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Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Pamplona or Bayonne for an arrival rest day?

Genevievala

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances - 2023
Hello! Looking for some friendly advice as we move ahead with our flight purchase. Traveling from Vancouver, Canada to Europe to start CF in SJPDP early July.

Debating a flight that bring us to Bayonne (right after Tour de France goes through) where we could have a rest day - or - coming via Madrid and having that rest day in Pamplona (right before Festival San Fermin).

When we walk through Pamplona a few days later we will be in the middle of the festival. We anticipate adjusting our stops to avoid the crowds which probably means missing out on experiencing Pamplona.

Have read many wonderful things about Bayonne, would hate to miss a visit there but it seems we have to choose between the two. Any suggestions?
 
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It you walk through Pamplona during San Fermin, avoid doing so early in the morning when the bulls are running. Midmorning would be better as the crowds have thinned a little.

I like to fly into Madrid, but others prefer to come through France. I have flown into Paris and then Biarritz, when we started in St Jean 2016, but have not been back to start there since. Madrid gives me more transportation options to Camino locations in Spain.
 
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If you didn't have the complication of being on the Camino during San Fermin, I would vote for Bayonne, since you would have time in Pamplona while walking.

I walked through Pamplona during San Fermín in 2017 - it took quite a while to get through and the streets were super crowded, but it was so much fun to see everyone celebrating in their white and red clothes.

20170707_115244.jpg

It was probably around 11am when we walked through and the streets had been cleaned from the previous night's revelry and the morning's running of the bulls. If you aren't comfortable with crowds it would be best to find a way around the city.

We spent the night before in Larrasoaña and then slept in Cizur Menor after walking through Pamplona.

View attachment 20170707_120951-1.mp4
 
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I don't know if this would be relevant for you, but if you are prone to car sickness, you might want to take motion sickness pills or go the Bayonne route. I had booked a plane ticket into Madrid for August 2020 and was planning on taking an arrival rest day in Pamplona before proceeding to SJPP. Then I started coming across vlogs, books, and posts on this forum that mentioned the curvy, windy mountain road and car sickness for those who took buses/cars to SJPP from there. Since Covid made that first planned trip irrelevant, my second attempt at getting over to the Camino next year will be via Biarritz so I don't have to worry about getting sick on the Pamplona to SJPP drive.
 
I have had rest days in both and love both. Whichever you choose will be great. From Bayonee you can also take the bus down to Biarittz and see the oceon too.
 
Hello! Looking for some friendly advice as we move ahead with our flight purchase. Traveling from Vancouver, Canada to Europe to start CF in SJPDP early July.

Debating a flight that bring us to Bayonne (right after Tour de France goes through) where we could have a rest day - or - coming via Madrid and having that rest day in Pamplona (right before Festival San Fermin).

When we walk through Pamplona a few days later we will be in the middle of the festival. We anticipate adjusting our stops to avoid the crowds which probably means missing out on experiencing Pamplona.

Have read many wonderful things about Bayonne, would hate to miss a visit there but it seems we have to choose between the two. Any suggestions?
The flight part I can help with. Air France has a direct flight from Vancouver to Paris Wednesdays and Sundays and will probably add another day for summer. Book your connecting flight to Biarritz on the same ticket. Bus to Bayonne.
 
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I'm only here to add that many of the businesses in Pamplona are firmly shuttered during San Fermín, and restaurants can be booked up. But if you're there at other times, the food is phenomenal and the churros at this place are very fine:
El Churrero de Lerín
+34 618 43 49 76

https://g.co/kgs/hzPo2a
 
Hello! Looking for some friendly advice as we move ahead with our flight purchase. Traveling from Vancouver, Canada to Europe to start CF in SJPDP early July.

Debating a flight that bring us to Bayonne (right after Tour de France goes through) where we could have a rest day - or - coming via Madrid and having that rest day in Pamplona (right before Festival San Fermin).

When we walk through Pamplona a few days later we will be in the middle of the festival. We anticipate adjusting our stops to avoid the crowds which probably means missing out on experiencing Pamplona.

Have read many wonderful things about Bayonne, would hate to miss a visit there but it seems we have to choose between the two. Any suggestions?
I fly out Vancouver to Madrid May 15 and arrive next day May 16 at 10:20 AM. Taking train or bus to Pamplona and spend a rest day there before heading to SJPP to start my Camino.
 
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Hello! Looking for some friendly advice as we move ahead with our flight purchase. Traveling from Vancouver, Canada to Europe to start CF in SJPDP early July.

Debating a flight that bring us to Bayonne (right after Tour de France goes through) where we could have a rest day - or - coming via Madrid and having that rest day in Pamplona (right before Festival San Fermin).

When we walk through Pamplona a few days later we will be in the middle of the festival. We anticipate adjusting our stops to avoid the crowds which probably means missing out on experiencing Pamplona.

Have read many wonderful things about Bayonne, would hate to miss a visit there but it seems we have to choose between the two. Any suggestions?
As it’s said, “timing is everything.” Because of Saint Fermin, Pamplona will not be as easy to enjoy even right before the festival. Therefore, my choice for a rest day, based on when you are traveling, would be Bayonne. It’s a charming French town and one that is easily reached from Paris by plane (Biarritz) or by high speed train (TGV) out of the Gare Montparnasse. After a rest there, it’s little more than an hour train ride on to SJPP where you can finish your preparations for your Camino.

Again, due to Saint Fermín, I’d suggest that on your second day on the Camino that you go past Zubiri and stay in Larrasoaña. Being further along the route, you’ll be able to get to Pamplona by late morning and then move on through the crowded city to where you’ll be staying on your third night. Although you won’t get to experience this wonderful city as you could during a non-festival time, there are many other great Spanish cites along The Way to and including Santiago.

Because of Saint Fermín and the number of pilgrims leaving SJPP around when you are, you may want to reserve beds/rooms from SJPP through Pamplona. Both Gronze.com and Booking.com can help you identify accommodations. I’d also suggest looking for return flights out of Madrid. It’s an easy train ride from SdC to Madrid and much easier than returning to Paris to catch a flight.
 
Hello! Looking for some friendly advice as we move ahead with our flight purchase. Traveling from Vancouver, Canada to Europe to start CF in SJPDP early July.

Debating a flight that bring us to Bayonne (right after Tour de France goes through) where we could have a rest day - or - coming via Madrid and having that rest day in Pamplona (right before Festival San Fermin).

When we walk through Pamplona a few days later we will be in the middle of the festival. We anticipate adjusting our stops to avoid the crowds which probably means missing out on experiencing Pamplona.

Have read many wonderful things about Bayonne, would hate to miss a visit there but it seems we have to choose between the two. Any suggestions
I started in Pamplona and spent two nights there before setting out. The old city is wonderful, and I hope to go back and spend a bit more time. I would recommend visiting the Ultreia Pilgrims Visitor Center there for information, a credential (pilgrim passport) which you can buy for 2E. There are also two interesting and informative short videos about the history, from the beginning, of the Camino. If the website pops up in Spanish, click on the word "Idioma" in upper right and change to English. Staff speak English and Spanish and...?

Address: c/ Mayor, 20.
Telephone number: (+34) 948 420 705
E-mail: ultreia@pamplona.es
WhatsApp: (+34) 686 553 296

The old city is small enough that you can walk anywhere within 10 or 15 minutes. Decathlon sporting goods store is just outside the old city (I bought my hiking poles and rubber tips there), and there is another more local gear store inside (maybe two).
 
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Rest day - Bayonne, a small peaceful quaint village and famous for chocolates. Check out: Chocolat Cazenave, 19, Rue Pont Neuf, Bayonne, France.
You got my attention with chocolate. 😂 I'm trying to decide whether to start my Camino del Norte in Irun or Bayonne - I think that I have my answer now!
 
It you walk through Pamplona during San Fermin, avoid doing so early in the morning when the bulls are running. Midmorning would be better as the crowds have thinned a little.

I like to fly into Madrid, but others prefer to come through France. I have flown into Paris and then Biarritz, when we started in St Jean 2016, but have not been back to start there since. Madrid gives me more transportation options to Camino locations in Spain.
Thx for this advice. I hadn’t looked into the festival schedule yet so this is good to know! As early birds we will probably want to adjust that day :)
 
If you didn't have the complication of being on the Camino during San Fermin, I would vote for Bayonne, since you would have time in Pamplona while walking.

I walked through Pamplona during San Fermín in 2017 - it took quite a while to get through and the streets were super crowded, but it was so much fun to see everyone celebrating in their white and red clothes.

View attachment 140542

It was probably around 11am when we walked through and the streets had been cleaned from the previous night's revelry and the morning's running of the bulls. If you aren't comfortable with crowds it would be best to find a way around the city.

We spent the night before in Larrasoaña and then slept in Cizur Menor after walking through Pamplona.

View attachment 140541
Appreciate it! Thx for video and pic, that was nice to show my mum
 
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Thank you all for the advice, there were some really helpful points.

In the end we are going to have that day in Bayonne. We are flying into Bordeaux which is a pretty easy connection for us. After a long day of travel we can have an early night in Bordeaux and head over to Bayonne in the morning. So many wonderful choices :)
 
Pamplona is better: do not miss the bell tower, and the tasty tapas !
 
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Hello! Looking for some friendly advice as we move ahead with our flight purchase. Traveling from Vancouver, Canada to Europe to start CF in SJPDP early July.

Debating a flight that bring us to Bayonne (right after Tour de France goes through) where we could have a rest day - or - coming via Madrid and having that rest day in Pamplona (right before Festival San Fermin).

When we walk through Pamplona a few days later we will be in the middle of the festival. We anticipate adjusting our stops to avoid the crowds which probably means missing out on experiencing Pamplona.

Have read many wonderful things about Bayonne, would hate to miss a visit there but it seems we have to choose between the two. Any suggestions?
West Jet has a flight to Barcelona. We booked from Barcelona through Toronto to Victoria, on a weeks notice, last fall for under $500 one way. I believe this flight will go from Calgary to Barcelona this summer so you may want to consider this flight.
 
WestJet is usually really convenient for us (especially to fly out of Abbotsford), however for our dates WJ fares were really high. It was cheaper to fly direct with British Airways if you can believe that, and connect in London. All done now - 5 months and counting!
West Jet has a flight to Barcelona. We booked from Barcelona through Toronto to Victoria, on a weeks notice, last fall for under $500 one way. I believe this flight will go from Calgary to Barcelona this summer so you may want to consider this flight.
 
Rest day - Bayonne, a small peaceful quaint village and famous for chocolates. Check out: Chocolat Cazenave, 19, Rue Pont Neuf, Bayonne, France.

Like others shared in this thread, Bayonne is a "sweet" stopover to savor the French Basque region including SJPDP before the Camino Frances. Buen Camino!
I suggest starting in Bayonne and walking the Camino Baztán route which ends in Pamplona. This is a very beautiful camino which goes through the Basque regions to Pamplona. From there you can continue on the Camino Frances. And take plenty of rest days anywhere you find interesting.
 

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