8 reasons why Pamplona is the best starting point


Not really a question, but an opinion on a good starting point for the Camino Frances.

Many threads on this forum deal with SJPDP as THE Camino starting point (11.5 % of the Pilgrims start from there), how to reach the place and about the strain and perils of crossing the Pyrenees. Are there any historic reasons that compel some Pelegrinos to even take taxis from Pamplona toward «the wrong direction» in order to commence in SJPDP?
Imho, these eight reasons would rather speak for Pamplona:
1. – In easy reach by air and by train from Madrid, Barcelona, Biarritz, Bilbao.
2. – A choice of 100 accommodation-options in every category, with several albergues and places to obtain Credencials
3. – A perfect place to shake off the jet lag and to acclimatize to Northern Spain
4. – To do last minute shopping (SIM cards, electric adaptors, medicines, banks, etc)
5. – To have direct postal services (to forward luggage to Santiago)
6. – Offering great sightseeing; this town has a beautiful medieval centre, an impressive Citadel, the Cathedral, Spain’s second largest bullring and many spots of interest.
7. – A great gastronomy, wines and lots of parks
8. – Getting an easy start of the Camino

Read the rest of this conversation on Pamplona as a starting point for the Camino Frances here in our Camino Forum.

Is starting from Pamplona ‘cheating’?

Camino de Santiago Map

The question was:

I am starting my Camino on the 25th March. I have booked my train to Pamplona, arriving late Sunday evening, 24th March with a view to staying overnight in Pamplona and getting the train to Roncenvalles to start the camino on the Monday morning. However, I have booked my flights home from Santiago on the 28th April – and I am a little alarmed that I have now not given myself enough time to get from Roncenvalles to Santiago in only thirty-four days…

How flat is El Camino Frances? Is it do-able in only thirty-four days. I’m young (23) and quite fit, but for anyone, doing over 20 km per day for thirty-four days straight is quite a challenge…

Will it be ‘cheating’ for me to begin my Camino in Pamplona? Thus giving myself a bit of a headstart…?

I’m very excited about starting my Camino, but I reeeeally want to complete it in one go – and not end up having to catch any buses or trains along the route to ensure that I reach Santiago in time…

What do all you experienced Pilgrims think? How long did it take you guys, and how mountainous is the route?

Any advice would be much appreciated

Read the responses to the question if is starting in Pamplona is cheating? in our Camino Forum.

Why do so many start in Saint Jean Pied de Port?

Saint Jean Pied de Port

The question was:

Considering the complications to get to S.Jean Pied de Port, especially for anyone landing in Spain or coming from Spain/Portugal/Southern France, I always wonder why so many of these people want to start their Camino in SJPP!

I remember that when I was a hospitalera, I always gave a “congratulations” type comment when I saw SJPP as the starting point on their Credential. (There was also the occasional Pilgrim who started even further away).

However, although I have started my Camino 3 times in Roncesvalles, I have never even taken into consideration to get myself to SJPP!

My reasoning was simply, why make an uphill and downhill struggle, risking my feet, ankles, legs, etc. when I am just at the beginning of my Camino. Take it slowly for the first few days, is the eternal recommendation!

I also took my age into consideration, plus that fact that we arrive from Costa Rica, which means a 20 hours non-stop journey, before we get to our starting point.

During those first days, when one is getting your body used to this new “way of life”, I have seen many, many people nursing blisters, or worse, and all have blamed the walk over the Pyrenees as culprit.

So, Forum Guests, past and future Pilgrims, what is your comment?

Read this interesting conversation on why start your camino in Saint Jean Pied de Port.

What is the best starting point for 1 week walk?


What is the best starting point for 1 week walk?

The question was:

I have one week to spend walking some of the Camino Frances (including travelling there and back) and would like some advice on which is the best section to do with only a week.

Read the good responses about the best place to start for a 1 week walk on the Camino.

The Camino de Santiago in 14 days, where to start?

The Camino de Santiago in 14 days, where to start?

The question was:

I only have 14 walking days available due to work constraints and traveling to/from the US. I have read several times that I can start in Leon and finish within this time frame. However I have also read that the beginning segements are great. Would you recommend starting at Leon and walking to Santiago or rather start in St Jean walk to Pamlona then bus occasionally in order to make the whole trek in 14 days? I’m not sure if I will come back so want to maximize the entire trip/view.