overzichtskaart het olavspadBicycle route for pilgrims from Oslo, touching Mjøsa, the largest lake of Norway, through the splendid valley Gudbrandsdal, over the mesmerizing Dovrefjell planes to Trondheim.

  • Length: 628-645 km
  • Start: Ruins of St. Hallvard’s Cathedral in Oslo
  • End: Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim
  • Time needed: ten to fourteen days
  • Difficulty: 4 out of 5
  • Best season: mid-June – mid-September
  • Highlights: Planes of Dovrefjell, the Nidarosdomen in Trondheim, Sygard Grytting (700 year old pelgrim hostel), Cathedral ruins in Hamar, the valley Gudbrandsdal and Skibladner across Mjøsa.
  • Keywords: peace and quiet, nature, history, culture, plateaus, mountains and valleys

In the Middle Ages, pilgrimages were a form of mass tourism. At the time, Trondheim in Norway was an equally important pilgrimage destination as Santiago, Rome, and Jerusalem. Pilgrims walked to St. Olav’s grave in Nidaros, the old name for Trondheim. Various routes have been re-opened for the modern (walking) pilgrim, but there is absolutely no mass tourism. Compared to the route to Santiago de Compostella, this route is a haven of peace. Gea van Veen created a cycling route of the Gudbrandsdalsleden from Oslo to Trondheim.

The cycling route traverses Norway, a country of pure air and endless nature. You cycle through farmland, along Norway’s largest lake, through the woody Gudbrandsdalen where the hills get steeper and the valley gets narrower, pass through the rough and enchanting plateau of Dovrefjell and descend to Trondheimfjorden and the Nidaros Cathedral.

The Gudbrandsdalsleden is an independent route, but at the same time it is part of the series In the Footsteps of Saint Olav. This series consists of 5 routes in Norway and Sweden that can be combined.

GudbrandsdalsledenPre-order the guide now! Release date: February 17th

A pelgrimage on the bicycle

The word pilgrim comes from the Latin word peregrinus and means stranger, which is derived from peregre, a word composed of per, which means ‘across, through, along’, and an inflected form of ager, which means ‘field, land, acre’. So a pilgrim is someone who crosses through or along fields. Of course, by far the easiest way to travel across a field is on foot or horseback, but the present-day roads are well-suited for other means of transport. Luckily, there is no rule that one can only travel on foot or horseback, and a pilgrimage can very well be undertaken on a steel horse. However, because a number of stages of the hiking trail are not suitable for cycling, the Gudbrandsdalsleden for cyclists differs ca. 50% from the official Gudbrandsdalsleden. Despite this, it was possible to create a cycle route that is historically as correct as possible.

Something for you? Please read all useful information under Practical.

More information about the 'making of' of the bicycle route can be found here: On Two Wheels.

Disclaimer: The information about this route is collected with the greatest care. Opening times, routes and available accommodations can vary over time. Via Gaia can not be made responsible for any consequences and/or damages through the use of the contents of this website and the guide.
Some texts on this site have been used with permission from www.pilegrimsleden.no