After arriving on foot in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, some pilgrims decide to switch to the Camino del Norte: the Coastal Route to Santiago.
The Camino del Norte starts in Irún, at the Spanish-French border. Just on the other side of the border is Hendaye. There are roughly two ways to walk from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Hendaye / Irún:
- through the mountains: the GR10 (high route)
- through the foothills of the Pyrenees (low route).
Both ways can be covered in about 4 to 5 stages.
There is also a train connection > travel information
the high route: GR10
The GR10 through the western Pyrenees (“Pyrénées Occidentales”) is a beautiful, but hard way. It’s a lot more difficult than the well-known pilgrim routes in France. Ideally, you should be an experienced walker. Check the weather forecast beforehand and bear in mind that for large sections of the route there is no possibility for shelter. In case of thunderstorms etc. these sections can be dangerous.
the low route: through the foothills
The routes through the foothills of the Pyrenees run through more inhabited areas and thus more often along tarmac roads. However, in general the “campagne” is still very quiet and peaceful, with beautiful landscapes.
The “Amis du Chemin de Saint Jacques Pyrénées-Atlantiques’ and Gérard “du Camino” both have mapped out roughly the same route:
- the guidebook by Gérard: “Un chemin de Saint-Jean à Irún” (see > alongside),
- the walking directions given by the “Amis”, including route sketches > download per stage. Tip: if you don't speak French, you might download the "Cartes PDF" (maps PDF), per stage, and use them in combination with the “Carte de randonnées n° 1 Pays Basque Ouest “, scale 1/50.000 (> alongside). In addition to that we made a list of possibilities to sleep.
The Amis also have plotted the route on digital maps > étapes sur carte IGN > then click “Liaison St. Jean - Irun” > (5) stages.
Except for the GR10 guidebook, all the guidebooks and maps mentioned are for sale in Saint-Jean.
In our hostel we will be happy to help you with more information.