Plan your pilgrimage

Bild: Stefan Bremer

St. Olav Waterway is dedicated to Saint Olav, patron saint of Norway. The beautiful archipelago and the sea view freckled by islands make the route truly one-of-a-kind. Enjoy the calm of archipelago nature and let your mind rest.

The sea route begins in Finland’s former capital, Turku and passes through historically interesting areas in the archipelago of Finland and Åland. You can be very flexible when planning your journey. Do you want to walk the entire distance? Do you want to walk some of the legs and choose bus transport for others? Or would you prefer to divide the route up for several occasions?

A hiker on St. Olav Waterway does furthermore have the added bonus of resting during the crossings on water. During these you will be transported on board road and passenger ferries.

St Olav Waterway

Maps

FINLAND

  • Turku-Korpo: Five stage descriptions, services and maps in details
  • Route descriptions, ferry timetables and places to stay are linked from the individual stages.
  • The maps are downloadable and printable. 
  • A GPX or KML track for navigation can be downloaded to your phone, GPS, smartwatch or sports-tracker.
  • You will find updated information on our Facebook page @olavinreitti.
  • In our Facebook group you can share your photos and trail tales, get help and answer to your questions from other pilgrims and locals along the path. 
  • In order to prepare for your trip, why not explore the trail and landscapes on Google “hike view”  with 360 degree pictures, the trail is also available on google maps as streetview. 

ÅLAND

SWEDEN AND NORWAY

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Nauvo kirkko - Nagu kyrka

Pilgrimspass and stamps

Pilgrim passports and stamps are part of an old tradition that is still cherished to this day. In medieval times one used them as proof of pilgrim status. Today their worth is primarily symbolic, and they offer a nice memento of the journey.

The pilgrim tradition

Pilgrimages and pilgrims are part of Christian pilgrim tradition. Pilgrims were to carry with them a pilgrim passport signed by priests. If the pilgrimage was a pilgrimage of repentance, stamps were important evidence. The passport was also beneficial in proving one’s identity to accommodation providers. The pilgrim passport enabled free and limitless passage across Europe

The pilgrim passport today

Nowadays as well, the modern pilgrim passport serves as documentation of your travels. You will collect stamps into your pilgrim passport from each place you visit along your journey. The passport is easy to carry, and it will become a lovely memento of your trip. In addition, you may ask a priest to write their name into your passport and give you their blessing on your journey.

The official pilgrim passport for St. Olav Ways is available from Turku Cathedral and from our online shop. This passport is in three languages and accredited by St. Olav Ways and the European Cultural Routes. 

In order to receive the St. Olav certificate, you must show that you have ended up in Trondheim by walking continuously for the last 100 km, or biking or riding the last 200 km. The certificate can be claimed from Trondheim, from the Pilgrim Centre next to Nidaros.

 

Pyhiinvaelluspassi - Pilgrimspass

Stamps

Different places offer different kinds of stamps. Along the St. Olav Waterway you may find stamps at churches, but you can also request stamps from service providers such as cafés and accommodation providers. You can easily collect a few stamps a day.

Pilgrim’s passport for children

For the route between Turku and Korpo, there is a special pilgrim’s passport available for children. The passport follows Olav’s life journey from viking to king and saint. You can collect stamps and solve tasks during your way. The passport is free. Ask for a copy  at Turku Cathedral or other churches or libaries along the path, or at the tourist information points in Pargas, Nagu and Korpo. More information and extra tasks are found here.

Equipment

The most convenient way to travel is light. Hiking along the St. Olav Waterway does not require acquiring large amounts of food in advance, as there are a lot of grocery stores and kiosks along the way. However, in regard to clothing, you should consider different weather conditions.

Eating

Along the route there are several grocery stores, kiosks, cafés and restaurants you can stop by to buy food or enjoy a meal. If you prefer cooking, you will need a camping cooker. A meal-in-a-bag and boiled water that you can carry in a thermos is an easy way to prepare food. Hydration is important when backpacking, so remember to take a water bottle along. A sitting pad makes sitting on the ground more comfortable and frees you from having to worry about moisture.

Clothing

Sturdy yet comfortable shoes are an important part of successful backpacking. It is worth using the shoes beforehand in order to break them in and ensure that they fit you well. If you are carrying a lot of weight, trekking shoes are the best choice, as they are designed to support the arch of your foot and your ankle. It is also wise to come prepared with some blister plasters. We recommend rain gear and warm clothes, as the weather can be capricious. Especially clothing made from natural fibres, like wool and silk, breathe and work well even in cool temperatures. Be sure to bring a hat and gloves, because they might be useful even in the summer. Weather can be surprisingly chilly at sea. Prepare yourself for warm weather by bringing a swimsuit and a towel that dries easily. In hot weather it might be more comfortable to wear sandals.
St Olav Waterway
Photo: Rania Rönntoft

Other equipment, that might be useful:

  • Maps and a compass for following the route and navigation
  • Small first aid kit (plaster, bandages, painkillers)
  • Mosquito repellent, tick tweezers
  • Thermos, water bottle, mug and sitting pad
  • Headlamp or flashlight, belt knife (puukko) and toilet paper
  • Notebook to jot down memories and ideas

GETTING TO AND FROM ST. OLAV WATERWAY

Connections to and from Turku

  • By airTurku Airport – 8 kilometers outside the city centre is a small regional airport with international connections. Helsinki Airport is the largest in Finland, with excellent train- and bus connections to Turku.
  • By train: You can reach Turku by train from everywhere in Finland. Helsinki – Turku by train is a 2 hour trip.
  • By bus: Information on domestic routes and timetables Matkahuolto.
  • By passenger ship from SwedenViking Line or Tallink Silja Line

Bus service along the route

There is a local bus service from Turku along the route to Korpo. (Timetable in Finnish or Swedish only.)

Ferries along the route

The crossings from Pargas to Nagu and from Nagu to Korpo are free of charge ferries with several hourly departures. There is no booking system, passengers on foot or cyclists are always guaranteed a place on board. You can find the timetables here or on our digital maps. The ferries to the outer archipelago (optional routes) depart less frequently so please check the timetables. 

There is a ferry from Galtby in Korpo to Åland, with stops at the islands of Kökar, Sottunga, and Föglö, before reaching Långnäs on the main Åland island. The number of daily departures from Galtby depends on the season. In summer the ferry departs upto twice daily from Galtby, less frequently during spring and autumn. During winter season 5 departures per week.   Cyclists are adviced to book a place in advance during high season, this is not necessary for travelers on foot. For walkers the shuttle boat is free of charge, cyclists and other passengers with vehicles pay a small fee. More information and timetables.
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