The last secrets and techniques for hiking the St. Olav Ways

The last secrets and techniques for hiking the St. Olav Ways


Though Norway is virtually no Catholic country — it’s actually mostly Lutheran — situation of St. Olav continues to central to your national identity. His axe, in the end, is about the country’s coat of arms. Also it really all amounts to one thing: he smelled like roses.

That is, upon being exhumed. Whilst was alive, he really wasn’t all of that popular, nor did he likely smell that great. As Norway’s first king, he was exiled to Russia, came back to regain the throne, and lost with the Battle of Stiklestad on July 29th, 1030 — while using date living on as St. Olav’s Day. His body was brought 75 miles west to Trondheim where he was buried for the banks of the Nidelva River. When his coffin would have been to be moved, legend has it not wearing running shoes smelled of roses. Gets hotter was opened, he didn’t look each day older than he did in that fatal battle.

And bam. Canonization, or sainthood, just a year later. Construction began on Nidaros Cathedral — over the rumored site of his body — in 1070. For one more five-hundred years, Norwegians made the pilgrimage along the St. Olav Ways, all going to Nidaros Cathedral, for St. Olav, in Trondheim.

And then, in 1537, the pilgrimage was banned. The Lutheran Reformation put an end to the standard trek, but it was almost lost. Yet in 1997, the continent dedicated funds to bringing it back, and today thousands of kilometers of trails are marked throughout Norway — through small villages, rolling farmland, national parks, small towns, and into its third-largest city, Trondheim.

What is my route?

St Olavs Way trail marker

Just such as Camino, you will get to Nidaros Cathedral via multiple routes, and also by far the favourite may be the Gudbrandsdalen. 70 percent of hikers take this 400-mile main drag from Oslo to Trondheim; almost all the remaining hikers choose the 350-mile St. Olav’s Path, which starts on the eastern coast of Sweden.

Five others routes are classified as the Borg Path, Valldal Path, Rombo Path, North Path, and Coastal Path. While have the ability to their merits, this book will focus mainly talk to the Gudbrandsdalen. It besides winds through Norway’s prettiest valley; it’s and also the longest, most central, and many historic from the options.

How long can it take?

How fast do you want to go? Thirty-two days is definitely the standard answer for that main trek — if you’re based on just what the pros have delineated. You might want to schedule in a few extra days to nap or see more. You\’ll have the option of simply hiking one more 100 km (62 miles) to Trondheim, literally from the steps of those people who carried St. Olav to his burial. You’ll still receive your certificate towards the end just for this, too.

In comparison to its terrain, the Gudbrandsdalen’s highest point (hardbakken) is 4,333 feet above sea level. Do not forget to bring a sturdy, well-worn pair of hiking boots, however, you won’t be climbing Everest here. The trek differs from rocky, hillside dirt paths to farm roads and small-town streets. All the parts of the path are well-marked — albeit by surprisingly small red-and-white markers, so be on the lookout — and you just definitely won’t be delayed by bushwhacking or altitude sickness. Most pilgrims often do around 25 km per day, in the event you should pinpoint the distance you’re familiar with walking. No one’s here to race you. At times, nobody will be here in any way.

Where ought i stop?

We think Norway has become the most incredible countries on this planet, hence the short answer is “whenever and all the time.” Howevere, if you’re searching for a few ideas of the you’ll see on the way, listed below are some highlights:

St Olavs Ways Hamar Cathedral

Cathedral ruins in Hamar
This 1,000-year-old cathedral is unlike some other you’ve probably seen; it’s encased in only glass. Imagine an ancient sandstone behemoth from the Louvre pyramid — however with better acoustics. If you possibly can have a night visit, it’s like being inside of a stony rocketship.

St Olavs Way Dovre

Dovrefjell National Park
This percentage of trek is definitely the. There is no roads. No people. No power lines. No houses. Simply the rolling Dovre mountains spending money before you decide to. And behind. In order to every side.

St Olavs Way stones

Also in Dovrefjell, there exists a giant cairn, or stone pile, you can’t miss. But the cairn just isn\’t used to mark the trail. It’s a massive number of rocks that symbolize what pilgrims prior to when you have each desired to avoid, to do not carry using them. Addiction, anxiety, grief, take your pick. Pick up a small stone somewhere on the route and carry it here, joining all these other wonderful humans in their vulnerability.

St Olavs Ways stave church

Ringebu Stave Church
There are just 28 stave churches left in Norway, and Ringebu is a second largest. They’re overall 1,000 years — as old for the reason that pilgrimage — a post church was here little one this structure was built.

St Olavs Way city view through greenery

The Hill of Joy
Upon entering Trondheim, you’ll experience a sign near an amazing view. It details how right here is the first peek at the cathedral that pilgrims would recover inside day — and exactly how this hasn’t changed.

What do you pack — and eat?

St Olav Ways camping

The packing list for any St. Olav Ways mirrors that relating to a lot of long-distance treks, so let’s not waste time stating that you would like sunscreen and a first-aid kit. However, be aware that most days — if you’re hiking the regular 25 km — you will probably come upon a small town or village. Between grabbing pack lunches in your accommodations and this also, staying food and water-equipped shouldn’t be described as a problem.

In relations to lodging, with plenty planning, you could possibly avoid bringing full camping supplies if you’re feeling confident. When you get off-plan, however, it becomes nice to experience a plan B. If you possibly can handle the body weight, it’s nice to have a tent/sleeping bag/hammock/sleeping pad at the ready. That can provide some wiggle room within your itinerary, as well, in addition to full immersion in many from the planet’s best outdoor settings.

Where does a person stay?

St Olav Ways accommodation

Along the principle route, you’ll find over 150 registered places to stay, varying from shared hostel accommodations to luxe suites overlooking Norway’s version of Lake Como. Research doing this information online at this point, and ensure to ahead to generate reservations — it’s achievement businesses you’re calling. These are generally often people starting their houses and farms to pilgrims, much like locals did lots of in the past. You will discover enough places which, items sufficiently, you won’t need to pack full camping gear.

However, let’s not downplay the sweetness that is allemannsretten, as well as “freedom to roam.” In Norway, you’re capable of wander almost anywhere (be respectful, of course), and you could setup your tent personally night wherever you want, so long as it’s 492 feet outside of the nearest building. Along these 643 km, america is very accessible to you, if you’re ready to pack the additional camping supplies.

Pro tip: If you’re seeking accommodations, don’t skip Sygard Grytting. It’s mostly of the places which has documented proof not wearing running shoes absorbed pilgrims in the Middle Ages. The 800-year-old farmhouse has super authentic rooms, and Hilde will bake you the best raspberry tart you can make.

Let’s talk stamps.

St Olavs Ways stamp

Norway hasn’t missed the memo. Similar to the Camino, you’ll likely know that things are all super well-organized and vaguely harking back to a scavenger hunt. Here’s tips to capitalize of the “program”:

1) Scope out of website. A great deal of downloadable maps, resources, and guides can assist you plan every step of the opportinity for both food and lodging.

2) Once in the nation, visit one of several regional pilgrim centers, such as the one in Oslo, and purchase the pilgrim passport for 50 NOK (about $6).

3) Anywhere you go — regardless of whether affiliated stops including the above churches or lodging — receive a stamp as part of your passport. Each place has their own, and plenty of time you’re done, you’ll have one bangin’ souvenir. In addition, showing your passport will get you towards a handful of places free of charge or for a price.

4) When you go onto Nidaros Cathedral, your completed passport is evidence of your complete work. Show it to get the letter. Head to the Nidaros Pilegrim Center (not really a typo) to discover the final stamp and place your little pin into the hometown over the site’s giant map.

What about Trondheim?

St Olav Ways Trondheim

After your trek, stay in Trondheim a week or two days — not only to recuperate and to celebrate within one of the country’s most vibrant cities. It’s an old, gorgeous, walkable university town adjacent to a good looking river and covered with tall peaks.

A week 30 days, Nidaros Cathedral opens tours underneath it and into the crypt. Relax and take a tour whenever you can. Otherwise, splurge on local seafood at Havfruen. Grab pizza and basement-brewed beers at Habitat. Look at Crown Regalia and Archbishop’s Palace museum for further ruins. Or just rest on the earlier Town Bridge, having the above mentined view. It’s certainly well-deserved in fact your efforts getting there. And I’m sure your feet won’t mind.