Easter in Norway: Day trips along the Pilgrim Route
Norwegian American Weekly
If you’re in Norway for Easter, you really ought to take a cue from the locals and use the holiday as an excuse to explore the outdoors.
In Norway, the Easter holiday is especially long as most businesses close up shop from Maundy Thursday through to Monday. Naturally, Norwegians see this five-day holiday as the perfect opportunity to retreat to their cabins in the mountains and celebrate the beginning of springtime with family.
While many locals take this time to squeeze in one last weekend of skiing, Americans—especially those of us born without skis on our feet—may prefer to explore the country on foot. To honor the Christian holiday while engaging in the more secular cultural tradition of Easter hiking, tourists might consider walking along St. Olav’s Way.
Of course, the famous Pilgrim’s Route can’t be completed throughout the Easter holiday—it’s almost 400 miles long! For a journey appropriate for the still-chilly weather and gentler on the feet, you’ll probably want to choose a small section that you can explore in a day, or maybe two. Luckily, there are several recommended daytrips along St. Olav’s Way; the first two listed here begin in or near Oslo while the final three are located around Trondheim. Whatever you choose, just don’t forget your traditional Easter nourishment of oranges and a Kvikk Lunsj!
Medieval Park to Old Aker Church
If you want to spend your Easter holiday exploring Oslo’s historical churches, then this short walk is ideal for you. You will begin in the Medieval Park where you can discover ruins of monumental buildings dating back to the Middle Ages. Continue on the path to view Maria Church, ruins of the king’s palace, Klemens Church, the Church of the Cross, Hallvard Cathedral, and ruins of Olaf Monastery.
Your path will then lead you to a more contemporary Oslo as you enjoy the Botanical Garden, Museum of Natural History, and Munch Museum. From there you will follow the Love Trail through to the Telthusbakken Hill and end back in time at Old Aker Church, Oslo’s oldest existing building.
Kløfta to Jessheim
Starting at Kløfta Station—a train ride away from the capital—this journey is about 13 or 14 kilometers. From Kløfta, you will travel on one of the oldest roads connecting Oslo and Nidaros as you pass Ullensaker Church, the Bjørke farm, the wooden cruciform Hovin Church, and the Raknehaugen burial mounds dating back to the Iron Age, among other historical highlights. The daytrip concludes when you’ve reached Jessheim station.
There is also an option to expand the trip to two days by starting in Oslo instead and taking a break at the storehouse at Arteid Vestre farm for the night before continuing on to Jessheim.
Rotvoll to Nidaros Cathedral
This eight-kilometer trip from Rotvoll to the final destination of the Pilgrim’s Route, Nidaros Cathedral, takes only two hours and is therefore suitable for most. After passing the Leangen Farm, you are encouraged to take a rest at Ringve, where you will discover a lovely botanical garden and the fascinating museum of music.
When you’re ready to get back on your feet, you’ll continue on to the Lade Church and the Kristiansten Fortress. Finally, you’ll cross the Nidelva River on the Gamle bybro to arrive at the ultimate destination, Nidaros Cathedral.
Lian to Bakklandet
Starting at Lian Restaurant, located in a trendy area of Trondheim, you’ll continue this eight-kilometer walk on to the Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum, which consists of more than 60 vintage Trøndelag buildings.
Grab a snack at Café Bagle before you journey on to Feginsbrekkja, where you can look over Nidaros as many pilgrims have done before you. You’ll then pass the Ilen Church and the Nidaros Cathedral and cross the Bakke Bridge into the quaint neighborhood of Bakklandet. After you’ve gotten a coffee in one of the colorful wharf houses and wandered the cobblestone streets a bit, return to the Nidaros Pilgrim Center, right next to the cathedral.
Synnerdalen to Storbekkøya Museumsseter
On this 16-kilometer journey starting in Synnerdalen, you will begin by wandering along the river and a mountain pasture. After a steep climb, you will be rewarded with the discovery of Kvilestenan, a large stone perfect for taking a rest.
If you’re up for adding an additional five kilometers on to the hike, you can take the optional detour to a sandy beach on the north end of Lake Forollsjøen. Otherwise you will continue your trek onto Storbekkøya. If the weather is cooperative, you may choose to climb up to the top of Storvarden for a breathtaking view over Trollheimen, Sylene, and Mount Vassfjellet.
The trip ends with a steep descent to Storbekkøya Museumsseter, a delightful museum farm with chalets, a blacksmith’s shop, and coal mines. Accommodation is available upon request, and it may be the ideal spot for you to curl up with your crime novel after a full day of walking.
This article originally appeared in the March 25, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.