The Hermitage of Saint Olaf is the first temple of these characteristics built in Spain in the XXI century (year 2011). Located on the outskirts of Covarrubias, it is a reference of Scandinavian architecture in one of the towns that were the cradle of the Kingdom of Castile.
Built in honor of Saint Olaf, patron saint of Norway, and in remembrance of Princess Kristina (Bergen, 1234 – Seville, 1262), which married the Infante Felipe of Castile (brother of Alfonso X “the wise”) in 1258.
It was this princess who asked her future husband to build a church in honor of Saint Olaf in Covarrubias town, something that did not happen at the time. However, with the support of the municipality of Covarrubias and the Princess Kristina Foundation of Norway it has been possible to build this beautiful hermitage of Nordic court in the heart of the kingdom of Castile.
How to get to the hermitage of Saint Olaf?
It is very simple since the hermitage is 2 Km from Covarrubias town and with easy access. You can go:
- Car: Leave Covarrubias on the provincial road BU-905 in the direction to Hortigüela. At 1.3 km you have the detour to the hermitage well indicated. From here, you will advance the rest of the route on a dirt road.
- Walking: The route is the same as driving. Be careful and go on the opposite side of the road in the initial part. After the detour, you can go easy on the dirt road.
Opening hours for the hermitage of Saint Olaf
The hermitage is managed altruistically by an association of Covarrubias so that the visiting hours are shorter (Saturdays and Sundays). Even in December to March you can only see it on the outside as it is closed to the public.
For the rest of the year, these are the schedules in which you can access the hermitage of Saint Olaf:
- In summer:
- Saturday: 17:00 to 19:00.
- Sunday: 11:30 to 13:30.
- In winter:
- Saturday: 16:00 to 18:00.
- Sunday: 11:30 to 13:30.
However, if you want to visit the hermitage a large group, we recommend that write to the association asking if the visit is possible on the date that suits you. This is the contact email of “The Sisterhood of Saint Olaf”: email@example.com.
The hermitage of Saint Olaf
The design is very different from the Romanesque hermitages more typical of this area. Elongated and made of modern materials, it has a lateral opening that allows to see the chapel from outside the set (there are even wooden benches outside).
A few meters from the main building there is a bell tower with the same architectural design. All a visual reference in these fields of the kingdom of Castile.
Once inside, the first thing you will see is a corridor in which you will be explaining the life of Saint Olaf, the trips from the north of Europe and other interesting information.
You can also contemplate a free portrait of Princess Kristina. We looked like the warrior Lagertha, from the Vikings series. What do you think?
Once you cross the entrance hall, you arrive at the main room. This is minimalist style, in the purest Nordic tradition. There is hardly any decoration inside the temple: a simple altar, several carvings, some flowers, offering candles and a Norwegian flag.
You can also see two models of a drakkar, those magnificent boats with which the Vikings dominated the sea and could go up the rivers for their incursions into Europe.
Where to stay in Covarrubias town?
Walking through this beautiful village and resting here a night of peace and tranquility is the best option. Although it is small, you have several accommodation options.
Events and cultural guide
The hermitage of Saint Olaf is not only a place of worship and a small history museum, it also has a own cultural agenda in charge of a non-profit organization: The Brotherhood of Saint Olaf. Before going to visit the hermitage, check their website for any scheduled activity (or write them directly).
Nearby places of interest
- Covarrubias town: It is a beautiful village, a living museum of Castilian architecture: towers and walls, arches entering the town, churches and collegiate churches, white houses with wooden beams, … and the hermitage of Saint Olaf is the icing on the cake!
- Santo Domingo de Silos town: Famous for its old Benedictine abbey. We recommend your visit to enjoy the wonderful Romanesque cloister and, if you’re lucky, the Gregorian chants of its monks (famous a few years ago). It is 20 km from the hermitage of Saint Olaf.
- Gorge of La Yecla: Narrow road by a canyon pierced by the passage of a river. Enjoy a different walk through a unique natural enclave. It is 22 km from the hermitage of Saint Olaf and 3 km from Santo Domingo de Silos town (Read more about La Yecla gorge).
But not only this town and its hermitage is worth noting, you have other must-sees for a roadtrip in the province of Burgos..
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Kiss and hugs.