Camino Frances

walking The Camino Frances

The Camino Frances is the most popular of the routes of the Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The route runs from Saint Jean Pied de Port in France and over the Pyrenees into Spain and then onwards to Santiago de Compostela covering 800km and takes roughly 30 days. More in depth information about el Camino de Santiago is here.

Camino Frances Overview

  • Distance - 800km
  • How long does it take to walk - 28/40 days dependant on your walking pace
  • From - Saint Jean Pied de Port
  • To - Santiago de Compostela
  • How much does it cost ? - About €30 to €40 Euros a day
  • Is the route way marked ? - Yes it is well signposted by yellow shells and arrows
  • Is the route way marked ? - Yes it is well signposted by yellow shells and arrows
  • Can a beginner walk The Camino Frances - Absolutely ! but with training and planning

Where do I start walking The Camino Frances ?

The French Way Camino traditionally starts in Saint Jean Pied de Port. It differs from the Camino del Norte which has tougher sections and is quieter, especially if you like the camaraderie of being around lots of Pilgrims. In conclusion, its a long hard slog but I guarantee you will love the journey.

I have detailed my day by day blog with the stages I walked from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela which took me28 days to walk. I used the Camino de Santiago forum extensively as part of my research and was a great aid in my planning regime.

map of camino de Santiago

The Camino Frances Terrain

The walking terrain on The Camino Frances can be tough at times especially the first few days walking up and over the Pyrenees. During the journey there are many peaks to climb that will definitely test any Pilgrims and I would advise anyone to train and plan before undertaking this amazing walk.

Most days have some ascents and descents as well as road and path walking through glorious forests, golden wheat fields and amazing fields of Rioja wine grapes.

When is the best time to walk The Camino Frances

I walked The Camino Frances in late May and the weather was fantastic. The heat in the main part of the day is very hot so an early start at 6-7am is needed. We also had very little rain on our journey although it can get wet in the Galician region as you get near to Santiago de Compostela. In my experience walking the route in May through September would be the best time to enjoy this amazing camino experience.

Accommodation on the French Way

There are numerous hotels in St Jean Pied de Port at the start of The Camino Frances that make the evening before you start your journey relatively easy to organise and I would recommend booking something before you arrive just for peace of mind. 

Along the ‘French Way” there are public and private Albergues and some hotels. From my experience I always found a bed for the night and had no worries about accommodation. I always suggest walking with a guidebook to help with accommodation identification at your destination.

My only other recommendation is for your Day 1 destination. If you are planning on staying in Orisson or Roncesvalles I would book ahead s these 2 locations can get very busy and booked up in advance. After that enjoy The Camino as it happens and wherever you end up staying each night.

Do I need a Camino Guidebook ?

I have walked numerous Camino’s and always take a guidebook on the walk with me. After days walking I always like to plan out my route and destination for the next day as well as choosing my accommodation. Talking with other pilgrims is also a great source of information to help with planning. If you are struggling with your planning every Albergue has a Hospitalero who can help with ay questions and point you in the right direction. I find them invaluable.

On The Camino Frances I used A Pilgrims guide to The Camino Frances by John Brierley. In my opinion its the best guidebook on the market. check out my Top 5 Camino books.

Is there a backpack transfer service ?

Whilst the majority of pilgrims walk with their backpacks the whole way to Santiago there are services to help walkers who need some help getting their backpack or luggage from town to town. Its a simple service and works effortlessly. All you need to do when leaving your Albergue or Hotel is fill out a form letting the delivery service know which Albergue or Hotel you are heading for and then tag your bags with the fee as well.  The delivery service will pick up the bags and deliver to your destination leaving you to walk at your leisure. A couple of these services are as follows:

The Spanish Postal Service, El Camino Con Correos, has a baggage transfer service covering all Camino routes.

JacoTrans also has a transfer service covering The Camino Frances.

Camino Frances Walking Stage Itinerary

I’ve detailed the the day by day walking stages of The Camino Frances from my experience and you can read about each stage, distances and accommodation recommendations as I walked from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela. My stage profile was as follows:

Are you going to walk The Camino Frances ?

Now I’d like to hear from you and let me know when and which route/section you are going to walk.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below 

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above the clouds near Orisson

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Day 2 Overview Distance – 37.5km From – Roncesvalles To – Zabaldiki Terrain – Up and down valleys walking downhill most of the way Min/Max elevation – 434m/947m Elevation Gain …

the rioja region on The Camino Frances

Day 5 Overview Distance – 22km From – Azqueta To – Torres del Rio Min/Max Elevation – 443m/675m Elevation gain – 334m Steps – 33,000 Todays walk see us walking …

santiago de compostela, trees, wheat field-4707140.jpg

Day 4 Overview Distance – 29.5km From – Puente la Reina To – Azqueta Min/Max Elevation – 338m/597m Elevation Gain – 740m Steps – 45,000 We’re on the Camino Frances …

fantastic view from the albergue at orisson

Day 1 – Overview Distance – 20km From – Huntto To – Roncesvalles Terrain – It is a tough steep climb up and over the Pyrenees. Min/Max elevation – 493m/1427m …

Logrono statue

Day 6 on the Camino Frances sees us walking from Torres del Rio to Navarrete and hopefully a chance to see the magnificent church there. Day 6 Overview Distance – …

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Mark Stevens

Author

Hi ! I have walked The Camino de Santiago 5 times and have set up Follow the Yellow Shell to help all pilgrims getting ready to walk ‘The Way’

I have walked and written every word on my blog so you can trust in everything I advise.

Contact me if I can help or support.

Mark Stevens

Are you looking to be inspired by a fascinating book about The Camino de Santiago or are you looking to carry out …

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