Storvreta to Vattholma
In Storvreta, the Maria Trail splits into two different tracks. One goes directly to the Lena Church in Vattholma, almost straight north, and the other arm heads west to Ärentuna, before turning northwards. The direct route to the Lena Church is about eight kilometres, while the longer is 22 kilometres. The longer route is the one featured on the official folder published by the Swedish Church, but the trail is clearly marked along the shorter, northbound route making it easier to follow. The second stretch of the longer route, between Ärentuna and Lena is not marked at all in some spots, at least at the time of writing (Summer 2020).
The longer route is preferable if you have the time. The medieval Ärentuna church has some fantastic wall and ceiling paintings by the so called “Ärentuna Master” from the 1440s which alone makes the extra kilometres worthwhile. Just make sure the church is open when you will be arriving.
After visiting the church in Ärentuna, the trail heads straight north before latching onto an eastbound country road for a couple of kilometres. This stretch isn’t that exciting, but as soon as you turn off the road and go north again, you’re in for a treat. You’ll be hiking through beautiful forests interspersed with farmland and pastures.
When you exit the forests and the trail turns sharply eastward again you have a long stretch of hiking along country roads across open fields, and you’ll see the Lena church on the horizon from quite a long way away.
This leg of the pilgrim trail is a mixed bag. On the one hand you’ll be walking along some rather trafficked country roads and on the other you’re wandering through deep forests and meadows. Together with the lovely church in Ärentuna, it’s worth taking the longer trail.