Preparing for your hike
As you prepare to walk the Pilgrim Trail, please keep the following bits of advice in mind.
The Pilgrim Trail between Falköping and Varnhem is located in the west of Sweden, between the lakes Vänern and Vättern, approximately 120 km from Gothenburg. If you prefer to travel by train, there are railway hubs in Falköping and Skövde. Train time tables are available on www.vasttrafik.se and www.sj.se
Length: 43,7 km.
Suitable for a 3-day hike.
Markings: the trail is marked with images of St Olof's Cross
Terrain: urban areas, along forest paths, up mountain sides, on country roads and gravel roads. In some places it crosses fields where cattle may be grazing.
St Olof’s Church – Gudhem’s Church, approx. 13.2 km
The first part of this section runs on roads within the town of Falköping, before it continues along wider paths up onto the hillsides of Mösseberg, and across the mountain. Before it turns downhill, the trail runs along winding paths for a couple of kilometres, while the final five kilometres follow the highway, ending in a gentle downhill slope to Gudhem’s Church.
Gudhem’s Church - Naturum Hornborgasjön, approx. 18.7 km
This stage is characterised by easy and flat walking conditions. The first part follows forest paths, before continuing onto the highway, then finishing on soft, gently winding paths along the shores of Lake Hornborgasjön.
Naturum Hornborgasjön - Varnhem approx. 11.6 km
This stage runs mainly along narrow woodland paths along the edge of Sydbillingen, however the first part crosses open fields, before the trail climbs the mountain via a steep hill. The final section offers easy walking before you set eyes on, and later reach, Varnhem Abbey.
Online map with information about bus stops, places to stay, eateries and visitor attractions along the trail is available at www.falkoping.se/pilgrim Click on the icons on the map to see more information about a sight, accommodation or restaurant/café. Click on the arrow to show and track your position on the map.
A printed map of the Pilgrim Trail, including sights, accommodation, and places to eat can be found at the Tourist Office in Falköping and Skara or download here! Se address furher down in this article.
In the terrain the trail is marked with the Cross of St Olof.
Photographer: Jonas Ingman
Car or bus
If you are planning a day trip to the Pilgrim Trail, why not pick one of the sections that are accessible by bus. Bus services to Gudhem run from Falköping and Skara, (the bus stop in Gudhem is called Kabelstationen.)
The distance from the Naturum Visitor Centre to the bus stop in Broddetorp is approximately 3 km, but this service runs infrequently.
There are also bus services from Varnhem to Skara and Skövde, where you can change to a bus or train to Falköping. Time tables: www.vasttrafik.se
More information about bus stops and locations are available on the Digital Pilgrim Map, where bus stops and other places of interest are marked.
If you prefer to travel by car, we suggest the following car parks along the trail:
There are several car parks in Falköping town centre, near the St Olof church. Many of these are time-limited and require a parking-disc. (Can be purchased at the Tourist Office or from shops in the town centre.) If you prefer to start your trip near the Resecentrum station, there are a number of parking options, including a long stay car park. Click here to view car parks in the center of Falköping.
Car parks are also available at:
Gudhem Church/Nunnery Ruins
Below are a few tips concerning the equipment you may need on your hike! Naturally, your needs will depend on how far you are planning to walk, and for how many days.
• Comfortable shoes or boots. Some sections can be wet after rain.
• Outer clothing that protects against both water and wind.
• Dressing in layers makes it easy to adapt your clothing to the weather conditions.
• A travel daypack, preferably with an optional waistband, so that some of the weight is carried on the hips.
• Sit pad Plasters
• Water bottle
• Plastic bag for waste. Do not leave any litter or food behind. Cans, glass bottles, food, plastic and other types of waste can be harmful to both humans and animals.
Photographer: Agnes Maltesdotter
Be a friend to nature!
Welcome to enjoy the beautiful natural landscape of Sweden! Thanks to the Right of Public Access, we can all enjoy the lovely things that nature has to offer. This is a wonderful opportunity – but it brings a lot of responsibility.
When you walk along the Pilgrim Trail, please remember what you are allowed and not allowed to do. This is mostly about being considerate – both to the nature, animals, and landowners. Think of it as being invited to the home of a new friend!
A general rule when you spend time in nature is that you must not disturb or destroy. This is why you should take any rubbish or leftover food home, keep your dog on a leash, and avoid causing fires. Fire bans may apply at certain times of the year – at these times you must not light a fire anywhere. You must also remember to shut gates behind you, and take care not to frighten any grazing livestock. And please note – you must take extra care in nature reserves.
If we all behave responsibly, we can continue to enjoy the freedom granted under the Right of Public Access. Enjoy your walk!
More information about your rights and responsibilities in the wonderful Swedish nature are available on www.allemansratten.se
Photographer: Illustration Christina Jonsson
From October to February, moose hunting takes place in the forests in our area. Remember to pay attention to any signs of hunting going on and please stick to the trail. Wear colorful clothes.
Eating and sleeping
There are a number of places to stay and eateries along the trail. Please check room availability and restaurant opening hours before you set off on your hike. Many restaurants vary their opening hours depending on the season. Eat and stay! Opportunity to refill water is available at Östra Tunhem's church and Gudhem's church. Toilet is at Gudhem's church. There is a tent site at Hornborgasjön, by the car park next to Café Doppingen and out on Fågeludden by the lookout tower. More information about Hornborgasjön's tent sites and what to keep in mind when camping in a nature reserve can be found at:https://www.hornborga.com/what-to-do/tents-at-hornborga/
Photographer: Tuana Fridén
More beautiful walking trails and visitor attractions in the area around Lake Hornborgasjön can be found on: www.visithornborgasjon.se
The trail is well marked, however markings can be removed by wind and other weather conditions. Have markings gone missing, has a tree fallen across the path, or is there anything else that needs attention? Please let us know by completing the feedback form for the Falköping municipality on www.falkoping.se/synpunkter
Enjoy your hike!