Accommodation and services
There are many accommodation options available along the St. Olav Waterway: hotels, rental apartments or privately-owned rental rooms specifically for pilgrims. Services are concentrated in villages and along ferry connections. Please take this into account when planning accommodation for your trip.
Various travel websites offer up-to-date information on different accommodation options.
Make sure that your accommodation is located along your itinerary. The aforementioned websites offer hospitality services close to the route. We recommend you reserve accommodation in advance and verify that there is free accommodation available at your destination especially during busy periods and vacation season. Outside travel season it is worth making sure that accommodation services are open for business.
Restaurant, Wi-Fi and laundry services are available in most accommodation locations. The St. Olav Waterway is still unfinished, and the route has not yet been officially opened. Therefore, in some areas along the route accommodation services can be scarce.
Grocery stores are mainly situated in central residential areas and villages. Smaller shops or kiosks can be found close to ferries. Grocery shopping should be planned well in advance. Most shuttle boats also offer small snacks.
Pharmacy services are available in Turku, Kaarina, Pargas, Nagu and Korpo. In Åland there are pharmacies in Mariehamn, but Medicinskåp sell medicine also in Kökar, Sottunga and Lumparland. Along the St. Olav Waterway in Sweden, you can find a pharmacy in Grisslehamn (Medicinskåp in the ICA store), Östhammar and Öregrund.
Credit cards like Visa and Mastercard can be used to make payments in cafés, hotels and larger accommodations. Private apartments typically use cash payments. Please note that paying with the Swish app is generally used in Sweden but usually not in Finland.
There are very little ATM machines in the Finnish archipelago and Åland. ATMs are located in the centre of Turku, Kaarina, Pargas and Nagu. In Åland you can use a cash point in Kökar and Mariehamn. Please make sure you have cash with you for the duration of your trip.
Travel offices along St. Olav Waterway:
- Grisslehamn (information only in Swedish)
- Söderhamn (information only in Swedish)
Travel offices offer helpful information about their surroundings. Please check service hours before visiting!
The mobile phone network along the St. Olav Waterway is comprehensive. Reception may vary depending on the service provider. Most accommodation services and travel offices offer a free Wi-Fi connection.
The most popular period to backpack is from mid-May to mid-September. The weather can be very versatile and temperature changes can be severe. Typically, in the archipelago winters are milder and summers cooler than on the mainland. The sea can store warmth far into autumn. There is also less rain in the archipelago.
Follow the weather forecast online via the Finnish Meteorological institute: Ilmatieteenlaitos, SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrographical Institute) and Yr.no. You can also follow observations made at the Nagu weather station.
In case of an accident or other emergencies call the emergency number 112. The same emergency number is valid in Finland, Åland and Sweden. In non-urgent matters you can contact the police in South-West Finland (+358) 0295 440 501, in Åland (+358) 018 527100 and in Sweden (+46) 114 14.