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Is it easier just to fly to Madrid to start the Frances?

ilbestro12

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Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
 
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trecile

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Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
I've flown into Madrid twice, and took the train to Pamplona, then a taxi to SJPdP. The taxi is a bit expensive, but if you can find some other pilgrims to share the journey it's pretty reasonable. There is a bus from Pamplona to St Jean, but often it's not at a good time to connect from the train.

There is also a bus that goes to Pamplona. I have a friend that always takes the bus directly from the airport. I do believe that you have to make a bus change somewhere along the way. but it sounds like it's pretty easy.
 

trecile

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You should also look at flying into Paris. I was able to book the train from Paris to St Jean on one ticket with a change at Bayonne.

For your flight home you don't have to return from the same airport. Look into "multi city" or "open jaw" tickets, which often cost about the same as a standard round trip ticket. I'm a fan of flying home from Porto.
 

henrythedog

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Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
Fly Madrid; bus or train Pamplona. Start from there. Bus to St Jean if you must.
 
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ilbestro12

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We went with the cost savings of Madrid in and out, but have ample time to do so. If you are crunched for time, I might consider spending more to get there fast. 😉
Oh yeah, I don't have a huge amount of time to waste. Gotta get back to work. But it looks like the train from Madrid to Pamplona is about 3 hours. Not sure how much or how long a bus from Pamplona to Saint Jean is. Do you think flying into Biarritz and flying out of Santiago will save a goodly amount of time?
 

ilbestro12

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You should also look at flying into Paris. I was able to book the train from Paris to St Jean on one ticket with a change at Bayonne.

For your flight home you don't have to return from the same airport. Look into "multi city" or "open jaw" tickets, which often cost about the same as a standard round trip ticket. I'm a fan of flying home from Porto.
This is an interesting idea. Are the trains in France reliable? Is it easy to get to the train station from CDG in paris? I don't have any french
 

trecile

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Not sure how much or how long a bus from Pamplona to Saint Jean is
The bus from Pamplona to St Jean is about one hour 45 minutes. There is generally only one bus a day, which may not align with the train schedule. A taxi is around 110€.
This is an interesting idea. Are the trains in France reliable?
Yes, they are reliable.
Is it easy to get to the train station from CDG in paris? I don't have any french
I spent three nights in Paris, but others have experience with getting to the train from CDG.
 

Marbe2

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We went with the cost savings of Madrid in and out, but have ample time to do so. If you are crunched for time, I might consider spending more to get there fast. 😉

A direct plane to Madrid that lands up to 9am should easily make the 11:30am train to Pamplona. A taxi service (reserve) will cost you abt 125 euros. Taxi picks you up at train station abt 3pm. We were in SJPdP by 4:30 in the afternoon!
 
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mspath

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You can find French train times at SNCF.com. As been suggested in above posts you can take a train from CDG airport to the Gare Montparnasse in Paris.

From the Gare Montparnasse you take a high speed TGV train to Bayonne. You must have a reserved ticket for the TGV. The price of the ticket is cheapest the earliest you book it.

A Bayonne you will take a local TER train to Saint Jean Pied de Port.

Do remember that you will be tired after your long flight; take some time to really rest/sleep before you start to walk. You might perhaps stay a day or 2 in Paris.

Happy planning and Bon voyage
 

trecile

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From the Gare Montparnasse you take a high speed TGV train to Bayonne. You must have a reserved ticket for the TGV. The price of the ticket is cheapest the earliest you book it.

A Bayonne you will take a local TER train to Saint Jean Pied de Port.
You can buy these tickets together as one itinerary on the SNCF site.
 
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The trains in France are quite reliable, especially TGV. When starting from St. Jean, I prefer flying into Paris and picking up the TGV to Bayonne from Montparnasse station. When starting from points in Spain, Madrid comes out on top for convenience.

Jetlag can be an issue, as others have noted. The TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Bayonne takes almost 6 hours. It is a comfortable train and it provides good time to rest and recuperate, though it's hard to resist that push to move on to St. Jean and start walking the next day.

A solution that works for me, to break that temptation, starting from St. Jean, is to split that train ride into two sections: Paris to Bordeaux on day 1, then Bordeaux to St. Jean (via Bayonne) on day 2. Bordeaux gets you more than halfway between Paris and St. Jean – about a 4-hour train ride – so it feels nice to be well on your way without the pressure of finding yourself already *ON* the way. Time to sleep, reconfigure your bag, get adjusted to the time change before setting off - plus the chance to enjoy an evening of great food and sights, with slightly less transit pressure.
 
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ilbestro12

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Out of curiosity, when are you planning to go?
Late April, so like April 29-30th

A solution that works for me, to break that temptation, starting from St. Jean, is to split that train ride into two sections: Paris to Bordeaux on day 1, then Bordeaux to St. Jean (via Bayonne) on day 2. Bordeaux gets you more than halfway between Paris and St. Jean – about a 4-hour train ride – so it feels nice to be well on your way without the pressure of finding yourself already *ON* the way. Time to sleep, reconfigure your bag, get adjusted to the time change before setting off - plus the chance to enjoy an evening of great food and sights, with slightly less transit pressure.

I wish I had that much time for sure, but I'm not retired
 

ils

New Member
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Frances
Another option is flying to Bilbao and from there catching a bus to Bayonne. I'm also planning a late April camino and after much research, decided this was the best route for me. I know it's silly, but I like the idea of not seeing the cities I'll be walking to before actually walking there. The flight back will be from Madrid. From what I've been seeing, it will be only around 20 USD more than flying straight to and from Madrid.
 
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I have taken the bus from Madrid airport twice to Pamplona, and then a taxi on to SJPdP as buses to SJPdP were not operating quite that early.
I have also taken a train from the Madrid airport and the Atocha station on to San Sabastian.
Both options have worked well for me.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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Haha, nor am I retired – off by a couple decades :D – but I completely understand your desire to save time. As someone who has trouble with jetlag and travel fatigue, I thought it might be worth a shot if that were a concern, as slight changes can have outsized outcomes. Well, best of luck to you! As others have said, you'll have plenty of time to figure out your best route, with help from here I'm sure. Buen Camino.
 
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US flights to Madrid usually arrive early 8-9:00 AM. Take the train to Pamplona that morning (buy online ticket). Using that ticket, you get a free computer train ticket to Atocha Ststion (from Terminal T4), where you can get the Pamplona train. To avoid jet lag/fatigue, spend the night in Pamplona near the bus station and take the morning (7:30 AM?) bus to SJPDP and start walking that morning. You can easily make Orisson or even Roncesvalle by afternoon/evening. You'll be glad you rested (and walked around Pamplona) when you start going uphill over the Pyrenees!!
 

estorildon

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Besides Bilbao, check out Bordeaux
 

Rick M

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You can also take a TGV from CDG to Bayonne with a change of train other than Paris, which is much easier as going through Paris means arriving at Gare de l’Est and taking a taxi across the city to Gare Montparnasse.
Never done it that way. I catch the RER-B in CDG, and ride it into central Paris. It runs every half hour or so. From the nearest station for the RER, about 40 minutes later, its a four block walk to Montparnasse.
 
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Marbe2

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IMO, flying from overseas, with an early arrival in Madrid, up to 9am can have you in Pamplona by 4:30 pm. and save you a day. It may cost more to do it this way. ( see post #71)
However, if you want to visit Paris for a few days, especially the first t8me, then flying via Paris is a no brainer!
 

Don's Brother

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Camino Frances (2017)
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
If your budget allows, fly to Madrid, fly Iberia to Pamplona, taxi to SJPP. When you finish in Santiago, you can get a very cheap RyanAir one way flight from Santiago back to Madrid. I’ve used this itinerary twice. I’m actually flying from Atlanta to Madrid today and then to A Coruna to walk the Camino Ingles. I’ll have two more weeks after that to decide on another Camino route before returning to the US at the end of September.
 

CWBuff

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This is an interesting idea. Are the trains in France reliable? Is it easy to get to the train station from CDG in paris? I don't have any french
Thats what I did. Flew to Paris and caught the Train from Gare Montparnasse. With proper time schedule all can be done in 1 day. (I was blessed with extra time so I spent a day in Paris, stayed overnight close to the station and took the train the following day). As @RickM said - RER-B will get you out from CdG to the station in about 40 mins
Then on the end - fly either from SdC or take a train to Madrid and fly from there....

From your posts it seems that you are also dealing with some time constraints. Although I fully agree and sympathize with notions of "getting there as fast and cheap" as possible - most of us know that is not always the case. You will have to weigh your priorities (time vs cost) and decide accordingly which one you are willing to 'give up' if all ducks do not line up for you

Good luck and Buen Camino
 
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Not sure where you live in the US, but I live in Vermont and found flying from Montreal much cheaper than Boston or NY for this trip (I fly a fair amount and usually Montreal is more expensive). I booked April tickets yesterday to fly Montreal to Biarritz via Paris and return home in May: Porto-->Paris-->Montreal. About $700 US per person on Air France.
 
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trecile

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When you finish in Santiago, you can get a very cheap RyanAir one way flight from Santiago back to Madrid.
If you do this you will have separate tickets and an unprotected connection, so you need to make sure that you have plenty of time between flights. I would stay overnight in Madrid rather than put an expensive transatlantic flight at risk.
 

Virginia G.

New Member
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2019
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
In 2019 I flew from the US. It was very easy to land in Madrid, take the train to Pamplona, and then the bus to SJPP. I could have done that all in one day, but spent 1 night in the beautiful city of Pamplona, to help get over jet lag, before going on to SJPP the next day.
I was so grateful to have a hassle-free trip home after the Camino. There is a 5-hr express train from Santiago to Madrid. It was sad enough leaving the Camino, and it helped to at least have an easy flight home.
 
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Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid

I've flown into Madrid twice, and took the train to Pamplona, then a taxi to SJPdP. The taxi is a bit expensive, but if you can find some other pilgrims to share the journey it's pretty reasonable. There is a bus from Pamplona to St Jean, but often it's not at a good time to connect from the train.

There is also a bus that goes to Pamplona. I have a friend that always takes the bus directly from the airport. I do believe that you have to make a bus change somewhere along the way. but it sounds like it's pretty easy.
I've also flown in and out of Madrid twice. Train to Pamplona then bus to SJPP or through Zamora. Many more options in Madrid if you have flight issues.
 

lt56ny

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10/22 Aragones/Frances
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
I almost always fly to Madrid sleep near the airport take care of getting a SIM etc and then fly to Pamplona. Flights are really cheap. From Pamplona take the bus
 

howardd5

Active Member
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
I like flying into Dublin and spending the night near the airport. Then in the morning fly with Ryanair to Biarritz direct ( $25) then the airport shuttle to Bayonne where you can catch the train or bus to SJPP. I didn’t arrive exhausted .
 
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Mikel Olivares

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2016, Camino Portugués from Oporto
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I don't understand why everyone wants to start the Camino in SJPdP.
You can start in Roncesvalles the most important center spiritual religion in the Camino after SdC.
From Madrid to Pamplona by train,
From Pamplona to Roncesvalles by bus.
All very easy.
I'm sorry, I'm from Navarra and I got married in Roncesvalles. ☺☺☺
 

jeanineonthecamino

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Buying tickets to/from the smaller airports is ALMOST always way more expensive than buying tickets to/from the bigger airports. What I do is buy the tickets to/from the big airports nearest me (not Tucson International - that one is 20 minutes away - but the cost is ridiculous). For me - the bigger/cheaper airports are always either Phoenix or Los Angeles - so I buy a ticket from one of them to London or Paris or Madrid. I look for the cheapest direct flights between those locations (Phoenix usually requires 1 change - but is still way cheaper than TUS). Then - once you figure out what MAJOR airport you are flying into - THEN figure out how to get your starting point on the Camion. Once you are in Europe - airfare is cheap. But if you combine that small european flight with your flight from the US - the cost can go up considerably.

For me - it is almost always cheapest to fly from Los Angeles to Paris or London. And lately - it has been cheap to get to Madrid too. Once I get my tickets to Paris or London or Madrid - THEN I look for ways to get to SJPDP. Getting to SJPDP from Paris is easy - you have a plane to Biarritiz or a train to Bayonne - then you get on a local train/bus/shuttle to SJPDP. Getting to SJDPD from Madrid is also easy - you take a train or bus to Pamplona - then you take a bus the next day usually to SJPDP - the downside of coming from Madrid through Pamplona is that bus is usually only once a day - and you often miss it the same day you arrive from Madrid. Getting to SJPDP from London you would most likely fly into Biarritz and take local transportation to SJPDP.

Anyhow - find your cheap flights FIRST to/from Europe. Once you figure out where you are landing - THEN get your more local (within Europe anyway) transportation tickets!

I have started buying multiple stop tickets - usually cost about the same as round trip tickets, whereas one way tickets are often expensive. I will buy a ticket to Paris and from Madrid to get to/from Europe for the Camino.
 
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trecile

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Buying tickets to/from the smaller airports is always way more expensive than buying tickets to/from the bigger airports.
I disagree. This isn't always true. And it depends on how far you have to travel to the large airport. I haven't found significant cost savings to justify the expense that I would have to travel from where I live in Southern Oregon to San Francisco or Portland. Not to mention paying to park my car for over a month.
 

jeanineonthecamino

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I disagree. This isn't always true. And it depends on how far you have to travel to the large airport. I haven't found significant cost savings to justify the expense that I would have to travel from where I live in Southern Oregon to San Francisco or Portland. Not to mention paying to park my car for over a month.
I should have said "almost always"! But yes - depends on the airport! Every year though I go through the same starting point searches - Tucson/Phoenix/Los Angeles etc - and in my case always much cheaper to fly from Los Angeles and then buy tickets to Los Angeles separately. Phoenix will take me through other bigger airports, but still much cheaper than TUS. I don't drive - to LAX and park my car - I just find cheaper transportation to get there - and it is always cheaper to buy that ticket separately for me. Phoenix on the other hand I can get a ride to.
 

Stivandrer

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I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
I recommend going to Madrid, take a train to Pamplona, stay in a resonably priced hotel there and then the bus next day to SJPdP...
That is what I did, and what you need to do is really only book for sleeping in San Jean and the Roncesvalles as it is here the first bottlenecks are...

use rome2rion.com for reference and suggestions...
Buen Camino
 
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Marbe2

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Another option is flying to Bilbao and from there catching a bus to Bayonne. I'm also planning a late April camino and after much research, decided this was the best route for me. I know it's silly, but I like the idea of not seeing the cities I'll be walking to before actually walking there. The flight back will be from Madrid. From what I've been seeing, it will be only around 20 USD more than flying straight to and from Madrid.
No direct flights to Bilbao, so you are sitting somewhere for
two hours waiting for the next flight? Last time I did this my connection was in Munich. Our plane from US was late and we missed our connection. We then had a four hour delay in MUC before arriving in Bilbao.
If Possible ,I try, when flying to europe, to avoid changing planes.
 
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ils

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Frances
No direct flights to Bilbao, so you are sitting somewhere for
two hours waiting for the next flight? Last time I did this my connection was in Munich. Our plane from US was late and we missed our connection. We then had a four hour delay in MUC before arriving in Bilbao.
If Possible ,I try, when flying to europe, to avoid changing planes.
Connection in Madrid, but I will risk it. There seems to be a lot of flights from Madrid to Bilbao.
 

Tincatinker

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I don't understand why everyone wants to start the Camino in SJPdP.
You can start in Roncesvalles. ☺☺☺
Neither do I.
Why not fly into Madrid and walk the Camino Madrid? You could practically start from the airport.
Why not just train to Pamplona and walk from there.

For the OP, try a recalculation of your savings taking into account the possibilities of an overnight hotel in Madrid / Pamplona / St Jean; a couple of trains or a bus or taxi or two. A few meals, some beers and some stress. Oh, and do take a look at why you want to start in St Jean 😉
 

witsendwv

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Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
We always fly into Madrid from the US so we can fly out of Madrid easily to home. We fly from the east coast- this time we are leaving from Dulles in two weeks and found the best fares. We have the time so we are staying in Madrid two days to recover from jet lag (which seems to take longer as we get older) before heading to Ferrol by train to walk the Ingles. Transport from Madrid to all points by bus/train is generally good, I think that you have to decide whether time or $ is more important. There are several options to get to SJPdP from Madrid.
 
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Dodger

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Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
Paris to Bayonne then to St Jean, is very practical, and no expensive taxis 🚕. It’s always about cost v practicality and time which you need to weigh up, along with what is easy. Buen camino
 

trecile

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Neither do I.
Why not fly into Madrid and walk the Camino Madrid? You could practically start from the airport.
Why not just train to Pamplona and walk from there.

For the OP, try a recalculation of your savings taking into account the possibilities of an overnight hotel in Madrid / Pamplona / St Jean; a couple of trains or a bus or taxi or two. A few meals, some beers and some stress. Oh, and do take a look at why you want to start in St Jean 😉
It could be something to do with not missing out on the challenge of crossing the Pyrenees…maybe.
 

SabsP

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some and then more. see my signature.
I don't understand why everyone wants to start the Camino in SJPdP.
You can start in Roncesvalles the most important center spiritual religion in the Camino after SdC.
From Madrid to Pamplona by train,
From Pamplona to Roncesvalles by bus.
All very easy.
I'm sorry, I'm from Navarra and I got married in Roncesvalles. ☺☺☺


I also did start only from Roncesvalles and did not have the feeling I missed anything.
If I would walk the Francés again then I even would start in Pamplona.

But as a European I already walked different paths in the Pyrrenees on a regular holiday so the crossing from St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles did not particularly appeal to me.
 
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Jackieduda

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CF September (2018)
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
I had that same thought in 2018. BIG mistake. Getting from madrid to sjpdp is very difficult. from madrid you need to fly to pamplona, then bus to france. Go direct to france. Trust me!
 

ilbestro12

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Time of past OR future Camino
Future
I had that same thought in 2018. BIG mistake. Getting from madrid to sjpdp is very difficult. from madrid you need to fly to pamplona, then bus to france. Go direct to france. Trust me!

That was my worry, though most people are recommending just taking the train from Madrid to Pamplona. Hopefully ticket prices go down; I wasn't going to buy my ticket until like 3 months before my trip.

Also all the flights I see right now have like a 35-45 minute layover on the first leg. I don't know if I can make that at Charlotte or Atlanta airport.
 
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C clearly

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Getting from madrid to sjpdp is very difficult.
The ease and timing of the journey depend on a number of factors, and I don't agree that it is "very difficult" compared to other routings to SJPP. A number of people on this thread have described their experience as being straightforward.

Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela.
When you compare other options with the USA-Madrid-USA fare, don't forget to include the cost of travel from Madrid to SJPP. Also, look at flying US-Biarritz and returning from Madrid to US. That would allow you to travel by train from Santiago to Madrid, which many people like to do as a decompression day at the end of their Caminos.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
fly to Barcelona? and fly or train to St Jean?
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
fly to Barcelona? and fly or train to St Jean?
From Barcelona you could fly or take the train to Pamplona, San Sebastián, or Biarritz. Then get transport via bus, train, or Express Bouricott shuttle to St Jean.

Check Rome2Rio for options

 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
I now fly to Madrid, and take the bus from the airport. So easy, simple and efficient. I have taken the train, but the bus is more direct, usually faster, much cheaper, and very comfortable.
I also find it a lot faster to process through Madrid than CDG, which adds time to the process.
Having the bus right at the airport is a huge bonus.
 

mark connolly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
sept 2016 CF
sept 2017 Lourdes to SJPDP via Piemonte
SJPDP to SDC via CF
2019 CF (God willing)
I don't think there is any need to book a connecting flight. Once you arrive in Madrid you are 99.99 percent of the way there. If you flight (original or connecting) is delayed, cancelled etc., it may throw a wrench in your plans. Arriving at Madrid you can get a bus directly from the airport to Pamplona and then off to SJPDP. Plus saving $700 is worth its weight in gold. That can buy a lot of vino and pulpo! I know you are pressed for time, but, if you like, it can also buy a pre or post camino trip.

Good luck.
 

motero99

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019
Camino Portugues (2022)
In 2019 I flew into Madrid. Arrived around 8 in the morning. Took a train from the airport to the Puerto del Sol and walked to the Plaza Mayor to have the squid sandwiches which I had missed for over 30 years. At this point I should have looked for a phone sim, but did not. Took a train to the train station for Pamplona. Had my sandwiches on the train and it was a beautiful ride. At the Pamplona train station I took a bus into the city. Wandered around trying to find a Sim. Wandered around and tried to buy a Sim when the vendor in the Telefonos building opened. Out of Sim cards. They sent me to Corte Ingles which did not have any. Caught the 5 o'clock bus to SJPP. Very nice ride and I could see pilgrims on the route which gave me a comfortable feeling about hiking from Roncessvalles to Pamplona. Arrived in SJPP at 7:00 pm. Went to the Pilgrim office, bought a shell there, and got recommendations for an albergue. It was a nice introduction to the Camino. Finally got a Sim in Pamplona when I returned on the Camino at a little shop in the Casco Viejo.
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
On most of my trips into or out of Navarra, I found Bilbao (BIO) to be my best choice. Ten in and ten out. Sometimes, bus to London, sometimes Barcelona (BCN).
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Finisterra 2022
That was my worry, though most people are recommending just taking the train from Madrid to Pamplona. Hopefully ticket prices go down; I wasn't going to buy my ticket until like 3 months before my trip.

Also all the flights I see right now have like a 35-45 minute layover on the first leg. I don't know if I can make that at Charlotte or Atlanta airport.
Go to Washington Dulles (IAD) and take the overnight flight to Madrid from there.
Good timing there and rare to have flights in or out delayed (too many government "officials" use it) 😂
 

SantiagoCruzB

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
A direct plane to Madrid that lands up to 9am should easily make the 11:30am train to Pamplona. A taxi service (reserve) will cost you abt 125 euros. Taxi picks you up at train station abt 3pm. We were in SJPdP by 4:30 in the afternoon!
How many minutes away is the Madrid international airport from the train station to Pamplona? Thanks!
 
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SantiagoCruzB

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
If your budget allows, fly to Madrid, fly Iberia to Pamplona, taxi to SJPP. When you finish in Santiago, you can get a very cheap RyanAir one way flight from Santiago back to Madrid. I’ve used this itinerary twice. I’m actually flying from Atlanta to Madrid today and then to A Coruna to walk the Camino Ingles. I’ll have two more weeks after that to decide on another Camino route before returning to the US at the end of September.
What time does the flight from Madrid to Pamplona leave? Thanks
 

CWBuff

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May-June/2022
Finisterre June-July/2022
This is an interesting idea. Are the trains in France reliable? Is it easy to get to the train station from CDG in paris? I don't have any french
nothing is truly 'reliable'. it may have a 99.999% on time track but on the day you travel - something happened... and the general statistics are out the window :)

I flew to Paris in May 22. To be fair - I did stay overnight and caught the train early next morning, but....
If you can get into CdG by say 9:00-9:30AM, get out within the next hour (I breezed through customs) and get on RER-B - you can be at Gare Montparnasse in 40mins - 1 hour. IIRC there is a train that departs for bayonne shortly after noon (and I think there is one more daily closer to 2 PM)
It is doable
 
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Marie_pri

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018 Camino Frances
2023 Camino Frances
I
I've flown into Madrid twice, and took the train to Pamplona, then a taxi to SJPdP. The taxi is a bit expensive, but if you can find some other pilgrims to share the journey it's pretty reasonable. There is a bus from Pamplona to St Jean, but often it's not at a good time to connect from the train.

There is also a bus that goes to Pamplona. I have a friend that always takes the bus directly from the airport. I do believe that you have to make a bus change somewhere along the way. but it sounds like it's pretty easy.
did the same flew to Madrid -train to Pamplona - bus to SJPP
 
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
If your budget allows, fly to Madrid, fly Iberia to Pamplona, taxi to SJPP. When you finish in Santiago, you can get a very cheap RyanAir one way flight from Santiago back to Madrid. I’ve used this itinerary twice. I’m actually flying from Atlanta to Madrid today and then to A Coruna to walk the Camino Ingles. I’ll have two more weeks after that to decide on another Camino route before returning to the US at the end of September.
Ok, so after reading this post I decided to check on my flight departing from MAD around 12-1 pm on Oct 12, 2022 to Pamplona. It worked perfectly with my flight arriving from the USA... done it twice before... but now my flight is CANCELED! Doh! I canceled my reso and got a voucher. Bummer. Looks like train/bus/taxi for me too this time.
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
2019: León - Santiago; 2021: St. Jean - León; 23?
Fly Madrid; bus or train Pamplona. Start from there. Bus to St Jean if you must.
Yes, flying in and out of Madrid is often least expensive and also easiest. Last October, we flew in and out of Madrid. Took the ALSA bus to Pamplona from the airport a few hours after landing. Had one easy bus change in Zaragoza. Stayed overnight in Pamplona, then took the ALSA bus to St. Jean Pied-de-Port. Pamplona is well worth the extra night.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
Ok, so there is an 11:35 train to Pamplona from Atocha on the day I arrive (supposed to arrive from USA @08:40). Easy peasy. I have time to make it to Atocha, depending on the actual arrival time (earlier this year we came in 1 hour late)... still tho, with trains in Spain it's not like you have to be there an hour or more in advance... my next decision will be do I just go outside to the nice white taxis waiting for me or do I take the metro (cheaper)?
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Time of past OR future Camino
Starting May 2023 from St Jean Pied de Port
Ok, so there is an 11:35 train to Pamplona from Atocha on the day I arrive (supposed to arrive from USA @08:40). Easy peasy. I have time to make it to Atocha, depending on the actual arrival time (earlier this year we came in 1 hour late)... still tho, with trains in Spain it's not like you have to be there an hour or more in advance... my next decision will be do I just go outside to the nice white taxis waiting for me or do I take the metro (cheaper)?
I would wait and see what time you actually clear the airport.
Taxis are fixed rate €30 from the airport to the city. Of course if you have plenty of time it's cheaper to get the metro.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
Ok, one more question. Should I buy my ticket in advance from Rome to Rio or direct from Renfe or just wait until I get to the station?
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Ok, one more question. Should I buy my ticket in advance from Rome to Rio or direct from Renfe or just wait until I get to the station?
I would buy it from Renfe. Rome2Rio partners with Omio to sell tickets, and I think that there is an extra charge.

 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Ok, so there is an 11:35 train to Pamplona from Atocha on the day I arrive (supposed to arrive from USA @08:40). Easy peasy. I have time to make it to Atocha, depending on the actual arrival time (earlier this year we came in 1 hour late)... still tho, with trains in Spain it's not like you have to be there an hour or more in advance... my next decision will be do I just go outside to the nice white taxis waiting for me or do I take the metro (cheaper)?
Take the airport express bus. It is yellow and 6 euros and drops you off at Atocha. Just go outside your terminal to where the buses are caught.
 
The Way: Through a Field of Stars (audiobook)
A great book to listen to while training for the Camino or to relive the experience!
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
Take the airport express bus. It is yellow and 6 euros and drops you off at Atocha. Just go outside your terminal to where the buses are caught.
Ok... so... My flight from Dallas, Texas, arrived beautifully this time. I was walking off the plane at 8:40 am, and then through the labyrinths of T4S into the customs area. I saw and heard obvious Peregrinos around me, waiting in line for customs chatting like, "OMG, this line is long... I'm worried about (connecting flights, trains, whatever"

It's a fast line. Try to relax.

I was outside the doors at 9:40 am, after having a "breakfast" that I chose and enjoyed. But after my 15 hours of travel time I walked towards my familiar taxi stand... knowing I could suck up dollars spent (regretfully) because frankly, I didn't want to deal with complications after my hours of travel.

That's when I spotted the yellow bus!

I continued to walk towards the taxi stand until the yellow display on the side of the bus showed "ATOCHA" extremely.

At this point, I said "Why not try?" and I headed towards the bus and found the bus driver taking tickets behind a plexiglass border, which I respected, and I said, "one for Atocha" and he said, more or less, "5 Euro".

Ticket in hand I got to experience the ride. I double checked our destination using my handheld gps and mapping technology (like any phone + google maps or whatever). The bus was spot on...

I was a little disappointed with the additional stops (2 different airport terminals) and then the central city stops that apparently may be intended for museums and otherwise worthwhile things to do in Madrid. I wouldn't know.

But, looking at my phone, I realized I had plenty of time, and I just sort of enjoyed how the bus got so crowded with locals and a slight mix of visitors like me that it was maybe just a little bit uncomfortable, but with a spirit like "we're all in this together" that eased any fears.

Anyways, after departure from MAD around 9:43 I found myself safely planted in the Atocha station around 10:30... and it cost me 5 euros instead of 30.

Now in my room in SJPdP.

Thank you for your advice.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Ok... so... My flight from Dallas, Texas, arrived beautifully this time. I was walking off the plane at 8:40 am, and then through the labyrinths of T4S into the customs area. I saw and heard obvious Peregrinos around me, waiting in line for customs chatting like, "OMG, this line is long... I'm worried about (connecting flights, trains, whatever"

It's a fast line. Try to relax.

I was outside the doors at 9:40 am, after having a "breakfast" that I chose and enjoyed. But after my 15 hours of travel time I walked towards my familiar taxi stand... knowing I could suck up dollars spent (regretfully) because frankly, I didn't want to deal with complications after my hours of travel.

That's when I spotted the yellow bus!

I continued to walk towards the taxi stand until the yellow display on the side of the bus showed "ATOCHA" extremely.

At this point, I said "Why not try?" and I headed towards the bus and found the bus driver taking tickets behind a plexiglass border, which I respected, and I said, "one for Atocha" and he said, more or less, "5 Euro".

Ticket in hand I got to experience the ride. I double checked our destination using my handheld gps and mapping technology (like any phone + google maps or whatever). The bus was spot on...

I was a little disappointed with the additional stops (2 different airport terminals) and then the central city stops that apparently may be intended for museums and otherwise worthwhile things to do in Madrid. I wouldn't know.

But, looking at my phone, I realized I had plenty of time, and I just sort of enjoyed how the bus got so crowded with locals and a slight mix of visitors like me that it was maybe just a little bit uncomfortable, but with a spirit like "we're all in this together" that eased any fears.

Anyways, after departure from MAD around 9:43 I found myself safely planted in the Atocha station around 10:30... and it cost me 5 euros instead of 30.

Now in my room in SJPdP.

Thank you for your advice.
Glad it worked for you. The Yellow bus does make the rounds to the terminals and then picks up and drops off at a couple of other places with other connections downtown. Made me feel less a tourist and more of a traveler. Enjoy your time in Spain!
 
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peregrin peregrina

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
april 2022
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
it is also easy to fly to pamplona via madrid then take the bus from pamplona to sjpp or roncesvalles. pamplona is a great place to explore while you get over jet lag for a day or even two and that way you can really enjoy it there. that way when you pass through again when walking the camino you can go right on through and stay somewhere else, avoid the crowds
 

peregrin peregrina

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
april 2022
I don't particularly like Pamplona as I had a bad experience there on my first pilgrimage so prefer the extra time in Madrid if I have it.
i’m so sorry you had a bad experience in pamplona. i don’t know Madrid as i wasn’t able to spend time there but for me, pamplona was the favorite city on the camino- particularly the cathedral!
 

FrankW

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016 and 2018 - French camino
2022 September/October - French camino
Can anyone tell me if it is possible to stay in the Madrid airport overnight? I am flying into the airport late one day and flying out very early the next.
Thank you
Frank
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Can anyone tell me if it is possible to stay in the Madrid airport overnight? I am flying into the airport late one day and flying out very early the next.
Thank you
Frank
I recall a story of a homeless man who made Madrid airport his home...
I found this website with information about the most comfortable places to sleep within the airport.
Otherwise there are numerous hotels close by, with buses running shuttle services. It is important to check they will collect and return you at the right time - not all run their shuttle services through the night.
 
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FrankW

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016 and 2018 - French camino
2022 September/October - French camino
I recall a story of a homeless man who made Madrid airport his home...
I found this website with information about the most comfortable places to sleep within the airport.
Otherwise there are numerous hotels close by, with buses running shuttle services. It is important to check they will collect and return you at the right time - not all run their shuttle services through the night.
Thank you.
 

Virginia G.

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
I flew from the US to Madrid, took the train to Pamplona, and stayed one night in a hostel there to help me get over jet lag after my 20-hr trip. The following day I took the bus to St Jean Pied de Port. And I was really glad to fly home from Madrid, because it's only a 5-hr train ride from Santiago. I wanted to make my transition back to "regular life" as easy as possible.
 

truenorthpilgrim

Camino Mermaid 🧜🏻‍♀️
Time of past OR future Camino
CF - February 2023
I flew from the US to Madrid, took the train to Pamplona, and stayed one night in a hostel there to help me get over jet lag after my 20-hr trip. The following day I took the bus to St Jean Pied de Port. And I was really glad to fly home from Madrid, because it's only a 5-hr train ride from Santiago. I wanted to make my transition back to "regular life" as easy as possible.

If I may ask, where did you get bus tickets to SJPdP and what was the cost? (and did it stop in Roncesvalles).
 
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howardd5

Active Member
Flying from the US to Madrid and then Madrid to US is about $700 cheaper than flying direct to Biarritz then flying back to the US from Santiago de Compostela. Madrid is just a 5 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, but I'm not sure how you would get from Madrid to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances.

Anyone have any advice? Shoudl I just pay the extra moneys for the ease of flying in to Biarritz (so I can hoof it to Saint Jean or take a taxi or whatever) or save it by centralizing to Madrid
I have had a good experience from the east coast, flying to Dublin , spending the night, then flying to Biritz( in france) then a shutte to Bayonne where there is a quick bus or train to SJPP. The Ryanair was $25 , the shuttle $2 and bus $10. That was I was not exhausted when the next day you start the “ longest Day”
 

FrankW

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016 and 2018 - French camino
2022 September/October - French camino
I've flown into Madrid twice, and took the train to Pamplona, then a taxi to SJPdP. The taxi is a bit expensive, but if you can find some other pilgrims to share the journey it's pretty reasonable. There is a bus from Pamplona to St Jean, but often it's not at a good time to connect from the train.

There is also a bus that goes to Pamplona. I have a friend that always takes the bus directly from the airport. I do believe that you have to make a bus change somewhere along the way. but it sounds like it's pretty easy.
Hi
I expect to fly into Madrid on March 1 and catch a bus to Pamplona as my start point. Is 2 hours sufficient time to land, pick up my pack and get to the bus station?
 
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peregrin peregrina

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
april 2022
Hi
I expect to fly into Madrid on March 1 and catch a bus to Pamplona as my start point. Is 2 hours sufficient time to land, pick up my pack and get to the bus station?
i don’t know i flew from madrid to pamplona which was super convenient. check times on bus schedule but that seems like you might be cutting it close.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi
I expect to fly into Madrid on March 1 and catch a bus to Pamplona as my start point. Is 2 hours sufficient time to land, pick up my pack and get to the bus station?

I think that’s likely to be plenty of time. Are you getting a bus from the airport? If so, what airlines are you flying into Madrid?

If you fly on Iberia or an Iberia partner (American, British Airways and a bunch of others), you will land at T4, which is the terminal where the bus stop is. It’s right outside the door of the arrivals/baggage claim area. If you are on another airline, you will land in T1/2 and will have to take the intra-airport bus (free and frequent) over to T4.

If you’re not taking a bus from the airport, the fastest way for you to travel to the bus station will depend on where you’re arriving. But I’m assuming you’re going straight from the airport.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

FrankW

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016 and 2018 - French camino
2022 September/October - French camino
Hi Laurie

This is very helpful. I fly into Madrid T4 on Qatar airlines and previous experience tells me they are reasonably efficient in processing passengers into the country. I get in at 1pm and there is a bus to Pamplona at 3 so all should be well.
And thank you I certainly hope for a Buen Camino.

Stay safe

Frank
 
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