This is the ‘big one’: the complete St. Olavsleden. 580 kilometres through forests, along lakes, across mountains, to the Trondheim fjord. When you walk (or cycle) the whole way to Trondheim, you probably experience the true pilgrim feeling: a daily routine of moving, eating and sleeping, that pushes away the earthly worries and makes that you live in the moment. Beautiful surroundings, lovely meetings with people, but also a little bit of suffering and pushing your own limits. That is St. Olavsleden. The schedule that you see below is just a suggestion. You can plan in resting days or combine stages. Ask us for the possibilities.
Day 1: Sundsvall – Matfors (ca. 15 km)
From Sundsvall is only a few miles by bus to Selånger. Here, the real journey begins at the church ruins of Selånger, where Olav Haraldsson stepped ashore and began his journey to Norway a thousand years ago. After a tour on the grounds you receive your pilgrim’s pass and you take your first steps towards Trondheim. The hike passes through hilly agricultural area and is quite easy.
Day 2: Matfors – Stöde (ca. 27 km)
A lovely yet long walk the shores of beautiful Lake Stöde, where there are enough beaches and secluded spots to catch your breath.
Day 3: Stöde – Torpshammar (ca. 15 km)
On day three you can take it easy: a relatively easy walk through green fields and along streams to Torpshammar, the geographical centre of Sweden.
Day 4: Torpshammar – Ljungaverk (ca. 22 km)
From Torpshammar is a fairly easy and pleasant stroll towards Ljungaverk. The impressive church of Fränsta, situated along the water, has a statue of St. Olav from the thirteenth century.
Day 5: Ljungaverk – Borgsjö (ca. 15 km)
Through quiet country lanes you pilgrimage continues to Borgsjö, a well-known place in the St. Olav legends: it is here that Olav created a spring by hitting the ground with his staff. His thirsty men and horses were probably very thankful.
Day 6: Borgsjö – Lombäcken (ca. 18 km)
On day six, the walk continues along forest paths and meadows, slowly going uphill. The hike is relatively heavy, but very rewarding. You stay in a simple ‘stuga’ in the middle of the forest. No electricity or streaming water!
Day 7: Lombäcken – Bräcke (ca. 26 km)
The journey continues, over narrow forest roads and through small villages, in the direction of Bräcke, the largest and most important town in the region. Bräcke grew enormously in the late 19th century, with the arrival of the railway. The centre of the village has a kind of Wild West atmosphere, with wooden houses and porches.
Day 8: Bräcke – Gällö (ca. 28 km)
You walk along the beautiful Lake Revsund where Olav according to legend split a stone in half with his boat when he went ashore. The last part is through dense forest towards the village of Gällö. A tough hike!
Day 9: Gällö – Pilgrimstad (ca. 17 km)
Following the shores of Lake Revsund, you pass the village of Revsund, which has several ties to the St. Olav history. In Revsund you can visit the church if it’s open – one of the biggest rural churches of Sweden – which exhibits some really interesting historic artefacts. You pass Hålbergsgrot, a cave where in the Middle Ages a murderer lived in exile. In Pilgrimstad you drink from another St. Olav spring – one that has healing water, or so the story goes.
Day 10: Pilgrimstad – Brunflo (ca. 25 km)
From Pilgrimstad it is a pleasant, yet long walk towards Brunflo, passing some small villages and bubbling streams. In Brunflo begins Storsjön (the Great Lake), along which you will walk the next couple of days.
Day 11: Brunflo – Östersund (15 km)
The road to Östersund is easy and not very long. Östersund is the capital of the Swedish province of Jämtland and has one of the best attractions of Sweden: the huge open-air museum Jamtli (Swedish Museum of the Year in 2013). Part of Jamtli’s exhibition is about Olav and the Vikings.
Day 12: Östersund – Rödön (ca. 20 km)
The first part of the walk crosses the island Frösön. You pass the northernmost rune stone in Sweden and the beautiful Frösö church. The route continues along the shoreline of Storsjön towards the peninsula Rödön.
Day 13: Rödön – Nälden (ca. 25 km)
The landscape on Rödön consists of farmland and green hills, with picturesque churches and small villages. Today you pass the St. Olavs spring of Vikeränget, where you can have a refreshing drink of “holy” water.
Day 14: Nälden – Alsen (ca. 20 km)
From Nälden it is a pleasant, easy walk towards Alsen, with stunning mountain views. Along the way you can admire the six thousand-year-old rock carvings of Glösa and a reconstruction of huts of moose hunters who lived here long ago.
Day 15: Alsen – Mörsil (ca. 30 km)
Today’s walk is a long and heavy one! You walk trough dense forest and have to cross a narrow, shallow river. The views of the mountains and dark, deep lakes are breathtaking.
Day 16: Mörsil – Hålland (ca. 20 km)
The road to Hålland is relatively easy, but long. It follows the river Indalsälven, with Ristafallet, a beautiful waterfall with great rapids and views.
Day 17: Hålland – Åre (ca. 22 km)
The route to Åre is spectacular: the tops of Åre ‘s popular ski slopes are slowly getting closer, dominating the landscape. Through forests, meadows and along a ‘troll path’, you arrive in the bustling ski village, where you can take a cable car during the season, which climbs to the highest peaks of Åre.
Day 18: Åre – Tännforsen (ca. 23 km)
On your way to Tännforsen you pass Duved, where you can buy some provisions. Because after Duved the actual wilderness begins. You leave behind the last bit of civilization and head for the mighty Tännforsen, Sweden’s largest waterfall.
Day 19: Tännforsen – Medstugan (ca. 24 km)
On the road from Tännforsen to Medstugan you pass a number of restored stone bridges that were built in the 19th century after the Treaty of Kiel. Near the border between Sweden and Norway you sleep near a charming dairy museum in Medstugan.
Day 20: Medstugan – Sul (ca. 38 km)
You’ve seen them for many days in the distance, and today you finally cross them: the mountains between Sweden and Norway. After crossing the border, the landscape changes immediately: past spectacular rock walls you walk to the deep, dark valley of Sul. Because there is no accommodation available in the mountains, the walk is quite long. But don’t worry: you can be picked up by car if it gets too much!
Day 21: Sul – Vuku (ca. 30 km)
Today’s tour goes through a narrow valley to a more open landscape with pine forests and distant views.
Day 22: Vuku – Stiklestad (ca. 13 km)
After a lovely walk through green hills, you arrive in Stiklestad, where Olav Haraldsson was killed in battle on July 29 1030. Nowadays Stiklestad has an open-air museum, a pilgrim centre and a church, containing the stone on which Olav laid his head when he died – or so the story goes.
Day 23: Stiklestad – Munkeby (ca. 22 km)
The route between Stiklestad and Munkeby is relatively easy. Along the way you pass the town of Verdal – the first bit of civilization in days. In Munkeby you stay at a pilgrim’s cabin, near the ruins of a medieval monastery. Not far away is a modern monastery, where you can buy cheese from the monks.
Day 24: Munkeby – Markabygda (ca. 22 km)
The walk is a bit rough, partly on unpaved roads and through wetlands. The path follows Lake Tomsvattnet along some old summer farms. There is a lookout with panoramic views of the mountains Haråhaugan and Vinkjerran.
Day 25: Markabygda – Borås (ca. 25 km)
Today’s trip is mainly on dirt roads through the ‘marka’, a Norwegian expression for nature areas between villages. You pass Lake Ausetvatnet. In the afternoon you reach a farm turned hostel in Boras.
Day 26: Borås – Ersgard (ca. 23 km)
You continue via Vollhaugen to Vaerdal , passing several historic sites. The church of Vaerdal is located near St. Olavsleden and has a great history. The tour ends at the beautiful farm Ersgard. Here you can take a dip in the river or try catching some salmon.
Day 27: Ersgard – Folden (ca. 25 km)
The pilgrimage continues along dirt roads through the village Hommelvik and then uphill to Brennberga and Nygårdsvollen. Here you see and hear the river Homla, which you follow for a while. Can be a pretty tough hike, especially with bad weather.
Day 28: Folden – Vikhammer (ca. 17 km)
Today you walk along old church trails to the lake Nyvattnet, where you have lunch on the waterfront. At the end of the walk you pass by the farm museum Fjölstadtröa.
Dag 29: Vikhammer – Trondheim, Nidaros (ca. 18 km)
The last day is a day of reflection. You still have a couple of kilometres to go along the coast and through the outskirts of Trondheim. At the intersection of Saksvik once stood a cross where pilgrims stopped to have their first look at Nidaros. Here you can look out over the fjord and the city. The last kilometres to go straight through the heart of Trondheim, until you finally reach the goal of your journey: the Nidaros Cathedral, where St. Olav is buried. In Nidaros you receive your well-deserved pilgrim’s degree.