Welcome to the Pilgrimage Finland web page. Pilgrimage Finland is a national co-operation. The main goals are to promote Finnish pilgrimage routes and to establish the first pilgrimage center of Finland to Turku in 2021.
"Pilgrimage is a journey to holy, wholesome or special places."
Pilgrimage center opens 1st of June
Finland’s first pilgrimage center opens for the summer months in the Cathedral of Turku 1st of June at 12 o’clock. Opening day offers possibility to hear about pilgrimage in the medieval times, a little contemplation travel through Aura river pilgrimages in a Peter’s way. There is also music and one can meditate by walking in a labyrinth.
From the first of June to the end of August it is open everyday from Monday to Sunday between 9 in the morning until 6 in the evening. From Wednesday to Saturday there is a person to help and answer the questions. The center offers information about the pilgrimage routes in Finland, there is a small boutique where you can buy few handcrafts and pilgrimage items. Center is a place to meet others, contemplate, or just rest.
Since the 1980s there has been a rising interest in pilgrimages in Europe. The most famous example of pilgrimage sites is the Caminos de Santiago route in Spain, which attracts hundreds of thousands of hikers yearly. Pilgrimages to Trondheim in honour of St. Olav are also on the rise. In Sweden and Norway there are 5 000 kilometres worth of pilgrimage routes.There can be found many reasons for that.
Every pilgrim goes on a journey from his/her own point of view, motives might be for example detachment from everyday life, reflection on one's own life and the search for meaning, exercise or cultural tourism. Pilgrimage combines nature, history, tourism, and spiritual dimensions as a whole experience. The journey can be done alone or together as part of a larger group. There are routes for a few hours of short hikes to many weeks or months of hiking.
Pilgrims differ from regular travellers by choosing holy sites as their destinations and seeking spirituality from their travels. The word pilgrim derives from the Latin word peregrinus meaning a foreigner travelling to a holy place. True pilgrims travel along special pilgrimage routes that connect holy sites to the pilgrim’s own home town.
Not all pilgrims travel these routes for religious reasons. Instead, people seek quietness, spirituality and a simple active lifestyle. Routes offer their travellers nature experiences and historic stories.
Pilgrimage in Finland
There are many different pilgrimage routes, journeys and pilgrimage networks in Finland. More information (in Finnish) you can find here: Pilgrimage networks and routes in Finland.
Pilgrimage project between the city of Turku and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has started. The main goal of the three-year (1.1.2020-31.12.2022) project is to strengthen pilgrimages in Finland and to open Finland’s first pilgrimage center in Turku in next year 2021. The place of the pilgrimage center is currently being sought but the center will be somewhere close to the cathedral of Turku.
As a coordinating project networking with different networks plays a major role. The key premise is wide range accessibility. Through the project different of kind pilgrimages will be presented, and more broadly, pilgrimage as a phenomenon.
Further infromation is coming in the summer.
The Aura river pilgrimages
There are two separate routes, both beginning at the Cathedral of Turku. On The Way of Helena, you will visit three medieval stone churches and the site of the original bishop’s see in Turku. On The Way of Peter, your destination is St. Peter’s church in the municipality of Lieto. You can either finish your journey there and return to Turku by bus or continue your pilgrimage back towards Turku along another route.
There are various ways to experience the pilgrimages. If a long daytrip doesn’t suit you, you can also visit the sites individually. The Ways of Helena and of Peter can both be travelled on foot or by bike. During summer months, it’s also possible to canoe part of The Way of Peter. If you wish to make the trip to Vanhalinna and back by canoe, rentals are handled at Café Padolla at the Halistenkoski rapids. Renting requires previous experience of canoeing and 18 years of age.
Please note, that the opening hours of churches and services along the way change with the seasons. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and to make sure you take enough food and water with you. Most of the cafés along these routes are only open during summertime. At the website of Pilgrimage Finland you will find more information about the services along the way, as well as of the opening hours, restrooms, and accessibility of churches. Please also check details of canoe rental there.
You can find the Aura river pilgrimages here.