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St. Olav Waterway

Long Distance Hiking · Finnish Coast and Archipelago · Open
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  • Pyhän Olavin merireitti
    Pyhän Olavin merireitti
    Photo: Stefan Bremer, St. Olav Waterway
m 100 50 -50 500 400 300 200 100 km JURMO CULTURAL … hikers Ferry Galtby … Långnäs Korpo Church Kökar Church - S:t Anna Eckerö Linjen MS Baldur … Utö Långnäs Nötö church
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.
Open
moderate
Distance 560.5 km
138:23 h
901 m
910 m
81 m
-27 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.  
Profile picture of James Simpson
Author
James Simpson 
Update: April 06, 2022
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

Track types

Show elevation profile

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 and hints

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
Show on Map

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 mobile navigation we recommend the free Outdoor Active app

Most of the walking path is also suitable for cyclists with some exceptions; these are mentioned on the main hiking map descriptions.

The map for cyclists can help you plan. There are some sections not suitable for bikes and two sections in Nagu that can be difficult for bikes with thin tyres, they are marked on the map. Cyclists can download a GPX track for navigation on your phone, GPS, smartwatch or sports-tracker. This includes the two rough sections in Nagu. 

St. Olav Waterway was an EU financed Interreg project of The Central Baltic Programme 2016-2020 and developed. The path was further developed with fundning from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture 2020-2022. 

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

St Olav Waterway continues in Sweden and Norway on St. Olav paths to Trondheim.

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://visitparainen.johku.com/en_US/visitpargas/pilgrimpassport 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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Photos from others


Status
Open
Difficulty
moderate
Distance
560.5 km
Duration
138:23 h
Ascent
901 m
Descent
910 m
Highest point
81 m
Public-transport-friendly Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights Botanical highlights Flora and fauna Linear route Dog-friendly Healthy climate

Statistics

  • Content
  • Show images Hide images
Features
Maps and trails
  • 6 Stages
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 1
Distance 29.6 km
Duration 7:39 h
Ascent 217 m
Descent 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 ...

1
from James Simpson,   St. Olav Waterway
Pilgrim Trail · Finnish Coast and Archipelago
St Olav Waterway - 2. Pargas to Lillandet, Nagu
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 2
Distance 31.7 km
Duration 8:16 h
Ascent 158 m
Descent 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 ...

from James Simpson,   St. Olav Waterway
Pilgrim Trail · Finnish Archipelago
St Olav Waterway - 3. Lillandet to Nagu village
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 3 Open
Distance 8 km
Duration 2:05 h
Ascent 26 m
Descent 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
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 4
Distance 35.9 km
Duration 9:02 h
Ascent 21 m
Descent 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 ...

from James Simpson,   St. Olav Waterway
Pilgrim Trail · Finnish Coast and Archipelago
St Olav Waterway - 5. Outer Archipelago Island hopping
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 5 Open
Distance 148.3 km
Duration 35:25 h
Ascent 34 m
Descent 34 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 · Finnish Coast and Archipelago
St Olav Waterway - 6. Åland Islands
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 6 Open
Distance 282.2 km
Duration 69:45 h
Ascent 771 m
Descent 785 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
Distance  km
Duration : h
Ascent  m
Descent  m
Highest point  m
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