The pilgrimage route connects a total of 6 churches, 2 of which are located a little off the lake, the other 4 belong to parishes located directly by the lake. The Tinnsjø is surrounded by mountains and thus the pilgrimage route between Tinnoset and Mæl leads up again and again to the heights (up to 850 Hm) and down again to the lake (about 191 Hm). The approximately 90 km long route we have divided into 5 daily stages of 15-29 km. (But we recommend to split the stage Austbygde – Mæl again and go on the path in 6 days)
We recommend you to travel to Gransherad by bus or car and start there on your pilgrimage route or at Alternative b in Tinnoset. In Austbygde we have planned a “rest day” between two strenuous stages. This gives you the opportunity to hike the church about 4 km outside Austbygde on a 16 km long circular hike. The last stage will take you from Mæl to the church to Dal (10 km/max. altitude 290 Hm). We recommend that you go 5 km further to Rjukan and spend a few days in the World Heritage city of Rjukan. During the summer months, you should not miss a ride on the historic railway and ferry over the Tinnsjø, in order to experience your pilgrimage from a completely different perspective.
Please note that for the stage from Gransherad to Hovin you have to order a boat guide in advance who will take you from Tinnoset to Sandviken via Tinnsjø. The contact information can be found at the appropriate stage description or you can choose alternative b.
Between Tinnoset and Mæl it was tried to orient itself as often as possible on old church or connecting paths and only very rarely leads along little busy roads. Large parts of the trail also run on good forest, road or gravel roads.
Integrating the old natural paths into the pilgrimage path means that you need a good level of safe footsteps and should definitely start with good footwear. For us Germans, these old paths are rather trampling paths, some of which lead quite steeply and unevenly through the forest. They are much more strenuous to walk than we Germans are accustomed to the local hiking trails. I therefore strongly urge you not to underestimate the paths and to take enough time for your stages. Only 12 or 15 km long stages can be quite enough and you want to experience and enjoy the Norwegian nature. The paths lead us through impressive and mostly untouched nature. You get a sense of how people have lived here over the last few centuries. Many of the paths were built and used several hundred years ago. These old paths connected the isolated farms, brought the cattle on them to summer pastures and, above all, they went to church on them. Since there was only one church in Atrå until the end of the 19th century, the paths were wide and people often traveled for hours in any weather to attend the service.
In many places the old retaining walls are still visible and one gets an idea of what a work it must have been to fix these paths, with the aids of that time. I am impressed with new ones every time I travel on them and I imagine the lives of the people at that time. So these paths are sometimes very strenuous to walk, but they also lead through beautiful nature and are more than impressive.
In any case, a varied and very peaceful path awaits you, offering you the opportunity to get to know Norwegian nature, its people, its way of life and hospitality.
Overview of the recommended stages:
1. Gransherad - Tinnoset (with boat over Tinnsjøen) Sandviken - Hovin ca. 15 km
2. Hovin - Austbygde ca 24km
3. Austbygde - Atrå ca 19km (plus 2 km to overnight)
4. Atrå - Mæl ca 13 km (plus 2km from overnight)
5. Mæl - Dal ca 10km (plus ca 4 km further on to Rjukan)
please remember to order the boat guide for the crossing from Tinnoset to Sandviken in advance for the first stage from Gransherad to Hovin!!!
The signs of the pilgrimage route consist of three different signs. The main sign consists of a green wooden sign with a church on it, to which we have attached additional “knitted” and painted markings on the path. They show a white church on a red background. The path down to the church in Mæl and from Rauadamm to Sandvika are additionally marked by red dots on the trees.
We would like you to feel safe on our pilgrimage and look forward to feedback whether you were satisfied with the signs or if you have missed a marker in one place or another.
The best time to make a pilgrimage in Norway is certainly from June to September. In view of the fact that the pilgrimage route goes up to 850 Hm, the danger of meltwater streams over the paths and, of course, snow at altitudes in May is still very great. In October it can then, on the heights, become sensitively cold again and you have to reckon with the first snow again.
The photo was taken on October 4, 2019, meaning snow on the stages from Hovin to Austbygde and from Atrå to Mæl:-)
At GodTur.no (based on Norgeskart) we made a tour to our pilgrimage route.
In addition, I have also created the tours on the German portal Komoot, if you would like to see them there.
You don't need a user account or you have to log in in any form there. The data is freely available to everyone.
There you can see the exact course of the trail, including interesting points such as viewpoints, rest facilities, shops, overnight accommodations and other interesting places.
In addition, you can download the tour as GPS file, for later use on the way. All downloads can be found here.
A detailed description of the individual stages can be found on the following page, together with pictures and an elevation profile.
Click on the overview map and you will be immediately forwarded to GodTur.no.
Thanks to the support of Sandviken Camping and Atrå Handelslag we were able to set up these “thought benches” along the pilgrimage path.
They invite you to take a break and take a deep breath. These breaks are just as important as pilgrimage itselves. Take time to let your thoughts fly into the past and the future. Let your imagination run wild and dream into another world.The benches stand in different places, at the end of a long slope, by a stream or a beautiful view.
After a long strenuous climb it is good to rest and enjoy the feeling of having managed it. Be proud of you.
Listen to the song of water that flows past you as a stream. Follow in your thoughts the water on its way. Where does it flow? into the Tinnsjø and further into the Heddalsvatn? and even further into the North Sea? What does it experience on its way?
What do you think on a place with a wonderful view? Do you love the sense of freedom, the vastness and openness of the landscape? Do you see back on the path you have gone or forward on the path that lies in front of you?
Regardless of this, we would like to invite you to take time on your pilgrimage around the Tinnsjø. Enjoy nature, silence and loneliness, but also society when you meet others or yourself.