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last minute questions about Roncevalles!


Active Member
Hi! I am starting the camino in less than 6 days (ack!) and am starting to get a bit anxious. I have some questions.... people have touched on the answers before but I am still unclear as to exactly what the answer is to them, so any help is appreciated!

I've decided to change my start from St. Jean to Roncevalles, and will be coming from Toulouse. my questions:

1)Is it possible to go straight to Roncevalles, or do I have to go to St.Jean and catch a taxi over?
2)what sort of inexpensive place is there for me to stay there on Sunday night before I start walking?
3)where do I go for the passport, and will wherever that is be open on a Sunday?
4)I've heard it is possible to have extra luggage (as I'm traveling europe before and after) sent to Santiago. Where do I go to do this? Will my bag definately be waiting for me in Santiago or will it dissapear somewhere?
5) will it be obvious where to start the trail in Roncevalles?

Thank you!!! I can't believe I am starting so soon. I was very calm about it until my parents started questioning me and making me nervious about this whole thing.
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Hola fiddletree,
Looks like we will be starting much the same time,but me on 25th in Somport. Are you coming from Galway? I am leaving Mayo for two months or so.
Buen Camino and maybe we'll meet. I hope to be in Puenta la Reina, Navarra about 4th May. We'll see.
Un saludo,


Active Member
No, I have just left Galway (my home for this past year... I miss it already!) and am in France right now, and will go to Roncevalles from Toulouse. Hope to see you on the trail!


Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
Hi Annie

1. Not sure about the cost here, but a taxi will take you from SJPP to Roncesvalles.

2. You can stay at the Refugio, or one of the two hotels. A hotel room will cost around 40euros.

3. The credencial is available at the Pilgrim Office in the Monastery. Just fill in a short form and pay around 2euros. The office will be open on Sunday.

Roncesvalles is a very small place, basically just the monastery complex, two hotels, refugio and tourist office. You'll quickly find your way around. If you want dinner, book at one of the hotels for the 'pilgrim's meal'. You'll need to book before 8pm. It costs around 8euros, starts at 8.30pm following the pilgrim blessing at the church, and is a great way to meet fellow pilgrims.

4. Guess this depends how much extra luggage you have. Clothing and other items you don't want on the trip can be mailed from either St Jean, or Pamplona to Santiago. There is no post office in Roncesvalles.

5. Yes. Just look for the yellow arrows - or follow the other pilgrims!

I certainly understand how nervous you are. Later in May I'll begin walking from Lourdes to Pamplona and then Leon to Santiago, finishing the Camino i started last year. Will leave Australia in two weeks and have a few days holiday in France first. But I am so nervous, as I know I haven't done as much walking as I should and have a new backpack I haven't practiced with yet.

From what others have said, the lesson here is to learn to trust, and all will be well.

Buen Camino
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rioja routard

Active Member
don't do the taxi, walk


Some of the scenery is stunning walking to Roncesvalles. Don't be put off, it is part of the Camino, part of the experience.

I really don't understand why it took Santos so long to get from SJPP to Roncesvalles? Just follow the arrows!

I left at 10h30 and made it to Roncesvalles at 18h30 and that was with rest breaks.

Just take it easy, relax and enjoy. It truly is a beautiful walk and I'm sure it will be spring like.


Active Member
RR, I think it may well have been the weather. The guy who sadly got lost and died did that bit in bad weather and I think he probably missed that right turn at the top which takes you to the col... Could be wrong, though.

I do heartily agree though. Gotta love it up there with all that greenery, the steep slope with the woods coming up from them... Beautiful.

Oh, and to anyone who's scared by the prospect of going over the Route Napoleon, don't be. It's only bad when the weather's bad. Of course it's a demanding climb to do on your first day.
RR, Santos said that it went from dry, sunny & light to dark, blizzard, & very cold in the span of about 5 minutes, so I think the weather had something to do with it. Not his fault, since he listened to the locals & took the Vacarlos Route.


Active Member
I've sworn up and down to my family that I won't start from St.Jean, and since I am going solo and have some medical problems I am thinking I will just start from Roncesvalles. I don't want to have to worry about the potential of being stuck in dangerous weather, even though I know that the likelihood of that happening next week is low, and I think I'll just trust my instinct on that. Maybe on my next camino I will start from St. Jean!


Active Member
Roncesvalles is a very small place, basically just the monastery complex, two hotels, refugio and tourist office.

I'll be arriving there from SJPDP on May 18th. I guess there are always enough places to sleep indoor there even if the place is very small? Or has anyone experienced a shortage there?
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Active Member
The place is small but the refuge is huge (100 beds). At that time there should be no problems getting a bed with the Dutch hospitaleras (if still there).

Furthermore, besides the hotels and the refuge, there is a Youth Hostal (76 beds)


Hi Jerome, in my experience, the albergue at Ronscesvalles is very nice (very clean, well-organized, washing/drying machines, woken up with Greg chants), fairly big, refugio, can't remember exactly the bed capacity. When I've been there in "high season," of pilgrims, there were empty beds, never experienced a shortage. U should be ok. BTW, don't miss out on the "Blessing". It is one of the memorable experiences on the Caminos, quite a way to start out, or to continue :!:


xm 8)


Active Member
can I stay in the refugio if it is the night before I start walking? Or is it necessary to have started the walk already, even if I am starting the next morning?
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Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
All the best!

Wishing you all the best fiddletree!

Last year I did five weeks cycling in France. I was very very nervous before I began, and lost sleep worrying about all the things that could go wrong. I have a good French friend though, who hugged me strongly in farewell, and told me that my guardian angel would be looking after me. And it seemed like my guardian angel was alert and awake. I had such an interesting and worthwhile time. And looking back, just overcoming my fears at the beginning was one of the best things about it.
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Active Member
A lot of people start off at Roncesvalles. When I was there a coach load of people who intended to start the Camino were dropped off there, after I'd arrived and booked myself in, so yes, you can sleep there over night.

Recommend the mass there, too. I was grateful for the blessing! :)


It's a pity that not more pilgrims are starting their Caminos from less traveled roads, like the Camino Aragones, in Somport, the Camino Ingles, at La Coruña, and others. Theyr'e as historic as the CF. In fact, the C Aragones existed prior to the CF, this latter one coming about due to political/economic strife from warring kings in Spain. I would encourage folks to think about that possibility, particularly if you've already walked from Roncesvalle or SJPDP. It would help decrease the CF's massification, particularly in the summer months, for one, and for the oher, you'd enjoy a Road that is awesome in more ways than one. Buen Camino :arrow: xm 8)


fiddletree said:
I've sworn up and down to my family that I won't start from St.Jean, and since I am going solo and have some medical problems I am thinking I will just start from Roncesvalles. I don't want to have to worry about the potential of being stuck in dangerous weather, even though I know that the likelihood of that happening next week is low, and I think I'll just trust my instinct on that. Maybe on my next camino I will start from St. Jean!

I'm not sure why you do not want to walk from St Jean to Roncesvalles but I would personnaly say that for me this was one of the most beautiful stages on the entire Camino. The scenery in the mountains is spectacular and the peace and tranquility amazing. If it were not for the constant ringing of the bells on the necks of the sheep and horses there would be no sound at all. OK.... it's a long haul with no places to stop and eat as in Spain but there are a few places to refill the water bottle and rest.

Really..... really enjoyed it!


Active Member
I was planning on starting there (St. Jean), but am a bit wary because the weather has been erratic the past 2 weeks, resulting in a death. I know the likelihood of similar weather is very low, but my instincts are saying to not start there, and I'm going to listen to that because I've learned they are usually right. My body also sometimes reacts badly to when I have a change in the amount of exercise I normally get (blood sugar issues) and in the unlikely event that this happens in my first day or so I don't really want to be on the top of a mountain. If the treck of the mountain weren't in the first day, it would be different, but I'd rather play it safe as I don't have much reason not to except for a good view (which I've seen before, near there). I know it is amazing but...maybe next time!
so now another question:

I realized that I'm getting to St.Jean on Sunday, and I was hoping to get my extra bag mailed from there to Santiago like people said is possible... but the post offices will be closed I'm sure. Or, is it possible to get this taken care of from where I get my pilgrim passport?

and any idea on a ballpark on how much taxi from st jean to roncevalles is?

thank you so much everyone! This is very helpful, I really appreciate it
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...get my extra bag offices...closed...possible to get this taken care of from where I get my pilgrim passport?

Doubt that it may be done on a Sunday, definitely the foll. day, as early as u can. Post office departments in Spain are open until late a.m., that's it, make sure u get there on time. There's also the poss. of sending it private, which I always do. Buen Camino, xm 8)



What time is the blessing for those leaving from Roncesvalles the following day? I will have to take the bus from Pamplona at 18:00 and would be very sorry to miss out on this experience!! Please information. We are leaving in 5 weeks!!



Thanks for the fast reply. So I will make it on time when I take the bus at 18:00 (it will be a Tuesday)?
Also, I've heard about something like a common dinner with the other pilgrims in Roncesvalles? Is that correct or should I seek my own food for the night (and morning !!) :)
I am getting so excited!


Sounds like u'll make it in time for the Blessing, a beautiful ceremony. There's a restaurant in Roncesvalles, across the street from the albergue, where u can buy a coupon in advance (menu del peregrino), a lot of pilgrims go there for supper.
I am getting so excited!
:D :lol: :!: Have the time of ur life, peregrina :!: :!: :!:
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