Search 62305 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement

Recommendation for Starting Point

barryg

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Hello!

My wife and I walked the CF two years ago and now wish to do the Camino del Norte starting May 1 of next year. I understand that the official starting point for CDN is Irún, but there seem to be three other options: one from Bayonne, one from Biarritz and the other from SJPDP. Has anyone taken these routes? Also, can anyone tell me the best way to get to Irún? Is it best to fly into Madrid, Barcelona, or Paris?

What is my best option in terms of limiting my time on a bus or train and the ease of getting there? I have traveled to SJPDP both from Madrid and Barcelona, but I have heard (somewhere on this forum) that it is easier to get to (at least to SJPDP) the beginning of the CDN from Paris. Any ideas or suggestions?

Thank you in advance.

Warmly,

Barry
 
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino
Learn how to Get "Camino Ready " 2nd Edition. In English, Spanish, German and Korean

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
We started our walk from the airport in Bayonne/Biarritz (those cities are less than a day’s walk apart, with the airport somewhat between them). Both are worth seeing if you have never been to them and the cathedral in Bayonne is a nice starting point for a Camino. Biarritz is smaller and more of a seaside resort feel, so a bit more expensive as a place to stay. If you walk from SJPdP, you can walk a beautiful route from there to Bayonne in about 3-4 days. So many options for a starting point!!!

I found the coastal walk from B/B to be quite lovely and worth the extra days and effort. It’s fairly well marked and you’ll get to visit St Jean de Luz along the way. Bothe B and B are deserving of at least an overnight stay also, though from the airport to Bayonne is a bit of backtracking and mostly suburban development.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
You could easily start from Biarritz, there is a well marked path along the coast, including yellow arrows, to St. Jean de Luz and onward to Irun. I think starting in Bayonne and/or SJPdP would be quite a hassle. From Bayonne you would most likely be: a.) walking on roadways back to Biarritz, or b.) connecting to the Batzan which would not be much different than starting in SJPdP on the CF and then working your way from Pamplona northward to Irun on what I believe might possibly be the GR 11.

Biarritz has an airport, Bilbao has an international airport and from Paris or Bordeaux you can take a train to Hendaye on the Spanish border where Irun is located.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
The walk from Bayonne to Biarritz has one great advantage: you walk right past a Decathlon store!!!! 😂. Otherwise, it’s a lot of suburban track homes with small sidewalks and no views. The last part through old Biarritz and the shoreline is lovely, though.
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino

Rick M

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 22)
Sept 21
Hello!

Also, can anyone tell me the best way to get to Irún? Is it best to fly into Madrid, Barcelona, or Paris?
It's the easiest Camino starting point to get to, and you have choices. If you pull up google maps and look at Irun, you will see that the San Sebastion Airport is actually in Irun, a few km from the center of town. An easy walk, I've done it. Over the river, a 3 km walk away, is the French town of Hendaye, which is the end of the line for the Southwest TGV line. Fly into Spain, and connect to a San Sebastion flight, and start walking from Baggage claim. Or, fly into Paris, take a TGV to Hendaye, and start walking from the train station. I personally would fly into Paris and take the train, but it's entirely up to you, and depends on your air link convenience/cost into Spain vs Paris.

Don't discount the suggestion to start further back in Biarrittz or Bayonne. Nice places, and an easier start than Day 1 out of Irun. Also, allows a little time to recover from travel.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
The walk from Bayonne to SJPP is the Voie de la Nive, so click on that link to find the relevant section of the forum.

It seems that many people walk from Bayonne to Irun as a start to either the Camino del Norte or the Vasco del Interior/ Via de Bayona. Mundicamino calls it the first stage of the Via de Bayona (which goes on to merge with the Vasco del Interior and later separate to go to Burgos). On the other hand, Gronze includes that stage as the first stage for the Camino del Norte.

Here is a forum thread that has some information.
 

xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
Took the train from Madrid Airport to San Sebastian; slept on the station floor as I arrived late. Interesting night--crazy lady screaming periodically was audio high point: visual highpoint was the LARGE male pilgrim sleeping entirely naked on the floor. We were all kicked out at 5 AM. Much more interesting than a hotel.
 

KimR

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ‘18
Portuguese(costa,cent) ‘19
Norte ‘21
Hello!

My wife and I walked the CF two years ago and now wish to do the Camino del Norte starting May 1 of next year. I understand that the official starting point for CDN is Irún, but there seem to be three other options: one from Bayonne, one from Biarritz and the other from SJPDP. Has anyone taken these routes? Also, can anyone tell me the best way to get to Irún? Is it best to fly into Madrid, Barcelona, or Paris?

What is my best option in terms of limiting my time on a bus or train and the ease of getting there? I have traveled to SJPDP both from Madrid and Barcelona, but I have heard (somewhere on this forum) that it is easier to get to (at least to SJPDP) the beginning of the CDN from Paris. Any ideas or suggestions?

Thank you in advance.

Warmly,

Barry
I walked the Norte starting from Irun. I flew to Madrid than took a flight to San Sebastián. The airport is actually in Irun so I walked from the airport to my accommodations.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
one from Bayonne, one from Biarritz and the other from SJPDP.

In 2019, I flew into Madrid, and took Iberia Air to San Sebastian airport which is in Irun. I was able to walk from the airport to accomodations and start the Norte from Irun the following day.
I did the same in 2018 but spent two days in San Sebastian. The second evening I took the train to Irun and checked into the municipal albergue and left the next morning.
If I had to do it over again I would have started in Bayonne. (This is what Gronze.com considerers the "official" starting point of the Norte. Or at least this is where they chose to start.) I bet is is really lovely to walk from Bayonne. You have the advantage of walking the coastline for a few extra days. You could do it in 2 or 2 1/2 days. It will also give you a little warm up for the ups and downs to follow. Get you in a little pilgrim shape before the fun starts!
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
I have walked the Irún to Bilbao section three times. The concept of first walking from Bayonne or Biarritz to get in pilgrim shape is a worthy one. I didn’t do this the first time I walked the Norte and I was sucking wind for days. Before the second Norte I walked 5 days on the Aragonés from Jaca. After that the Norte was much easier. This year I headed straight for Irun and started from there again. Oh my god I almost died 😂! Next time I start in France!!!
 

mitchsj

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Del Norte & Primitivo April 2022
Ingles May 2022
I flew Barcelona to San Sebastián (Irun) although I think Madrid to San Sebastián (Irun) has slightly better connections.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I took the train from Madrid to San Sebastian. I stayed two days/nights exploring the city, including hiking up that big hill with great views (pics). I decided to skip Irun even though I knew it was to be a beautiful first day walk.
Screenshot_20220729-062333~2.png Screenshot_20220729-062349~2.png Screenshot_20220729-062256~2.png
 
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

barryg

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
We started our walk from the airport in Bayonne/Biarritz (those cities are less than a day’s walk apart, with the airport somewhat between them). Both are worth seeing if you have never been to them and the cathedral in Bayonne is a nice starting point for a Camino. Biarritz is smaller and more of a seaside resort feel, so a bit more expensive as a place to stay. If you walk from SJPdP, you can walk a beautiful route from there to Bayonne in about 3-4 days. So many options for a starting point!!!

I found the coastal walk from B/B to be quite lovely and worth the extra days and effort. It’s fairly well marked and you’ll get to visit St Jean de Luz along the way. Bothe B and B are deserving of at least an overnight stay also, though from the airport to Bayonne is a bit of backtracking and mostly suburban development.
Hi Vascajoe!

Is there cheap lodging available in either B/B? Albergues? Or inexpensive hotels or hostels? Thanks for you response!
 

barryg

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Hello eveyone!

Thanks for all the great advice!

It sounds like Biarritz is the place we'd like to start from. We'd love to take the train. What is the best airport to fly into where we could take a train into Biarritz? Madrid, Barcelona, or Paris?

And currently, how busy has the Norte been? I don't like the idea of competing for beds and I've heard there aren't many albergues on the norte. I have consulted Gronze, briefly, and it seems there are SOME albergues, but mostly hotels. We are two, so albergues often weigh in as being more expensive or only slightly less expensive than a cheap hotel.
 

barryg

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
You could easily start from Biarritz, there is a well marked path along the coast, including yellow arrows, to St. Jean de Luz and onward to Irun. I think starting in Bayonne and/or SJPdP would be quite a hassle. From Bayonne you would most likely be: a.) walking on roadways back to Biarritz, or b.) connecting to the Batzan which would not be much different than starting in SJPdP on the CF and then working your way from Pamplona northward to Irun on what I believe might possibly be the GR 11.

Biarritz has an airport, Bilbao has an international airport and from Paris or Bordeaux you can take a train to Hendaye on the Spanish border where Irun is located.
Thank you for your reply! I think I'd like to start in Biarritz. Now, my only decision is how to get from St. Johnsbury, Vermont to Biarritz. I'd like to take the train, but the consensus seems to be that flying is the easiest way to go.
 

barryg

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
The walk from Bayonne to Biarritz has one great advantage: you walk right past a Decathlon store!!!! 😂. Otherwise, it’s a lot of suburban track homes with small sidewalks and no views. The last part through old Biarritz and the shoreline is lovely, though.
Thanks Vacajoe! Yeah, it was hard enough to convince my wife to do the Norte due to all the urban congestion, so I think we'll leave from Biarritz.
 
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets

barryg

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
It's the easiest Camino starting point to get to, and you have choices. If you pull up google maps and look at Irun, you will see that the San Sebastion Airport is actually in Irun, a few km from the center of town. An easy walk, I've done it. Over the river, a 3 km walk away, is the French town of Hendaye, which is the end of the line for the Southwest TGV line. Fly into Spain, and connect to a San Sebastion flight, and start walking from Baggage claim. Or, fly into Paris, take a TGV to Hendaye, and start walking from the train station. I personally would fly into Paris and take the train, but it's entirely up to you, and depends on your air link convenience/cost into Spain vs Paris.

Don't discount the suggestion to start further back in Biarrittz or Bayonne. Nice places, and an easier start than Day 1 out of Irun. Also, allows a little time to recover from travel.
Thank you for your reply, Rick! The route you described from Sebastion airport sounds so easy that I'm tempted, but I think we're going to start in Biarritz just for the warm up. Of coure, we're warming up here in Vermont too, but winters are hard to find places to walk with all the snow (and snow extends into June sometimes), so we'd be out of shape from a winter of not being able to walk. So, I think Biarritz is a nice compromise.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Thank you for your reply! I think I'd like to start in Biarritz. Now, my only decision is how to get from St. Johnsbury, Vermont to Biarritz. I'd like to take the train, but the consensus seems to be that flying is the easiest way to go.
No, fly to Paris or Bordeaux and take the train. Alternatively, fly to Bilbao and take a bus.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Cheap is a relative word when it comes to Biarritz, it is resort town. There is “surfer” albergue in the La Negresse neighborhood but it is part of consortium that required paying a small membership fee. The albergue is on the Camino. I now stay at the St. James next to the Marche when I visit there.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2014, 2016, 2018, 2022
To me, there is something fitting about starting from a cathedral and ending in a cathedral. We flew into Biarritz and took the short walk from the airport to Bayonne. We got our credentials stamped there and started out fresh the next day. The first two days in France were absolutely delightful.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I second the idea of starting at the Cathedral in Bayonne - although the walk to Biarritz isn’t great from there, Bayonne really is a great place to start from and an easy walk or bus ride from the airport.

There is an Pilgrim albergue in Bayonne (see Gronze.com) and one in St Jean de Luz, but only cheapish accommodations in Biarritz. We found that with two people walking together, small hotels were not much more than albergues (though you miss out on meeting other walkers).

In Biarritz, we stay at whatever is generally the cheapest 😂, which has been the Hotel Le Saphir the last two times - GREAT location for tourism, swimming, and food.
 
2022 Camino Guides
The 2022 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Learn how to Get "Camino Ready " 2nd Edition. In English, Spanish, German and Korean

Canche

Volcano Climber
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte/Frances 2016, San Salvador & Primitivo 2021
Hello!

My wife and I walked the CF two years ago and now wish to do the Camino del Norte starting May 1 of next year. I understand that the official starting point for CDN is Irún, but there seem to be three other options: one from Bayonne, one from Biarritz and the other from SJPDP. Has anyone taken these routes? Also, can anyone tell me the best way to get to Irún? Is it best to fly into Madrid, Barcelona, or Paris?

What is my best option in terms of limiting my time on a bus or train and the ease of getting there? I have traveled to SJPDP both from Madrid and Barcelona, but I have heard (somewhere on this forum) that it is easier to get to (at least to SJPDP) the beginning of the CDN from Paris. Any ideas or suggestions?

Thank you in advance.

Warmly,

Barry
I flew into Madrid and took the train to San Sebastian and started from there which was wonderful. It is a great fun city. Luckily I was able to spend about 3 days there before starting. I highly recommend it.
 

Lindy Loo

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 21 October 2014
Portugese Way October 2018
Wow thank you so much for this. I am undecided on Lisbon to Porto or this route in September? 🤔🤔 It will be my 4th having done parts of each the French, Portugal (Valenca to SDC) and SDC to Finesterre. I'm sure whatever I decide I'll enjoy just as much as the others 🙏🏃‍♀️
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019), CF/del Norte ‘21
I second the idea of starting at the Cathedral in Bayonne - although the walk to Biarritz isn’t great from there, Bayonne really is a great place to start from and an easy walk or bus ride from the airport.

There is an Pilgrim albergue in Bayonne (see Gronze.com) and one in St Jean de Luz, but only cheapish accommodations in Biarritz. We found that with two people walking together, small hotels were not much more than albergues (though you miss out on meeting other walkers).

In Biarritz, we stay at whatever is generally the cheapest 😂, which has been the Hotel Le Saphir the last two times - GREAT location for tourism, swimming, and food.
One caveat…last year on the Norte, capacity in Albergues was limited due to Covid spacing requirements.
 

Most read last week in this forum

Over 15 days into this pilgrimage so far and the majority of the holy buildings have been closed, can anyone give more insight or share their own thoughts please? Is this the same situation on...
So, we are in Getxo on the first day of our Camino del Norte. The weather has come in - see pics. There are now massive waves crashing and visibility is even lower than the 2nd photo shows. It’s...
Hi, we're walking Norte in April (2023) to Muxia. Based on some of what i have read and seen it seems that the walk from Bilbao to Portugalete (along the water or thru the town) is residential...

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2022 Camino Guides
Top