Where to start

Discussion in 'Starting points along the route' started by William Marques, May 5, 2015.

  1. William Marques

    William Marques Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
    London
    Home - unknown km – traditional start.

    London - 2000 km, 90 days walking 30 days cycling – combine the Canterbury pilgrimage and the VF.

    Canterbury - 1900 km, 85 days walking 28 days cycling – formal VF start.

    Bescancon - 1200 km, 60 days walking 20 days cycling – just before the Jura missing most boring bits of France.

    Lausanne - 1050 km, 55 days walking 18 days cycling – easy air and rail access.

    Martigny - 950 km, 50 days walking 17 days cycling – equivalent of SJPP.

    Grand St Bernard Pass - 900 km, 47 days walking 15 days cycling – equivalent of Roncesvalles.

    Lucca - 400 km, 20 days walking 7 days cycling – minimum for cyclists to obtain Testimonium.

    Acquapendente - 130 km, 7 days walking 3 days cycling – minimum for walkers to obtain Testimonium.
     
    Jotown, zoestheia, CW86 and 3 others like this.
  2. Fritz Nordengren

    Fritz Nordengren New Member

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    Thanks for this overview. A great post to share with others who ask about the VF compared with the Frances.
     
  3. SloWays

    SloWays New Member

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    It can be useful to know also the proximity of some starting points to cities with Italian airports.
    The estimated times below are from the cities' train stations. Generally the airports are connected to train stations with bus or local trains.

    Torino - you can take the Mongenevre route directly in Torino, or the Sigeric route in Santhià (railway to Milan)
    Milan airports - you can walk to Pavia on the cycling route Alzaia Naviglio Pavese (about 34 km from the centre) or take a train to Pavia (about 30 min), to Piacenza (about 45'), to Vercelli (about 1 hour) , or Santhià (1h 15'),
    Bologna - train to Fidenza, about 1h 10'
    Pisa - train to San Miniato, about 30'
    Florence - train to San Miniato, about 30', or Siena, 1h 15'
    Rome - train to Viterbo, about 2h

    If you want to start the Journey from Gran San Bernard Pass, you can arrive to Aosta by train, from Turin or Milan, and then take a bus to the Pass, but only from early june to early september, the service is not active in other periods.
     
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  4. CW86

    CW86 New Member

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    Only just heard of this route so it's really useful to have this overview!
     
    ivar likes this.
  5. Digger

    Digger New Member

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    Im looking at starting from besancon next may to meet up with my trekking mate in aulla.
     
    ivar likes this.
  6. Herman Joosten

    Herman Joosten New Member

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    I'm starting in Martigny Switzeralnd on 17th July 2015! Getting exciting!
     
    ivar likes this.
  7. zoestheia

    zoestheia New Member

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    Location:
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    thanks for the great info on starting points - distances/days, and also air/train connections. I have a feeling the VF is in my near future :D
     
    ivar likes this.
  8. fraluchi

    fraluchi New Member

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    Location:
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    That's not all quite true! From Milan and/or Torino there are several buses a day to Aosta. The train takes much longer and often wo'll have to change in Chivasso and/or Ivrea. The buses run all year 'round.
    From Aosta you can take a daily bus to Martigny (Switzerland) and get off near the Gran St. Bernardo.(Etroubles, on the Italian side);)
     
  9. William Marques

    William Marques Moderator Staff Member

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    I think SlowWays meant the buses only go up to the St Bernard Pass and the Hospice itself during the summer.
     
  10. fraluchi

    fraluchi New Member

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    Accepted! Remember though that beyond those dates the pass itself is often closed to traffic. Weather conditions can make a walk "unpleasant", if not dangerous. :(
     
  11. Cliff

    Cliff New Member

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    Location:
    Somerset Mass. USA
    Just looking at the dates the Bernard pass is open. So should one start from Cantebury in early May to arrive at the pass in June ? Im not sure how many days to walk from Cantebury to Bernard Pass.
    I appreciate any advice.
    Thank You
     
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  12. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Member

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    Per William's original post above, I'd say Cantabury to the St. Bernard Pass is about 38 days of walking, give or take.
     
  13. JohnMck

    JohnMck New Member

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    Hi
    just started looking at this walk for this september, having completed Camino Frances last year. I am a bit confused on the Gran Sans Bernard pass starting point. Do you actually start at the pass or the stage before bourg st pierre? if so can you stay at GSB overnight?
    What is the best way to get to bourg st pierra from uk airports?

    thanks
     
  14. Bradypus

    Bradypus Active Member

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    Hi @JohnMck !

    You are free to start at the pass itself, or Bourg St Pierre, or any other convenient point. In summer buses run between Orsieres and Aosta via the Grand St Bernard Pass. If you mean to begin walking in late September the pass may already be closed by snow. Here is a link to a bus timetable:
    http://www.tmrsa.ch/horaires/12.211.pdf

    It is certainly possible to stay overnight at the GSB. There is a famous hospice (a hostel - not medical!) and hotel run by a group of canons for many centuries at the summit. Just inside the Switzerland / Italy border and very comfortable.
    http://www.gsbernard.com/fr/

    Flying from the UK you could fly to Geneva and then train & bus to Bourg St Pierre. Alternatively and possibly more cheaply you could fly to either Milan or Turin, train to Aosta and then bus up to the Pass.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
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  15. JohnMck

    JohnMck New Member

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    Thanks for that, think I will go via Milan seems less expensive than Switzerland
    John
     
  16. Ellie

    Ellie New Member

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    Hi I am planning to walk from Great St Bernard Pass starting in May this year and would like some advice the best city to fly into and how to get to the pass to start, thanks.
     
  17. Bradypus

    Bradypus Active Member

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    In 2016 the bus service from Orsieres and Aosta to the pass only ran between 4 June and 25 September. If you plan to reach the pass in May then I think you would either have to book private transport from Bourg St Pierre or Etroubles (if the pass is open at all for vehicles) or be prepared to walk up from Bourg St Pierre. If the pass is still closed to vehicles by snow then I would very strongly suggest that you do not attempt to walk up unless you are fully equipped and thoroughly experienced in high mountain trekking.
    http://www.fahrplanfelder.ch/fileadmin/fap_pdf_fields/2016/12.211.pdf
     
  18. fraluchi

    fraluchi New Member

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    Location:
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    We are traveling to Aosta in May and fly into Turin (Caselle - TRN) and take a bus from a'port to Turin, from there to Aosta. From Aosta it is possible to get to Etroubles, and in case of absence of the bus service to Martigny (Switzerland), walk up to the pass. The two nearest airports would otherwise be Geneva (GVA) or Milan Malpensa (MXP).
     
  19. William Marques

    William Marques Moderator Staff Member

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    Ellie - There is a train service from Geneva airport directly to Orsieres so that would be my choice of airport. As others have said the Hospital at the St Bernard Pass is not easily accessed if the road is not open and it very well may not be in May.
     

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