Available in: Italiano
Every year more and more people choose to leave and make the Camino de Santiago, this means that every year arrive folks from all over the world. Starting point for the French way is the little town of Saint Jean Pied de Port, on Pyrenees, just on the border between France and Spain. And the question every pilgrim ask is “How to arrive in Saint Jean Pied de Port?”.
Here I will tell you how I arrived there, but also which is the closer airport and some alternatives.
How to arrive in Saint Jean Pied de Port
I started from my wonderful Sicily, so my experience can be more useful to people who will start from the same region. In summary, I wanted to complicate my life without direct flights and chose to travel on the road from the door of my home. I crossed all Italy by bus and train, arriving to Turin where I had to meet my travel buddy Gabriele. First idea was to go by bus from Turin to Bordeaux and Bayonne, but we found a good Ryanair offer to Barcelona. Then, to save one night on the bus, with the same price we flew to Barcelona.
From Barcelona Airport “El Prat” a train will take you in the city center. Keep attention, the train station of the airport is in the Terminal T2. Then if you land in Terminal T1, you have to move with a free shuttle to the other Terminal.
From Barcelona Sants station leave buses to Pamplona (27€). When you go out from the train station, on the north side, you will find the bus station on the left of the big square in front of you.
The bus that leaves from Barcelona took us during the night to Pamplona. By here leaves finally the last bus that takes to the starting point of the Camino (22€), leaving at 10AM and arriving at 12PM. In Pamplona the station where you arrive and where you will leave from is the same, a huge underground station surmounted by a beautiful green park.
To check timetables and prices of buses, follow links below. Here is the website of the major transport company (ALSA), whether in Spanish or English.
Here is a summary of my movements:
|11/09/2016||Giardini Naxos → Naples||(train)|
|12/09/2016||Naples → Turin||(bus)|
|13/09/2016||Turin → Barcelona||(flight)|
|14/09/2016||Barcelona → Pamplona||(bus)|
|14/09/2016||Pamplona → Saint Jean Pied de Port||(bus)|
Principal ways to arrive in Saint Jean Pied de Port
Until here I told about how I arrived at SJPDP but there are different ways to get there, some even more simple. I like to complicate my life, to choose long ways and get lost in the pleasure to travel, to meet new people and arrive slowly to the destination. Who wants to arrive in few time can take a comfortable flight to Barcelona or to Lourdes.
In fact, the closest airports to Saint Jean are Lourdes and Biarritz. To reach it you have to make a stopover to Paris or London. I suggest you to control prices in plenty of time thanks to Skyscanner.com. Signing up here you’ll be updated on price trends about the flights you want to keep eyes on. In this way you can book the flight at the best price. Regarding the return flight, I booked it before the leaving, thinking to been in Santiago de Compostela 33 days after my arrive to SJPDP.
From Lourdes to Saint Jean Pied de Port
From the Airport of Lourdes (almost 160km far from the french little town) is possible to catch a bus that take to the train station, and by here take another train to the city of Bayonne, on the atlantic coast. From Bayonne leave the last train to Saint Jean Pied de Port, ticket costs almost 10€ (1 hour) and is possible to book it easly on Trainline.
This is the nearest airport to our destination, well linked to Bayonne city. Just 20 minutes on bus (Route C) will drive you near to the train station where leave the direct train to SJPD. In the map below you can find different options provided by Google, if you click on “other options” you will have updated links. From train station of Bayonne leaves a direct train at the average cost of 10€ (1 hour) and is possible to book it easly on Trainline.
From Biarritz airport to Bayonne city
Another option is the city of Bordeaux, 190 km far from Bayonne. I list it because someone choose to pass through it. In fact, these two cities are well linked by bus of Quibus.com at low prices (3 hour of journey). Otherwise you can choose to catch a ride with Blablacar.
A valid alternative to all these movements (and downtimes) is the one to pay a taxi, especially if you are travelling in group. If you don’t want to get fleeced by taxi drivers don’t worry, you can also join many other pilgrims.