STIKLESTAD – TRONDHEIM
Walk through lush farmland with monasteries, through forests and onto a panoramic hill. The route follows the fjord into Trondheim, where you can find peace in the beautiful Nidaros Cathedral.
From Stiklestad you walk towards Verdalsøra along a three km stretch of road flanked with birches. In fine weather the sun may glimmer through the leaves, and the trees provide welcome shade. There is a panoramic view from the hill where Halle church stands. The pilgrim route continues from Olden along a forest road. At a bend in Levanger river, you pass the ruins of Munkeby monastery from 1180. Mariakloster, a new Cistercian monastery, is situated at the same site. You can buy cheese in the monastery shop and stay overnight in a pilgrim hostel 400 metres away.
The route continues through the forest and follows lake Tomtvatnet for about two km. After this the road slopes steeply up to Tomtvasslia, a panoramic point. The route continues along a country path, then along a road that descends towards Markabygda.
At Munkeby in the municipality of Levanger the path divides into an inland and a coastal route.
The inland route
The St. Olavsleden inland route takes pilgrims through thick Trøndelag forests. Here the pilgrimage is characterized by stillness and the natural landscape. Pilgrims who choose this inland route will walk mostly on woodland hiking paths and gravel roads. Distances between shops on the inland route are great and pilgrims must either carry food with them or buy it from the simple hostels along the route. Pilgrims are advised to plan and order food and accommodation in advance.
The coastal route
The St. Olavsleden coastal route goes through towns and districts along the Trondheim fjord. Historic sites along this route are numerous: for the most part, the route is on asphalt roads where grocery shops are easy to find. Accommodation on the coastal route includes simple hostels and larger hotels. Those who choose the coastal route must travel by boat from Frosta/Tautra – either to Steinvikholmen or directly to Trondheim.
Since there is no ordinary passenger route across the fjord, the Stiklestad Pilgrim Centre has made an agreement with a local boat owner. You can read more about the Pilgrim Boat 2019 here.
Lakes along the way
You can either walk through Skjelstadmarka on a narrow path through the forest to Tyldvatnet and Rådal, or you can take a gravel road past Bulandsvatnet and Ausevatnet. If you choose the gravel path, you will pass a small pilgrim hostel in Borås with self-catering facilities.
You now enter Hållådalen, a deep valley where you can admire 3,000 year-old rock carvings as you descend through idyllic historic landscape to the small town of Stjørdal. In Ersgard east of Stjørdal, you can stay in a 250-year-old farmhouse. Try your luck fishing in the river in the evening.
The pilgrim route passes Lånke church, and you can bath at Hell, where Stjørdalsälven river converges with the fjord. The route now leads up onto Gjevingåsen. In the past, this was a perilous spot where pilgrims were frequently attacked by robbers and wild animals. Deeper into the woods is Folden farm, which grows organic produce and offers overnight accommodation.
Into the town
At Bakken, St. Olavsleden meets the Romboleden route coming westwards from Mostadmark. The route continues through the forest to Engan farm. At Saksvikskorsen, a cross once stood where pilgrims would stop when they got their first sighting of Nidaros. Here you can gaze out over the fjord and the big city. From Ranheim church, you walk along the beach, round Leangbukta and towards Ringve botanical gardens. There is also a museum of music history here. You walk past churches along Lade Allé, a tree-lined road beneath the walls of Kristiansten Castle. The castle rises majestically above the city. Beside Nidälven river, you will see colourful wooden houses on stilts. The route crosses the Gamle Bybro bridge.
Trondheim has a 1,000-year history. It is beautifully situated where the Nidälven river meets the fjord. Nidaros was Norway’s capital until 1217, and took its name from Nidälven. The majestic Nidaros Cathedral, your final destination, is in the city centre. Construction of the Cathedral began in 1070. It was built over St. Olav’s grave and became a destination for pilgrims seeking solace and help.
Major cultural festival
Olavsfestdagene, one of Norway’s largest cultural festivals, is held annually in late July. The festival recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. During the festival there are plays, religious services and rock, pop, folk music and operatic concerts. There is also a historic market with street performers and handicrafts. The festival has a Medieval theme. Among other things, you can see forgings being made and try your hand at stone masonry. Regardless of whether your visit coincides with Olavsfestdagene, you can admire Nidaros Cathedral with its beautiful stained glass windows, high vaults and abundance of sculptures on the west wall. Climb the steps in the tower for a view of Trondheim and the blue fjord – and feel your pilgrim soul come to rest.