Camino de Santiago

Camino Francés, crossing the Pyrenees

The Camino Francés these days is the most frequented pilgrim itinerary to Santiago de Compostela.

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port has become a favorite place to begin the Camino Francés, probably because the city through the centuries has always been an important debarkation point before the crossing of the Pyrenees.

Leaving Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port you will find two different routes, both of which will come together in Roncesvalles

The Napoleon Route GR65

This is a demanding stage given the climb of 1200 meters and also its length of 27 KM. The highest point is reached at Lepoeder at 1410 meters. Nevertheless, it is a very gratifying stage on the Camino Frances due to the spectacular beauty of the surroundings with vistas towards the Valle of Cize and across the far chain of the Pyrenees, as well as sightings of animals wandering free and birds of prey flying across the wide landscape.

Caution: This route is closed from November 1 until March 31 for reasons of security.

Valcarlos route

This trajectory follows the small highway D933 through the Valley of Charlemagne. The highest point is reached at Ibañeta at 1057 meters. This is the recommended route for cyclists, as well as for anyone during bad weather and is the obligatory crossing during the winter. For those on foot two different alternatives have been made possible in order to avoid too much highway walking. Once you arrive in Valcarlos, the first village of Navarra 12 kms from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port you can take a rest for a moment before returning to the summit climb.

For those who begin in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

After a long journey, we advice you to take an extra day of rest in the village before venturing out to the mountain. We will be glad to extend your stay to more than one night in Beilari in order for you to be rested for the crossing of the Pyrenees. Another possibility is to divide the stage to Roncesvalles into two parts, stopping the first day at the albergue at Orisson (8km) or going on to the albergue Borda (9km), then arriving in Roncesvalles the second day out of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Photo Xavier Arribas