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Walking the Camino Frances from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona on a budget

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Stage 1
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66.7km
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5 days
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Starting From
€295
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Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona Budget Map

This specific route is the starting point of the Camino Frances. It begins in France at St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and finishes in Pamplona, the town famous for its Running of the Bulls festival in San Fermin, described by Ernest Hemingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises. At first, it follows the Route de Napoleon over the Roncesvalles Pass (1500m) in the Basque country, and then crosses into more gentle terrain in the great region of Navarra.

Highlights

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Your first stop on the Camino Frances is the quaint French town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port – the traditional starting point of the Camino Frances. Before you set off through the Pyrenees, explore this scenic gem and soak in the excitement of the town as pilgrims flock to start their pilgrimage.

Roncesvalles

Here you will find the beloved Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Roncesvalles, which has been receiving pilgrims since the 12th Century. It is here also in Roncesvalles you will see a monument commemorating the defeat of Charlemagne’s army and their commander Roland at the battle of Roncesvalles in 778.

Pamplona

The city famous for it’s running bulls! Once you arrive in one of Spain’s most famous and historical cities, take in the gothic-style architecture and walk through the streets that inspired Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’. From Medieval city walls to impressive La Catedral de Santa María la Real de Pamplona.  You can easily spend time wandering the streets and working up an appetite to enjoy either a traditional Basque influenced dish or a more modern fusion style dish, Pamplona has it all!

Saint Jean Pied De Port to Pamplona
Camino Frances
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Services

Included in this package
  • Specially chosen 2-3* hotels or equivalent
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
  • Our Holiday or Pilgrim Pack
  • 24/7 Customer Service
Add-On
  • Premium Accommodation
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Additional Night
  • Dinners
  • Day Tours Available
Not included
  • Flights/trains
  • Insurance
  • Drinks/Lunch

Itinerary

Day 1

SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT (Arrival)

You’ll be booked into a hotel in the heart of the small town. The rooms are en-suite.


Day 2
24.3km

SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT
to
RONCESVALLES

This first day is considered the most difficult as the Camino crosses the Pyrenees. The ‘Camino Napoleon’ kicks off with a steep climb, on through orchards and past country houses and then, later, through Alpine-style meadows, before weaving its way alongside leafy beech woods towards the Spanish border and the descent into Roncesvalles. The Valcarlos Camino mainly follows the road which runs through the valley alongside the River Nive or River Valcarlos. Don’t miss the Collegiate Church in Roncesvalles. NOTE: If you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace, we can arrange an alternative route (though not as rewarding) that splits this walking day into two stages (12km and 14km), staying overnight in the village of Valcarlos. Here you will be staying in a two-star hotel. This is route through Valcarols is no the usual Camino itinerary and the walk is not as rewarding as it follows the main road. IMPORTANT: The Napoleon Route over the Pyrenees is closed for Pilgrims from the 1st November until the 31st March. Pilgrims need to use the alternative route via Valcarlos if they are travelling within these dates. Travelling on the Napoleon Route at this time is forbidden and all pilgrims going over the Pyrenees and having to be rescued before that time will be fined €5,000.


Day 3
21.2km

RONCESVALLES
to
ZUBIRI

The Camino crosses two beautiful mountain passes and continues on through beech and oak woods and meadows before coming to Espinal, where the panoramic views of the countryside, with the Pyrenees in the background, are a sight to behold. The River Arga runs alongside this part of the Camino and continues its course all the way to Larrasoana.


Day 4
21.2km

ZUBIRI
to
PAMPLONA

The Camino runs along the River Arga, at the foot of a group of hills covered in beech, oak and Scots pine. As we approach Pamplona, the landscape shows more signs of civilisation, with its reforested conifers and farmlands.


Day 5

PAMPLONA

After breakfast, we bid you farewell.


Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona Budget Elevation


How to Get There

Getting to St Jean Pied de Port in France

It is best to fly to France (Biarritz or Paris), then come back from Spain (Bilbao, Santander or Madrid).

Fly into Biarritz

Ryanair, easyJet, Air France (via Orly).
Biarritz airport info

1 – Train to Bayonne train station

Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz Airport is located just 3 Km from Biarritz. However, it is a much better option to go to Bayonne train station (not Biarritz). Take the train to Bayonne train station (direct). The journey takes approx. 15 minutes and will cost from 3.70 to 6.70€. The bus stop is in front of the terminal.

2 – Train to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port

There are direct trains from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port (1h09 travel).

Fly into Paris

Virtually all companies fly to Paris. Take a train to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Getting home from Pamplona, Spain 

Fly from Bilbao 

A large amount of the passenger traffic at Bilbao Airport comes from internal flights and you can fly from Bilbao to any of the following Spanish Airports: A Coruna, Alicante, Barcelona, Badajoz, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Jerez, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Tenerife, Valencia and Vigo. European flights to Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Milan, Munich, Paris, and Stuttgart are also available.  At the moment, EasyJet, Iberia and Aer Lingus fly from the UK and Ireland to Bilbao. EasyJet offers daily flights to Bilbao from London Stansted Airport, Iberia flies from Gatwick or Heathrow via Madrid and AerLingus operates out of Dublin.

The Burundesa bus company links Pamplona with Bilbao

Fly from  Santander

Ryanair is the only low-cost airline that currently offers direct flights to Santander. They offer flights from London Stansted and now Dublin, Frankfurt, Milan and Rome, as well as Reus and Madrid in Spain. Iberia offers a good selection of internal flights from Alicante, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville and Valencia.

There are busses that link Pamplona with Santander (4h). From the bus station in Santander, then simply get a direct city bus to the airport (15min), and Ryanair operates flights from there.

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