The pilgrim ways in Norway connect history, landscape and cultural heritage. The different routes lead you through rural landscapes, woods and mountains. Plan your own short or long walk or try one of the suggestions. The recommended season is June – September. You should be in normal good physical shape.
The St. Olav Ways - the pilgrim paths to Trondheim
The pilgrim ways to Nidaros consist of a network of routes covering 5,000 kilometres in Northern Europe, of which more than 2,000 kilometres can be found in Norway alone.
Nidaros, now the city of Trondheim, was the greatest pilgrimage destination in Northern Europe in the Middle Ages. The final destination for the pilgrims was the shrine of St. Olav in Nidaros Cathedral. Norway's King Olav Haraldsson (995-1030) fell in the battle of Stiklestad in 1030. Soon after, signs and miracles were experienced close to Olav’s remains and he was made the “patron saint” of Norway. From the 11th century, the St. Olav cult spread throughout the Nordic countries, and to the British Isles and Hanseatic towns along the Baltic Sea. The Norwegian saint king retained his status as the "patron saint", as it were, throughout the Middle Ages, and was honoured just as much in neighbouring countries as in his own.
You can now join in this great story along the original pilgrim paths:
Gudbrandsdalsleden (Oslo- Gjøvik/Hamar-Nidaros): The main way from Oslo via historical Hadeland, through the Gudbrandsdal Valley and mighty Dovre Mountain towards the final destination, Nidaros. This route is 640-kilometre-long in total and leads through built-up areas, cultural landscapes, narrow valleys, peaceful forests and open mountain terrain. It features sites of historical interest as well as rich cultural heritage and spectacular scenery.
Østerdalsleden (Trysil-Tynset-Nidaros): A pilgrim's path thought to be the road St. Birgitta of Vadstena took on her way to Nidaros.
Romboleden (Skarddøra-Nidaros): For centuries "The great Rombo Way" was a road over Kjølen used by pilgrims and merchants.
St. Olavsleden (Skalstugan-Nidaros): The stretch from Selånger to Stiklestad was the last journey of Olav Haraldson before the battle of Stiklestad in 1030, a key event in Norwegian history.
Nordleden (Gløshaugen-Stiklestad): This pilgrim path, the furthest north, starts at Gløshaug Church in Grong. It passes Megard parish before reaching Stiklestad.
St. Olav Festival
St Olav's day or Olsok (literally St. Olav's wake) is celebrated in many places in Scandinavia each year on 29 July to commemorate the saint. The annual St. Olav Festival in Trondheim, Norway's largest church and cultural festival, always attracts a large international audience for an entire week around Olsok. In the afternoon on 28 July 2013 there will be organised pilgrim walks from different places in the city. The festival begins with the Olav vigil, where from late night until early morning regular offices (services and prayers) are conducted in Nidaros Cathedral – one of the absolute highlights for pilgrims coming to Nidaros.
More information on the St. Olav Ways to Trondheim, including a walking planner with maps and information on services and cultural heritage along the pathways.
The St. Olav Ways were incorporated into the programme "The Council of Europe Cultural Routes" in 2010.