Saint Jean Pied de Port is the town chosen by most pilgrims to start their French Way, just behind Sarria. This medieval village captivates everyone who goes there through its cobbled streets, its bridge over the River Nive and its impressive citadel. It is the last French town that pilgrims see before crossing the Pyrenees and, therefore, the beginning of the over 770 km (478 miles) adventure that will take us to Santiago de Compostela.
Today we detail how to get to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino de Santiago. The most frequent place from which people go to the French town is Pamplona (Navarre), a city that has good connections, since it has an airport and several daily train and bus frequencies. However, it is also possible to arrive by plane and train from different French cities such as Biarritz or Bayonne.
Most pilgrims get to Saint Jean Pied de Port from Pamplona. The city has an airport located 6km away (3,7 miles) with connecting flights to Madrid and Barcelona through Iberia and Air Nostrum airlines and from Portugal through TAP. You can also get to Pamplona by train, with several daily conections with Barcelona and Madrid; or by bus from cities like Madrid (Conda), Barcelona (Monbús-Vibasa) or Bilbao (Autobuses La Unión S.A and La Burundesa S.A.).
From Pamplona to Saint Jean Pied de Port by bus. From March to the beginning of October, the bus company Alsa has several connections per day. The rest of the year, Autocares Artieda has a regular bus line from Monday thru Saturday between Pamplona and Roncesvalles, with a duration of 1 hour 10 minutes. From Roncesvalles, the only option is to take a taxi.
From Pamplona to Saint Jean Pied de Port by taxi. Many pilgrims choose to make the journey Pamplona-Saint Jean Pied de Port by taxi. There are several companies that depart from the Pamplona airport, the train station or the bus station: Teletaxi San Fermín - which gives the option to share taxi with other pilgrims, Navartrip or Taxi Pirineos.
It’s also possible to get to Saint Jean Pied de Port from different French localities that may be of interest to pilgrims or from other Spanish cities close to the border, like San Sebastián.
The only direct line that gets to Saint Jean Pied de Port departs from the French Town of Bayonne, through the company SNFC, this journey take 1 hour and 20 minute.
If you want to go from Spain by train, the best option is to catch the Euskotren in San Sebastián that will take you to Irún-Hendaya. There, the pilgrim will take another train, from the company SNFC, which will take him to Saint Jean Pied de Port. This trip includes a change of trains and it will take approximately 2 and a half hours.
The closest airport to Saint Jean Pied de Port is Biarritz (7 Espl. De l’Europe, 64600 Anglet, France). This airport has connections with the main European cities. From the terminal to Saint Jean Pied de Port there are over 50 kilometers (31 miles). At the airport you can take a taxi or hire private transfer. Another possibility is to getting from Biarritz to Saint Jean Pied de Port by train, with three daily connections that involve transferring trains and an estimated duration of 2 hours.
If you choose Paris as a starting point, you should know that from the French capital there are no direct connections with Saint Jean Pied de Port. If you arrive by plane to Paris, you can choose to take a flight to Biarritz which, as we said, is the closest airport to Saint Jean. Companies like Air France, Easyjet or HOP! have daily flights from Paris to Biarritz. From there, the journey to Saint Jean Pied de Port can be done by train (as explained above) from the Bayonne station.
From Paris you can also reach Saint Jean Pied de Port by train, although you will have to change trains in Bayonne. The best option is to go to the Paris-Montparnasse station or, if this is not possible, to the Paris-Austerlitz station and take a TGV train to Bayonne. There you would take the direct train to Saint Jean Pied de Port. The same operation could be done by bus, although it is not recommended. The distances are long, the journey is tiring and the railway network works much better and is much more comfortable for the traveler.
We remind you that Correos does not operate in France, but we have a post office in Burguete at the pilgrim's disposal. It’s located 2.5 kilometers from Roncesvalles. If your backpack is too heavy or you do not want to carry it, you can hire the Paq Mochila; our daily luggage transport service. It is available from Roncesvalles to Santiago starting Easter week until October 31st. During these dates you can find the office open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 to 9:30 am and from 4:30 to 7:30 pm and the rest of the year from Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 9:30 am.
We hope this information was useful when planning your Camino de Santiago. And if you know any other way of getting to Saint Jean Pied de Port or if you have any questions, remember you can contact us through the comments of this blog or the contact form on our segment TipsFromOurPostmenAndWomen.
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¡Buen Camino! This is our wish at Correos! – that pilgrims can fully enjoy their Camino and discover new places, histories, people and experiences through our postcards.