A sea-borne pilgrimage route that has been winning strong community support

St Olav Waterway Map

The Saint Olav Waterway is an unusual pilgrimage: largely taken by sea, across the mouth of the Gulf of Bothnia which id scattered with hundreds of islands, large and small. The Waterway links up small communities on islands and remote headlands that are dependent on a special kind of tourist: one that is keen to get away from the crowds and looking for a spectacular natural environment.

Pilgrims can follow the route in many different ways. Those on foot or by bicycle follow the marked trails wherever there is dry land; otherwise hopping from island to island by boat or ferry. The more nautical can sail the whole way. For much of the trail, a kayak is an excellent means of transport, including through the Archipelago National Park.

The initial goal has been to mark and map the 625 km route from Turku in Finland to Söderhamn in Sweden – which represents the first half of the 1200 km pilgrimage route from the Cathedral of Turku to that of Trondheim in Norway, the burial site of the Viking king Saint Olav. Blazing of the trail has been completed on the Finnish side, but was temporarily slowed by Covid-19 on the Swedish shore.

For more information: https://stolavwaterway.com/en/


Written by David Ward-Perkins.