol (gas) delivery to keep your automobile running was extensively disrupted too. The mean winter temperature in Paris intra muros descended that year to rural levels, because of the near absence of motor transport in the city. (One of the rare positives of this was that, on a clear night, you could have an excellent sight of the stars, right bang in the middle of one of the most important cities in the world) About 90% or more of the students at my Univ were unable to attend the courses and seminars, which carried on regardless because hey !! it's the Sorbonne and débrouillez-vous ... very few professors or tutors cancelled any of their classes, regardless of the strike, although many of the more liberal-minded establishments did exactly that.

The 2018 strikes were quite gentle in comparison, though if you were unlucky enough to have made reservations for a strike day that was also a start or end of holiday date, and you weren't travelling alone, and the train seat you reserved was on a cancelled train, well, that meant no space on the train for you ...

But really, I just can't see anything even resembling any of that horror scenario in 2019 ...
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#15
I'll add that in 2018, the Paris or Bordeaux to SJPP train routes were not affected as badly than others -- most pilgrims who will have been adversely affected by those strikes, apart from some escape from a Paris airport issues, are liable to have been those starting from Vézelay, Le Puy, Arles.
 
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Adhemar78

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Via Francigena (Lucca to Rome) (2017)
Kumano Kodo (2018)
#16
I went to Paris for a few days first and then got a train from Montparnasse station to Bayonne, then got what was meant to be a train (there was a replacement bus in September 2014) to Saint Jean Pied de Port.
 
#19
Best priced airline from Boston or NYC to Dublin.

Dublin to Biarritz, maybe RyanAir but again, find best price.

Now it gets easy. Upon deplaning, you will find a number of folks with backpacks. Strike up conversations with a few, even on the plane and acquire 3 people to share a cab. This can also be done just after leaving the airport building. Snag 3 others with packs, form a foursome and grab a cab. Cost is about 120 Euro direct to SJPP in about an hour.

I have used the train / bus from Paris as has also been explained and the method described has been found to be much better for many good reasons.

Finally, unwind from there. No reservations, no pre-booked tickets. Enjoy the Camino and all around you. Even if an unexpected issue arises, many about you will be there to help.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#20
I’d get a flight to Paris. You can catch the TGV train right there at CDG airport that takes you to Bayonne and then take the regional train to SJPDP. I’m planning to do this in Feb, with an overnight stay in Bayonne before heading to SJPDP.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-SdeC(2010) Newark,UK-Portsmouth(2014-2015);ferry-Santander-El Pito(2016); El Pito-SdeC(2017).
#21
It depends upon your in-flight to Europe from Boston or elsewhere. Paris and Madrid are the obvious gateways so get the best deal. I did it from Paris and the options seem to be TGV Atlantique from Montparnasse to Bayonne or fly to Bayonne and then by local train to SJPP, which I wanted to do but couldn't because of the rail strike this summer OR fly to Biarritz/Bayonne, which I had to do but which was expensive. Madrid to Pamplona by bus is often the most efficient and economical and linking up with pilgrims in Pamplona for a taxi is a good way to start - as others have suggested.
 



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