Pilgrim passport and the Olav Letter

On a pilgrimage through Norway, it is tradition to use a pilgrim passport to document the journey. For many, the passport becomes a cherished memory with stories attached to each stamp.

Pilgrim passport with various stamps. Photo

A unique pilgrim tradition

The tradition of pilgrim passports dates back to the Middle Ages. The passport was originally used to document that you were a true pilgrim when you came to a new place as a stranger. Today, pilgrims carry on the tradition as a way to document the trip. Each stamp becomes a unique memory, and the passport itself becomes the "memory book" from the walk. Many pilgrims hang it on the wall when they return home.

Pilgrims can recieve stamps at the pilgrim hostels, the regional pilgrimage centers, in some churches, as well as some museums or other stops along the way. At accommodations that does not have a stamp, you can ask the host to give you a simple endorsement in the passport.

Two women holding up their Olav letters. Photo

The Olav Letter

The Olav letter is your proof of a completed pilgrimage. The letter is a great keepsake, and many pilgrims choose to hang it on their wall when they return home. The Olav letter is only issued at Nidaros Pilgrim Centre in Trondheim, and you must present your pilgrim passport with stamps and signatures to document your pilgrimage the last 100 kilometres into Trondheim and the Nidaros Cathedral.

The Olav Letter and the last hundred kilometres to Nidaros

The Olav Letter is a confirmation that you have walked the last stage, minimum 100 kilometers, of any of the St. Olav Ways into Trondheim, or biked the last 200 kilometers. You need to present your pilgrim passport in person with stamps as documentation, in order to recieve the Olav Letter. The only place the Olav Letter is issued is the Nidaros Pilgrim Center (Norwegian: Nidaros Pilegrimsgård), which is located close to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.

Recommended walks that qualify for the Olav Letter are Berkåk to Trondheim on Gudbrandsdalsleden, Stiklestad to Trondheim on St. Olavsleden, or Tynset to Trondheim on Østerdalsleden.

If you want to qualify for the Olav Letter by bicycle we recommend that you take the trip from Åre, Sweden to Trondheim on St. Olavsleden.

Along Kystpilegrimsleia, our coastal route, the qualification rules are a bit different: A pilgrim who has traveled along the coast and collected at least 6 stamps from the various official key places (26 in total) along the route, as well as a recent stamp from the Nidaros Cathedral, is entitled to the Olav letter. The coastal pilgrimage route is not a continuous marked hike, so you must combine boat, bus and bicycle to get to a new key location. Read more about the route and the keyplaces on the main page of the route.

The pilgrim reception at Nidaros pilgrim centre

We encourage and hope that all pilgrims visit the pilgrim reception on arrival atNidaros Cathedral. In the pilgrim reception at Nidaros pilgrim centre (located only 2 minutes from the cathedral), the Olav Letter is handed out, the pilgrim passport is finalized, the completed pilgrimage is registered in the statistics and the "Pilgrimage town of Trondheim's gold coin" is given.

The pilgrim reception is primarily staffed by volunteer pilgrim hosts who are passionate about the St. Olav Ways. They take good care of all pilgrims who visit the pilgrim reception at Nidaros Pilgrimsgård. They always offer coffee, a piece of chocolate and a chat.

For groups of more than 6 people, it is desirable that they fill in the group registration form that is attached here, and send it by email to trondheim@pilegrimssenter.no, in advance of arrival. This way, the volunteers in the pilgrim reception can prepare any Olav Letters and statistical work so that the visit to the reception will be easier for both the group and the hosts.

There is also a very nice pilgrim diploma, for pilgrims who do not qualify for the Olav letter.

You find more information about the pilgrim reception centre here: Nidaros pilgrim centre, pilgrim reception

How to buy the pilgrim passport?

The pilgrim passport costs 50 NOK and can be purchased at all regional pilgrim centers, as well as selected places (see overview below). If you want to have the passport sent in advance of your pilgrimage, you can order it in the online store: northernpilgrimshop.com

Buy here
The following places sell the pilgrim passport:


Northern Pilgrim Shop


Pilegrimssenter Oslo
Akersbakken 30
0172 Oslo
tel: +47 48052949

Domkirken i Oslo
Karl Johans g. 11
0154 Oslo
tel: + 47 23 31 46 00

Oslo Bispedømmekontor
St. Halvards plass 3
0192 Oslo
tel: + 47 23 30 11 60

Pilegrimssenter Hamar
Storhamargata 125
2305 Hamar
tel: +47 47 47 82 66

Pilegrimssenter Granavollen
Kommunehuset på Granavollen
2770 Jaren
tel: +47 40 60 01 77

Bønsnes kirke
3530 Røyse

Lillehammer Vandrehjem Stasjonen
Jernbanetorget 2-4
2609 Lillehammer
+47 61260024

Gildesvollen herberge
Gråvåbakken 5
2630 Ringebu
+47 95940499

Ringebu Prestegård
2630 Ringebu
+47 61282700

Pilegrimssenter Dale-Gudbrands Gard
2647 Sør-Fron
tlf: +47 45 60 46 08

Nidaros Pilegrimsgård
Kjøpmannsgt. 1
7013 Trondheim
tel: + 47 73 52 50 00

Bygdestua på Hoffsvangen
Tømmerholsvegen 320
2850 Lena
+47 908 87 582

Gammelbua i Rennebu
Voll, 7393 Rennebu
+47 995 42 018

Pilegrimssenter Dovrefjell
2661 Hjerkinnhus
tlf: +47 911 43651


Kirkekontoret i Trysil ved kirkevergen
Liavegen 25
2420 Trysil
tel: + 47 62 45 13 84


Hilde Kirkvoll
Kirkvollen, 7590 Tydal
tel: + 47 73 81 53 57


Stiklestad Nasjonale Kultursenter
tel: + 47 74 04 42 00

Every summer, a pilgrim breakfast is organized at Lian outside Trondheim, and a stamp in the pilgrim passport is a must for the pilgrims. Photo: Hans Morten Løvrød
You can get the Olav Letter at Nidaros Pilgrim Center which is situated close to the Nidaros Cathedral and the peaceful river Nidelven.