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French Way Pyrenees Guided

St Jean Pied de Port to Estella

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  • Pyrenees CaminoWays.com Camino de Santiago
  • Zubiri CaminoWays.com
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Take on the first 110km of the French way in our guided group tour through the Pyrenees.  The French Way, the famous Camino Francés starts in the walled town of St Jean Pied de Port in the French Basque Country, and takes pilgrims across the Pyrenees and into the city of Pamplona, world famous for its San Fermín running of the bulls festival. This is one of the most challenging sections of the French Way Camino route but also one of the most beautiful, especially if you follow the ‘Napoleon Route‘ over the Roncesvalles Pass (1450m). The views of the Pyrenees are definitely worth the effort! Along the route, you will meet fellow pilgrims from all over the world, as St Jean is the second most popular Camino starting point.

Visit the city of Pamplona (Iruña in Basque), world famous for its San Fermín running of the bulls festival, taking place from 7th July every year. From Pamplona, the Camino takes pilgrims to the photogenic pilgrim sculpture at Alto del Perdón, where you will enjoy fantastic 360 panoramic views of Pamplona, the valley and the vast countryside ahead, before continuing on your way across the mountains of Navarra and the red earth vineyards of La Rioja, passing medieval bridges, castles, churches and picturesque villages along the way, such as Puente de la Reina, Cirauqui before finishing in the town of Estella-Lizarra.

The guided tour departs on specific dates only and the next available tour departs September 9th 2017.  For help, contact us.

Trip highlights

  • Friendly, Knowledgeable English Speaking Guide.
  • Join fellow pilgrims in St Jean Pied de Port
  • Walk in the beautiful Pyrenees
  • Trace Hemingways steps in Pamplona
  • Enjoy a glass of Rioja in the famous Navarre

1 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

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Arrive into Biarritz airport and you and your group will be collected and brought to your hotel in Saint Jean Pied de Port.  At dinner this evening you will get the opportunity to meet with you guide and other members of your group.  Your guide will give you a brief outline of the coming few days walking and answer any questions that you may have.  In your free time this evening take a stroll around this town and sleep well tonight as your walking adventure begins tomorrow after breakfast.

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is the second most popular Camino starting point for pilgrims. 20,000 people each year choose to start their Camino de Santiago in this walled town in the French Basque Country. Take the opportunity to explore this picturesque town, its citadel and the St James Gate, arrival point for pilgrims coming from other Camino ways in France.

2 St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles - 25km

St Jean to Roncesvalles CaminoWays.com

8h | +1601m / -786m
This morning after breakfast you will leave St Jean Pied de Port and start the ascent to the famous Roncesvalles Pass across the Pyrenees. This is a challenging day, probably the most difficult of the whole French Way Camino route. The ‘Napoleon Route’ starts with a steep climb past country houses before reaching mountain meadows, the cross and some spectacular mountain views. The Camino will then take you through woodlands towards the French/Spanish border and descend into Roncesvalles where you will stay and have dinner this evening. There is also an alternative trail along the valley, passing the town of Valcarlos. Take some time to visit the Collegiate Church and St James chapel in Roncesvalles.

3 Roncesvalles to Zubiri - 22km

Pyrenees CaminoWays.com Camino de Santiago

Today after breakfast, your Camino continues from the peaceful mountain village of Roncesvalles (‘Orregaga’ in Basque), a popular Camino starting point for Spanish pilgrims. Here you should visit the St James chapel, as well as the Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary. From Roncesvalles, the Camino de Santiago French route continues through beech and oak woods before entering Espinal. You will also cross two mountain passes: Alto de Mezquiriz and Alto de Erro. You will then descend towards the village of Zubiri and its medieval ‘Puente de la Rabia’ (the Rabies Bridge) over the River Arga.

4 Zubiri to Pamplona - 21km

Zubiri CaminoWays.com

From Zubiri, the Camino de Santiago follows the river Arga to the town of Larrasoaña, an important stop for pilgrims in Medieval times. The second half of the day will get busier, as you approach the bustle of Pamplona city. Famous for its Running of the Bulls festival, San Fermín, taking place in July, Pamplona has many other attractions to visit. Explore the city’s medieval streets, visit the cathedral, taste some of the fantastic local food and wine and Hemingway fans can go for a coffee in one of the writer’s favourite haunts in the main square: Plaza del Castillo.

5 Pamplona to Puente de la Reina - 23km

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6h15 +442 m / -525 m
Our Camino guided tour continues to Puente de la Reina after breakfast. As you leave Pamplona behind you, you will begin an ascent towards the ‘Alto del Perdón’ (Hill of Forgiveness). Get your picture taken with the photogenic pilgrim sculpture at the ‘alto’ and enjoy fantastic 360 panoramic views of Pamplona and the valley ahead. From there, you will begin your descent towards Puente la Reina (The Queen’s Bridge) with its medieval alleys and impressive 11th century bridge over the River Arga.

6 Puente la Reina to Estella - 22km

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Your Camino de Santiago adventure continues along peaceful tracks for most of today, from the towns of Puente la Reina to Estella. You will walk along rolling farmland, passing small towns and villages nested among olive groves, cereal crops and vineyards. Cirauqui (Zirauki), perched on the hilltop, is a pretty little village of winding medieval streets where you will find one of the best preserved stretches of Roman road. Estella-Lizarra is your final point for today, a nice town with plenty to do and see.

This 6 night guided Pyrenees tour finishes after breakfast the next morning. Your transfer to the airport is not included in your package but there are many transport options to Santander and Bilbao airport, check in the ‘Access’ tab.

 

We have handpicked our hotels on the Camino de Santiago based on their character, facilities and comfort. You will usually arrive at your accommodation in the afternoon giving you plenty of time for a refreshing shower and a visit to the local village, or maybe just to unwind and relax. Please note: Accommodation is subject to availability.

St. Jean Pied de Port - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Roncesvalles - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guest houses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail. Our first choice  in Roncesvalles is the original 15th-century monastery, which has been beautifully renovated. There is free wifi in common areas, as well as a washing machine and a dryer.

Zubiri - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guest houses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Pamplona - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guest houses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Puente de la Reina - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guest houses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Estella - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guest houses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

St Jean Pied de Port Average Temperature & Rainfall

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Pamplona Average Temperature & Rainfall

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Puente de la Reina Average Temperature & Rainfall

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How to Get There

Live information on Rome2Rio. We can also arrange private transfers if you prefer, just ask us.

Saint Jean Pied de Port

Biarritz Airport 55km: You can take a shuttle bus from Biarritz Airport (25 min approximate travel time) to Bayonne Gare (station). From there, you can take a train to St Jean Pied de Port five times a day (approx. total journey time. 1h40 – 2h25 in total). See www.voyages-sncf.com and http://en.biarritz.aeroport.fr/. Alternatively, contact the team for airport transfers.

Pau Airport 90km: Airport Shuttle bus is available from the airport to the town’s train station every hour (except Sundays and public holidays). See http://www.pau.aeroport.fr/. From the town you can take a train to St Jean (up to 5 times/ day; not on Sunday), with a change in Bayonne. Travel time is about 3h-5h, depending on the time you need to wait in Bayonne. See: www.bonjourlafrance.com/.

Bordeaux Airport 235k: Shuttle bus to the train station (45min), then train to St Jean Pied de Port via Bayonne See www.voyages-sncf.com.

Pamplona

Bilbao Airport 155km: The Burundesa bus company links Pamplona with Bilbao (2h) with 10 departures a day. It is possible to fly from there with Aerlingus.
See: http://laburundesa.com/pamplona-bilbao/

Biarritz Airport 103km: Train from Pamplona to Biarritz airport (2:15min) http://alsa.es

Santander Airport 253km: The Burundesa bus company links Pamplona with Santander (2h) with 2 departures a day. From the bus station in Santander, simply get a direct city bus to the airport (20min), and Ryanair operates flights from there. See: http://laburundesa.com/pamplona-santander-2/

Madrid Airport 391km: Train 3h renfe. Metro to the airport (45min)