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SJPP Questions


New Member

I'm planning my first camino (May-Jun this year) and I have a couple of questions. I've taken a look around the forum so hopefully I'm not repeating something that's already been mentioned!

1. What are the opening times for the Pilgrim's Office in St Jean-Pied-de-Port? My train arrives in SJPP at 4.20pm and I'm wondering if the office will still be open so I can make a start the following morning

2. Once I get the pilgrim's passport, can I stay at the albergue at SJPP for the night?

3. How steep is the first day's climb from SJPP to Roncesvalles? Can it be done in one day by a relatively fit, young person? I'm 25, in pretty good shape but I won't be in any major training before I start my camino. I know the first day is the hardest, so I'm wondering if I should attempt SJPP to Roncesvalles in the first day or instead stop at Hunto or Orsilles (?) on the way up.

All advice/answers will be sincerely welcomed!
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Veteran Member
the pilgrims office will still be open (i arrived at 7.30 on the last train and it was still fine) and you'll be able to stay in the albergue

if you're worried about the first-day climb or the weather is poor then take the road route - i'm twice your age and managed it easily (the climb is pretty gradual) - the albergue at Roncesvalles doesn't open until 4pm so there's no need to rush


Active Member
Madame Boffin

I am 65 and I stopped in Orisson because of jet lag (I am from Canada) and fatigue. The next day I felt much better, I left at 8.30 and reached Roncesvalles in early afternoon despite clouds and a bit of rain.

Credentials can be obtained at the pilgrim's office; it is open after 16.30; you do not require a credential in France but you need it in Espana. Failing to get it that afternoon you can get it the next morning. Take your time !

You are 25; you can do WATHEVER you like. Go slow, enjoy the landscape, stop and listen to the flight of the vultures, breathe clean air. Go by the route Napoleon and ENJOY.

Deleted member 397

I have no comment on your post except to hear alarm bells ringing where you say you wont be doing any major training beforehand. I'm from Melbourne so before I walked the VDLP I would walk to and from work (about 16kms) and most weekends a bush walk.This held me in good stead once in Spain as some stretches are long. I also came across a few people who did not do training and dropped out because of blisters, cartilege problems etc.Coming from australia, given the high airfares,I recommend as much preparation as possible to avoid dissappointment.


New Member
Thank you for your responses!

Spursfan: Excellent, that's a load off my mind. Is there a difference between the road route and the Napolean route?

Ulysee: This is great news! I'm in no hurry - I think the "no rush" idea is a good one :)

Omar504: I think this is good advice but the problem is I'll be in Spain and France for 6 weeks before I start my camino so specific training for the camino won't really be possible. I am fit, though, I've done long walks before (although, obviously, not as long as this one!) and I've hiked with backpacks up low moutain ranges without difficulty so I'm hoping this will see me through, particularly if I don't rush. Like Ulysee and Spursfan say - there are people twice my age completing the climb without difficult... hopefully I'll be able to say the same! :)
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Veteran Member
simple difference between the road route and Napoleon - the first one involves 900m of ascent to Roncesvalles, the second 1300m - no need to commit to one or the other until you get to SJPP

never a bad idea to plan half a dozen 4-hour walks carrying wieght that you plan to carry before you go

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