warming up: St-Palais - St-Jean

Most pilgrims -especially the ones on foot- start their journey in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (or afterwards). The first stage, crossing the Pyrenees, is immediately one of the toughest. Especially after a long journey and with a backpack which is still too heavy.

A good alternative is to warm up, by walking two days through the Basque Country, from Saint-Palais to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. (More alternatives > crossing the Pyrenees). 

The route is well signposted, especially from the “stèle de Gibraltar” (> photo above), just outside Saint-Palais. Then you follow the famous GR 65, from Le Puy-en-Velay.
There is good accommodation in Saint-Palais and Ostabat, but also in villages in between, e.g. the Gîte de l'Escargot in Uhart-Mixe or hotel Espellet in Larceveau.
Last but not least, the route goes through a beautiful part of the Basque Country, with a rich pilgrimage history. 
The distance from Saint-Palais to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is about 33 kilometers.

  • by train, coming from Paris: get out in Dax (instead of Bayonne). From Dax take the bus to Saint-Palais: see > the French route planner.
  • by plane, to Biarritz: take the bus to the Bayonne railway station. There (or on the Place St André) you take the bus to Saint-Palais: see > Autocars Hiruak Bat > then click: “ligne 811 Tardets - Bayonne".
There is also a bus route between Saint-Palais and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port > Autocars Hiruak Bat > then click: “ligne 810”.
possibility to sleep in Dax
L'Arrayade, 26 Boulevard d’Aspremont
tel. (0033) (0) or mail