“Bring a tent and sleep wherever you want along St. Olavsleden!”

Meet Hans van der Heijden from Holland
I have walked to Santiago de Compostella a couple of times, following different routes. This is my first time walking St. Olavsleden. And there are some big differences between the two!

The roads to Santiago de Compostella are crowded, as you would expect. The last 100 kilometres is like walking in a pilgrim traffic jam. Along St. Olavsleden you will not meet many fellow hikers. Which is great. But that means also that there is also less accommodation. It’s wise to plan your nights beforehand, if you would like to spend the nights at hostels, hotels or inns. You can also bring a tent, as I did. This way you can sleep wherever you want!

The people in Spain are used to pilgrims. The routes are very well adjusted for hikers, and there is quite a lot of ‘pilgrim marketing’ along the way – with pilgrim inns, flags and banners welcoming pilgrims. Along St. Olavsleden the people are not (yet) used to seeing pilgrims – they are often sincerely interested in your story and ask if they can help you. Sometimes they even invite you in for ‘fika’. I love that!

There is a difference in climate also, of course. In Spain it can be really, really hot. But there are also several places where it can rain terribly. I must say that the weather on my journey in Sweden until now has been great: not too hot, not too cold. The perfect hiking weather, in my opinion. Plus: the air is clean, you can drink from streams and there are not quite as much mosquitoes as one would think. In short: a great journey!