Stories Waterway

Stories

My pilgrimage

In the autumn of 2021 Sacha Kraan walked the St. Olav Waterway, to explore the route for Nordic Pilgrim. She made a video blog of her hike.

Read More



Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions

Pilgrim route

St. Olavsleden, Gudbrandsdalsleden and St. Olav Waterway are well signposted. You also receive maps (as PDF) from Nordic Pilgrim, with the accommodations indicated. Sweden, Norway and Finland are very safe countries. Traveling along a pilgrim route, whether on foot or by bicycle, has however an adventurous character and therefore a certain risk. The two routes run through forests, over waterways, cross remote areas and mountains. It is therefore wise to keep a close eye on weather forecasts and let yourself be informed daily by the owners of the accommodations where you are staying, before you go out. Do not travel during extreme weather conditions, do not deviate too far from the route and take food and drinks with you for the day. In the event of emergencies or if things are unclear, you can always reach Nordic Pilgrim by telephone, by SMS, Telegram or WhatsApp.

Accommodations

The accommodations along St. Olavsleden, Gudbrandsdalsleden and the St. Olav Waterway are of different, varying standards. This is because in the sparsely populated areas that the routes run through, only a small number of accommodations are available. Sometimes you will stay in a B&B, other times in a cabin, a room in a house or in a hotel. At a couple of locations however there is a choice between different accommodations. These will be presented to you during the preparation of your trip.

Procedure

If you are interested in booking a trip along St. Olavsleden, Gudbrandsdalsleden or the St. Olav Waterway through Nordic Pilgrim, please contact us via info@nordicpilgrim.com or +31 06 12834782. Together we will set up a schedule and a travel program based on your wishes and the specified arrival and departure dates. You will then receive a quotation based on these wishes. The price of the quotation can differ from the target price. If you agree with the quotation, the trip will be booked and you will receive the invoice for the down payment – which is 20% of the total sum. It is however possible that some accommodations are already fully booked. We will then look for alternatives together. The price can be changed accordingly.

Sum

The total sum for a trip along St. Olavsleden, Gudbrandsdalsleden or the St. Olav Waterway is on request, because each traveler has specific wishes – with or without meals, with or without luggage transfer, resting days, et cetera. The travel sum mentioned in the quotation is per person and only includes the services and facilities as described in the quotation.

STO Garant Guarantee Scheme

In order to meet its statutory obligation to provide a guarantee, Nordic Pilgrim makes use of the guarantee scheme provided by STO Garant. You can check that this is the case by visiting STO Garant’s website and verifying that the organisation is listed as a participant (www.sto-garant.nl/en/members). You can find all information relating to STO Garant at www.sto-garant.nl/en.

Whether STO Garant’s guarantee applies to a particular (travel) offer made by Nordic Pilgrim is clearly stated for that offer. The Guarantee Scheme specifies what the guarantee covers and which conditions apply. You can find the Guarantee Scheme on STO Garant’s website (www.sto-garant.nl/en/downloads).

If STO Garant’s guarantee applies to your booking, you do not pay the booking sum to Nordic Pilgrim but instead into the escrow account belonging to Stichting Derdengelden Certo Escrow, a payment services provider registered with De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). This trust account holds your payment in reserve until the trip booked has come to an end. If services are not supplied (in full and/or on time) due to the financial insolvency of Nordic Pilgrim, STO Garant implements the guarantee. The Guarantee Scheme details how you can make a claim under the guarantee in such cases.

Change travel program

After agreement has been reached on the trip and the program has to be adjusted due to unforeseen circumstances, we will draft a new schedule in consultation with you. The travel sum can be adjusted accordingly. If the trip has changed to such an extent that you do not wish to continue, you have the right to cancel the journey free of charge. If you have other changes that cause additional costs, Nordic Pilgrim may charge these costs – after consultation with you. Changes can be: change in travel dates and/or destination, the number of travelers, wishes with regard to food and (luggage) transfer.

Cancellation

If you have a cancellation insurance and you have a valid reason to cancel your trip, you will receive the costs incurred from your insurance.

In the event of cancellation, each traveler owes the following amounts to Nordic Pilgrim.

  • From 6 weeks to 4 weeks before departure: 20% of the travel sum;
  • From 4 weeks to 2 weeks before departure: 50% of the travel sum;
  • From 2 weeks to 1 week before departure: 75% of the travel sum;
  • Cancellation from 1 week up to the day of departure or later: the full travel sum

You must report the cancellation as soon as possible by email: info@nordicpilgrim.com. In those cases where traveling can cause serious difficulties or danger for the traveler due to natural or man-made circumstances (forest fires, etc.), the cancellation costs mentioned above will be reduced to the amount of the down payment (20% of the total sum).

Liability

Nordic Pilgrim is liable for the proper execution of the services according to the agreement.
Nordic Pilgrim is not liable for damage that is the result of:

  • Shortcomings in the execution of the travel agreement on the basis of circumstances attributable to the traveler, including damages that are the result of the health condition of the traveler;
  • Actions by third parties such as accommodation and/or transport companies;
  • Circumstances that are not attributed to Nordic Pilgrim;
  • Force majeure situations such as: natural disasters, wars, political unrest, strikes, changes to transport schedules;
  • Theft, loss, damage to property;
  • The illness of the traveler.
  • Obligations of the traveler

Typing errors

The information on our website is compiled and maintained with great care. Despite our care, you may find typographical errors. We accept no liability for such errors. All information on our websites is therefore subject to printing and typing errors.

Obligations of the traveler

You are obliged to provide Nordic Pilgrim with all useful information that may be of influence on the journey. If you provide incorrect information and this leads to additional costs for Nordic Pilgrim, those costs may be charged. You are required to inform us about relevant personal circumstances that may affect your trip (illness, disability, etc.) before booking. This obligation also applies to fellow travelers if you enter into an agreement on behalf of one or more fellow travelers.

It is advisable to take out travel insurance. In addition, it is wise to also take out cancellation insurance and to inquire with the health insurance company about the conditions for traveling abroad.


FAQ waterway

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

The St. Olav Waterway is a pilgrimage route from the Middle Ages from the Turku in Finland to the village of Eckerö on Åland. It has been reopened in 2019. More information can be found on the page ‘About St. Olav’ and on the official website of the route, https://stolavwaterway.com/en.

The total distance is 340 kilometers, including ferries. However, the distance that you actually have to walk is approximately 215 kilometers.

On the St. Olav Waterway you walk on paved and unpaved roads and forest trails. The route also include some island hopping by taking ferries – most of which are free, but sometimes need booking. Good equipment and planning are required and you should be in good physical shape. But the route is doable for most hikers!

The St. Olav Waterway is accessible from April to October. During other periods the temperatures are not optimal and the weather too unpredictable. Also: during the low season there are not as many ferries running in-between the islands.

No need for assistance? Do you want to plan everything yourself? That is possible. You can find information on the website of the St. Olav Waterway. But if you need help with planning or booking, or need general info, please contact us.

You will have to book the journey to/and from Finland/Sweden yourself. These costs are not included in our prices.

There are several possibilities to travel to Finland, but we recommend traveling to Helsinki and then taking the train or bus to Turku. For your return trip you can take the ferry to Grisslehamn (Sweden) and from there the bus to Stockholm. You can also take a direct ferry from Mariehamn to Stockholm or a night ferry back to Turku. It can be a puzzle to find the best or cheapest trip. We are happy to help you find the best option.

You can also start your own puzzle by visiting these websites:

Yes! Ask us for details.

Many pilgrims choose to travel with their best four-legged friend: their dog. This is possible: most accommodations accept dogs – just be sure to check beforehand. On ferries dogs are allowed in the passenger salons. However: special rules apply for entering Finland with your dog. More information: https://www.norden.org/en/info-norden/travelling-finland-dogs-or-cats

The accommodation along the route varies from rooms to cabins and small hostels and hotels. Nordic Pilgrim chooses all accommodation with care. However, the standard varies per accommodation – this is because there is not yet much available, as the route is relatively new.

Sleeping bag and/or bed linen (these can also be booked at the accommodation); thermos/water bottle; backpack; rain gear; (warm) clothing and equipment; good walking shoes (preferably waterproof); lighter shoes for relaxing; first aid supplies and blister plasters; insect spray; passport. Trekking poles can be a great tool. Also make sure you are insured.

When you visit the Nordic Pilgrim website, you quickly notice one hike is much more expensive than the other. Why is that? Mainly because life in the Finnish archipelago is simply more expensive. Another reason is that most accommodations along the Waterway – of which there are not many (yet) – are of a higher standard than along the St. Olavsleden and the Gudbrandsdalsleden.


Turku-Kökar (9 days)

St. Olav Waterway9 days(self-guided)

The St. Olav Waterway

The St. Olav Waterway starts in Turku (Finland) and ends in Eckerö (Åland). It follows the trail pilgrims walked and sailed in the Middle Ages on their way to Nidaros. Olav is the patron saint of Åland and there are Olav churches on both the Finnish archipelago and Åland, which means Olav himself may have passed the area on his way from Novgorod to Sweden. The St. Olav Waterway is the first pilgrim trail connecting Finland and Sweden over the sea. This trail combines beautiful hikes with island hopping and takes about two weeks. The total distance is 340 kilometers, including ferries. However, the distance that you actually have to walk is approximately 215 kilometers.

Program

Travel slowly, breathe deeply, and savor the the Nordic Riviera – one island at a time. This part of the St. Olav Waterway starts in Turku (Finland) and ends on the beautiful island of Kökar. It follows part of the trail pilgrims walked and sailed in the Middle Ages on their way to Nidaros. The schedule that you see below is just a suggestion. You can plan in resting days or combine stages. Ask us for the possibilities.

Download info (PDF)

01. Travel day. Overnight stay in Turku

It is pleasant to take a stroll after a long journey – and Turku is the perfect place for that! Take a look at the cathedral; the place where you can get the first stamp for your pilgrim pass tomorrow. There are several good restaurants in the historic city centre where you can unwind before a good night’s rest.

02. Turku - Kirjala (approx. 23 km)

The first stage is a tough one, but also very enjoyable. You come across all kinds of scenery: urban, forest, rock formations and beautiful sea views. On this long day you pass several spots for a picnic or short stop.

03. Kirjala - Pargas (approx. 8 km)

A short hike today, which gives you time to check in in your new accommodation, relax a bit and visit Pargas’ historical district on Gamla Malmen.

This day can be combined with day two into one hike. You can also hike from Kirjala all the way to the ferry to Pensar (ca. 27 km).

04. Pargas – Pensar (approx. 19 km)

You pass the impressive Pargas mine towards the first ferry. Halfway the trail you can have a drink at a local pub, but the ferry’s schedule is leading, so don’t sit for too long. Pensar Island is peaceful and has a nature path.

05. Pensar – Nagu (approx. 17 km)

With a ferry you cover the first kilometers over sea. You then follow a quiet road towards Nagu. Can you spot the deer? The two bridges you cross offer a nice view, but beware the cars passing you by. Nagu is a cozy town with a harbor, restaurants and supermarkets.

06. Nagu – Korpo (approx. 30 km)

A scenic trail awaits you today. The path winds along old roads and through pretty villages. You won’t find a supermarket along the way and only one summer café, so remember to bring plenty of snacks in addition to your packed lunch. You also get on ferry number three to Korpo.

Attention: you can get a lift for the approx. 10 kilometers.

07. Korpo – Kökar (approx. 9 km)

After only five kilometers you reach the ferry. This boat ride takes longer than the previous ones, so enjoy the view while having a drink aboard. After arriving at Kökar it is an hour’s walk to the accommodation. Kick off your shoes and enjoy the thought that you have a resting day tomorrow.

08. Resting day on Kökar

This historical and remote island is the perfect place to relax a bit. Nordic Pilgrim chose this island for good reasons. What most of all attracts visitors to Kökar today is the stunning nature, composed of barren rocks with pockets of lush forests, wild fields and protected bays for swimming.

09. Travel day

Travel back to Turku or travel on to Mariehamn (Åland), where you can take the boat to Stockholm, Sweden.

9 days of which you walk 7 days, an average of 20 kilometers per day. You can combine certain stages of this hike.

April-October

The route is described as ‘moderate’ which means that if you are a trained walker the route is easy to do. In addition to walking through forests and on gravel, the route also regularly runs on asphalt. We recommend that you bring good hiking equipment – broken-in hiking boots, a comfortable backpack and possibly walking sticks. Planning the entire route requires time, so start planning early and don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.

You spend the nights B&B’s, hotels and cabins. The accommodations have a higher standard than for example along the Gudbrandsdalsleden. You don’t have to bring your own sleeping bag and don’t have to sleep in dorm rooms.

Meals are included – but not in all accommodations. Ask us for details.

Luggage transfer is possible along this route. Ask us for details.

All except one ferries are free – which we book for you. Also included in this package: lift/taxi to Korpo if needed, bed linen, booking, assistance through app (if needed).

Luggage transfer, plane- and train tickets. You will of course be helped to find the trip that suits you best.

This offer is covered by the STO Garant guarantee. You can find the conditions for this guarantee scheme on STO Garant’s website (www.sto-garant.nl/en/downloads).

Contact us for more information: info@nordicpilgrim.com or +31 6 12834782.

  • € 1.270 (one person, single room where available)
  • € 1.975 (two persons, double room where available)

Summary

Self-guided hike along the St. Olav Waterway, from Turku to the island of Kökar

  • Available from April to October

  • 9 days of which you walk 7 days, an average of 20 kilometers per day.

  • € 1.270 (one person, single room where available)

  • € 1.975 (two persons, double room where available)

Contact us for more info

Turku-Eckerö (15 days)

St. Olav Waterway15 days(self-guided)

The St. Olav Waterway

The St. Olav Waterway starts in Turku (Finland) and ends in Eckerö (Åland). It follows the trail pilgrims walked and sailed in the Middle Ages on their way to Nidaros. Olav is the patron saint of Åland and there are Olav churches on both the Finnish archipelago and Åland, which means Olav himself may have passed the area on his way from Novgorod to Sweden. The St. Olav Waterway is the first pilgrim trail connecting Finland and Sweden over the sea. This trail combines beautiful hikes with island hopping and takes about two weeks. The total distance is 340 kilometers, including ferries. However, the distance that you actually have to walk is approximately 215 kilometers.

Program

A self-guided hike from Turku (Finland) to Eckerö (Åland). It follows the trail pilgrims walked and sailed in the Middle Ages on their way to Nidaros. The journey is a combination of hiking and taking ferries. The schedule that you see below is just a suggestion. You can plan in resting days or combine stages. Ask us for the possibilities.

Download info (PDF)

01. Travel day. Overnight stay in Turku

It is pleasant to take a stroll after a long journey – and Turku is the perfect place for that! Take a look at the cathedral; the place where you can get the first stamp for your pilgrim pass tomorrow. There are several good restaurants in the historic city centre where you can unwind before a good night’s rest.

02. Turku - Kirjala (approx. 23 km)

The first stage is a tough one, but also very enjoyable. You come across all kinds of scenery: urban, forest, rock formations and beautiful sea views. On this long day you pass several spots for a picnic or short stop.

03. Kirjala - Pargas (approx. 8 km)

A short hike today, which gives you time to check in in your new accommodation, relax a bit and visit Pargas’ historical district on Gamla Malmen.

This day can be combined with day two into one hike. You can also hike from Kirjala all the way to the ferry to Pensar (ca. 27 km).

04. Pargas – Pensar (approx. 19 km)

You pass the impressive Pargas mine towards the first ferry. Halfway the trail you can have a drink at a local pub, but the ferry’s schedule is leading, so don’t sit for too long. Pensar Island is peaceful and has a nature path.

05. Pensar – Nagu (approx. 17 km)

With a ferry you cover the first kilometers over sea. You then follow a quiet road towards Nagu. Can you spot the deer? The two bridges you cross offer a nice view, but beware the cars passing you by. Nagu is a cozy town with a harbor, restaurants and supermarkets.

06. Nagu – Korpo (approx. 30 km)

A scenic trail awaits you today. The path winds along old roads and through pretty villages. You won’t find a supermarket along the way and only one summer café, so remember to bring plenty of snacks in addition to your packed lunch. You also get on ferry number three to Korpo.

Attention: you can get a lift for the approx. 10 kilometers.

07. Korpo – Kökar (approx. 9 km)

After only five kilometers you reach the ferry. This boat ride takes longer than the previous ones, so enjoy the view while having a drink aboard. After arriving at Kökar it is an hour’s walk to the accommodation. Kick off your shoes and enjoy the thought that you have a resting day tomorrow.

08. Resting day on Kökar

This historical and remote island is the perfect place to relax a bit. Nordic Pilgrim chose this island for good reasons. What most of all attracts visitors to Kökar today is the stunning nature, composed of barren rocks with pockets of lush forests, wild fields and protected bays for swimming.

09. Kökar – Lemland (approx. 16 km)

On day eight you can take it easy and this starts already on the boat. You sail past the smallest municipality of Finland, Sottunga, towards Åland. From there you walk to your next accommodation. The Church of Lumparland, is the oldest surviving wooden church in Åland, dating back to the 1720’s.

10. Lemland – Lemböte (approx. 28 km)

Today you enjoy a varied landscape consisting of rocky hills, forest paths and village roads. Maneuver through stone fields that have been formed since the ice age and enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds you this day. A long but wonderful day. You take the bus back to Lemland for your accommodation.

11. Lemböte – Mariehamn (approx. 21 km)

After spending a day in nature, this day you mostly walk through urban areas. You can see the single church dedicated to St. Olav on Åland: Jomala. You spend the night near the town of Mariehamn. A city filled with lots of shops, restaurants and a nice museum. If you want to, you can take a bus to the city centre.

12. Mariehamn – Gottby (approx. 21 km)

The first kilometers you walk through an urban area and on a motorway. As soon as you turn towards Gottby, there is a pleasant road where you pass several cosy villages.

13. Gottby – Frebbenby (approx. 30 km)

A relatively easy walk through woods, fields and small villages. You won’t find any cafes or supermarkets, so plan your own picnic today. Attention: you can get a lift for the first couple of kilometers.

14. Frebbenby – Eckerö (approx. 16 km)

This is your last long hike. You walk past farmlands and through forests until you reach the medieval church of Hammarland. Here you can get a stamp and can take a short break. From the church you cross smaller and larger roads, which can be challenging – but a little perseverance is part of every pilgrimage. Five kilometers before your tour ends, you can put your last stamp of the Waterway in your pilgrim pass: in the church of Eckerö.

15. Travel day (approx. 2 km)

The last two kilometers of your journey take you to the ferry towards Sweden. Congratulations: you have walked a little more than 230 kilometers on the St. Olav Waterway! After two hours crossing the Baltic Sea you arrive on the mainland of Sweden. Will your adventure towards Nidaros continue right after that..? From Eckerö it is also possible to travel back to Mariehamn and take the ferry to Stockholm or Turku. We can arrange accommodation for you in these places and help you booking your ferry as well.

15 days of which you walk 13 days, an average of 20 kilometers per day. You can combine certain stages of this hike.

April-October

The route is described as ‘moderate’ which means that if you are a trained walker the route is easy to do. In addition to walking through forests and on gravel, the route also regularly runs on asphalt. If you want to walk the entire route, you need to be in good shape. We also recommend that you bring good hiking equipment – broken-in hiking boots, a comfortable backpack and possibly walking sticks. Planning the entire route requires time, so start planning early and don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.

You spend the nights B&B’s, hotels and cabins. The accommodations have a higher standard than for example along the Gudbrandsdalsleden. You don’t have to bring your own sleeping bag and don’t have to sleep in dorm rooms.

Meals are included, but not in all accommodations.

Luggage transfer is possible along this route. Ask us for details.

All except one ferries are free – which we book for you. Ferry ticket from Åland to Sweden is included in the price. Also: lift/taxi to Korpo if needed, bed linen, booking, assistance through app (if needed).

Luggage transfer, plane- and train tickets. You will of course be helped to find the trip that suits you best.

This offer is covered by the STO Garant guarantee. You can find the conditions for this guarantee scheme on STO Garant’s website (www.sto-garant.nl/en/downloads).

Contact us for more information: info@nordicpilgrim.com or +31 6 12834782.

  • € 2.150 (one person, single room where available)
  • € 3.575 (two persons, double room where available)

Summary

Self-guided hike along the St. Olav Waterway, from Turku to Eckerö

  • Available from April to October

  • 15 days of which you walk 13 days, an average of 20 kilometers per day.

  • € 2.150 (one person, single room where available)

  • € 3.575 (two persons, double room where available)

Contact us for more info