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Lourdes to Irun- what's the best route?

meeemsd

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May 2019
I plan on walking del Norte in June. I would like to start in Lourdes- is the best way Lourdes to SJPP and then on to Irun or are there any other routes?
I have walked the Frances in 2019. Thank you in advance.
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Portuguese, Aragon, Norte, SJWayUK, Nive
Piemonte will take you to SJPdP, but after that you can walk the Nive River to Bayonne and then down the coast to Irun. That entire route is signposted and fairly easy to follow and has pilgrim Albergues in most of the cities. Additionally, you’ll get the opportunity to visit Bayonne, Biarritz, and St Jean de Luz: three really fabulous places!

There are a number of other roads that connect to Irun from that track, most do not cater to hikers or provide pilgrim-specific lodging.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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As Vacajoe suggests, the best route is likely the one via SJPP, mainly I'd say because of the pilgrim support infrastructure -- though on that route, I'd suggest switching to tarmac at Combo-les-Bains to Saint-Jean-de-Luz ; via Espelette and Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle -- to Bayonne from Combo-les-Bains would be a detour.

The main hiking alternative with some pilgrim infrastructure to that route would be the Piémont via Oloron-Sainte-Marie to Mauléon-Licharre ; then tarmac to Saint-Palais (there's a cycling route to follow), tarmac up the Joyeuse valley to Iholdy, carry on with that road to Irissary, then to Saint-Martin d'Arossa on that same Nive route from SJPP, then to Combo-les-Bains etc. as above.

But really that would just be a different route for difference' sake.

A more significant alternative out from Lourdes would be downriver to Pau > Orthez > Peyrehorade > Bayonne > etc. Infrastructure all the way, and you can choose your precise route to taste ; but lots of walking by rivers, then by the ocean to Hendaye, huge choice of eating arrangements, and an easier, so faster, hike -- and probably not much difference distances-wise.
 
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Grahammac

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Arles/Arogonese (2019)
I plan on walking del Norte in June. I would like to start in Lourdes- is the best way Lourdes to SJPP and then on to Irun or are there any other routes?
I have walked the Frances in 2019. Thank you in advance.
Hi. Cross the mountains at Olorons St Marie over the Col se Somport to Jaca then down the Aragobe Valley to Irun. Fabulous.
 

federico

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 11 & 14
Norte & Ingles 15
Portuguese 16
Via de la Plata 17
Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo 17
Last fall I walked from SJPP to Hendaye on the Voie Nive-Bidassoa using information from the association in the pilgrim's office at SJPP. They were happy to help and provided handouts with directions on lodging. You could also take the GR 10, but that was too much climbing for me at that point.

The Voie Nive-Bidassoa is a beautiful tour of Basque farms and villages with incredible churches. I took it easy and stayed in Bidarray (22 kms), Espelette (16 kms), St. Pèe sur Nivelle (12 kms, beautiful communal gîte), St. Jean de Luz (20 kms, another great association gîte), then to Hendaye (20 kms). There are options, for instance you can skip St. Jean de Luz and go through Ascain to Hendaye (St. Pee s/Nivelle to Hendaye is 25 kms).

Bon chemin!
 
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Tom Hagger

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés, Norte, Primitivo, Português, Plata etc.
Meemsd, as shown above, there are various interesting routes from Lourdes to Saint-Jean-de-Luz, and many interesting towns and villages, including Pau, on the way. However, I would recommend a route through Oloron-Saint-Marie, with its many pilgrim associations, then on to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, which you clearly already know. From there, the fabulous Chemin de Saint-Jean à Irún, also known as the Irún Link, will take you to Irún in either three or four days. The route skirts the lower slopes of the Pyrenees in the French Pays Basque. The scenery is outstanding, the villages fascinating and, unless you are familiar with the Pays Basques, are a seemingly different and wonderful world. I have walked numerous Caminos and, six years later, the four days remain my favourites. I stayed at Bidarray (tiny unmanned hostel), Espelette (pilgrim accommodation in a house above a nursery school), and Trabenia, near Ascain (a farmhouse hostel). Accommodation is more limited if you want to walk it in three days. Route and accommodation details are available online from Amis du Chemin de Saint Jacques Pyrénées-Atlantiques, who will provide maps (IGN 1:25000 with the route highlighted) downloadable as PDF files or savable offline. The route is waymarked pretty well and remains in France until crossing the bridge from Hendaye to Irún. If your French (or Basque!) is not good, the Amis will happily respond in English. I thoroughly recommend this route, as you can see. But, whatever you choose, Buen Camino! Tom
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Portuguese, Aragon, Norte, SJWayUK, Nive
Please note that in 2020 and 2021, all public albergues/gites in Basque Country we’re closed due to Covid. No word on what will happen in 2022. Doesn’t mean you can’t still walk it, just thst it will be more expensive if you do.
 
F

Former member 99290

Guest
We plan to walk the Chemin du Piemont from Narbonne or Carcassone in April and make our way from SJPP to Bayonne probably via Voie de la Nive maybe with some meandering. One way or another we will include Hondarribia (love that town) and Saint Jean de Luz. So much looking forward to it. 🙏
 

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