Can you go on a pilgrimage by bike? Yes, of course you can! The EuroVelo 3 makes this possible. From Trondheim in Norway, you follow the most important pilgrimage routes in Europe to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.
At the beginning, you cycle on the Olav’s Way through lonely, rugged landscapes from Norway to Sweden. Next, the Oschen Way brings you across Denmark to the lowlands of North Germany. In Hamburg, you join the German Way of St. James before riding through Belgium on the Via Mosana and Via Monastica. The subsequent Via Thiérache soon becomes the Chemin d'Estelle which takes you to the heart of France – Paris. From there, you cycle on the Via Turonensis until just before the Pyrenees to the commune of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, where the Camino Francés begins.
The total distance of the EuroVelo 3 is almost 5,500 kilometres (3,417 miles) so I have divided it into two Collections to make the route easier to follow. This Collection takes you from Norway to just before the Spanish border. You can find the Camino Francés from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port here: komoot.de/collection/1080662
On your pilgrimage, you will make many unforgettable memories as you cross breathtaking landscapes shaped by incredibly different climate zones. Some days will take you to your physical limits while others will be relaxed rides along the banks of a river. Great views, wide plains, fascinating coasts and exciting cities await you. At the end of your journey, you will find it hard not to cycle the same route again.
This is a journey that you will remember for many years to come. The road may leave its mark on you as you undergo changes or help you to see the world from a different perspective than you did before. The motivation for your journey is irrelevant – whether religious, spiritual or educatative, whether you are looking for a challenge, or whether you want to find some peace and distance yourself from everyday life for a while.
The first part of the EuroVelo 3 totals 44 daily stages that vary in length from roughly 80 to 150 kilometres (50 to 93 miles) – depending on the difficulty rating and altitude difference. The stages are shorter at the beginning of the journey and become longer as you familiarise yourself with the route. As not everyone can or wants to do an average of over 100 kilometres (62 miles) per day, I’ve included additional information about overnight accommodation halfway through the day in all the stage descriptions. This lowers the daily average to just over 50 kilometres (31 miles), thus making the route also suitable for leisurely cyclists. E-bikes are also a good option for this adventure. Of course, you can cycle the entire pilgrimage route in one go, divide it into several parts, or split it across several holidays.
You can find accommodation at or near each stage destination and about halfway along the route. There is usually a selection, however, I recommend booking in advance. Nothing is nicer than the certainty of being able to stretch your tired legs in a comfy bed after a strenuous day riding. If you’re travelling with a tent, I’ve also included information on campsites near the stage destinations and halfway along the route, where possible.
Packing your luggage is also a bit of a challenge for the EuroVelo 3, especially if you’re riding the entire route in one go. While the temperatures in Norway can be quite icy, depending on the season, you will sweat much faster in southwestern Europe and need cooler clothing. In addition, you should always carry enough food and water with you on long journeys. In Scandinavia and Denmark, you often ride for hours through lonely landscapes with no possibilities to buy anything. In a few instances, you'll find no shopping facilities for one to two days.
Last but not least, one thing is certain – the EuroVelo 3 is a grandiose adventure that will certainly move more in you than just your legs. I wish you a "Buen Camino!".
Your trip on EuroVelo 3 starts in Trondheim, Norway, in the Trøndelag province. EuroVelo 3 is largely based on the St. Olavs pilgrimage route. This is the most popular of a total of six Nidaros trails, all of which end at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. From the ferry pier on the coast, where the train station is also located, you can also make a short detour to the cathedral, which you visit differently than the many pilgrims at the beginning of your trip. If you drive EuroVelo 3 to its end, another sanctuary awaits you there - the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.Over a hill from which you can enjoy the view over Trondheim again, you say goodbye to the south. After you have passed Heimdal, you turn into the Gauldalen (Gaul valley), which you follow to Hovin. Here you can make a detour to a museum village. Then you follow small rivers westwards into the mountains until you reach your destination for the day at Lake Frillsjøen.You can find accommodation for the night at Frillsjøen campsite. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, the Valdøyan campsite near Lundamo, which you can reach after 43 kilometers a day, is about halfway.
From Frillsjøen you drive in a small curve south to Meldal, where you turn into the Orkladalen. About 16 kilometers further south you turn upstream at the mouth of the Grana to the west and follow the river first to Lake Granasjøen. While the ascent is quite moderate for most of the route, about two kilometers behind the source of the Grana there is a short steeper section, then you have reached the highest point of the stage.With a wonderful view of Lake Skarvatnet, you follow the route further south - now it's just as gently downhill as it was uphill before. In Oppdal you can replenish your food reserves or, if time allows, take a short trip to one of the mountains to enjoy the view - the lifts are also available in summer.Almost eight kilometers later you will reach your accommodation for the night at Driva with the Smegarden campsite. If you prefer to split the stage over two days, it looks a bit meager with the overnight accommodations halfway. It may be worthwhile to stay in Orkladalen and drive to Oppdal via Berkåk. There you will find Mjuklia Gjestegård, a kind of youth hostel that also offers accommodation for pilgrims.
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In Drivdalen you cross the eastern foothills of the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park and follow the Driva upstream until you reach the highest point of your journey at over 1,000 meters at the Tverrfjell pass. If you have some time to spare, a detour to the Snøhetta viewpoint to the west is definitely worthwhile.You follow the Folla downstream and turn south at Folldal. The mountains of Dovre and Rondane national parks rise to your right. A glorious, majestic sight. You will reach your destination for the day in the north of Lake Atnsjøen.At Øvre Nordli, a small group of pretty Norwegian huts, you'll find your place to sleep today. Shortly before, there is also another accommodation option along the route. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, there are various accommodations available near the Tverrfjell pass - ideal to enjoy the view from the mountains a little longer.
The trip continues along the shore of Atnsjøen Lake, where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the mountains of the Rondane National Park at the Sohlbergplassen lookout point. At the southern end of the lake, turn south from the Atna river and, after passing three other, slightly smaller lakes, follow the Vulda for a while downstream. You turn right and drive around Rondane National Park to its southern end.You will collect a few more meters of altitude on the further route, then a beautiful descent down to Gudbrandsdalen awaits you. However, you don't stay very long here and turn east again at Ringebu into the mountains. The 650 meter high ascent stretches for a good ten kilometers and as soon as you arrive at your destination for the day at Måsåtjønnet Lake, you will be well exhausted.At Friisvegen Tourist Center you will find some nice accommodation options for the night. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, there are various accommodations available near Søre Fiskeløysa (lake). You can reach it after roughly 34 kilometers a day.
Today you have a decent ascent and descent that will cost you a lot of strength with an altitude of 1,500 meters. Make sure you take enough provisions with you, because you hardly pass any large towns on the way. The lonely and idyllic landscape will always reward you for your efforts. You will find a simpler alternative route if you follow Gudbrandsdalen from Ringebu to Lillehammer the day before - here you don't have to reckon with almost any altitude and meet the EuroVelo again in Lillehammer.Today you will also be driving on gravel roads over long sections of the route, which will again require some energy. Fortunately, the longest climbs await you during the first part of the stage, after which the journey is at best hilly. After the first 23 kilometers, it is also worth taking a short break - this is followed by a particularly steep section.You will reach your destination for the day in Nordseter, where you will find plenty of accommodation and first of all you can devote yourself to a well-deserved dinner. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, it looks a bit poor with the overnight accommodations halfway. After about 49 kilometers a day, however, you will reach an unmanned DNT hut near Djupslia. More information at: deutsch.dnt.no/die-htten
After yesterday's masterpiece, you deserved to be able to let the bike run a little today. The first 13 kilometers are almost all downhill from Gudbrandsdalen to Lillehammer. There you can make a long stop, treat yourself to a hearty second breakfast and take a look at the city.With Lillehammer you can also reach Norway's largest lake, Mjøsa. You follow this on its east bank south until you reach Hamar, the second big city of the day. It is worth stopping here again to take a look at the numerous sights.A little further south is your destination for the day to the west of Stange. There is no accommodation at the destination itself, but on the way there between Hamar and Stange. Just find a suitable one. Alternatively, you can of course also find a place to stay in Hamar, which is eleven kilometers north. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, the Steinvik campsite south of Moelv is about halfway.
For almost the first half of the day you follow the east bank of Mjøsa to its southern tip, where the Vorma river flows out of the lake. The last part of the route along the lake runs comfortably on the old Morskogan railway line. The idyllic loneliness of the Nordic forests and mountains is now increasingly over, but you hardly have to worry about your provisions anymore.Via Jessheim, the EuroVelo 3 takes you on to Lillestrøm, where your today's destination is. Here you will find enough places to stay. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, the Storenga campsite at the southern end of Mjøsa, for example, offers accommodation about halfway.
Today's route takes you from Lillestrøm via Oslo further south to Moss. Although EuroVelo 3 only touches the Norwegian capital on its eastern foothills, it is of course still worth taking a short trip there. You will find a few beautiful sights with the artists' quarter north of the city center, the castle with its extensive park and finally the view of the opera house over the bay. Incidentally, the Olavsweg also ends / begins in Oslo.After the rest of the route runs mostly inland, you will come back to the Oslofjord at the end of the day. In Moss you will find a handful of accommodation options and, if time permits, you can also take a short trip to the Jeløy peninsula. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, for example, the place Ski halfway is a good option. Of course, it is also worthwhile to make an overnight stop in Oslo. This is relatively at the beginning of the stage, but you can really take your time to look around the city.
Today the route takes you to just before the Swedish border. You follow the peninsula-like foothills of the mainland on the Oslofjord in a southeast direction - sometimes closer to the water, sometimes a little further away from it. It is worth stopping in Fredrikstad to see the pretty old town. A few restaurants and shops can also be found here.In the south past Sarpsborg the journey continues to Høysand, where you can touch the Skjebergkilen nature reserve and take a break at Sandvika beach further south.The stage ends northwest of Isebakke just before the border. You can find accommodation in Halden to the west, but you have to allow for a few extra kilometers. Alternatively, you can end the stage in Høysand, where you will find a nice campsite near the shore. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, Fredrikstad is the ideal place to stay overnight.
Today you will pass your first national border on EuroVelo 3. Over the old Svinesund Bridge it goes into Sweden. You stay mostly near the Bohuslän archipelago coast. which gives you some smaller hills on the way. After you have successfully conquered the Scandinavian mountains during the first stage on EuroVelo 3, these shouldn't be a major problem for you.Via Strömstad and Tanumshede you drive to Fjällbacka. On the way you will encounter historically significant sites, such as stone graves or ancient rock carvings, which will add that certain cultural extra to your tour.In Fjällbacka you have a good selection of different accommodation options. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, Strömstad is the ideal place to stay overnight after the first third of the stage. Alternatively, you can make a detour to Garviks campsite on the island of Rossö about halfway.
From Fjällbacka, the route first stretches inland today, before meeting the coast again about halfway. A gentle, hilly landscape and extensive forest areas, which alternate with fields and meadows, characterize the landscape. About seven kilometers behind Munkedal you can make a detour to the Anneröd zoo. There you can watch moose in their natural environment.Via Uddevalla you drive near the coast to Ljungskile. The many islands off the coast give the impression that the sea is much more like a lake. They seldom reveal the horizon.Your destination for the day is in Ljungskile. There you will find a handful of accommodations and a campsite in the south of the bay. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, you will find a few scattered accommodations around Munkedal after about half the day's distance, also a campsite to the north of it.
Don't be surprised, today's stage is only 82 kilometers long, not 173. For the sake of better planning, however, I have included the ferry connection to Denmark in the route, hence the extra kilometers.From Ljungskile you drive further south today and stay mostly near the coast. After about 40 kilometers you turn inland. At Kungälv you cross the northern branch of the river Göta älv. Then shortly before your destination Gothenburg it gets a little more mountainous - two smaller climbs are ahead of you.In Gothenburg you take the ferry to cross over to Frederikshavn in Denmark. You can also do that the next morning and spend the evening in Gothenburg. Whatever you decide, you will find plenty of accommodation in both cities. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, a bed & breakfast on the coast near Tjuvkil is ideal. For this, however, you have to take a little detour. Otherwise, there are overnight accommodations in Stenungsund and Kungälv.
In Denmark, the landscape is now becoming increasingly flatter, but this also benefits the wind, which sometimes blows from the opposite direction depending on the weather. Today you drive from Frederikshavn to Aalborg. The area is predominantly rural. You will only come across a few small towns along the way. So pack enough provisions.In Aalborg you cross the Limfjord, a narrow strait that connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea. Here you will also find enough accommodation for the night. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, you will find a few places to stay near Østervrå and Flauenskjold. Alternatively, there is also a shelter halfway where you can bivouack.
From Aalborg, your journey on EuroVelo 3 takes you further south. You cross Rold Skov, Denmark's second largest contiguous forest area, you can make a detour to Hobro to let your gaze wander over the Mariager Fjord and then drive through a rich lake landscape, where a little detour is worthwhile every now and then to get to the shore.Your destination for the day is Viborg. The artistically designed Sønæs Park on Søndersø in the south of the city is ideal for an evening stroll. And suitable accommodation can also be found here. If you prefer to split the stage over several days, the overnight stops are Rebild and Hobro, each on a third of the total route.
The Ochsenweg begins in Viborg, the historic land route on which the so-called ox drift ran from the 16th to the 18th century - an economically very important cattle drive at the time. The destination is Wedel in Germany. Again and again you will come across sculptures of two large horns on the way - the symbol of the ox path. Incidentally, the Jutland Way of St. James is more or less identical to the Ochsenweg.Your destination for today is in Jelling. On the way there you cross large forest areas where forestry is carried out and drive over wide fields. Christmas trees, it seems, must be the region's main export. Every now and then a lake is ideal for a break.Jelling has a handful of accommodations and a campsite. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, the area around Silkeborg is about halfway.
From Jelling you drive south in a sweeping curve to the vicinity of Haderslev. You cross a predominantly agricultural area and a few smaller forest areas. The route profile remains flat throughout and only a few meters in altitude await you. You will also come across a few historically interesting places along the way, such as the reconstruction of a ship's setting - an important part of the Viking grave cult at that time.Around your destination for the day at Vedsted you will find a few scattered overnight accommodations, either directly in Vedsted or shortly before in Vojens or a little off the route at Hammelev Sogn. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, Vejen is the ideal place to stay overnight. In the northwest of it you will also find a campsite at Gestures.
We continue on the Ochsenweg southwards. Today you cross the border to Germany. After the first six kilometers, a little historical peculiarity awaits you: you cross the oldest bridge on the Ochsenweg - a stone beam bridge from 1786.You reach the border after 57 kilometers near Flensburg. If you want, you can make a little detour to visit the city on the Baltic Sea. A few smaller hills await you in the Fröruper Berge nature reserve - even if the term "mountains" seems a bit exaggerated here.After a short stop at Lake Idstedter, you will reach your destination north of Lürschau. You will find accommodation options a little off the Ochsenweg in Schleswig to the south-east. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, the Danish border town of Padborg is a good place to stay halfway. Alternatively, you will find a simple pilgrim's hut a few kilometers north of it.
If you have spent the night in Schleswig, you can drive out of the city westwards north of Friedrichsberg and come back to the Ochsenweg at Hüsby. In Germany you will now increasingly come across the typical Ochsenweg sculptures along the way. In Rendsburg you cross under the Kiel Canal and keep going south. For the last third of the route, there are still a few vertical meters to overcome at the Luhnstedter Gehege near Nindorf.You will reach your destination for the day in Itzehoe near the Elbe. You can also find suitable accommodation here. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, you will find a cozy inn in Jevenstedt halfway through. A few kilometers north in Rendsburg there are a little more options for an overnight stay.
From Itzehoe the route leads you today to the Elbe to the heart of Hamburg. Via Elmshorn and Uetersen you get to Wedel, where you meet the banks of the Elbe. Here you can make yourself comfortable on the Elbe beach and watch the hustle and bustle. Incidentally, the Ochsenweg now ends in Wedel.The journey along the Elbe to Hamburg is leisurely and always rewards you with new prospects for the busy shipping traffic. You are slowly approaching the Hanseatic city. Hamburg itself offers almost too many impressions for just one evening - maybe you would like to add another day to take a closer look at the city.Of course you will find numerous accommodation options in Hamburg. However, if you would rather set up camp, ElbeCamp campsite on the banks of the Elbe east of Wedel is a good option. If you are not that fast and would rather do the stage in two days, you can make an overnight stop in Elmshorn or Uetersen.
You can find the way out of the city bustle in the south of Hamburg. From now on, EuroVelo 3 is based on the Via Baltica - the northernmost east-west connection in the German Jakobsweg network. You drive through the nature reserve beech forests in the rose garden, where deciduous deciduous forest alternates with dark coniferous forest. Here it goes up a bit.The journey continues over agricultural parcels via Zeven to your destination Nartum, where a few simple guesthouses invite you to stay overnight. You will find a campsite southeast of Gyhum with the Hesedorf forest campsite. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, the small village of Heidenau is halfway. Further accommodation options can be found a little further along the path in Sittensen. There is a campsite southeast of Heidenau near Tostedt.
From Nartum the journey today first goes via Wilstedt to the Wümme. Extensive meadows shape the landscape here. You leave the Wümme, which flows into the Weser in Vegesack, north of Bremen and make your way to the next Hanseatic city. In the old town of Bremen, the route makes a little detour and leads you through Böttchergasse - definitely a cultural and architectural highlight. Since it is sometimes quite tight, you better push your bike here.Past the airport and the Kladdinger Wiesen you drive out of the city in the south and keep increasingly southwest. The further route takes you through the Wildeshauser Geest nature park to your destination Goldenstedt. Here you will find camping and other accommodation options. If there is nothing suitable, you can also drive a little further to Vechta. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, an overnight stay in Bremen is a good option.
Today's route initially leads past Vechta on the edge of the Goldenstedter Moor natural area. Increasingly, moorland and the associated peat extraction characterize the landscape. You can take a refreshing break at Dümmer See. The journey continues over Damme and past Wallenhorst to Osnabrück.Your today's goal is here. There are a variety of different accommodation options, as well as a couple of campsites on the outskirts of the city. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, you can spend the night in the vicinity of the Dümmer See. You will find a handful of campsites on its east bank. There are a few inns in Damme.
South of Osnabrück, the Teutoburg Forest stands in the way of the otherwise rather flat landscape of the Münsterland - a welcome change, because you can enjoy the wonderful view over the country from an elevated point of view. The Via Baltica has now also come to an end and makes way for the Westphalian Way of St. James.Shortly before Münster you cross the Dortmund-Ems Canal and then immerse yourself in the city's happenings. Along the Aa lake you drive out of the ring-shaped city in the southwest, cross the canal again at the height of Amelsbüren and cross the largest contiguous forest area in the region, the Davert.Your destination for the day is Davensberg. You will find some accommodations both here and a little further south in Ascheberg. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, an overnight stay in Ost- or Westbevern is about half the way.
It's time to change direction. If a persistent wind from the south has plagued you up to now, today will provide some relief: It goes west. Via Lüdinghausen you drive between Lippe and Wesel-Datteln-Kanal to Haltern am See. Then you follow the bundle of water to Wesel. The water-rich area is predominantly characterized by alluvial forests, which makes the trip a true experience of nature.In Wesel, the donkey is omnipresent as a symbol of the city - hardly surprising, given that the famous echo shout “What is the name of the mayor of Wesel? Donkeys. ”But not only donkeys can be found in Wesel, there are also numerous accommodations for the night and a campsite. This is located in the west on the Auesee. If you prefer to do the stage in two days, you can spend the night in Haltern am See.