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Pilgrim's Trail through Lillehammer, Fåberg, Øyer and Tretten

For many centuries pilgrims from all over Europe took the long journey to Nidaros Cathedral (in Trondheim) to seek out the relics of Saint Olav. On their way to the cathedral, they first followed one of two trails passing on either side of Lake Mjøsa to Lillehammer. After passing trough Lillehammer they would follow one trail starting at Øyer that would take them through the Gudbrandsdalen valley and on to Trondheim.

For many centuries pilgrims from all over Europe took the long journey to Nidaros Cathedral (in Trondheim) to seek out the relics of Saint Olav. On their way to the cathedral, they first followed one of two trails passing on either side of Lake Mjøsa to Lillehammer. After passing trough Lillehammer they would follow one trail starting at Øyer that would take them through the Gudbrandsdalen valley and on to Trondheim.

In our modern-day "pilgrim's trail" we have attempted to race the ancient pilgrim trail as accurratly as possible. All along the trail, special signs have been set up showing a logo containing a combination of the Saint Olav Cross and the international symbol for tourist attraction. A step into history and magnificent nature!

Suggested itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival, Lillehammer
Lillehammer is a charming town with a range of activities on offer, including Lillehammer Museum - Maihaugen, Sigrid Undset's home Bjærkebek, the Olympic Park and Storgata with its famous wooden buildings and excellent shopping. Furthermore, Lillehammer was the host city during the 1994 Olympic Games.

Day 2: 25km walk, Lillehammer – Øyer
Level of difficulty: Medium

The walk from Lillehammer to Øyer leads through Lillehammer town centre and on to Storhove, an old manor farm from medieval times and a former centre of power. This was the the area's most important farm. Today it is home to Lillehammer Høgskule and Campus. The walk continues to Fåberg and on to Hafjell which hosted the slalom and downhill competitions during the 1994 Winter Olympics. Views towards Hunderfossen with its bobsleigh and luge track.

Øyer is also a great summer destination, and offers a range of activities such as golf, bobsleigh on wheels and the Road Museum at Hunder. Overnight stay.

Day 3: Øyer - Tretten, 15 km
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium

As opposed to day 2, this walk will take you high up in the hills. Along the way you will see the foundations of the 12th-century Skåe Church and the remains of Tjodvegen - an old medieval route. You will then head through an enchanting forest to Kløv and then on to Kjørkjehaugen with its medieval church ruins. Open-air church services are held during the summer season. The full stretch is at reasonably high altitude. Overnight stay.

Day 4: Tretten - Ringebu, 27 km
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium

This section leads down into the valley. Fairly steep through the forest until you reach the nature reserve and the characteristic Rolla bridge from the 1800s. The ideal spot for a break in beautiful surroundings.

As you reach Fåvang you are very close to the town centre, and a detour for provisions is possible. The trail continues across “Den Høie Bro” – a spectacular bridge with a 20-metre span over river Tromsa. Then follows a short climb and a walk trough a residential area before you continue north.

Just before you reach Ringebu, the trail leads up to Elstadkleiva vantage point with views to both north and south. Here you will find the remains of beacons and fortifications from more unstable times. Then it is downhill, and along the way is Rettarbakken - an old place of execution where people were punished for their crimes. As you head on, you will see the steeple of Ringebu Stave Church - the only remaining stave church in Gudbrandsdalen. Guided tours of the church and Ringebu Rectory are available. This is also where the Weidemann collection and stave church exhibition are located. Please see www.gudbrandsdalsmusea.no. Just below is Gildesvollen, an old cult-centre and moot offering overnight stays.

Day 5: Ringebu - Hundorp, 16 km
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium

The walk continues north along Panoramaveien with its spectacular views towards Vålerbrua. This is Ringebu's administrative and commercial centre, and is a village with character and shopping precinct. Ringebu is home to Kvitfjell which hosted the men's downhill and super G during the 1994 Olympics. From Vålerbrua, the walk continues up through Kjønås residential area and down Bersveinhølen canyon where an open-air Peer Gynt performance is held every year in August.


Bersveinhølen is an old bridge crossing over the rapids of river Frya.

Continue through a pine forest and up the hill, and you will reach the Pilgrim Centre, Dale-Gudbrands Gard. This was an old chieftain's seat and Gudbrandsdalen's centre of power during the Viking era. It was here Olav the Sacred Olav and Dale-Gudbrand met in 1021, the historic "Christianisation Thing" from Snorre's Heimskringla. The area is protected and features 7 burial mounds of which one is open to the public. At the Pilgrim Centre, you will also find the exhibition "Tusenårstien" where the history of the farm and the area is on display.

You're welcome to take a walk!

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