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St. Olav Waterway

Long Distance Hiking · Archipelago
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St. Olav Waterway Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Pyhän Olavin merireitti
    / Pyhän Olavin merireitti
    Photo: Stefan Bremer, St. Olav Waterway
  • / St Olav Waterway - Turku - Finnish Archipelago - Åland Islands
    Photo: James Simpson, St. Olav Waterway
  • / Hike alone or with newly found friends
    Photo: Stefan Bremer, St. Olav Waterway
  • / Relax as the wind fills your sails
    Photo: Leanne Downs, St. Olav Waterway
  • / St Olav Waterway is financed by Central Baltic funding 2016 - 2019
    Photo: CentralBaltic
  • / St Olav Waterway, a part of the pilgrimage route St Olav Ways and a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.
    Photo: James Simpson, St. Olav Waterway
m 300 200 100 500 400 300 200 100 km Utö
Spend a fabulous few days island hopping through the Finnish Archipelago. Explore as a round trip from Turku over a few days or on a longer pilgrimage along St Olav Ways towards Trondheim, Norway.
moderate
560.5 km
138:23 h
901 m
910 m

St Olav Waterway is the first pilgrim’s trail connecting Finland and Sweden over the sea!

From Turku, you can reach Korpo in four to five days or Mariehamn in about a week, but feel free to unwind and travel slowly. Enjoy wonderful sunsets after refreshing swims after sauna. Imagine how pilgrims and traders experienced the archipelago in years before cars and motorised boats. Take time to speak to locals and discover the secrets of The Finnish Archipelago.   

You have the option to take a public ferry to an island in the outer archipelago to get away from it all or book a sailing boat, rowing boat or kayak trip to explore small rocky islets. The main route passes through the larger islands but you have the option to explore historical sites and smaller islands along the way.

In order to prepare for your trip, why not explore the trail and landscapes on Google "hike view"  with 360 degree pictures, the trail is also available on google maps as streetview. 

You can find more information on www.stolavwaterway.com or www.visitpargas.fi/outdoor 

 

 

Author’s recommendation

Be sure to book accommodation a few days ahead. Summer months are busy , whilst some companies are open by request only during spring and autumn.  
Difficulty
moderate
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
81 m
Lowest point
-27 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

The route is mainly along cycle tracks, dirt roads and secondary tarmacked roads. When walking along roads without pavements or cycle paths, please walk on the left side, facing the direction of traffic and be aware of oncoming cars.

The route is marked with the square logo of St Olav Ways and arrows. On easier sections, there may only be a couple of signs per kilometre.  

The archipelago is a sensitive area; please respect the nature and inhabitants of the archipelago. You can read about your rights and responsibilities according to everyman's right. Lighting fires is not allowed without the permission of the landowner and only when there is no general fire warning.  

Ticks are prevalent in long grass and damp vegetation. Although it is very unlikely to pick up a tick if you keep to the trail it is a good idea to conduct a tick check in the evening especially if you have been in places of lush vegetation. Tick tweezers are a good idea. Here is more information about ticks.  

Snakes enjoy the archipelago and love rocky warm places. They are normally shy and will slither away but it is wise to keep an eye out for them. There are two snake species in the archipelago, grass snakes and adders.

You should carry a first aid kit and mobile phone, 112 is the emergency number in Finland. We recomend the 112 Suomi smart phone app which can helps the emergency services locate you if needed. 

Weather forecast and weather and fire warnings: http://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/ 

More information: www.stolavwaterway.com 

Tips, hints and links

The only pilgrim trail with saunas everyday!

You can get tourist information with online chat at  http://www.visitpargas.fi  

Now you can order your own pilgrim passport online before the journey or buy from Turku Cathedral.

 

Turku/ Åbo – Galtby (Korpo/Korppoo)

Soratie/ dirt road/ grusväg                21.8 km

Tie/ road/ väg                                       29.3 km

Pyörätie / cycle path / cykelväg         32.7 km

Polku/ trail / stig                                  18.9 km

Lautta/ ferry/ färja                               2.5 km

Silta/ bridge/ bro                                 9

 

(Pärnäs – Nötö – Aspö – Jurmo – Utö – Pärnäs = Lautta/ ferry/ färja           148.1 km)

 

Start

Turku Cathedral (21 m)
Coordinates:
DD
60.452681, 22.278134
DMS
60°27'09.7"N 22°16'41.3"E
UTM
34V 570312 6702509
w3w 
///flushes.twin.skirt

Destination

Korpo or Mariehamn / Eckerö on the Åland Islands

Turn-by-turn directions

Stage 1 Turku – Pargas

Stage 2 Pargas – Lillandet, Nagu

Stage 2b Alternative route over Pensar

Stage 3 Lillandet – Nagu Village

Stage 4 Nagu – Korpo

Stage 5 Outer Archipelago Island Hopping

Stage 6 Åland Islands (For accommodation suggestions, please go to Visit Åland)

St Olav Waterway continues in Sweden on St. Olav paths to Trondheim on either The Viking Trail from Grisslehamn which in turn connects to other paths such as Helgonleden and Stråsjöleden.  Or by travelling north to Selånger, and continuing your pilgrimage on St. Olavsleden.

St. Olav Waterway was an EU financed project of The Central Baltic Programme 2016-2019

St Olav Waterway is a part of St. Olav Ways to Trondehim and a certified Cultural Route of The Council of Europe. 

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Public transport friendly

The archipelago is well served by bus and ferries enabling you to make round trips or shorten longer stages. These are detailed in the respective stages. The ferries are free for foot passenger and along the main trail ferries depart up to four times an hour.

To the smaller islands the ferry timetables can be confusing but ask for help at your accommodation and they will help you. This is especially important on the more remote islands where there are not always daily ferries. 

Getting there

Turku is easily reached from Helsinki, Tampere and the rest of Finland by both bus www.matkahuolto.fi and train www.vr.fi. There are even direct busses from Helsinki airport. Turku (TKU) has an international airport with direct flights and onward connections to a wide variety of destinations.  

Four daily sailings connect Turku with Stockholm and the Åland islands. The operators are Vikingline and TallinkSilja. Turku has an international airport.

Tourist boat routes serving the archipelago are found on www.visitpargas.fi and ferries on www.lautta.net. The ferry timetables from Galtby on Korpo to Åland www.alandstrafiken.ax 

There is a good bus service near most of the main part of the trail, busses 810 and 901 - 904 http://tlo.fi/reitit-ja-aikataulut/saaristobussi/ 

From Mariehamn on the Åland Islands there are good onward ferry and flight connections to Turku and Helsinki in Finland as well as Stockholm in Sweden www.visitaland.com.

Parking

There is plenty of free parking in the villages and towns along the route. 

Coordinates

DD
60.452681, 22.278134
DMS
60°27'09.7"N 22°16'41.3"E
UTM
34V 570312 6702509
w3w 
///flushes.twin.skirt
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The official pilgrim’s credentials for St. Olav Ways to Trondheim (pilgrim’s passport) can be obtained from Turku Cathedral or in advance from our online shop: https://www.doerz.com/parainen/pyhiinvaelluspassi 

A Guide book is available in Finnish only at the moment
Pyhän Olavin retkeilyreitit, Harri Ahonen, Aada Ala-Tala,

Available from our online shop https://fi.doerz.com/parainen/pyhan-olavin-retkeilyreitit 

https://www.tammi.fi/kirja/harri-ahonen/pyhan-olavin-retkeilyreitit/9789520412753 

 

 

 

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Photos from others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
560.5 km
Duration
138:23h
Ascent
901 m
Descent
910 m
Public transport friendly Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical value Geological highlights Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights Healthy climate

Statistics

  • Contents
  • Show images Hide images
  • 6 Stages
Top moderate Stage 1
29.6 km
7:39 h
217 m
210 m

From Fascinating Turku to the Finnish Archipelago, these are the first steps of St Olav Waterway, a 1200km pilgrimage that takes two months to ...

St. Olav Waterway
Top moderate Stage 2
31.7 km
8:16 h
158 m
137 m

From the bustling archipelago town of Pargas to peaceful Nagu with one ferry crossing. Oak woodlands, expanses of sea, rocky shores and lush ...

St. Olav Waterway
Pilgrim Trail · Finnish Archipelago
St Olav Waterway - 3. Lillandet to Nagu village
Top moderate Stage 3 open
8 km
2:05 h
26 m
21 m

Peaceful roads through farming land and 3 islands. The scenery will remind you of Victor Westerholm’s landscape paintings from the late 1800s.

1
from James Simpson,   St. Olav Waterway
Pilgrim Trail · Finnish Archipelago
St Olav Waterway - 4. Nagu to Korpo
Top moderate Stage 4
35.9 km
9:02 h
21 m
48 m

You will explore most of the main Nagu Island and get a taste of Korpo too. There is a diverse mix of deep cool forests, warm enticing rocks, dark ...

St. Olav Waterway
Top moderate Stage 5 open
148.3 km
53:30 h
44 m
44 m

An adventure in the archipelago visiting the remote smaller islands by free public ferry. This is a place to unwind and enjoy the wild seas and ...

from James Simpson,   St. Olav Waterway
Pilgrim Trail · Archipelago
St Olav Waterway - 6. Åland Islands
Top moderate Stage 6 open
294.5 km
72:45 h
771 m
781 m

St Olav Waterway continues over the demilitarised and semi-autonomous Åland Islands, get a new perspective on this archipelago that stretches ...

from James Simpson,   St. Olav Waterway
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For changing the range of view, push the arrows together.