Would it be better to fly into Madrid or Barcelona for transport up to St Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Trail?

If I am starting my trek on the Camino Trail the end of April in St Jean Pied de Port, would it be better to arrive Madrid or Barcelona. Which airport would provide the best rail connect to SJPP?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) December 17, 2014 22:48
    Thank you for your question, Sam.

    The best way for you to get to St. Jean Pied de Port from Spain would be to take a train up to Pamplona and continue on from there by car or bus rather than by rail. This is because rail travel from Pamplona (or anywhere else just across the border, for that matter) to St. Pied de Port would take a significant amount of time, even though the driving distance between these two cities is only about 74-75 km. I believe there is bus service between Pamplona and St. Jean Pied de Port.

    The high-speed trains from Barcelona to Pamplona ('Alvia' trains) only take about 40 minutes longer than the high-speed trains from Madrid to Pamplona (also 'Alvia' trains), so I would say it all depends on the flights you're able to find. You might want to look at flights into Madrid first, since the ride from Madrid to Pamplona is a little bit shorter.

    You would purchase tickets and check schedules for trains from Madrid to Pamplona or Barcelona to Pamplona by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage and entering the route. Generally, these trains can only be booked once within 60 to 90 days of an intended departure date. Since your intended travel happens to fall outside of this time frame, you would just enter an earlier date, some time within the next 60 or 90 days, to get an idea of the ticket costs and view schedules when searching the route on our site.

    There are no trains from the Madrid Barajas Airport or the Barcelona El Prat Airport to other cities. Therefore, with either option, you would have to commute into the city first before continuing on to other destinations.

    In Madrid, there are direct 'Cercanías' trains that go from the Barajas Airport to the Atocha Cercanías station on Line C-1. Atocha Cercanías is adjacent to the Puerta de Atocha station, which is the main station in Madrid where most trains to elsewhere in Spain will depart from, including trains to Pamplona. The Cercanías trains from the airport to Atocha Cercanías depart once every 30 minutes throughout the day and the ride takes about 26 minutes in duration. You would pay to board these Cercanías trains locally upon arrival.

    In Barcelona, there are local RENFE trains from the El Prat Airport to the Sants station, which is the main station in Barcelona where trains to other destinations will depart from, including trains to Pamplona. These trains depart once every 30 minutes throughout the day and the ride takes about 20 to 25 minutes between the airport and Sants. Once again, you would pay to board these trains locally upon arrival.
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