Experience Norwegian culture, learn about Nordic history, and take part in a European tradition. Regardless of your spirituality, a pilgrimage is a journey in more than one sense.
Long-distance hiking is not the same as just … walking. You hike for several hours each day, and after some time, you fall into your own rhythm. The repetitive pulse of your steps or your hiking pole frees up space in your mind for the big questions: the meaning of life, the mystery of suffering, the love for your family and friends – and also for that annoying old commercial jingle or children’s song you thought you had forgotten about. But now it’s on repeat.
While a pilgrimage is traditionally religious in nature – most pilgrims embarked on a pilgrimage to get either healing from sickness or pain, or remission of sins – the routes are now open to everyone, and the reasons for hiking are highly individual. Some see it as an educational tour, others simply want to take the time to reflect on life in a peaceful setting. Most modern pilgrims do however describe the journey as a deeply personal experience.
If you plan to complete your pilgrimage on high spirits and belief alone, you will probably struggle. But fear not – many places along the pilgrim routes are ready to cover your needs for a good rest, a proper meal, and a hot shower at a reasonable price. Sleep anywhere from open shelters and unattended cabins with self-catering and your own sleeping bag, to hostels and hotels that serve gourmet food.
On the Gudbrandsdalsleden, you should stop at Sygard Grytting. Visiting this farm and Historic Hotel is like going back in time, and the family that has run the place for the last 700 years treats hungry pilgrims to meat and fish from nearby forests and mountains, homemade bread and cakes, and marmalade made with berries from the garden. The farm also offers accommodation, both on the historic site and in the pilgrim hostel.
Your last chance to spend the night indoors before you start on the ascent to the Dovrefjell mountain range is the medieval pilgrim farm Budsjord. For dinner, you can try the local moose taco, or you can just stop for a beer from the local brewery Hubertus.
But these are just two of hundreds of places you can stop for a meal and a bed. Find detailed information and plan your overnight stays on pilegrimsleden.no.
Not so strange, then, that the sight that met the pilgrims in Trondheim was and still is overwhelming: the Nidaros Cathedral is one of Norway’s most impressive buildings, filled with elaborate artworks and ornamented stone sculptures. Before you enter as a pilgrim, you should perform the old ritual of walking around the cathedral three times.
You don’t have to be a thru-hiker to travel on foot in Norway. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trekker, you’ll find the perfect terrain for you.
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