For centuries Saint Jean Pied de Port (SJPDP) has played an important role in European Christian culture. The town is the starting point of the Camino Frances, the most popular Camino de Santiago route. Thousands of people arrive every year at the small town of St.Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees to start their journey on the Camino de Santiago. In this post, I’m going to explain different ways of getting to St.Jean by public transport.
There are different ways of getting to St.Jean Pied de Port. Whichever way you choose you’ll have to make at least one switch in order to get there. It’s a very small place, there are no direct transportation options from major cities in France or Spain. When I walked the French Camino I got to Saint Jean from Barcelona. First, I took a bus from Barcelona to Pamplona, and then another bus from Pamplona to SJPDP.
Departure times and ticket prices can change, please, confirm the information on the companies’ websites following the links provided in the post.
Getting to Saint Jean Pied de Port from Biarritz, France
The nearest to St.Jean Pied de Port airport is Biarritz (BIQ), France, 50 km away. Biarritz has stunning beaches and beautiful coastlines. If you decide to fly there you can combine walking the Camino with a beach holiday.
To find out which airlines have flights to your destination, estimated prices, and timetables we recommend using Skyscanner. This flight search aggregator has information on flights from all over the world. It’s very helpful in finding the best routes. We prefer to buy tickets directly on the airlines’ websites.
Step 1. Fly to Biarritz.
You can find direct flights from London, Bristol, Dublin, Paris, and Brussels as well as flights with one connection from pretty much any biggish European city. Ryanair is one of the airlines that operates flights to Biarritz. You can fly from London to Biarritz for as little as 15-20 Euro, one way if you buy your ticket in advance and are flexible with dates. It’s important to remember that Ryanair is a budget airline and your check-in luggage is not included in the price of your ticket. You have to pack light for the Camino or pay extra.
Step 2. From Biarritz Airport take a bus to Bayonne.
Bus line 4 is operated by Txiktxak and runs between Biarritz Airport and Gare de Bayonne (Bayonne train station). Buses leave regularly throughout the day (every 30 minutes or so). It’s a 35-minute drive, the price is 2 euros. Buse lines 3 and 36 go to Bayonne as well but these are not direct lines you’ll have to do a switch.
Step 3. From Bayonne train station take a train to St.Jean Pied de Port.
There are five direct daily trains. As of April 2023, the departure times are 6.41, 8.52, 12.35, 17.13, and 18.36. The times can change depending on the season. You can confirm the timetable and purchase tickets online. The journey takes 1 hour, and the price is 10,70 euros. They often have promo tickets for 5 euros.
Keep in mind that in 2023 there are ongoing strikes and protests and France which can affect public transport. If you can choose between getting to St.Jean from France or Spain I’d advise choosing Spain.
Getting to the Camino Frances (SJPDP) from Pamplona, Spain
Step 1. Fly to Pamplona.
Pamplona Airport (PNA) is a small airport with direct flights only from Madrid. You can fly there with one stopover (in Madrid) from many European cities e.g. London, Frankfurt, Paris, Lisbon, Dublin, Amsterdam, etc.
Step 2. From Pamplona Airport take a taxi to the bus station.
Since 2019 there is no public bus that connects Pamplona airport with the city. Travelers can use a special taxi service with a reduced tariff instead. The price is 0,7 Euro per person (compared to 8-15 Euro that normal taxis charge). You can pay only cash with small money (coins). You have to call the taxi at 948 23 23 00/948 35 13 35. There are special phones upon arrival that you can use to call a taxi if your phone doesn’t work in Spain.
We have never used this service I can’t say if they understand English or only Spanish. The pick-up point is the old bus stop at the arrival.
Step 3A during the season (between Easter and 20th October). From Pamplona catch a direct bus to St.Jean Pied de Port.
There are direct buses from Pamplona bus station to SJPDP. As of April 2023, there is only one daily bus at 12.00 pm. The duration of the trip is 1h45min., and the price is 22 Euro. I’d recommend buying tickets in advance. You can purchase tickets and confirm the timetable on the ALSA website.
Step 3B off-season (between 21st October and Easter). Take a taxi from Pamplona to St.Jean Pied de Port.
You can skip Step 2 and arrange a taxi from Pamplona airport to St.Jean Pied de Port. Taking a taxi from Pamplona to SJPDP is the easiest option. If you’re a group of people (4-8 people) it won’t be more expensive than taking a regular bus. A taxi can pick you up at the airport, or the bus/train station in Pamplona. Many pilgrims use Teletaxi San Fermin. You can book a car for up to 8 passengers. Booking has to be made at least 5 days in advance. The price is 118 Euro per car (weekdays), and 148 Euro (weekends and holidays). The journey takes 1h30min. If you’re traveling solo you can try to find more pilgrims to share a taxi on the Camino forum.
Step 3C (off-season). From Pamplona take a bus to Roncesvalles.
Off-season there are no direct buses from Pamplona to St.Jean Pied de Port. There is a bus from Pamplona bus station to Roncesvalles. The bus leaves Monday to Friday at 13.50 and Saturdays at 16.00, no buses on Sundays and public holidays. The journey takes 1h10min., price – 5 Euro, paid cash only. Tickets can be bought only on the day of departure. Confirm the timetable on the website.
Step 4C (off-season). From Roncesvalles take a taxi to SJPDP.
Roncesvalles is a very small place with a big albergue, a couple of hotels, and restaurants. There will be taxis waiting near the bus stop. You don’t have to book it in advance. Maybe on the bus, you’ll meet some pilgrims to share the taxi with. The drive from Roncesvalles to St.Jean Pied de Port is 30-40 minutes. The price per person depends on how many people are sharing the ride.
How to get to St.Jean-Pied-de-Port from Paris?
Step 1. Fly to Paris.
There are two international airports in Paris: Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY). There are thousands of flights from all over the world including direct flights from the US, UK, Canada, and many European cities to both airports. There are public buses and trains that connect both airports with the city.
Step 2. From Paris take a train/a bus to Bayonne, or catch a flight to Biarritz.
From Paris, you can take a direct train to Bayonne. Trains leave from Montparnasse Station (Gare Montparnasse). The journey takes 4 hours, and the price is 59+ euros. There is a discount for travelers under 25 and over 60 years old. There are 4-5 daily trains. In Bayonne you arrive and leave for St.Jean Pied de Port from the same train station, you just have to switch trains. Check the timetable and book your ticket online.
You can get from Paris to Bayonne by bus. There are many direct daily buses to Bayonne. Buses leave from Bercy Seine Bus Station. The journey takes between 10 and 12 hours. The price starts at 34 euros. There are daily buses from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Bayonne. Departure times and the number of buses depend on the day of the week. The journey takes between 12 and 16 hours. The price is around 50 euros. There are often some promo prices. Check departure times and prices on the FlixBus website.
As for flights, there is no airport in Bayonne. You can get a direct flight from Paris (CDG) to Biarritz, another town about 4km from Bayonne. From the airport take a bus line 4 to Bayonne. The bus ride takes about 30 min. and costs 2 Euros.
Step 3. From Bayonne train station catch a train to SJPDP.
From here you can follow How to get to SJPDP from Biarritz/Bayonne?
How to get to the Camino Frances from Madrid?
Step 1. Fly to Madrid.
There are many international flights to Barajas Airport (MAD) from all over the world. We often fly to Madrid to walk one of the Camino de Santiago routes in Spain. I really like the airport it’s very convenient. It’s easy to get to the city center, a bus, or a train station using the subway. It costs 6 Euro to get from the airport to the city.
Step 2. From Madrid take a bus, or a train, or catch a flight to Pamplona.
Any of these options is good depending on your preference, availability, and price. Flights are more expensive but faster. Buses are cheaper but much slower. Pamplona’s name in Euskera (the language of the Basque Country) is Iruña don’t get confused if you see on your ticket both names.
Flying is the easiest and fastest way of getting to Pamplona. If you buy your ticket in advance you can get a direct flight with Iberia Airlines. The average price is 60 euros (one way). The flight takes 1 hour.
Buses leave from the Avenida America Bus Station and Barajas Airport Terminal 4 (T4). Currently, there are no direct buses from Madrid to Pamplona. They all have a 1-2-hour transfer in Zaragoza or Soria. It’s one ticket, you don’t have to go anywhere just get off one bus and get on a different one. There are several daily buses from Madrid. The journey takes 5-6 hours (there are buses that take longer). The average price is between 22 ad 30 euros. You can buy a ticket and check departure times on the ALSA website. In Pamplona, you arrive and leave for St.Jean from the same bus station.
Trains to St.Jean leave from the Atocha train station. There are several daily direct trains from Madrid to Pamplona. A train ride takes between 3 and 4 hours, the average price is between 20 and 30 euros. Check the timetable and buy your ticket on the RENFE website. From the train station in Pamplona, you have to get to the bus station first to catch a bus to SJPDP.
Step 3. From Pamplona take a bus or a taxi to St.Jean Pied de Port.
From here follow the above instructions for getting to St.Jean from Pamplona.
How to get to SJPDP from Barcelona?
Step 1. Fly to Barcelona.
There are many direct international flights to Barcelona Airport El Prat (BCN) from all over the world including direct flights from the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, and other European countries. It’ll be easy to get here. The airport is connected with the city by direct bus, train, and metro lines.
Step 2. From Barcelona take a bus, or a train, or fly to Pamplona.
There are daily buses from Barcelona to Pamplona. Buses leave from Barcelona Nord and Barcelona Sants bus stations. As of April 2023, there is only one daily bus to Pamplona. The journey takes 6 hours. The price is 29 euros. You can buy tickets and confirm the itinerary on the MonBus website.
Taking a train from Barcelona to Pamplona might be the best option. It’s fast, reasonably priced, and direct. There are several daily direct trains from Barcelona Sants Train Station to Pamplona (Iruña). The journey takes 4 hours. The average price is between 40 and 50 euros. You can buy your ticket and confirm the timetable online.
There are no direct flights from Barcelona to Pamplona all flights have a layover in Madrid. Flights are operated by Iberia Airlines. A flight can take between 3h30min. and 6 hours depending on the connection. The average price is 50+ euros.
Step 3. From Pamplona take a bus or a taxi to St.Jean Pied de Port.
From here follow the instructions for Getting to SJPDP from Pamplona.
Where to stay in Saint Jean Pied de Port?
There is one public (municipal) albergue in SJPDP that is inclusively for pilgrims. This albergue can’t be booked in advance it works on the first come first serve principle. If you’re new to the albergue culture our detailed post on the albergues on the Camino de Santiago might be helpful for you.
There are many private albergues, hostels, and hotels in the town. In the season between June and September, I’d recommend booking your accommodation in advance.
- Low-end | Gîte Le Chemin vers l’Etoile | La Coquille Napoléon | Gite Izaxulo |
- Middle price | Gite Makila | Maison Simonenia | Villa Goxoki |
- High-end | La Villa Esponda | Les Chemins d’Elika | Gure Lana |
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The pretty half of Stingy Nomads, responsible for all our land adventures (hiking, climbing, walking the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves walking since she was a child, she prefers to walk 1000 km with a backpack rather than to do a 10 000 km road trip (actually any road trip). Alya is a big fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Every time we go away she desperately misses our dog Chile.