St. Olav Waterway: a Nordic heritage route

Where we are

St Olav Waterway is the first Finnish route of pilgrimage in the network of St Olav Ways throughout Sweden, Finland and Norway, passing through the UNESCO Archipelago Sea Area Biosphere Reserve. As the name implies, it functions largely as a maritime route for sailing boats, kayaks, and ferries. The St Olav Waterway was created to connect and awaken the common Nordic heritage and to explore the historical forms of travel throughout the archipelago.


The archipelago region is a fairly well-known area among tourists, and there are various tourism activities, but mostly only in the summer. This causes a strong decline in jobs and activities off-season. This results in an economic “gap”, limiting the rural regeneration and development.

The Waterway provides an opportunity to fill this gap, attracting new groups of visitors and creating (strongly needed) new jobs. Being newly launched, various challanges have arisen while aiming to improve the regeneration of the rural area in a sustainable way.

Rural Heritage

Under the mentoring of RURITAGE’s Role Models, good practices and knowledge will be used to find solutions for the route that are sustainble in the long-term. The involvement of both entrepreneurs and local communities is essential to support the services for travelers along the route. This will boost the long-term regional developments concerning cultural and natural heritage in this beautiful area of water and islands.