photos of Plaza del Castillo in Pamplona on the Camino Francés

Starting Points on the Camino Francés

How to Get to the Most Likely Starting Points on the Camino Francés

Tens of thousands of pilgrims start their pilgrimages in Saint Jean Pied de Port, France, each year, and many who have come from within France and other European countries finish in Saint Jean or pass through on their way to Spain.

In addition to being a busy, bustling jumping off point for pilgrims, Saint Jean is also a popular tourist destination. As an American, when I used to think of what France would be like, I imagined narrow cobblestone streets, old buildings with flower boxes in the windows, and men in berets sitting in cafes sipping coffees. Well, turns out, Saint Jean is that picture-perfect image of France.

Add in the medieval bridge reflected in the river, fabulous regional food and wines, and the enviable location at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains, and you have a place that is worth visiting for more than just a pass-through on your way to Spain.

Saint Jean is what the guidebooks show as the official starting point for the Camino Francés, and in my opinion, Saint Jean is a fantastic place to start your pilgrimage.  But it’s not the only place to start.

In fact, you have many choices for where to start your journey on the Camino Francés. In this episode of the “YOU on the Camino de Santiago” podcast, I will walk you through the most likely starting points and how to get to each one.

This is another long-ish episode, and there will be a lot of details, so you may want to have pen and paper handy to make some notes. And it wouldn’t hurt to have a map on hand so you can see where we are going and coming from to get there.

Online Resources

In this episode I refer to too many to list in this space, so I have compiled a list of all those websites here.

Come Walk With Me!

Does the whole process of getting ready to walk the Camino feel a bit daunting to you? Is thought of having to start the walk alone not feeling quite right? Join me on the trail in May or September and we will get started together.

Related: Just for fun, I thought I’d share what Lonely Planet finds interesting in Saint Jean Pied de Port.


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