- The official start point of the Camino Frances, St Jean Pied de Port.
- Crossing the Pyrenees on foot to Roncesvalles.
- Pamplona and Burgos - two of Northern Spain's most wonderful cities.
- Meeting fellow pilgrims, hearing their stories and travel tips along the way.
Walk the first two stages of the Camino from St Jean Pied de Port, which straddles the French and Spanish border, to the medieval city of Burgos.
Crossing the Pyrenees your first day will undoubtably be the toughest day of the whole Camino. The steep climb up to Roncesvalles is demanding but will be graced with stunning views all around. The high mountains and deep valleys of the Pyrenees soon give way to the undulating plain that surrounds the fortress town of Pamplona. As you approach Logrono, the regional capital, you cross into the well know wine growing region of the Rioja.
As you continue towards Burgos, the landscape is dominated by vineyards. The Camino then takes you through crop fields with small brooks and oak woods until you reach the Oca Mountains. As you reach Burgos you make your way down into the valley of the Pico river and then you reach the medieval city of Burgos, with its spectacular gothic Cathedral.
DAY 1: Arrive in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and overnight
Arriving in St Jean Pied de Port, enjoy your first overnight in this pretty market town at the foothills of the Pyrenees. A good meal and an early night will prepare you for the start of your journey.
DAY 2: Walk to Roncesvalles
Today is the toughest section of your walk, with a steep climb up to the Roncesvalles Pass across the Pyrenees. However, this is rewarded with wonderful panoramic mountain views. An alternative route is available along the valley for those who prefer a more gentle option.
DAY 3: Walk to Akerreta
From Roncesvalles, you will cross two further mountain passes before continuing through beech and oak woods alongside the River Arga to the small village of Akerreta.
DAY 4: Walk to Pamplona
At first following the River Arga, today’s walk then starts to get slightly busier as you head towards Pamplona. Famous for the running of the bulls festival, Pamplona is a beautiful city lined with medieval streets, and a tasty meal can be enjoyed in the main square, Plaza del Castillo.
DAY 5: Walk to Puente la Reina
After the first 5km along suburban roads, you are soon back in the countryside. From Cizur Menor, a climb takes you through a field of wind turbines, with wonderful views back over Pamplona. The Arga valley then opens up ahead as you descend down to Puente la Reina.
Overnight: Puente la Reina
DAY 6: Walk to Estella
Walking through rolling farmland and vineyards will bring you to Estella. There are also a few examples of Roman roadway on this section at Cirauqui, a pretty hilltop village.
DAY 7: Walk to Los Arcos
Natural paths take you through oak and pine trees today as you climb towards Montjardin, before a final remote section through open country and vineyards to Los Arcos.
Overnight: Los Arcos
DAY 8: Walk to Logrono
A long section with some steep sections into the Cornava river valleys. However, this is rewarded by entering into the wine region of La Rioja, and the bustling town of Logrono.
Day 9:Walk to Najera
Leaving Logrono, pass through the Pantano de la Grajera, a pretty reservoir surrounded by woodland. Continue to Navarrete famous for its Rioja wine, then enter Najera via the Alto de San Anton.
Day 10: Walk to Santa Domingo
Wide country roads through gently undulating farmland take you to Santa Domingo. The historic town of Santa Domingo is lined with medieval streets and grand buildings, including a 12th century Romanesque and Gothic cathedral.
Overnight: Santa Domingo
Day 11: Walk to Belorado
Leave Santa Domingo by the Puente del Santo bridge over the Rio Oja, and pass the 16th century Iglesia de San Juan Bautista and Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Calle before arriving at Belorado, a town which can be traced back to Roman times.
Day 12: Walk to San Juan de Ortega
Continue through open countryside to Villafranca Montes de Oca, where the path starts to climb before dropping down to the remote village of St John the Nettle and on to San Juan de Ortega via the mountainous Sierra de Atapuerca.
Overnight: San Juan de Ortega
Day 13: Walk to Burgos
From Atapuerca, you descend to Burgos where the hustle and bustle of the city may be a bit of a culture shock after the peace and tranquility of the Camino. However, Burgos is a beautiful city with numerous monuments worth exploring, including the wonderful gothic Cathedral.
Day 14: Onward Travel
Enjoy breakfast before checking out and making your way home.
The accommodation in Pamplona, Logrono and Burgos will be in 3-star hotels, the rest will be a mixture of rural hotels and hostels all with private rooms and en-suite. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We do recommend that you book this trip early as the area is always popular and the hotels and inns do fill up early, especially in high season.
Solo Walkers & Single Rooms
The Camino is available to solo walkers at a single supplement.
A local continental breakfast is included each morning, which can sometimes just be coffee, bread and orange juice. Lunch and dinner are not included as standard so you are free to choose from the available options. Every place you stop will have evening meals available, you can get a pilgrims menu for about 10 euros which includes 3 courses, wine and water!
You can start on any date between April and Mid October that suits your travel plans subject to availability.
San Fermín Festival in Pamplona
Please be aware that should you wish to travel during the San Fermín Festival in Pamplona, then accommodation at this specific location is normally very difficult to secure and the hotels may charge a premium. We will always do our best to make arrangements for you, however at busy times a supplement may be payable for transfers or superior accommodation.
Time of Year
The spring months of April and May tend to offer nice mild conditions for walking although the nights can be quite cold at this time of year and there can be quite a lot of rain in Northern Spain at this time of year. The summer months of July and August can get very hot and humid. The autumn from late September through to October offers cooler temperatures again although daylight hours start to become less at this time.
Solo Walkers & Single Rooms
The Camino is available to solo walkers at a single supplement.
Grade & Terrain
This walk is graded moderate and includes daily walks of 9-30km.
A mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. Section 1 from St Jean Pied de Port is the most strenuous part of the walk with some steep inclines/declines as you travel through the Pyrenees.
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
The route is marked with yellow painted arrows but please take care at intersections. There will always be other walkers around in case you are looking for help. A detailed information pack including route notes, local information and maps will be waiting for you at your first accommodation.
In addition to the printed route notes you will receive in your travel pack, you will also have access to our Macs Adventure App, allowing you to follow the route on richly detailed mapping on your smartphone.
Baggage transfers are included (max 20kg per person). Your main bag
will be transferred each day between your overnight accommodation so
that you only need to walk with a day pack.
There is so much to see and do along the route that many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the walk either as a rest day or simply to do some extra sightseeing. If you are walking the whole route solo try not to add too many extra nights along the way as you will lose touch with those you have met.
It is possible to walk the Camino in less time but we would not recommend this.
The pilgrim’s passport is issued by the church of St James, you can obtain one at the start of your walk in the pilgrim’s office or the local church in town. You need to get the passport stamped in churches, restaurants and hotels along the way. At the end of the walk in Santiago you can obtain your Compostela Certificate (only if you have walked the last 100km). For the other sections of the trail, the passport is used as a souvenir with all the colourful stamps you will receive.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable Travel Insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sun screen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/cycling gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
Getting to St Jean Pied de Port
The best place to fly into to get to St Jean is Biarritz airport. You can get here easily from the London and Manchester with Ryanair or if you are travelling internationally it is often a good idea to fly into Paris and either take the train down to Bayonne with SNCF, or to take an internal flight with Air France or Easyjet to get to Biarritz.
From Biarritz, you simply take the bus from outside the airport to Bayonne rail station (20 mins) and then from there take the mountain railway up to St Jean (1.5 hours) which you can book in advance with SNCF.
- Accommodation in small rural hotels and hostels with en-suite W/C.
- Baggage Transfers
- A detailed information pack for the group leader including route notes, maps, and local information
- Camino guide book.
- Access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App
- Emergency support from our local and UK offices in the event of a problem.
- Return travel to France/Spain.
- Lunches, dinners (optional), snacks or drinks.
- Travel Insurance.
- Personal Equipment.
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.
- Additional nights accommodation along the way.
- Single supplements.
How fit do I need to be?
The average daily distance of our Camino tours are between 20 and 25 kilometers and you can expect to walk for between five and eight hours each day. You should do as much walking as possible prior to your walk as this will simply add to your enjoyment. That said if you are not at peak fitness you will find you will soon walk yourself fit.
What type of trails does the Camino follow?
A mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. The route is marked with yellow painted arrows but please take care at intersections. There will always be other walkers around in case you are looking for help.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as far in advance as possible as the Camino is extremely popular especially in Holy Years (when 25 July is on a Sunday ) when numbers rise by up to 100 000 people. We will always try and accommodate late bookings but realistically you need to book at least 6 weeks prior to departure.
Can I walk with my bags?
Yes, some people prefer to walk carrying their own bags as a true pilgrim would have. You can select the option for removing the baggage transfers in Step 2 of the Booking Engine.
What equipment do I need?
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight clothes, waterproofs and a day pack.
When is the best time of year?
I would recommend April/May when the spring flowers are at their best and September/October when the colours are just lovely. June, July and August can be very hot if you are not used to walking in the heat while the temperatures can fall sharply in the winter with some accommodation closing down for the end of season.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
Public transport and taxis are available, if you are need of support our local partner in Spain will be more than happy to help.
Can I change my itinerary once I start walking?
Unfortunately we are unable to change your accommodation bookings and itinerary once you start walking as alternative accommodation is generally not available at such short notice.