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Suggestions on flying to and from Camino Frances from LA for a two week pilgrimage

rgarcia

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2019
#1
We are planning our first pilgrimage on The Camino Frances for next May 2019. We can only be away from work for 2 weeks. We are planning on starting at St Jean and just going as far as we can in two weeks and head home from where ever we end up.

Any suggestions on where to fly into? (Paris?)
Is there a special open ended kind of ticket can we get to come home?
Take a bus back to Paris or flight from somewhere in Spain?
Any way we could speed up the trip to end up in Santiago somehow?
Or just take our time and come back at a later date and start where we left off?

Thank you!!
 
Last edited:

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#2
Look into open-jaw tickets. In to Paris, maybe even a hop to Biarritz, home from Madrid, easily reached from just about anywhere you end up after 10 - 12 days walking.

But please remember that that small town in southern France, that you might waste a couple of days of your available time getting to, is not the start of camino, or even the start of The Camino Frances. Its just a convenient spot for most guidebooks seemingly and an easy sell for the Tourist Bureaus and the romantics.

If you want to end in Santiago, start 2 weeks from Santiago. So Fly to Madrid, get a bus or a train to Leon and start walking. If you think you'll be back again start in StJdPP, put a chalk mark where you finish and rub it out on your return. Happy planning and Buen Camino
 

rgarcia

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2019
#3
Look into open-jaw tickets. In to Paris, maybe even a hop to Biarritz, home from Madrid, easily reached from just about anywhere you end up after 10 - 12 days walking.

But please remember that that small town in southern France, that you might waste a couple of days of your available time getting to, is not the start of camino, or even the start of The Camino Frances. Its just a convenient spot for most guidebooks seemingly and an easy sell for the Tourist Bureaus and the romantics.

If you want to end in Santiago, start 2 weeks from Santiago. So Fly to Madrid, get a bus or a train to Leon and start walking. If you think you'll be back again start in StJdPP, put a chalk mark where you finish and rub it out on your return. Happy planning and Buen Camino

Thank you Tincatinker! We are coming from Southern California, most likely LAX. I do imagine coming back to start where ever we left off. Love the chalk idea!! I imagine it may be hard to stop at 2 weeks so I wondered if anyone ever rides a bike for part of it or takes a taxi around parts to get to Santiago but then there would be so much missed. I am just a bit sad that we can only dedicate 2 weeks but I am choosing to be grateful we get 2 weeks :) I will look into Open-Jaw tickets! I thought there was some sort of open ended flights. Thanks again!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#4
Thank you Tincatinker! I wondered if anyone ever rides a bike for part of it or takes a taxi around parts to get to Santiago
If you wander around this lovely forum for a bit you will discover that all sorts of people do all sorts of camino in all sorts of ways. There are no Rules, there are no Prizes; there is not even anybody "in charge" unless you count the Cathedral authorities (which I never have 'cos they're a bit new to the game in my eyes ;)).

oh, yeah, but that does mean that you have to walk your own camino, for your own reasons and in your own time...:cool:
 

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012,13,15); Finisterre / Muxia (15); Portugeuse (17); Primitivo (17); Norte (18); Ingles (18)
#5
We’re from the SF area. We found it easiest to fly Norwegian (which has even more flights from LA than SF). Really cheap non-stop flights, which can be booked just as cheaply one-way as round-trip. For getting to St. Jean, you could fly non-stop to either Paris or Barcelona. (I don’t think they go non-stop to Madrid). If you go to Paris, you can then take the train (high speed TGV) down to Bayonne, and then transfer to the local train to St. Jean. Alternately, you could fly from the Paris airport to Biarritz (multiple airlines make the run), then pick up the Express Bouricot shuttle directly to St. Jean. (We found it easiest to stay the night in Paris, recover a little from the long flight, then take one of the frequent trains from Gare Montparnasse to Bayonne — but we’ve done it the other way — by air — too).

If you fly to Barcelona, you can take either a train or bus to Pamplona, where you transfer to another bus for St. Jean. Check the web sites for ALSA (bus) and RENFE (train) for schedules.

You can come back in reverse, getting yourself back to either Barcelona or Paris, then hooking up with the Norwegian flight to LA.. From the eastern half of the Camino, which is where you’ll still be after 2 weeks, it’s probably easier to get back to Barcelona, as there will be buses / trains from all the major towns. Most likely, you’ll wind up somewhere between Logrono and Burgos, and from either of. those cities, getting to Barcelona for your return flight will be easier than getting to Paris.

Note that on Norwegian, you just book your going and returning legs separately, so you don’t have to worry about an “open-jaw” ticket to book into one city (Paris, say) and come back from another (Barcelona).

Many people on this forum will tell you to go to Madrid, but they don’t necessarily understand what it means to fly from the west coast. Unless you can find a non-stop to Madrid, go via Barcelona or Paris, and take advantage of the non-stop flights from LA. Much less hassle than changing planes.

If you do make it to Santiago, the easiest thing may actually be to return via London. Easyjet has a. partnership arrangement with Norwegian, so you can book both the Santiago - London leg (Easyjet) and the London - LA leg (Norwegian) together. That will probably be the fastest way back, because if you’re returning via Barcelona, you’re actually flying in the wrong direction.

You can send me a personal message if you want more details. We’ve done this 5 times from the west coast.
 

rgarcia

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2019
#7
We’re from the SF area. We found it easiest to fly Norwegian (which has even more flights from LA than SF). Really cheap non-stop flights, which can be booked just as cheaply one-way as round-trip. For getting to St. Jean, you could fly non-stop to either Paris or Barcelona. (I don’t think they go non-stop to Madrid). If you go to Paris, you can then take the train (high speed TGV) down to Bayonne, and then transfer to the local train to St. Jean. Alternately, you could fly from the Paris airport to Biarritz (multiple airlines make the run), then pick up the Express Bouricot shuttle directly to St. Jean. (We found it easiest to stay the night in Paris, recover a little from the long flight, then take one of the frequent trains from Gare Montparnasse to Bayonne — but we’ve done it the other way — by air — too).

If you fly to Barcelona, you can take either a train or bus to Pamplona, where you transfer to another bus for St. Jean. Check the web sites for ALSA (bus) and RENFE (train) for schedules.

You can come back in reverse, getting yourself back to either Barcelona or Paris, then hooking up with the Norwegian flight to LA.. From the eastern half of the Camino, which is where you’ll still be after 2 weeks, it’s probably easier to get back to Barcelona, as there will be buses / trains from all the major towns. Most likely, you’ll wind up somewhere between Logrono and Burgos, and from either of. those cities, getting to Barcelona for your return flight will be easier than getting to Paris.

Note that on Norwegian, you just book your going and returning legs separately, so you don’t have to worry about an “open-jaw” ticket to book into one city (Paris, say) and come back from another (Barcelona).

Many people on this forum will tell you to go to Madrid, but they don’t necessarily understand what it means to fly from the west coast. Unless you can find a non-stop to Madrid, go via Barcelona or Paris, and take advantage of the non-stop flights from LA. Much less hassle than changing planes.

If you do make it to Santiago, the easiest thing may actually be to return via London. Easyjet has a. partnership arrangement with Norwegian, so you can book both the Santiago - London leg (Easyjet) and the London - LA leg (Norwegian) together. That will probably be the fastest way back, because if you’re returning via Barcelona, you’re actually flying in the wrong direction.

You can send me a personal message if you want more details. We’ve done this 5 times from the west coast.
Awesome advice andycohn!! Thank you so much! I have heard that Norwegian has great options.. I will start shopping around... Thank you so much for your wisdom and experienced advice! I can already tell this will not be our only trip.
 

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012,13,15); Finisterre / Muxia (15); Portugeuse (17); Primitivo (17); Norte (18); Ingles (18)
#8
Adding to my previous post: You’re in luck from LA! Norwegian does actually fly non-stop from LA to Madrid, as well as non-stop to Barcelona. Getting to St. Jean is about equally easy from Madrid or Barcelona, but once you get past Logrono (to Burgos, say), it’s easiest to get back to Madrid for your continuing flight to LA.

Per Rick’s suggestion, above, Level does also fly from LA to Barcelona non-stop, although not to Madrid. (Like most easterners, Rick seems confused on west coast geography, however. I grew up back east, too, and we learned that anything past the Hudson River may as well be in Australia).
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#9
I am just a bit sad that we can only dedicate 2 weeks but I am choosing to be grateful we get 2 weeks :) I will look into Open-Jaw tickets! I thought there was some sort of open ended flights. Thanks again!
Hi! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with two weeks! There is nothing, nowhere, that says you have to start in St Jean p de port. Really. Two weeks is good! :)
The only people I know or I met who can afford the time to walk for longer are either retired or students or teachers!
Enjoy and ... buen camino :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#10
I suggest flying into Paris and home from Madrid. That worked out nicely for me in 2015. In two weeks you might just make it to Burgos. You ought to be able to get a train from there to Madrid. I found that the flight wasn’t any more expensive this way. If you only have two weeks, then your timeframe is set. I’d just book the tickets. If you get behind you can catch a taxi or bus to make up time.

As far as starting in SJPDP, I’d go for it. It will be your first day of travel in France getting there. If you have an extra day in a weekend then you can be a bit more liesurely about it. I loved starting in SJPDP. Crossing the Pyrenees was amazing.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#11
Per Rick’s suggestion, above, Level does also fly from LA to Barcelona non-stop, although not to Madrid. (Like most easterners, Rick seems confused on west coast geography, however. I grew up back east, too, and we learned that anything past the Hudson River may as well be in Australia).
Not confused; just lazy. I didn't look hard for flights from California. I typed LA in the from box and SPAIN in the destination box and their computer gave me the result.
 

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012,13,15); Finisterre / Muxia (15); Portugeuse (17); Primitivo (17); Norte (18); Ingles (18)
#12
Not confused; just lazy. I didn't look hard for flights from California. I typed LA in the from box and SPAIN in the destination box and their computer gave me the result.
I was just kidding you. You referred to flights from San Francisco instead of LA. Good find, though, for me, since I’m from SF.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#13
If it were me, I think I would try to find a nonstop from LAX to MAD. If you fly on AA or IB (Iberia) you arrive at Terminal 4 at Barajas Int’l Airport.

From there you take the Metro from the downstairs station direct to Chamartin Station. Book at RENFE.es on train to Leon. Stay a day after the day of arrival (2 nights) then walk to Santiago. It takes about 12 days.

You can use bus or taxi to leap frog over industrial areas surrounding most cities. This is not cheating, and can help you manage your limited time.

Only during the FINAL 100 Km, from Sarria on the Camino Frances, must you actually walk to qualify for the Compostela.

Look at the Brierley book to spot the grey areas surrounding the cities. This is light industrial, warehouse, and big-box store territory.

Personally, I find it soul-sapping. Hence I use buses, from the central ivy to the outer edge of the industrial zone.

Others have differing options. I respect those opinions. You do YOUR Camino YOUR WAY.

Tinka’s advice for segmenting your Camino into at least two parts is the best, at least IMHO.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
future
#14
Adding to my previous post: You’re in luck from LA! Norwegian does actually fly non-stop from LA to Madrid, as well as non-stop to Barcelona. Getting to St. Jean is about equally easy from Madrid or Barcelona, but once you get past Logrono (to Burgos, say), it’s easiest to get back to Madrid for your continuing flight to LA.

Per Rick’s suggestion, above, Level does also fly from LA to Barcelona non-stop, although not to Madrid. (Like most easterners, Rick seems confused on west coast geography, however. I grew up back east, too, and we learned that anything past the Hudson River may as well be in Australia).
LOL, that is so true about anything past the Hudson may as well be in Australia! Still laughing :)
 

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