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How to get to Saint Jean Pied de Port (Camino Frances)?

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 describe 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.

How to get to St.Jean Pied de Port by bus, train, anl plane from different cities in Spain and France
Different ways of getting to St.Jean Pied de Port from France and Spain

Getting to Saint Jean Pied de Port from Biarritz, France

The nearest to St.Jean Pied de Port airport is in 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.

The first part of the Camino Frances from St.Jean Pied de Port

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.

Buses line 3 and 4 operated by Chronoplus run between Biarritz Airport and Bayonne. Buses leave regularly throughout the day. It’s a 30-minute drive, price 1,20 Euro. From the bus stop, it’s a 3-minutes walk to the train station (gare de Bayonne).

Step 3. From Bayonne train station take a train to St.Jean Pied de Port.

There are five daily trains at 8.50 am, 2.35 pm, 5.09 pm, 6.35 pm, and 8.14 pm. The journey takes 1h.20min., price 10,50 Euro. You can confirm the timetable and purchase tickets online.

Pilgrims who got to SJPDP are waiting for a public albergue to open
Pilgrims waiting in front of the public albergue in Saint Jean Pied de Port

Getting to St.Jean Pied de Port from Pamplona, Spain

Step 1. Fly to Pamplona

Pamplona Airport (PNA) is a small airport with direct flights only from Madrid. You can fly here 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), paid only cash, small money (coins). You have to call the taxi 948 23 23 00/948 35 13 35. 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. They leave daily at 10 am (only between Easter and 29th September), at 2.30 pm and at 5.30 pm. The duration of the trip is 1h45min., price 22 Euro. In the peak season (August, September) I’d recommend buying your ticket in advance online. You can purchase tickets and confirm the timetable on the ALSA website. As of January 2022, the website doesn’t show any buses from Pamplona to St.Jean maybe they’ll update the information closer to the season.

Step 3B off-season (between 21st October and Easter). Take a taxi from Pamplona to St.Jean Pied de Port.

In this case, you can skip Step 2 and arrange a taxi from the airport to St.Jean Pied de Port. Taking a taxi from Pamplona to SJPDP is the easiest option especially if you’re traveling to St.Jean during the off-season. 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, bus or 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. Price 108 Euro per car (weekdays), 135 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 from the bus station Monday to Friday at 2 pm and Saturdays at 4 pm, no buses on Sunday and public holidays. The journey takes 1h10min., price – 5 Euro. 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 30-40 minutes. The price per person depends on how many people are sharing the ride.

A map of France and Spain with Saint Jean Pied de Port and the main cities on it
St.Jean Pied de Port is situated in the south of France close to the border with Spain

How to get to SJPDP from Paris?

Step 1. Fly to Paris.

Paris airport Charles de Gaulle (CDG) is one of the largest airports in Europe there are thousands of flights from all over the world including direct flights from the US, UK, Canada, and many European cities. There are public buses and trains that connect the airport 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, price from 39 Euro (there is a discount for travelers under 25 and over 60 years old). There are 5-6 daily trains. In Bayonne you arrive and leave for St.Jean Pied de Port from the same train station, you just have to switch the trains. Check the timetable and book your ticket online.

You can get from Paris to Bayonne by bus. There are 5 daily buses. Buses leave from Bercy Seine Bus Station. It takes between 10 and 12 hours to get to Bayonne. Price from 17 Euro. There is one daily bus from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Bayonne. It leaves at 10.10 pm from the airport. The journey takes 12 hours (overnight bus). Price 25 Euro. Check the itinerary 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 3 or 4 to Bayonne. The bus ride takes about 30 min. and costs 1,2 Euro.

Step 3. From Bayonne train station catch a train to SJPDP.

From here you can follow How to get to SJPDP from Biarritz/Bayonne?

One of the streets of St.Jean Pied de Port, Camino Frances
Saint Jean Pied de Port is the starting point of the Camino Frances. Thousands of pilgrims arrive here every year to walk the Camino

How to get to St.Jean Pied de Port 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, bus or train station using the subway. It costs 6 Euro to get from the airport to the city.

Step 2. From Madrid take a bus, a train, or catch a flight to Pamplona.

Any of these options are 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 so 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 for 32 Euro (one way). The flight takes 1 hour. A bus or a train cost about the same but take much longer.

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 6 daily buses from Madrid. The journey takes 5-6 hours (there are buses that take longer), price 30 Euro. 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 3 daily direct trains from Madrid to Pamplona. A train ride takes between 3 and 4 hours, price from 20 Euro. 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.

Step 3. From Pamplona take a bus or a taxi to St.Jean Pied de Port.

From here follow the above instructions Getting to St.Jean from Pamplona.

The center of SJPDP from the castle
A view of SJPDP and the valley from the Medieval Castle

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, a train, or fly to Pamplona.

There are 2 daily buses from Barcelona to Pamplona. Buses leave from Barcelona Nord Bus station at 2.40 pm and 10.05 pm. It takes 6 hours to get to Pamplona. Price 28 Euro. Buy tickets and confirm the itinerary on the MonBus website.

Taking a train might be the best option; fast, reasonably priced, and direct. There are 2-3 daily trains from Barcelona Sants Train Station to Pamplona (Iruña). The journey takes 4 hours, price from 31 Euro. You can buy your ticket or confirm the timetable online.

There are no direct flights from Barcelona to Pamplona all flights have a stopover in Madrid. Flights operated by Iberia Airlines. A flight can take between 3h30min. and 6 hours depending on the connection. The average price is 50 Euro.

Step 3. From Pamplona take a bus or a taxi to St.Jean Pied de Port.

From here follow the instructions 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.

Questions or Comments?

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Steve

Sunday 27th of February 2022

Hi, I have been trying to book Bayonne to St Jeans for 1st May 2022... There are no trains available only buses. Unsure if the service is cancelled or the line is down..whatever...it's buses only.

Stingy Nomads

Sunday 27th of February 2022

Hello, Steve. Thank you for the question. I see that there are only buses and a train + bus combination from Bayonne to St.Jean. I'm not sure if it's a temporary or a permanent change. I'll check it out and update the post accordingly. Cheers

Katherine

Monday 21st of February 2022

Hi, I'm trying to figure out how to get from Paris to SJPDP on Sunday, June 19 (I want to start walking El Camino on June 20th), but I keep running into a roadblock finding a bus or train from Bayonne that day. The SNCF website won't show me any options. Do the trains run on Sunday, or am I trying to book to early? Thanks!

Stingy Nomads

Monday 21st of February 2022

Hello, Katherine. I think you're trying to book your ticket too early. I'd suggest booking it one or two months in advance end of April-beginning of May. I'm sure there will be tickets available from Bayonne to St.Jean. June is not the peak season for the Camino Frances. Buen Camino

Mark Pullman

Friday 11th of February 2022

So incredibly helpful!

Stingy Nomads

Friday 11th of February 2022

Hello, Mark. Thank you for the comment. If you have any questions on how to get to St.Jean we'll be happy to answer them. Good luck

Lily Blitzer

Monday 7th of February 2022

This article is incredibly useful! Thank you and sign me up.

Stingy Nomads

Friday 11th of February 2022

Hello, Lily. Thank you very much for the feedback. If you have any questions on the Camino we'll be happy to answer them. Buen Camino

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