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Which Airport?

Discussion in 'Traveling to and from the Camino' started by Patricia van de Ven, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. Patricia van de Ven

    Patricia van de Ven New Member

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    First of all many thanks for this website. I've learned so much already!
    I am planning a 3 weeks walk along the camino from St Jean Pied le Port till Leon half april 2016.
    The outbound flight I Will take to Biarritz.
    Is Anyone else arriving on april 14th 2016 in the early afternoon in Biarritz and willing to share a cab with me?
    And my second question: I was wondering what is the best, easiest place of AirPort to go to when I finish in Leon??
    Is Biarritz attainable from Leon?
    Thanks for thinking with me ;-))
    Patricia
     
  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Patricia

    Welcome to the forum :)



    Where you fly out from might be governed by where you are flying back to

    Leon has a small airport http://www.aena.es/csee/Satellite/Aeropuerto-Leon/en/ but it only has limited flight destinations

    Madrid is Always a good bet to fly out from because it is very well served by public transport from practically everywhere in Spain

    Personally, unless you are getting a very good deal then I wouldn’t head back to Biarritz as it would be quite a time consuming and complicate journey.



    My own usual “System” is to check out flight prices, then see if I can get to / from the airport without too much hassle, then it’s usually price verses convenience :)



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  3. Patricia van de Ven

    Patricia van de Ven New Member

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    Thank you for your answer Rob!
    Reading these threads is giving me lots of information ánd sometimes too much to handle... So now I am inquiring to fly in to Biarritz, then take train/ bus to St. Jean Pied le Port, take my time to walk to Leon and then go to Madrid to fly back home. I took, on purpose, Some extra days because I really don't want to hurry my Camino.
    It seems like the journey is more work in planning than walking the Camino :rolleyes:
    My rucksack and boots I use them already a lot in training.:)
    Patricia
     
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  4. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    No Problem Patricia – Pleased to be of help :)



    I think that flying back home from Madrid is a great choice, because if you find you are making good time then you can continue walking for another few days as the public transport system really is excellent in Spain and getting to Madrid from almost anywhere is usually quite simple.



    With planning – I think that we talk ourselves into over planning things, where in reality, all we need are the flights, minimum kit (Peregrino’s who travel light are invariable happier than those who feel the necessity to haul along the kitchen sink), a few Euros in your pocket and a smile on your face :)



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  5. alanhobo

    alanhobo Member

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    Hi Patricia,
    I have used the airport at Santiago, the train connections are good and very scenic,
    Good luck on your camino:)
     
  6. howardd5

    howardd5 Member

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    ms Patricia, An idea at the train station in Bayonne.there will be other perigrinos waiting there for the bus or train( the evening train get there about 11 pm.)3-4 walkers can get a taxi for about the same cost as the train and get there in half the time.in the station is a tourist person that will call a taxi for you.
    Also from Leon, you can get a direct bus to Santander(north) where you can get a Ryanair flight cheap to London --etc.
    Regards DARRELL
     
  7. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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    I'm looking for easiest route from either Madrid or Barcelona to Pamplona. There are so many variables with getting to the Camino. I had contemplated flying into Paris, then Bayonne to St Jean Pied le Port. It got very confusing. I'm need easiest route to either St Jean Pied le Port or Pamplona. Thanks.
     
  8. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Dabo - Let me offer what I did last spring. I flew into Paris (CDG), took the train to Bayonne, and then shared a taxi to SJPP (there was a local train strike to so no trains were running between Bayonne to SJPP). Connections were simple and easy. You also have the option of flying from Paris (Orly) to Biarritz and then taking a taxi or a bus for the very short trip to Bayonne where you could catch your last train into SJPP.

    From Madrid, trains run directly to Pamplona. From Barajas Airport in Madrid, it's very easy to transfer into the city and catch the train at the Atoch Station for the three hour ride. From Pamplona, there are buses into SJPP. Whether I fly into either Paris or Madrid usually depends on the best airfare available. Either way, it's relatively easy. Visit RailEurope for more specific information on train travel in both France and Spain. Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
  9. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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    Thank you. ill check into RailEurope and see what works. I'll get back to you next few months with more questions. I'm leaning towards flying into Madrid or Barcelona. Flying into Paris gives me heebie-jeebies since I don't know French. Seems to me I would have much trouble communicating with people who don't speak English.
     
  10. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Dabo and welcome to the forum


    Wily has already posted you some good info

    However - I had a quick look in your profile as, although I can see where you are considering into to start your Camino, I can’t seem to see where you are flying from ?? – And this could well make a big difference to the advice that you receive ;-)


    Also – Are you planning to walk the entire Camino Frances from Saint John Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela / Finisterra – As if not, then this would also have a bearing on airport recommendations

    Finally, what is your timeframe – Again – IF forum members thought that your plans were overly ambitions, this could also have a bearing on airport recommendations.

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  11. Rob Hallam

    Rob Hallam Member

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    As the other Rob already asked...well, I guess I would be the "other" Rob as I'm the newbie here...where are you initially flying from and then back to, Dabo? Where's home?

    This would definitely make sharing advice/experience a bit easier.

    Buen Camino!
     
  12. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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  13. calowie

    calowie Active Member

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    Dabo
    Planning the camino may be more work than walking! We flew into Barcelona, took the airport train directly to Sants train station ( a major Barcelona train station) and then a train to Pamplona. It was very simple. We arrived at the airport around 8 AM, got on the 11 AM train to Pamplona, walked around Pamplona for 2 hours, then a bus to San Sebastian to walk the Camino del Norte, but there also were regular, and more frequent, buses from Pamplona to St Jean.
     
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  14. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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    Yes, I will agree with your remark of planning the Camino > work than walking. It's not like a direct flight into SJDP. I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and step out of my comfort zone to plan how to get to SJDP. Is it possible to leave Bayonne and arrive SJDP before 9pm?
     
  15. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi @Dabo trains from Bayonne leave ca 6:10PM, then around 9PM. So you arrive to SJPP around 10PM. When I walked my camino this year (started june 5.) was pilgrims office opened till 10:30PM (if I remember correctly) and some albergues were opened till 11PM.
    Btw. you can find for your transport from home combination of airports - closest airport to SJPP is Biarritz, so you can find flights from your home to any airport from where are flights to Biarritz (for example for me there was flights through London Stansted (!!) (by Ryanair) (I live in central Europe) - flights from my home to Biarritz through London were cheaper than any other combination (for example flight to Paris and train to Bayonne and SJPP)
    From Biarritz you can take a bus to Bayonne, then train to SJPP, or directly from Biarritz airport shared taxi, or do a reservation of seat at www.expressbourricot.com for transport to SJPP.
     
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  16. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Dabo - Not knowing what time you would arrive in Bayonne, let me recommend thst you visit the SNCF or the RailEurope websites. From what I have found, there appears to now be four trains daily between the two towns at 7:45 11:10, 14:55, and 18:06. As it is approximately just a 1 hour trip, even the latest train puts you into SJPP at an early evening arrival. Danvo references a later train, and I believe he is correct, but I can't find it on the schedule at this time.

    Your other options would include the Express Bourricot, but the fare with them is dependent on the number of other travelers they are picking up. You can check their website for their fare schedule. Because of a train strike when I arrived in Bayonne last spring, I shared a taxi to SJPP. That cost was between €100-110. There are also buses that run between Bayonne and SJPP.

    I would recommend getting to SJPP earlier rather than later. Instead of getting in late, you might also consider the option of spending the night in Bayonne which is a lovely French city snd taking a morning train to SJPP. You want to be refreshed the morning you leave SJPP to climb over the Pyrenees. Getting in earlier in the day will allow you to visit this charming town and get ready for a demanding first day on the Camino.

    Finally, definitely have a bed/room reservation in SJPP. The later you arrive in town the more important that becomes. I stayed at the Gite D'Etape Ultreia which provided me with a good night's sleep before I started my hike. Buen Camino!
     
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  17. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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  18. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Dabo, I don't know where you are from, but Spain (and Europe) have a well developed system of public transportation. I am from California and public transportation is always questionable.
     
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  19. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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    I am very scared traveling to a country in which I don't speak the language, France. I don't know whether to stay over in Paris overnight and then go from there the next day . What recommendations can you provide about hotels that are close to the trains? There are just so many options on how to get to SJPP.
     
  20. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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    Thank you for your good advice. I'm making notes in all recommendations.
     
  21. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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    So then would you recommend buying one way airline tickets?
     
  22. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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    Hello. I'm back into planning. I will be starting at SJPP early September, walking to Santiago de Compostela. I haven't decided about Finisterra yet. I will be walking at my pace and stopping along the way to enjoy the towns. I will be in no hurry and will be taking off 6-8 weeks from work. I'm most likely flying out of Phoenix,AZ. Thank you for your help.
     
  23. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    @Dabo if you know that you will be on the way 6 - 8 weeks and you select Madrid airport, you can buy return tickets. Regular timeframe for Camino frances is 31 days, 3days to Finisterra (plus 1 day to Muxia if you want). If you want to stop somewhere, add few days more fot it and for transport from/to airport, and you will get numbers of days and you can buy tickets for both flights. But I must say that if you find your camino family on the way, then one day stop will be lost of that family. Camino can be either pilgrimage (and then you will be walking continuously - this is better option I think) or walking holiday with stops along the way - but mostly alone. (Btw. walking alone is recommended by me, but continuously)
     
  24. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Dabo - Since you are flying from AZ, what time do you get into Paris? If you can get there early in the morning, I'd recommend heading straight to Montparnasse for a train. A number of trains run to Bayonne daily. As it is a 5-hour trip, depending on what time you arrive, you have the option of catching a train to SJPP the same day or overnighting it in Bayonne and taking a morning train to SJPP.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Paris! But, it is a very large city and if you're nervous about not speaking the language, I'd try to head south as soon as you can. It's an easy bus ride from CDG to Montparnasse. Look at the possible flights you can get into Paris. Make sure you have about 4 hours between landing and when your train leaves. Then, depending on your arrival time in the south, you can either reserve a bed in an albergue in SJPP or a hotel in Bayonne. Check out booking.com for possible accommodations. I hope these thoughts help.
     
  25. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Dabo - The problem with one way tickets might be the price. As you most likely know, prices go up as you approach the date you want to fly. Of course, if you buy a RT ticket and then want to change your return date, you'll pay some significant penalties.

    My advice would be to try to closely plan out your trip. Based on your plan, choose your return date. Price wise, you'll get your best fare on a RT ticket.
     
  26. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Dabo - I like the idea that you won't be in any hurry. With that much time off from work, you'll be able to walk a leisurely Camino.

    I walked the Camino in 31 days. It was too fast! I had some long walking days with no rest days built in along The Way. If you look at the Brierley book, you'll see that he divides the Camino up into 33 stages. Add at least three rest days in (most pilgrims take breaks in the large cities). You'll also want a day in SJPP after a long trip getting there and I'd suggest at least a couple days at the end in Santiago. As Danvo mentioned, add on another 3-4 days if you want to go on to Finisterre and Muxía. Just like that you've used up nearly 6 weeks.

    As you look at flights, let me suggest you look at the route I took. Although I flew into Paris, I departed from Madrid. From SdC, it's an easy highspeed train to Madrid. It's a manageable city to get around where you could overnight and then catch a flight home the next day. I don't believe that you'll find a significant fare difference flying out of Madrid instead of Paris. But, it may be easier to get from SdC to Madrid than Paris. Several trains leave SdC daily and they are relatively inexpensive.

    As you said above, there are lots of options. Do your homework. Make your plan. It will all come together for you! Buen Camino!
     
  27. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Dabo - Unklehammy is correct about the public transportstion system in France and Spain. It is well developed and effective. From buses to subways to trains, you'll be able to rely on the system for getting you around. My trains leaving both Paris and Santiago left exactly on time. If you're even a minute late, you'likely miss it. Similarly, buses run on a very tight schedule which will allow you to make accurate plans. Of course, from time to time, the unexpected happens. Just before arriving in Paris, I learned of a train stike in the south of France. And yes, it was going to interrupt travel between Bayonne and SJPP for two days. One needs to be flexible, roll with the punches, and come up with Plan B. I ended up sharing a taxi with a lovely German couple who I had the pleasure of meeting up with again further along the Camino. It's just part of the adventure travel offers. Buen Camino!
     
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  28. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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    Good ideas. Let me see if I get this straight. Easy to get to SJPP from Paris and easy to get to Madrid from SdC. I haven't checked fares flying into Paris and leaving from Madrid. Any comments about significant price differences in using different airports to and from? I will be in India for 2 weeks starting Saturday and won't be doing forums until I return to the states. I do understand the importance of being flexible. After all I've read about this pilgrimage, flexibility is the way to go (no pun intended). I've got the time to be flexible but I will need to use my time wisely regardless. Thank you all for your comments.
     
  29. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Someone here recommended checking different flights. I flew into Madrid and out of Madrid on return home. I then flew to Biarritz and shared a taxi to Bayonne. Then from Bayonne to Saint Jean by train. Every thing worked out very nicely, despite my almost total lack of any language skills.
     
  30. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Dabo - Depending on the airline you are using, just go online and play around with the possible different combinations of cities. For me, there was less than a $50 difference using multiple cities instead of flying into and out of the same city. It's not difficult getting to SJPP, but the bigger factor might be getting the schedule you want in terms of arrival and departure times. Play with the different possibilities and see what works best. To more directly answer your question above, train travel from Paris to SJPP is very straight forward just as is taking the train from SdC to Madrid.
     
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