Information about the project 2016 – 2020

The St. Olav Waterway was an unique international project aiming to create the first Nordic pilgrimage route that utilises sea passages.

The main aim of the project St Olav Waterway (September 2016- March 2020) was to guarantee that the 625 km long route from Turku in Finland to Söderhamn in Sweden is marked and mapped. St Olav Waterway is half of the total 1200 km long pilgrim route between Turku and Trondheim in Norway.

St Olav Waterway opened officially in May 2019. At lot of local celebrations took place during the two months long premier tour which was free for all to join. Depending on time and energy, you were welcome to walk as long as you wished – from some hours to several weeks.

The routes can be travelled in many ways. In addition to walking, visitors can kayak, sail, ride and bike. It is important that there are different options available. During the autumn 2018 the accessibility on the Finnish side were examined mapped.

Pilgrimages are recommended outside the traditional travel season. Spring (April to June) and autumn (August to October) are the best times to travel around the St Olav Waterway. The project extends the travel season of the archipelago, which is positive for locals as well.

The route has been certified in 2018 as a part of EU’s cultural routes, the Culture Route of the European Council. Prior visitors can be used to efficiently market the St Olav Waterway.

Route maintenance is important also after the end of the project. Therefore, a bilingual association operating in Finland and Åland called Olav routes in Finland (Olofsleder i Finland rf – Suomen Olavinreitit ry, chair person: Björn “Nalle” Öhman, honorary secretary: Andreas von Bergmann) has been founded. The association is part of the Nordic umbrella association called Association of St Olav’s Ways founded in 2018.

The project St Olav Waterway (2016-2020) is a collaboration between eight partners: Åbo Akademi (coordinator), Novia University of Applied Sciences, town of Pargas, municipality of Sottunga, the Franciskus på Kökar association, the Pilgrimstid association, municipality of Östhammar and municipality of Söderhamn. The total budget for the project is 1 522 133 euros, of which the Interreg Central Baltic programme is financing 75 % (1 141 599 euros). Other investors include the Regional Council of Southwest Finland, the Regional council of Åland as well as project partners.

Newsletters from St Olav Waterway were published 2017-2019 in Swedish and Finnish, and the archives are still available.

St. Olav Waterway – development of cultural tourism. Funded by The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture 2020-2022

The project St Olav’s mainland way follow the Middle Age pilgrims trough Finland from the town of Savonlinna to Turku

Partners and contacts in the project St Olav Waterway (2016-2020):
Nina Söderlund, project coordinator
Centret för livslångt lärande vid Åbo Akademi (CLL)

Anna-Karin Abrahamsson
Yrkehögskolan Novia

James Simpson
Pargas stad

Christian Pleijel
Föreningen Franciskus på Kökar rf

Kennet Lundström
Sottunga kommun

Patrik Sjölin
Söderhamns kommun

Stefan Edelsvärd
Östhammars kommun

Cina Kedvall
Pilgrimstid Sverige