Watercolor of hiker walking along the St. Olav Way in Norway, a stone showing the trail mark beside him

Nidaros Pilgrim’s route Trail (Norway)

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The Pilgrimage path to Nidaros – Norway, Europe

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Norway has re-opened and trail-marked the around 643km. / 400 miles ancient pilgrimage path mainly going through cultural land, between the Capital Oslo and Tronheim, a major Viking town 1000 years ago. Tronheim has as their main church one of the most important Scandinavian  churches, The Nidaros Dome, the most northern Cathedral in the world and also the destination of this Scandinavian pilgrim’s route

Watercolor of the Nidaros Cathedral, dome, Norway. Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
The huge Nidaros Cathedral was build 1070-1300 over the burial site of Saint Olav, a fallen viking king, that became christian, and the Nidaros Cathedral is the destination of most of the North bound Scandinavian Pilgrimage trails.

Read more about the Nidaros Cathedral on Wikipedia here

The Nidaros Pilgrim’s route is part of the European Pilgrimage network, that now also stretches through Sweden and Denmark and again connect further South, East and West through the European network of Pilgrimage trails, with places like Rome (Italy), Canterbury (England) and Santiago (Spain) , connected through Pilgrimage path, now also to the Nidaros Dome in Norway

The Norwegian locals

Today Norway is considered one of the absolute wealthiest and highest developed countries in the world. Mainly because of an gigantic income from oil in the last fifty years or so, that has been invested into the whole Norwegian society, according to the classic Scandinavian welfare system.

Many Norwegians consider themselves direct descendants from the vikings and pride themselves for their outdoor lifestyle and strong survival skills.  Survival skills in a harsh climate is a part of the Norwegian culture because for many centuries Norway was a poor coastal mountain country living mainly from fishing, mining, forestry and a bit of farming in the lover parts. Norway is a northern country with long, dark tough winters and short not always good summers.

As a result of always needing to be able to live of the land, outdoor culture in Norway is still today very strong and some very well-known explorers has been Norwegian. One of the absolute archetypes, also looking quite Norwegian is the adventurer, humanist and scientist Fridjof Nansen – becoming a zoologist, just to get a chance to be outdoors as much as possible. Looking for images of the classic Norwegian character his picture came up as the archetype of the Norwegian. And with some luck one might meet his grand kids still hiking in the mountains of Norway.

Watercolor portrait of Norwegian explorer Fridjof Nansen, Painting by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig
Fridjof Nansen, Norway ( 1861-1930) was a very classic Norwegian looking famous arctic explorer and scientist. He might be seen as the classic Norway outdoor type.

Read more about the long distance explorer Fridtjof Nansen, among other thing the first to lead an expedition to cross huge ice-covered Greenland. Fridjof Nansen on Wikipedia

The St. Olav Trail

the St. Olav trail is easy to hike and goes mainly through lowland and cultural parts of Norway, but it gets wilder as the trail heads north past the city of Lillehammer, around half way up. Compared with most other hiking trails of Norway ( and there is a lot )  the St. Olav Pilgrim’s way is a cultural trail, where it is most often possible to sleep in a bed and enjoy Norwegian food, culture and hospitality.

The St. Olav Way ( “Pilegrimsleden” in Norwegian ) is a hike through one of the richest, safest and best hiking countries in Europe, but also one of the most expensive ones, where a single beer costs around 10 US dollars and a simple pizza 20-30 USD.

Good thing is that in most places you can pitch your tent for free, and there is no fee on hiking the St. Olav Way in Norway 🙂

Watercolor of hiker walking along the St. Olav Way in Norway, a stone showing the trail mark beside him
The St. Olav Way is more and more becoming a network of culture hiking trails all leading up to the ancient ( begun year 1032) viking city of Tronheim, far up in Norway. The main trail is from Oslo and around 400 miles / 643km.

Research Links:

Official Norwegian trail website: The Nidaros Pilgrim’s route in Norway

Wikipedia: The Pilgrim’s Route to Nidaros on Wikipedia

Published by

Frits Ahlefeldt

Founder of Hiking.org - Researching, writing & sketching up thoughts, understandings and ideas for a sustainable future, connecting thrive, trails, places and technology