How to walk the St Olav’s Ways in Norway

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How to walk St Olav's Ways


  1. What are the St Olav’s Ways?
  2. Who is St Olav?
  3. Why is Trondheim referred to as Nidaros?
  4. How long are the St Olav’s Ways?
  5. Are the St Olav’s Ways a pilgrimage route?
  6. What is accommodation like on the St Olav’s Ways?
  7. Is it hard to walk the St Olav’s Ways?
  8. How many days does it take to walk the St Olav’s Ways?
  9. How many days does it take to walk Gudbrandsdalsleden?

What are the St Olav’s Ways?

St Olav’s Ways are a series of long-distance hiking paths in Norway. There are actually nine different paths that make up the “St Olav’s Ways”. Most of the paths lead to Trondhiem, but others end in different areas of Norway.

The paths have historical significance for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are the Northern most pilgrimage routes. Secondly, the paths (or many of them) lead to Trondheim. It is in Trondheim that St Olav’s remains are buried within the famous Nidaros cathedral. This has made the route an important Christian pilgrimage for many years.

Who is St Olav?

Olaf II Haraldsson, referred to latterly as Saint Olaf (or Olav), was the King of Norway from 1015 to 1028. His remains are enshrined in Nidaros cathedral, in Trondheim. King Olaf became a Saint after his death and soon became an important figure in Christian religion. A number of churches are named after Olav, including a number in England.

Why is Trondheim referred to as Nidaros?

Trondheim is also referred to as Nidaros. You will see the name “Nidaros” on many of the St Olav’s distance markers. Nidaros was the medieval name for Trondheim.

How long are the St Olav’s Ways?

The nine paths all differ in length. You can see a comparison of the paths below. They range from 150km to walk Valldalsldeden to 1080 for Kystpilegrimsleia, the latter route involves boat hopping as well as walking.

Gudbrandsaslden, which is the most popular route for pilgrims walking, is 643km.

Are the St Olav’s Ways a pilgrimage route?

Yes, the St Olav’s Ways are considered to be pilgrimage routes. This is because they historical significance, with many walking the pilgrimage routes to arrive at Nidaros cathedral, the burial site of St Olav. Today, people walk St Olav’s Ways for a number of reasons, from religious and spiritual to achieving fitness goals or finding an adventure.

What is accommodation like on the St Olav’s Ways?

You can find a really great directory of accommodation on the official Pilegrimsleden website here. We used this list and website to plan our accommodation stops for our walk from Oslo to Trondheim.

Accommodation on the route varies, from farm stays to pilgrim hostels and campsites. Hotels are also available in some areas.

We’ve written in more detail about accommodation here and camping here.

Is it hard to walk the St Olav’s Ways?

The nine paths of St Olav’s Ways are all different when it comes to distance and difficulty. We recently walked Gudbrandsdalsleden and found it challenging. The route requires some forward planning to ensure you have access to food and refreshment as well as to plan accommodation. Plus, it is an undulating route with frequent climbs and descents. Including climbing up to 1,300m during the Dovrefjell section.

You can find out more on our daily stage guide to walking Gudbrandsdalsleden.

How many days does it take to walk the St Olav’s Ways?

The nine different routes can be walked at your own pace, but the Pilegrimsleden website recommends the following:

St. Olavsleden580km30

How many days does it take to walk Gudbrandsdalsleden?

Gudbrandsdalsleden is the most popular pilgrimage route in Norway, it runs from Oslo to Trondheim and is 643km long.

Although the Pilegrimsleden website recommends 32 days, in our experience you do not have to walk at this pace. The route offers a lot of flexibility, especially if you have a tent and are willing to wild camp. In total, the route took us 23 days, rather than 32. We met many pilgrims walking at a slower pace and a few walking at a faster pace than us too.

You can find out more on our Gudbrandsdalseden daily stage guide.

How to navigate on the St Olav’s Ways?

Navigation is quite easy on the St Olav’s Ways. During our walk from Oslo to Trondheim, we got lost briefly once or twice, but it was easy and quick to navigate our journey back to the route.

The number one way to navigate is to follow the St Olav’s signs. It’s a really well sign-posted route. We even met someone from the Oslo pilgrim’s office who had come out to check the signs on the route!

Look out for sign posts at the side of roads, at turnings and even hanging from trees.

We also recommend getting access to the maps on the Pilegrimsleden website. We used these frequently to check the direction of the route, if there were short gaps in sign posts. Without this, we may have been a little unsure a few times.


Some of the camping equipment we used. Find them on Amazon!

Night Cat Instant Popup Tents 2-3 Persons with Footprint Tarp Easy Setup Camping Tent – we love this tent as it takes no time to put up and down. We times ourselves, around 1 minute. It’s also super lightweight.

Hyke & Byke Eolus 15 F Hiking & Backpacking Sleeping Bag – 3 Season, 800FP Goose Down Sleeping Bag – Ultralight, you will most likely need a 3 season sleeping bag as it could get cold even in summer.

50L Hiking Backpack Men Camping Backpack with rain cover 45l+5l Lightweight Backpacking Backpack Travel Backpack

POWERLIX Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Camping with Inflating Bag, Carry Bag, Repair Kit – Compact Lightweight Camping Mat, Outdoor Backpacking Hiking Traveling Camping Air Mattress Airpad – essential for avoiding the cold floor.

FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Hiking Work Boots Men’s Tactical Boots 6 Inches Lightweight Military Boots Breathable Desert Boots

Berghaus Men’s Rain Jacket Waterproof Hydroshell – best in class for waterproof jackets.

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How to train for St Olav’s Way in Norway

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What to pack to walk St Olav’s Way in Norway

Packing for a long-distance hike is one of the most important preparation activities. This is especially important when walking St Olav’s Way in Norway. We recently walked from Oslo to Trondheim. Here is our ultimate guide to what to pack to walk St Olav’s Way. You can find more of our St Olav’s Way walking…

Most of our planning is done using other blogs, but you can’t beat a guide book at the bottom of your case. Find yours on here on Amazon and get the travelling started!

How to walk the Norwegian Camino: Oslo to Trondheim on St Olav’s Way

Norway Travel Guide by World Citizen

Lonely Planet Norway

Lonely Planet Scandinavia

Rick Steves Scandinavia




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