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Is it good to fly into Bilbao or Biarritz?

Natique2

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
August 2023
I’m considering flying into Biarritz or Bilbao from the USA and taking Express Burricot from the airport to SJDP. Is this a good option? I rather not spend 8 hours on a train from Paris to get to Bayonne and then get on another train or bus to get to SJDP. Also, it looks like the train from Madrid to Pampalona is also very long. Why don’t more people fly into Barritz or Bilbao - some of the prices to do this are leas than getting off at Paris or Madrid.
 
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Bilbao? 🤔 I think you mean Bayonne? The airport sits between Biarritz and Bayonne, so people use the cities interchangeably though they are nothing alike, if you can fly all the way from the US to that airport for a reasonable rate, then that is a fine solution.
 
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Actually Bilbao is the second airport closest to SJDP but the pick up from the express company can be very expensive
 
Actually Bilbao is the second airport closest to SJDP
Not quite - top of my head, I’d say Pamplona and Pau are closer. But as you have noticed, “close” doesn’t mean it’s cheap or easy to get to SJPdP. Past recommendations of Paris and Madrid are generally based on the fact that those airports are served by a variety of airlines and have multiple transit options for moving in the direction of your destination. So while you could fly into Bilbao, it’s usually not one of the recommendations due to the additional steps of trying to reach SJPdP without an established pilgrim infrastructure in place to make that easy.
 
Not quite - top of my head, I’d say Pamplona and Pau are closer. But as you have noticed, “close” doesn’t mean it’s cheap or easy to get to SJPdP. Past recommendations of Paris and Madrid are generally based on the fact that those airports are served by a variety of airlines and have multiple transit options for moving in the direction of your destination. So while you could fly into Bilbao, it’s usually not one of the recommendations due to the additional steps of trying to reach SJPdP without an established pilgrim infrastructure in place to make that easy.
That’s what I am finding as well. Thanks!
 
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Why don’t more people fly into Barritz or Bilbao - some of the prices to do this are leas than getting off at Paris or Madrid.
Hi @Natique2

From many parts of the USA you have many more options of European cities you can fly directly in to than some other travellers on this forum. From Australia, for example, Paris and Madrid are the closest cities for direct flights - and by direct I mean having already transited in Singapore or Hong Kong, Dubai etc.

Back to the fist part of your post, if you can fly directly to Biarritz from USA, that’s a great option for easy travel to SJPP. It’s easy to then get to Bayonne (by taxi, bus, train or on foot - it’s less than 10 kms) and the journey to SJPP is a little over an hour from there. Or pick up by Express Bourricot as mentioned in other posts.

Enjoy. 😎
 
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Coming from US, lots of flights to Dublin, then Dublin to Biarritz 2 hrs, bus to Bayonne 30 mins, 1,1/2 hrs to sjpp.
 
I believe that Trecile is correct. Express Bourricot does not pick up from Bilbao.
Their service from Biarritz is great and their price is unbeatable assuming you get a full load of 8 people or close to that number.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
I didn't realize that Express Bourricot picks up from Bilbao. I thought that they only operated in France.

Not aware either but for the OP's benefit if they decide to fly into Biarritz; Express Bourricot's do not pick up after 18.00 ! (My flight was rescheduled when I contacted them to change pick up time i was given this info)
Woody
 
I did fly to Biarritz in 2019 and took the bus to Bayonne station (1€, little sightseeing tour).
From Bayonne I took the evening train to SJPdP. Very much fun, seeing all the pilgrims and chatting the first time about the upcoming adventure.

For me, this was the best option to get to SJPdP.

Have fun!
 
The airport in Bordeaux is always an option. It is an easy airport to navigate, never very crowded and has great connections to the train station with numerous departures for onward travel to Bayonne.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I’m considering flying into Biarritz or Bilbao from the USA and taking Express Burricot from the airport to SJDP. Is this a good option? I rather not spend 8 hours on a train from Paris to get to Bayonne and then get on another train or bus to get to SJDP. Also, it looks like the train from Madrid to Pampalona is also very long. Why don’t more people fly into Barritz or Bilbao - some of the prices to do this are leas than getting off at Paris or Madrid.
As others have pointed out, Express Bourricot will not pick you up at Bilbao airport. They are located in France and will drive you from SJPP to Bilbao in Spain but not the other way round. However, their price for the journey, around €300, is most likely a good indicator of what you will have to pay for a Spanish taxi from Bilbao to SJPP.

When you travel from Paris Montparnasse to Bayonne you will be spending 4 hours on the train. These trains are fast :cool:.

Plenty of people fly to Biarritz, Bilbao and Bordeaux and then use train, bus or shared taxi service to get to their Camino starting point. Your question probably refers to travellers from the USA. These small airports have no direct flights from airports in the USA. They are served by a limited number of airlines. Choices for a flight from the USA with one stop and reasonable transit and total flying times may be limited: for example, there may be attractive flights from an US airport to Madrid but no direct connecting flights from Madrid to Biarritz. Flights from Frankfurt in Germany may be available only a few days per week. Flights from Dublin in Ireland may require a change from a US or code sharing airline to low budget Ryanair with the disadvantage this may bring (think of delays!); same for Paris, should you chose to continue on a flight to Biarritz on EasyJet. Changing planes at Heathrow in the UK may, for whatever reason, not be as attractive as changing planes in an EU/Schengen airport or simply look like too much hassle ...

I've flown to Bordeaux, Bilbao and Biarritz to get to the Camino but I live in Europe. These days, though, if I were to do it again, I'd travel to Bordeaux and Biarritz by train. Flying to Paris and then taking the high-speed train to Bayonne appears to be an attractive option for numerous pilgrim-travellers from the USA.
 
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I've done it 3 different ways Paris to Bayonne by train and on to SJPdP, Paris by air to Biarritz, and Bilbao to SJPdP by bus thru Pamplona( late arrival in BIO and stayed overnight. Bilbao is a great place to see so I advise that it should be done once. Flying to Biarritz was the easiest.
 
From Bilbao you can take the local Euskotren service to Hendaye. Change there to SNCF for a local train to Bayonne then another for SJPDP. Certainly slower than a taxi pickup but much cheaper and probably more interesting :) I suppose it depends on how much of a hurry you are in. If you are thinking of walking 800km across Spain a few more hours might not seem like too big a sacrifice! :)
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

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Flying from the US, like I do, you might want to mitigate your travel carbon foot print, even if just a little, by using the trains in Europe. Slower, sure, and not necessarily cheaper, but a very pleasant way to travel. With a better view. Buen Camino
 
As others have pointed out, Express Bourricot will not pick you up at Bilbao airport. They are located in France and will drive you from SJPP to Bilbao in Spain but not the other way round. However, their price for the journey, around €300, is most likely a good indicator of what you will have to pay for a Spanish taxi from Bilbao to SJPP.

When you travel from Paris Montparnasse to Bayonne you will be spending 4 hours on the train. These trains are fast :cool:.

Plenty of people fly to Biarritz, Bilbao and Bordeaux and then use train, bus or shared taxi service to get to their Camino starting point. Your question probably refers to travellers from the USA. These small airports have no direct flights from airports in the USA. They are served by a limited number of airlines. Choices for a flight from the USA with one stop and reasonable transit and total flying times may be limited: for example, there may be attractive flights from an US airport to Madrid but no direct connecting flights from Madrid to Biarritz. Flights from Frankfurt in Germany may be available only a few days per week. Flights from Dublin in Ireland may require a change from a US or code sharing airline to low budget Ryanair with the disadvantage this may bring (think of delays!); same for Paris, should you chose to continue on a flight to Biarritz on EasyJet. Changing planes at Heathrow in the UK may, for whatever reason, not be as attractive as changing planes in an EU/Schengen airport or simply look like too much hassle ...

I've flown to Bordeaux, Bilbao and Biarritz to get to the Camino but I live in Europe. These days, though, if I were to do it again, I'd travel to Bordeaux and Biarritz by train. Flying to Paris and then taking the high-speed train to Bayonne appears to be an attractive option for numerous pilgrim-travellers from the USA.
Regular flight from Dublin to Biarritz by Ryanair is normally on time and hassle free. I have done this 7 times no problems
 

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Changing planes at Heathrow in the UK may, for whatever reason, not be as attractive as changing planes in an EU/Schengen airport
Since the dreaded “H” word has been mentioned, here’s my warning to all pilgrims traveling through Heathrow to the Camino: DON’T!!!

With a daughter studying in London this past 1.5 years, I have extensive recent experience with that airport and I must warm anyone transferring or transiting through there that it’s a time-intensive process that will take 2-3 hours to simply change flights. The terminals are huge, inspection lines subject to labor shortages and strike impacts, and the very real tales of lost luggage woes still a worrisome problem. Even if you do not enter into the UK, you will still undergo an additional security checkpoint simply changing planes there - that was a 90 minute line the last time I was there! if you add in exiting the plane and changing terminals, I was lucky to make it to my plane in just over two hours. The recommended time for layovers there is THREE HOURS! Given the choice, changing planes in Paris/Madrid/Barcelona/Lisbon is far more desirable.

A lovely airport for visiting England, but a lousy one for connections to Camino starting points.
 
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I have flown into Dublin from the US and then taken the Ryan Air flight to Biarritz several times without issue.
As it relates to Express Bourricot which is a very efficient and friendly service from Biarritz Airport: I checked with Maialen in regard to a shuttle service from Bilbao. Although they "offer" that service, she said that they rarely have travelers take advantage of it since it is expensive (much more expensive that the train service suggested by @Bradypus) and very rarely can they get additional travelers on a shuttle that would in theory lower the per person fee. So, net-net, I do not think it is a viable option.
 
Regular flight from Dublin to Biarritz by Ryanair is normally on time and hassle free. I have done this 7 times no problems
That was not the point I was trying to make.

When you fly from the USA to Bilbao or Biarritz and have to change planes somewhere in Europe it is better to fly with an airline or co-sharing airlines that serve the whole route because if there is a considerable delay you will be taken care of, you will be booked onto the next available flight without extra cost, you will get priority treatment during transit if there is less time than expected. If, however, you have booked two tickets with different airlines (and I think that this will always be the case with Ryanair or EasyJet as the second airline) and there have been delays of the first flight you will be on your own and you may even have to pay for a new ticket to Bilbao or Biarritz.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
As it relates to Express Bourricot which is a very efficient and friendly service from Biarritz Airport: I checked with Maialen in regard to a shuttle service from Bilbao. Although they "offer" that service, she said that they rarely have travelers take advantage of it
I stand corrected then. I had assumed their licence does not allows this, at least not officially. They are subject to some peculiar rules as reservation by phone is not allowed and pilgrims cannot join when the taxi is already at the airport, see here:

If you meet other pilgrims who would like to join your group, this is possible IF AND ONLY IF:
- we have places left
- if we know it at least 15 min before arriving at the airport [information must be sent by email or sms]
We are only allowed to take people who have a reservation, those who do not have a reservation will not be able to join the transport.
 
I’m considering flying into Biarritz or Bilbao from the USA and taking Express Burricot from the airport to SJDP. Is this a good option? I rather not spend 8 hours on a train from Paris to get to Bayonne and then get on another train or bus to get to SJDP. Also, it looks like the train from Madrid to Pampalona is also very long. Why don’t more people fly into Barritz or Bilbao - some of the prices to do this are leas than getting off at Paris or Madrid.
Certainly to Biarritz , so easy to get to sjpp
 
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Last June, 4 of us flew into Biaritz then went with EB to SJDPP. We waited an hour for the Dublin flight to arrive so we had a full minibus. Driver was great and took us to the hotel. It was very smooth and easy. Burn Camino!
 
There is a shuttle bus for 5E from airport to train station
5 euros for the shuttle bus, and then how much for the train? Do you happen to know the train departure times?

I'm weighing the options of taking the Express Burricot from Biarritz airport for 19 euros (assuming enough passengers), but I do love trains, and if the times line up I might choose that instead of EB.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
HI Jack

I usually use Trainline for my bookings - mostly because I find the app easy to use. I chose a random date and these are the trains and prices from Bayonne to SJPP. It's a quick and enjoyable trip and the train will likely be mostly pilgrims with the occasional local traveller. Biarritz airport to Bayonne station is easy by bus (20 mins) or on foot - it's about 8 kms.

Express Bourricot also a good option.
 

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You can find train schedule and prices on the Renfe site
@trecile, I think that this time you overlooked the fact that Biarritz, Bayonne and Saint Jean Pied de Port are in France ☺️. And while Bahn.de for example provides international train schedules, Renfe.es does not appear to cover much of France ...

But, to answer the general question, train schedules and ticket prices can indeed be found on the website of the train operator, such as Renfe in Spain and Sncf in France, and also on third-party websites specialising in international transport schedules and tickets.
 
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HI Jack

I usually use Trainline for my bookings - mostly because I find the app easy to use. I chose a random date and these are the trains and prices from Bayonne to SJPP. It's a quick and enjoyable trip and the train will likely be mostly pilgrims with the occasional local traveller. Biarritz airport to Bayonne station is easy by bus (20 mins) or on foot - it's about 8 kms.

Express Bourricot also a good option.
Trainline is also my "go to" when booking ahead. It is easy to understand and simple to use from the US; I most recently used it on my Via Francigena last October for three seamless bookings.
 
I stand corrected then. I had assumed their licence does not allows this, at least not officially. They are subject to some peculiar rules as reservation by phone is not allowed and pilgrims cannot join when the taxi is already at the airport, see here:

If you meet other pilgrims who would like to join your group, this is possible IF AND ONLY IF:
- we have places left
- if we know it at least 15 min before arriving at the airport [information must be sent by email or sms]
We are only allowed to take people who have a reservation, those who do not have a reservation will not be able to join the transport.
The rules for VTC (Voiture de Tourisme avec Chauffeur) companies like Express Bourricot and others means that they are not allowed to complete a transfer when the entire journey takes place in a different country. The start or end of the journey must be in France. This EU-wide rule is called "Cabotage".

In the past in places like Geneva airport, transfer companies would write the name of their destination on their name-board so passengers would approach them and ask to go along with them if there was space on the minibus. The local taxis complained so for this reason you can't do this anymore. Passengers have to be pre-booked and you must have proof of them contacting you at least 15 minutes before (hence the SMS or email message with a timestamp).
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I believe that Trecile is correct. Express Bourricot does not pick up from Bilbao.
Their service from Biarritz is great and their price is unbeatable assuming you get a full load of 8 people or close to that number.
We are getting picked up in Bilbao by Express Bouricott in late May! Just took a couple of emails and it’s all worked out.
 
I flew into Bilbao in Sept of '21, took the train to sjpdp with a transfer at the French border. Easy peasy, really. As a wise friend from Ireland once said, "Don't over tink it, lassy."
 
I’m considering flying into Biarritz or Bilbao from the USA and taking Express Burricot from the airport to SJDP. Is this a good option? I rather not spend 8 hours on a train from Paris to get to Bayonne and then get on another train or bus to get to SJDP. Also, it looks like the train from Madrid to Pampalona is also very long. Why don’t more people fly into Barritz or Bilbao - some of the prices to do this are leas than getting off at Paris or Madrid.

I flew IAD-CDG-BIQ. Spent the night in Biarritz at a hostel about a 10-minute cab ride from the airport, then took the bus the next day from Biarritz to Bayonne.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I’m considering flying into Biarritz or Bilbao from the USA and taking Express Burricot from the airport to SJDP. Is this a good option? I rather not spend 8 hours on a train from Paris to get to Bayonne and then get on another train or bus to get to SJDP. Also, it looks like the train from Madrid to Pampalona is also very long. Why don’t more people fly into Barritz or Bilbao - some of the prices to do this are leas than getting off at Paris or Madrid.
It’s not 8 hours fro Paris to Bayone . It’s 4 hours in a very comfortable super fast train. Then you walk across the platform and get on the local train with other pilgrims and spend an enchanting hour on a mountain train passing by rushing streams and forests. Lands you right in St Jean. It’s a greener option too
 
So happy to read your post @isobelmtl. I'm walking my first Camino in May coming from California. Planning to fly to Paris where I'll spend a day and a half, then take the train to Bayonne where I'll spend another day then onto St Jean. I figure if I'm there I might as well enjoy a bit of France while I adjust to the time change.
 
Hi @Natique2

From many parts of the USA you have many more options of European cities you can fly directly in to than some other travellers on this forum. From Australia, for example, Paris and Madrid are the closest cities for direct flights - and by direct I mean having already transited in Singapore or Hong Kong, Dubai etc.

Back to the fist part of your post, if you can fly directly to Biarritz from USA, that’s a great option for easy travel to SJPP. It’s easy to then get to Bayonne (by taxi, bus, train or on foot - it’s less than 10 kms) and the journey to SJPP is a little over an hour from there. Or pick up by Express Bourricot as mentioned in other posts.

Enjoy. 😎
What airline and from where in the US can you fly directly to Biarritz? Nothing comes up in my search. ?? Thanks.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
"What airline and from where in the US can you fly directly to Biarritz? Nothing comes up in my search. ?? Thanks."

There are no directs to BIQ from the USA!!
 
"What airline and from where in the US can you fly directly to Biarritz? Nothing comes up in my search. ?? Thanks."

There are no directs to BIQ from the USA!!
I kind of suspected that. Thanks for responding.
 
What airline and from where in the US can you fly directly to Biarritz? Nothing comes up in my search. ?? Thanks.
As mentioned, you won't find direct flights to Biarritz from the US. In 2018 I booked a flight using air miles to Biarritz.
My itinerary was - my small Oregon airport to San Francisco, SFO to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Geneva, then Geneva to Biarritz. I probably could have done it in fewer flights if I paid more air miles.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
What airline and from where in the US can you fly directly to Biarritz? Nothing comes up in my search. ?? Thanks.
My response that you quoted, said ‘If’ you can fly directly to Biarritz into USA that’s a great option for easy travel to SJPP’. It was in reply to the OP’s headline question ‘Is it good to fly into Biarritz or Bilbao?’

Apologies if it appeared I was confirming there were direct flights into Biarritz from the USA. That was not my meaning. 😎
 
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I’m considering flying into Biarritz or Bilbao from the USA and taking Express Burricot from the airport to SJDP. Is this a good option? I rather not spend 8 hours on a train from Paris to get to Bayonne and then get on another train or bus to get to SJDP. Also, it looks like the train from Madrid to Pampalona is also very long. Why don’t more people fly into Barritz or Bilbao - some of the prices to do this are leas than getting off at Paris or Madrid.
I flew into and out bilbao from the us this summer. Getting to sjpp required taking a couple of buses which were comfortable and inexpensive. Bilbao has the Guggenheim and several other art museums so it’s worth it for the cultural aspect .
 
Flying from Seville into Bilbao 10:15 am and wanting to get to Bayonne for an overnight before heading to SJPDP, traveling in late April.

Looks like options are a direct bus later in the day or a bus with a change in San Sebastian. Any recommendations for the journey, or for Flixbus vs. Alsa, Pesa, and any others?
 
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Flying from Seville into Bilbao 10:15 am and wanting to get to Bayonne for an overnight before heading to SJPDP, traveling in late April.

Looks like options are a direct bus later in the day or a bus with a change in San Sebastian. Any recommendations for the journey, or for Flixbus vs. Alsa, Pesa, and any others?
Hi Ann - a family member did this route by bus last Friday. They went from Bilbao to SS and then changed. We picked them up in Jean de Luz (before Bayonne). My natural inclination is to go with ALSA, only because I've used ALSA many times with no problems (i.e. cancellation/delays). But they used Flixbus and all went well. I don't know Pesa.

Good idea to have an overnight in Bayonne. It's a lovely town.
 
FlixBus must the direct one? ALSA has issues crossing borders, so you often end up having to do two bus rides. FlixBus and MegaBus are fine. Have ridden both in multiple countries without issue
 
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