Here are the answers to the most common questions regarding hiking along the St. Olav trail.
What is St. Olavsleden?
St. Olavsleden is a pilgrim trail from the Middle Ages. The trail extends through Swedish and Norwegian cultural landscapes from the Baltic Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, from Selånger (Sweden) to Trondheim (Norway). Olav Haraldsson the Viking stepped ashore in Selånger in the year 1030, and started the journey to Norway and Trondheim to reclaim power after two years in exile in Russia. The trail was re-opened in 2013 after extensive renovation work.
How long is St. Olavsleden?
It is approximately 580 kilometres long. Thousands of markings and signposts indicate the way.
Is it possible to walk only parts of the route?
Yes, that is perfectly fine. The trail is divided into 29 daily stages from the starting point in Selånger to Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim. Each stage is about 20 kilometres on average, but some are up to 30 kilometres. You can also take day trips if that suits you best. The trail often passes roads and villages which means that it is easy to get onto almost anywhere and walk a shorter distance.
How long does it take to hike the entire distance?
An estimated 30 days or so.
What time of year is best to go?
The main hiking season is from mid-May to mid-September. Snow may remain in May, and in September snow may have fallen in some locations. If you plan to go earlier or later than this period, you can contact the tourist offices/tourist information for more detailed information about the conditions along the trail.
The weather is variable, the eastern part is usually warmer, the section from Östersund to Trondheim can be colder because it passes through the mountains. It can be a good idea to keep an eye on the weather services, SMHI.se and Yr.no, so that you know how to dress on your hike.
Can I hike the trail alone?
Yes you can, but if you want help or company, you can take a look at one of our travel packages.
What type of accommodation is there?
The accommodation varies along the different sections, from simple cabins, hostels and private rentals to camp-sites in nature or hotels. We have compiled an accommodation list that you can view here.
Are their grocery stores along the trail?
Yes, but in some places there’s a longer distance between shops, such as from Borgsjö-Bräcke and Duved-Verdal (four days of walking), so it’s important to plan ahead. On many of the sections there are restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy a moment’s break in your hiking.
How do I pay?
In Sweden and Norway, it’s common to pay with credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard, this works in most shops. When it comes to accommodation, hotels and the larger facilities accept cards, but payment is mostly by cash or swish for private accommodation.
Are there any dangerous animals?
No, there are no animals that are dangerous for us humans along the trail. But remember to show respect for the animals you encounter.
Is it possible to drink the water from streams and lakes?
Yes, in most places. Please choose a waterway with running water, where the water isn’t standing still.
It is possible to horse-ride or cycle the trail?
Yes, either the entire trail or parts of it. You can see maps here for both horse-riding and cycling.
What should I bring with me on my trip?
A sleeping bag and/or bedding, a thermos/water bottle, a backpack, rain clothing, (warm) clothing, good walking shoes (preferably waterproof), a first-aid kit and blister plasters, your passport. Also make sure that you are insured.
Is there any guidebook about the trail?
Yes, there are guide books in four languages, Swedish, English, German and Dutch. The Swedish guide provides detailed information about all 29 stages, and the cultural and natural experiences along the trail. You can buy the book here.
There are tourist offices in the following places along the trail; Sundsvall, Borgsjö, Östersund, Krokom, Åre and Trondheim. You can buy and stamp your pilgrim passport there and also receive useful information about the area you are in. Please note their opening hours.
There are three pilgrim centres along the trail, the Pilgrim Centre in Stiklestad, Nidaros Pilgrimsgård in Trondheim and the Selånger Pilgrim Center in Selånger which is the starting point for the trail. You can get useful information about the trail here and obtain your pilgrim passport. Find out more under the stamps and passport menu.
Pilgrim passports, stamps and diploma
There’s a long tradition of Pilgrim passports and stamps; in former times they certified that you were a true pilgrim. Pilgrim passports still exist today, but more as a nice symbol and a pleasant travel memory. If you would like to have a diploma for your hike you need to have a pilgrim passport with stamps that show that you have hiked at least 100 km or biked/ridden at least 200 km before the final destination Trondheim.
You can collect your stamps at your accommodation, churches and other places along the trail.
You can buy a pilgrim diploma for a symbolic amount at:
- all the tourist offices along the trail (note their opening hours)
- Selånger’s parish
- Quality Comfort hotel in Sundsvall, at reception
- The cultural centre in Stiklestad
- Nidaros Pilgrimsgård in Trondheim
- The private webshop S:t Olavsledens shop
In Sweden and Norway the 3G networks (and 4G in certain places) are well-developed along the trail. Several places of accommodation also offer wi-fi to guests and wi-fi is also available at tourist offices.
Phone numbers in case of emergency
Sweden: Emergency services 112, Police 114 14 (not emergencies, for those please call 112)
Norway: Ambulance 113, Police 112, Fire services 110
You can read more about hiking preparations and safety at Fjällsäkerhetsrådet (the mountain safety council of Sweden)