The Camino Frances, the French Way is the most traditional of all the pilgrims' ways to Santiago de Compostela and the best known internationally. This specific route is the starting point of the Camino Frances, the French Way and is 69km.
The Camino Frances, the French Way is the most traditional of all the pilgrims' ways to Santiago de Compostela and the best known internationally.
This specific route is the starting point of the Camino Frances, the French Way. It starts in France at St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and finishes in Pamplona, the town famous for its Bull Running festival, the San Fermin, described by Ernest Hemingway. At first it follows the 'Route de Napoleon' over the Roncesvalles Pass (1500m) in the Basque country, and then crosses onto more gentle terrain to the great region of Navarra.
This walk can be physically demanding and requires a reasonable level of fitness as you are going to cross over the Pyrennees. However, it's a highly rewarding walk which includes numerous cultural highlights and a breathtaking scenery second to none! Pamplona is also the capital for some of the best tapas in Spain (Pintxos).
On top of this, as the beginning of the French Way is in Saint Jean Pied de Port, the atmosphere is very special, full of enthusiasm, spirituality and joy from pilgrims from all around the world!
Day 1 - Arrival in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
You will be booked into a hotel in the heart of the small town. The rooms are en-suite.
Day 2 - Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port To Roncesvalles (8h,25km).
This first day is considered the most difficult as the Camino crosses the Pyrenees. The "Camino Napoleon" kicks off with a steep climb, on through orchards and past country houses and then, later, through Alpine style meadows, before weaving its way alongside leafy beech woods towards the border and the descent into Roncesvalles. The Valcarlos Camino mainly follows the road which runs through the valley alongside the river Nive or river Valcarlos. Don't miss the "Collegiate Church" in Roncesvalles.
NOTE: If you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace, we can arrange an alternative route (though not as rewarding) that splits this walking day into 2 stages (12km & 14km), staying overnight in the village of Valcarlos. Here you will be staying a charming 2* hotel. We recommend taking this route during the winter months when snow can make the higher route impassable. Please note that this is itinerary though Valcarlos is not the usual Camino itinerary and that the walk is not as rewarding.
Day 3 - Roncesvalles to Zubiri (7h, 22km)
The Camino crosses two beautiful mountain passes and continues on through beech and oak woods and meadows before coming to Espinal, where the panoramic views of the countryside with the Pyrenees in the background are a sight to behold. The river Arga runs alongside this part of the Camino and continues its course all the way to Larrasoana.
Day 4 - Zubiri to Pamplona (6h, 21km)
The Camino runs along the river Arga, at the foot of a group of hills covered in beech, oak and Scots pine. As we approach Pamplona, the landscape shows the obvious influence of civilisation; with its conifers, reforestation and farmlands.
Day 5 - Pamplona, end of the walking holiday
After breakfast we bid you farewell.
Listing # RA-1285453