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St Jean to Roncesvalles - one day or two?

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bkkboy

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
 
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nycwalking

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.

bbkboy,

Hello.

Welcome to forum.

Split the day.

Buen camino.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
is it better to split the first day
I think so, having done it in both one day and two. I walked both times through Valcarlos, so I cannot compare the two routes from personal experience, but can recommend the municipal albergue at Valcarlos.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Like Dougfitz above I too cannot compare the two routes but have always walked via Valcarlos. The municipal albergue is great and you can reserve a bed

However on the Valcarlos route there are no shops after Valcarlos. Thus buy before leaving town. If you are stopping overnight in Valcarlos buy your supplies before you go to sleep so that you can leave at dawn.
 
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I split my day last year and must say it was the best decision I made I was able to take my time and soak up the views a leisurely lunch at Orrison and a chance to enjoy the company of fellow pilgrims and then the short walk on to Auberge Borda which I cannot recommend enough. Laurent the host is a warm and friendly young man the beds and facilities were perfect and the communal meal set me up for my experience, sharing stories making friends it will always be one of my favourite memories on the Camino. Buen camino mi amigo
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2019 CF
First time i did it in one, and being a good walker with a light pack, that was not much of an issue.

I did not find Roncesvalles that charming (buildings are nice, but food and sleep rather mediocre). I found the scenery in the pyrenees very cherming. So i'll spend a night at Orission next time, and then likely walk to Pamplona in two days from there.
 

koknesis

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014
CA&CS 2015
VdlP 2017
CP 2018
CM 2019
It depends on personal preferences and weather conditions imho. If long distances are not among usual activities, then perhaps an easy first day might be considered.
However starting Napoleon route early in a beautiful morning one may reach Orison in two hours or so. Roncesvalles by 1pm then. For me the first day of the first ever Camino was so much exciting that I found myself in Bizkarreta in late afternoon starting to wonder about the chances to sleep in the woods …
 
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cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I had planned to walk via Orrison, but in early May the weather turned very bad - 50/80 KM winds; sleet rain and a temperature 5-8C (before you apply the wind chill factor). So I made the decision to walk via Valcarlos (but still taking two days). If its nice and sunny you could do it in one, but hey from what I have read make your first day an easy one and enjoy the hospitality of Orrison.
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Like Dougfitz above I too cannot compare the two routes but have always walked via Valcarlos. The municipal albergue is great and you can reserve a bed

However on the Valcarlos route there are no shops after Valcarlos. Thus buy before leaving town. If you are stopping overnight in Valcarlos buy your supplies before you go to sleep so that you can leave at dawn.
Valcarlos is on my bucket list. I have walked the Napoleon many times, but hoping to do the Valcarlos next season.
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Past OR future Camino
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
Hola, I’m leading a group of 8 Pelegrinos,leaving St Jean P de P on 10 th June - We are all 70 +.
I booked us in to Orisson a couple of months back and would advise you to do the same .
kind regards

john ( musicman, ensuitepilgrim)
 

Mark H

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France
It will be my first Camino in May, I start from SJJP on the 16th and have booked a bed at Orisson.
Orisson is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon ( hopefully in the sunshine) and watch the world go buy.
 
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Steve Taylor

Member
Past OR future Camino
June 2019 Sarria to Santiago Sept 2019 Logrono to Burgos Aug 2020 St Jean Pied De Port to Logrono
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
I did this stage over two days. I'm 59 years old and not a regular walker, so the first stage to Orisson was tough and the rest at Orisson overnight was appreciated. Also, I was able to enjoy the relatively easier stage from Orisson to Roncesvalles the next day even more, especially as you walk above cloud level early in the morning.
 

Rmarkob

Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 21 Sep/22 Oct 2021
I stayed at Refuge Orisson this past September, then walked from Orisson to Espinal the next day. The outdoor terrace at Orisson has spectacular views, and I would have stopped there for a while even if I had been continuing on to Borda (1 km further) or Roncesvalles. Two of the people I met at Orisson kept roughly the same pace as me and we saw each other every day or two all the way to Santiago. I am 66 and fit and was not concerned so much that continuing to Roncesvalles the first day would be too much, but rather that I didn't want to overdo it the first day. Also, I had heard good things about the communal meal at Orisson which turned out to be true. Borda was new this year, but I've also heard good things from people who stayed there.
 

Rolotom

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino frances
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
I just finished in early September. I had planned to stop at Orisson but left at 7 and was there by 9:30....so I decided to keep going. I am 72 also, and had no trouble making it (not that it was easy). In retrospect, I would leave St Jean a bit later and stop if I were to go again.
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019
I've done both the routes through Valcarlos and through Orisson. For views, I recommend through Orisson. For ease of walking, I recommend Valcarlos. While there are plenty of ups and downs on the Valcarlos route, the route up to Orisson is practically straight up :)

The municipal albergue in Valcarlos is nice, with a tienda and farmacia nearby. Orisson is by its lonesome.

Either way, you will want to ensure you have a lunch for the next day. From Valcarlos, you will have to carry your water - the only water source is a fountain near the pass that does not have potable water (signs warn against drinking it). So, either carry plenty of water or a means of purifying water.

Buen camino.
 
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Liam55

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
I walked from St Jean to Roncevalles last September. It’s a long hard walk. If and when I go back I would certainly stop in Orisson for two reasons: 1 It shortens that long climb and 2 there’s a good chance of getting to meet pilgrims. That’s my plan anyhow. Liam
 

JanelMcB

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2018)
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
The walk from St. Jean to Roncesvalles can be done in a day. Plenty of pilgrims have done just that. If you are pressed for time or money, you many have no choice. However, if you have the time and money a stop at Orisson is quite refreshing. The downhilll walk off the mountain can be treacherous. If you are coming down the mountain the same day you went up, you will be tired, maybe even exhausted. Fatigue on the downhill side can quickly lead to injuries. You will come to a point where you can continue downhill on a natural path or walk down a paved road. While the road is the safer choice, it is also the longer option. You can control the speed of your descent. You cannot shorten the distance of the paved road. If you choose the natural path, your trekking poles will be appreciated and beneficial.
 

Plataman

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances: (2009), (2013), Via de la Plata; (2016)
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
Hi, the answer really lies in your age, level of fitness, and available time. I am your age, and have done that walk twice, both times in one day. It is a slog for sure, and splitting it is certainly an option worth considering. I thought about making it a two day walk, but the only available stopping point is about 1/3rd of the way to Roncevalles, so when I got there, it was mid morning, and after a coffee and roll, I still felt energetic, and could not see sitting around wasting the rest of the day. Its a personal decision, my idea of wasting day might be viewed as an opportunity by others. However, best advice is to do what feels right for you, walk your own Camino....its not a race, and at our age, no need to do anything other than go at a pace that works.
 

Dawn Gibson

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago from SJPDP 2018
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
Hi. 🙂 I took two days, so that I didn't have to rush and could enjoy the views. And also so that I could pace myself and aggravate my arthritis, neuroma and plantar fascitis as minimally as possible 😉😄 I booked Kayola albergue in advance, it' a km or two before the bigger, popular Orisson albergue. It was basic and small, we had food with us so just ate and slept. I will definitely do the same next time. Possibly trying to get into Orisson (it was full when I tried to book last time). Hunto albergue is nearer St Jean but there's a steep section just after it and I wanted to get it under my belt asap! 😄

Buen Camino 🚶☮️
 
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trecile

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Staff member
Past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
However starting Napoleon route early in a beautiful morning one may reach Orison in two hours or so.
There's no reason to rush out of St Jean if you are planning to stop at Orisson or Borda. Relax, walk around the town, have a leisurely breakfast, then get started around 11:00.
 

CA_Pilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
El Camino Real de California
Camino Frances (2017)
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.

Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located?
Although I've not done the Camio yet (will do in May/June 2022), I've done similar local training hikes. It pretty much comes down to 2 factors: 1) Your physical condition, and 2) How much time you have.

As for me, I plan on splitting the hike because I have lots of time to finish the Camino and I want to enjoy the hike and the Pyrenees. I have done long mountain hikes with over 4,500 foot vertical gains, so I know I could do it, but why if I have sufficient time to finish the Camino and split the hike?
 

2ctheworld

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Planned - Sept/Oct, 2022
HI!
I am doing my first Camino in Sept and will be splitting it up, staying at Borda. Not only do I want to be able to drink it all in, but I want to do a slow start to let my body acclimate to all the walking. No point injuring myself trying to get to Roncesvalles in one day.
For splitting though, there is another option - especially if Orisson and Borda Albergues have no free space for your date. Express Bourricot has a mountain shuttle. You can walk part way over the Pyrennes and then the shuttle picks you up and takes you back to SJPdP for the night. In the morning, you hop back on the shuttle and it takes you right back to where you left off, to continue your walk into Roncesvalles. This has the double benefit of allowing you to walk without your pack for the first (and steepest) day.
 

koknesis

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014
CA&CS 2015
VdlP 2017
CP 2018
CM 2019
There's no reason to rush out of St Jean if you are planning to stop at Orisson or Borda. Relax, walk around the town, have a leisurely breakfast, then get started around 11:00.
Right, actually there is an option to go for a nice pre-Camino trekking, for instance the circular trail of crests :)
7CB256E7-1EC4-42C6-84FE-E577AB6939A7.jpeg

… of course, this ads an extra day, but then again, why not extend the pleasure of walking in Pyrenees ..
 
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Cindy McGuire

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Starting from St.jean Pied de Port April 24, 2016
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
You'll enjoy the rest of your Camino more if you don't overdo that first day. My husband and I (both in our 70s) stayed in Orisson the first night. I think if you do some research there are options for staying no matter which route you take to Roncesvalles, but the trip through Orisson over the Pyrenees is beautiful. Hope this helps.
 
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Cdancer

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2018
I walked Frances in 2018 with my girlfriend that was a bit older than you and I a little younger. We were both in good shape and had ballroom danced on the Queen Mary on our way over from New York, took time in England and France before starting our long awaited Camino.

We needed to ship our baggage on to Santiago and the girl at the transfer office who was sending our bags said I am going to do you the biggest favor of your Camino I am going to send your backpack s to Roncevalles so you can enjoy the Pyrenees
She was right we only carried a day pack with water. It was a splendid day of looking down on clouds as the morning mist lifted in “sound of music”scenery while listening to the concert of bells that the sheep provided. Though we got in a little late even with no packs it was the most spectacular view of our Camino.

Remember that everyone walks there own Camino.

We took 42 days to enjoy the walk,
Stopping at interesting places to rest and look around.
Since we choose to always have a room to ourselves for only a little more that the alburgue charged we skipped Orreson but everyone we talked to said it was one of their favorite experiences.

Were I to do it again and I Am now your age. I would keep my room in St Jean. Spend the day hiking and enjoying then prearrange a cab or call one from orrison. Go back to my room in St Jean and have the cab take me back to where I finished walking the day before and sending my pack to Roncevilles.
Being older is also being smarter you would then arrive in Roncevilles with more memories of the mountains than most and not start the third day with worried joints which you will have at some point any way.

And while the young want to make it in thirty days (I envy them) take your time and “drink your tea nice and slow”

Just my thoughts
 
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One or more times each year from 2014 - 2022.
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
I see camaraderie is on your list. Hold that thought! I read through all of the responses and I think only one of them mentioned meeting pilgrims at the evening meal in Orisson. I could hardly believe it. For me personally the Camino is about meeting the pilgrims from all over the world. Everyone has a story! Everyone has a special reason for being there even if they don’t know what it is.
Orison offers in the evening meal. They serve about 50 people. Guess what? These are the people you’ll be walking with for the next 30 days. If you want to get a jumpstart on camaraderie, don’t miss that meal.
Yes, the scenery through the Pyrenees, the cloud layers in the valleys, and considering which route you take are all significant but, they are not going to play a significant role in the remainder of your 29 days.
I have never slept at Orison, it’s always been Kayola. Unless something has changed, they are both owned by the same people.
If this is your first Camino (walking), with all of my heart I fully recommend making friends and being a friend be a big part of your plan. But of course, how a person walks the Camino is very personal.
Buen Camino!
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
If one was choosing which of those halfway point places to spend the night at from the perspective of someone who is looking for a place to do some drawings in the afternoon, which would you choose, and why?
 

darealdeal77

Member Since 2018
Past OR future Camino
2014 Camino Frances
I say 2, Stop at Orisson! Is the first day, when we did Camino in 2014, we didn’t stopped, we left SJPDP at 6:00 am and arrived at Roscenvalles at 7:30 pm, nearly killed me…I truly regret not stopping in the middle! I hope this helps! Buen Camino!
 

ukjohn99

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2009 St Jean to Santiago
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
I walked over in one day in 2009 when I was 64. I found it very tough in places but I did have a great sense of achievement. My pack was too heavy and I did get rid of some things during my Camino. My advice is train well, pack well, wear in your boots and then decide nearer the time which option to take.
 
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I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
Easy

You…..fit and starting early with good weather….?? ….decide to continue or not around 11 km’s and some height meters….👍

You…not fit and wanting a sensible beginning of a long adventure….decide in advance to enjoy a early days end with new friends around 11 km’s…
 
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jumada

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Finisterre, Muxia 2018
I see camaraderie is on your list. Hold that thought! I read through all of the responses and I think only one of them mentioned meeting pilgrims at the evening meal in Orisson. I could hardly believe it. For me personally the Camino is about meeting the pilgrims from all over the world. Everyone has a story! Everyone has a special reason for being there even if they don’t know what it is.
Orison offers in the evening meal. They serve about 50 people. Guess what? These are the people you’ll be walking with for the next 30 days. If you want to get a jumpstart on camaraderie, don’t miss that meal.
I totally agree with this. I stayed the night in Orisson and it was a jumping off point for getting to know so many other pilgrims and hearing their stories. Over the course of the remainder of my walk to Santiago, I continuously met up with many of them along the way. I know that if I had walked all the way to Roncesvalles the first day I wouldn't have had that experience since Roncesvalles is so much bigger.
The 8 km uphill is short but a good way to get into the walk as it's the steepest part.
When I walk the Francis route again, I will do the same, and hopefully have a sunny day. It was quite foggy the last time!
 

Schamber

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
May and June 2022
I split my day last year and must say it was the best decision I made I was able to take my time and soak up the views a leisurely lunch at Orrison and a chance to enjoy the company of fellow pilgrims and then the short walk on to Auberge Borda which I cannot recommend enough. Laurent the host is a warm and friendly young man the beds and facilities were perfect and the communal meal set me up for my experience, sharing stories making friends it will always be one of my favourite memories on the Camino. Buen camino mi amigo
This is exactly what we're doing end of May!
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
72 myself. Would not dream of doing it all in one day. Apart from the fact it is tough, just to sit with a cold drink and the company of other pilgrims on the Orisson view point and to enjoy the communal meal makes staying here almost essential. I believe there is a new refuge a few kilometres past Orisson that is getting good reviews and comparable with it
 

MARIA H P

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Vigo-Santiago de Compostle-Muxia-Fisterra Oct 2021
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
Hi, we walked the Napolean way in 2019. Because I wanted to stay at Orrison we started walking at 3.30pm from SJPdeP the same day we travelled from Ireland and arrived at Orrison before 6pm. Perfect timing for us to enjoy dinner and the company of other pilgrims for the night. If I was starting from SJPP early in the morning then I would continue on to Roncesvalles. The first 8km to Orrison are the hardest.
 
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Sherpa47

Member
Past OR future Camino
2008 and 2017
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
Having walked the Camino twice the last at age 70, we did it one day but I was exhausted by the time I reached Roncesvalles. I would recommend you have a later start from St. Jean and spend the night in Orisson. I believe their communal evening meal is wonderful, and a chance to meet Camino friends. Booking at Orisson is essential.
Have a wonderful Camino.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2018)
Camino Portuguese - Lisbon (2019)
There is usually only one bit of advice I give about the Camino - Orisson. It was not my call but it was the best decision of the CF. Breaks up the day sure, but it is a great location and the peregrinos met there have become friends for life. Takes the pressure off day 1, beautiful views and a very social start to your experience. Even the last hour in SDC I ran into someone from that night in Orisson I hadn't seen the whole camino. A no brainer. Buen Camino
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I can't add much that already hasn't been said. I have done both one day and two days 4 times. The people I have met at Orisson have remained close friends for years as well as my walking companions most of the way to SdC. During the years I lived in Biarritz, I would drive down there several times a year to get a little Camino "fix" with a couple of beer and a sandwich with jambon de Bayonne et fromage de brebis from Iraty. Over the years I have gotten to know Jean Jacques and his lovely family.
 
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Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Age is not a factor if you cycled the route you mentioned! That's really impressive.
I prefer 1 day, but it really is beautiful and worth making it in 2.

Buen Camino
 

trevorcc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPD to Santiago 2013,2014, Camino de Levante Sept. 2016, Frances March 2018, planning 2020
I think so, having done it in both one day and two. I walked both times through Valcarlos, so I cannot compare the two routes from personal experience, but can recommend the municipal albergue at Valcarlos.
Agree great place tp stay.
 

trevorcc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPD to Santiago 2013,2014, Camino de Levante Sept. 2016, Frances March 2018, planning 2020
I have always taken two days over the mountains, yes Orrisson is wonderful many friends made, Valcarlos is also wonderful, but all I can say is I have seen many pilgrims misjudge day 1 and suffer and a few pull out at Pamplona. It is not a race and the guide books are just that a guide so slow and enjoy the journey and the people......once passed Orrisson you have no alternative but to keep going no matter how tired or sore you are.
 

OzAlex

Camino Frances Autumn 2014 and Spring 2018
Past OR future Camino
2023 Via Francigena - Canterbury to Rome
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
walk halfway ,ring taxi and travel back to st Jean and taxi up in morning and continue walk from last stop👍
 
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Old Kiwi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
On my first Camino when I was only 73, I left SJPDP early in the morning, strolled up the hill to Orisson for the night. I arrived at Orisson at about 10am but by mid afternoon I wondered why I had decided to stop there as I had lots of time to go on to Roncesvalles. The dinner that night was fabulous with everyone saying where they were from and some people entertaining with songs and stories, and I made some good friends.
The next day I was in Roncesvalles by 12pm and, again, waited around for hours to get into the albergue.
On my next Camino at 76 I decided to do the whole thing in one day and arrived at Roncesvalles at 2pm which still gave me time to do laundry.
If the world becomes a safer place by 2023, I will be 80 and my intention is to leave SJPDP at 6.am as usual and go all of the way to Burguete for a change. It is only another 4k or so.
I think to distance you travel depends on how fit you are and how little you carry. I am fit and only carry 4.5 to 5 kilograms
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
All personal preference and somewhat dependent on health, fitness etc.
'Most' people seem well able to do it in one day.

I don't think I could. Legs/knees are not that good.
Both times on that route I split it over 2 days.

But I used another strategy.
The mountain shuttle.

Gives you a bit more flexibility on how far you want to walk on Day 1.
As they can pick you up at different locations.
And drop you back the next day to the same spot.

1642215194994.png

An added advantage is that on your first day you only need a light pack (day pack)


Afternote: Apologies, it was already mentioned above!
I did check but missed it.
:rolleyes:

..
 
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DoughnutANZ

I would rather be fishing
Past OR future Camino
2023
but the only available stopping point is about 1/3rd of the way to Roncevalles, so when I got there, it was mid morning,
This is not the only stopping point.
I booked us in to Orisson a couple of months back and would advise you to do the same .
It can be difficult to reserve.
The municipal albergue in Valcarlos is nice, with a tienda and farmacia nearby. Orisson is by its lonesome.
This is worth noting.
For splitting though, there is another option - especially if Orisson and Borda Albergues have no free space for your date. Express Bourricot has a mountain shuttle. You can walk part way over the Pyrennes and then the shuttle picks you up and takes you back to SJPdP for the night. In the morning, you hop back on the shuttle and it takes you right back to where you left off, to continue your walk into Roncesvalles. This has the double benefit of allowing you to walk without your pack for the first (and steepest) day
Great advice.
Many people credit Orisson with having been where they made friends for life. You do not need to feel that you will be deprived of such friendships if you choose to walk further on Day 1. You will just meet different people en route to Roncesvalles, in Roncesvalles, or wherever
This is also relevant advice. I met my trail buddies in Roncesvalles and beyond.

Some people like Orisson, others don't. It can be difficult to get them to respond to a reservation request sometimes and they are often fully booked. Orisson is isolated and so there is not much choice once you are there. I found one of the staff a bit surly when I stopped there for a drink. This may have been a bad day for the person for some reason and they don't have a general reputation for surliness.

There is a new albergue a little bit past Orisson that has good reviews. Others like the Valcarlos route.

I like walking up to the statue of the Snow Virgin which is close to half way and then catching the shuttle back to St Jean. This gives me relatively equal effort, a wide choice for where to stay and eat in St. Jean and when I recatch the morning shuttle back to the Snow Virgin then I am ahead of most of the huge crowd the next day and if I haven't been able to reserve in Roncesvalles then I am still pretty much assured of a bed there.
 

Sirage

Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2005), Porto to Santiago (2007), Vezelay for 200 kms (2009), From Seville, May (2015), Le Puy to Sangüesa (2016), Norte-Primitivo (Sep-Oct 2016)
My usual answer to questions like this, is imagine it is a bit like a high jump - only hard if you don't have a running start.

So start some distance back, have a warm up, 2 or 4 weeks is enough, and then it is not hard, at any age.

A one day walk to Roncesvalles is a pleasurable, satisfying experience. My suspicion is that only a minority stop part way up, there would not be enough beds.

And when people say it is hard, what is meant? The Norte, the via de la Plata and others have sometimes also been described as hard although for different reasons.
 

Siegfried

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021
Camino Portugues 2022
Hello
I myself splitted the first etappe , this was a good experience.
I made a the first stop at Albergue Borda just a few 100 meter from Orisson away.
I can recommend.

Another plus is that you can easily start from SJPDP in afternoon.
the second day was a wonderful walk over the pyrenees , and if you take the right turn for descend it is not steep.
 
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Shirley1957

Slowly slowly…
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Frances
All personal preference and somewhat dependent on health, fitness etc.
'Most' people seem well able to do it in one day.

I don't think I could. Legs/knees are not that good.
Both times on that route I split it over 2 days.

But I used another strategy.
The mountain shuttle.

Gives you a bit more flexibility on how far you want to walk on Day 1.
As they can pick you up at different locations.
And drop you back the next day to the same spot.

View attachment 116521

An added advantage is that on your first day you only need a light pack (day pack)


Afternote: Apologies, it was already mentioned above!
I did check but missed it.
:rolleyes:

..
Similar age! We walked to the snow virgin on day 1 and then did the shuttle back there on day 2. We stopped for soup and bread at Orrison and met people we then bumped into along the way, so happy with the camaraderie encountered. Day 1 was driving rain and fog, so hot soup appreciated. The joy on day 2 of seeing sheep (rather than just hearing their bells) and being blown away by the views on a then sunny sunny daybreak as we were transported back to the top was a tremendous bonus.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
X
I don’t think I’m in a minority of one in not liking Orisson one little bit. First time over I stayed there and it felt very artificial. Second time over I went straight to Roncesvalles in a day and, whilst I slept well afterwards, it was no big deal. Since then I have started in Pamplona; although I took a taxi to Zubiri to extend my walk last time.
 
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Antnix1

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés
I liked orisson but was happy to not spent too long in SJPDP. So i was happy with 2 days from Saint Jean to Roncesvalles. To me, 3 days between 3 places was a little much.
 

2ndCaminho

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
ONE!

To get to tht hotel / hostel you mention only tkes few hours. rest there then continue up the hill nd through the forest and on to Roncesvalles.

But of course please do some training!
 
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Ste66

Irish pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
2x Frances
1x Portugese from Porto (Litoral)
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
I've done it both ways and you're right it's a tough day especially the first 9k or so. There is a new auberge just a bit further on than Orisson called auberge Boda I think, I stayed there in October, it was excellent, the young French guy that runs it is really welcoming and the food was great,it made the next days walk even more enjoyable .
Buen camino.
 
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean

@bkkboy, I am also a bit older. In fact in May 2016 I was 74. From my training I had learnt three things:

1) To get the most enjoyment start early, it allows you to take options later in the day. I started from S-Jean just before sunrise, and I was about the middle of the pack. I go to bed wearing just about everything I will start with and my pack just needing a final closing.

2) I have found it best for me, to dress for mid morning. Usually this will mean a short sleeve (merino) top and gloves. Most people starting out that morning were dressed for the morning chill and most had to stop a a few kilometres to take stuff off, open their pack, swap and close the pack: ?and getting a chill in the process?

3) Walk at a constant pace: shorten or lengthen your stride for steep or flat sections. On the steepest section my stride would be 100mm to 150 mm (4" to 6") - in other words, for the moving foot, the toes would be 100mm to 150 mm in front and the heel some where w=between the heel and toes of the static foot. And I would breathe in on one footfall and out on the other - my breathing acted as a metronome.

Using those techniques, just like the tortoise, I passed so many people and was passed by one. I had three stops:
  1. about 2 minutes at Orisson to ask about the weather;
  2. less than 1 minute at "last sello caravan" as the throng meant a delay and the wind was chilling;
  3. "comfort stop" in the now sunny forest a few km before Roncevalles.
I was at the albergue before it opened for bookings, along with two or three other early birds.

Two days later I was in the albergue at Zalbadika. Several Sacred Heart sisters offer a pastoral and late evening service. At that the "youngsters" wanted to know how I was so fast - I told them about techniques three. Early afternoon the next day I was the other side of Pamplona looking at the windmills stretching along Alto del Perdon when another callow you approached saying he had heard I was the "fast one", was this correct?

If you don't have hills that you can train on, try getting regular access to high rise buildings. First without gear: just getting the muscles in the upper leg (knee to thigh/groin) used to the extra work. When you can do, say, 10 floors with ease then start over with all your gear on your back and aim for 10 floors with ease again - 10 floors is at least 30 metres and nearer 40 metres of elevation gain, but the effort of lifting you foot to the next step is quite high, especially when fully laden.

All I can counsel for you is "do it your way". But be match fit for the many days ahead

Kia kaha, kia māia kia manawanui (take care, be strong, confident and patient)
 

2ndCaminho

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
@bkkboy, I am also a bit older. In fact in May 2016 I was 74. From my training I had learnt three things:

1) To get the most enjoyment start early, it allows you to take options later in the day. I started from S-Jean just before sunrise, and I was about the middle of the pack. I go to bed wearing just about everything I will start with and my pack just needing a final closing.

2) I have found it best for me, to dress for mid morning. Usually this will mean a short sleeve (merino) top and gloves. Most people starting out that morning were dressed for the morning chill and most had to stop a a few kilometres to take stuff off, open their pack, swap and close the pack: ?and getting a chill in the process?

3) Walk at a constant pace: shorten or lengthen your stride for steep or flat sections. On the steepest section my stride would be 100mm to 150 mm (4" to 6") - in other words, for the moving foot, the toes would be 100mm to 150 mm in front and the heel some where w=between the heel and toes of the static foot. And I would breathe in on one footfall and out on the other - my breathing acted as a metronome.

Using those techniques, just like the tortoise, I passed so many people and was passed by one. I had three stops:
  1. about 2 minutes at Orisson to ask about the weather;
  2. less than 1 minute at "last sello caravan" as the throng meant a delay and the wind was chilling;
  3. "comfort stop" in the now sunny forest a few km before Roncevalles.
I was at the albergue before it opened for bookings, along with two or three other early birds.

Two days later I was in the albergue at Zalbadika. Several Sacred Heart sisters offer a pastoral and late evening service. At that the "youngsters" wanted to know how I was so fast - I told them about techniques three. Early afternoon the next day I was the other side of Pamplona looking at the windmills stretching along Alto del Perdon when another callow you approached saying he had heard I was the "fast one", was this correct?

If you don't have hills that you can train on, try getting regular access to high rise buildings. First without gear: just getting the muscles in the upper leg (knee to thigh/groin) used to the extra work. When you can do, say, 10 floors with ease then start over with all your gear on your back and aim for 10 floors with ease again - 10 floors is at least 30 metres and nearer 40 metres of elevation gain, but the effort of lifting you foot to the next step is quite high, especially when fully laden.

All I can counsel for you is "do it your way". But be match fit for the many days ahead

Kia kaha, kia māia kia manawanui (take care, be strong, confident and patient)
h ah aha my strategy exactly and am also known as the fast one.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
If I were starting from SJPP and hadn't walked the route before, I would split the day. There are now two hostels to choose from on the Napoleon route. A new hostel, of which there are good reports, has opened a bit further on the path beyond Orisson.
 
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Lode

New Member
Past OR future Camino
first time , may 2018
Ik ben van plan om in juni de Camino te lopen vanaf St Jean Pied de Port. Van wat ik heb gelezen, is de eerste dag van St. Jean naar Roncesvalles erg moeilijk. Als een beetje ouder, 72, en willen genieten van de wandeling, is het dan beter om de eerste dag te splitsen en de nacht door te brengen ongeveer 10 km buiten St. Jean, waar volgens mij het enige hostel is gevestigd? De Pyreneeën zelf zijn de moeite waard om de tijd te nemen om van te genieten.

Afgelopen juli fietste ik van Pamplona naar Lissabon, via Santiago. Hoewel het een goede ervaring was, had ik destijds het gevoel dat fietsers, die alleen reizen, veel onderweg missen, zoals de kameraadschap, en ook de neiging hebben om langs bezienswaardigheden te razen, waarbij ze wegen volgen in plaats van voetpaden.

Bij voorbaat bedankt.
Huntto heb je de eerste albergue , en dit is 5 km vanuit SJPDP . En dan heb je meteen al een redelijk steil stuk achter de rug . Wij zijn daar verbleven in 2018 en zeer goed verblijf en lekker eten.
 

Ste66

Irish pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
2x Frances
1x Portugese from Porto (Litoral)
I plan to walk the Camino starting from St Jean Pied de Port, next June. From what I have read, the first day from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is very difficult. Being a bit older, 72, and wanting to enjoy the walk, is it better to split the first day and spend the night about 10km outside St. Jean, where I believe the only hostel is located? The Pyrenees, themselves, are worth taking time to enjoy.

Last July I cycled from Pamplona to Lisbon, via Santiago. Although a good experience, my feeling at the time was that cyclists, traveling alone, miss a lot en route, such as the camaraderie, and also tend to speed past places of interest, following roads rather than foot paths.

Thanks in advance.
I have done it both ways,in July 2016 we did it in one day then in late October last year we decided to split the trip as we arrived in St Jean at lunchtime so we had lunch and walked the 9k or so to auberge Borda, a great decision as it made the next days walk a bit easier. We had a great communal meal in the auberge with great food and company, we had breakfast next morning and Laurent our host gave us the option of a packed lunch for our walk. If I do this route again I'll opt to split the day as it was much more enjoyable.
Buen camino, Stephen.
 

Diana Overby

New Member
Past OR future Camino
first
Split the stage and spend more time in the beautiful Pyrenees!
There are now two places to stay, and you will probably need a reservation.
Refuge Orisson is the one that you have probably heard of. It's about 8 km from SJPDP.
The new place is Auberge Borda, and it's about one km past Orisson.
I loved stopping in Orisson. I was tired from the flight from florida USA and honestly needed to adjust to the altitude (Florida sits at sea level) The place was perfectly lovely and this stop helped me to begin my journey from a good internal spot.
 

bkkboy

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Thanks for the advice. Is it possible to arrange to get my backpack shipped from SJPP to Roncesvalles, spending two days to get there with a day pack?
 
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Hurrying

Member
Past OR future Camino
French Camino (Planned)
Split the stage and spend more time in the beautiful Pyrenees!
There are now two places to stay, and you will probably need a reservation.
Refuge Orisson is the one that you have probably heard of. It's about 8 km from SJPDP.
The new place is Auberge Borda, and it's about one km past Orisson.
How many weeks in advance should I book? Still working out the exact dates for May 2022.
 

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