Photo: Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen

Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten: Hiking Trails and Viewpoints

Comprising thousands of islands in the south to steep mountains and narrow fjords in the north, Helgelandskysten (the Helgeland Coast) is possibly Norway’s most beautiful stretch of coast.

Driving along Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten provides plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling or boating adventures along the way. Take a detour to beautiful islands such as Vega, Dønna or Rødøya, admire Europe’s lowest-lying glacier Engabreen, discover the secrets of Gildeskål, or trek up one of the many mighty mountains to experience stunning views of it all.

With a total distance of 433 kilometers, Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten is the longest of the 18 Norwegian scenic routes. The route travels along Road 17 from the village of Holm in the south to the tidal stream Godøystraumen in the north.

If you’re interested in exploring the north of Norway by car, the route can be combined with Lofoten, Andøya and Senja scenic routes in the north.

Ferries

The 6 ferries that connect Scenic route Helgelandskysten allows you to take a break from driving and to experience the magnificent nature surrounding the route in full.

The ferries run pretty frequently. The only exception is the ferry between Kilboghamn and Jektvik, which runs only 4 to 5 times per day in winter. The ferries don’t run at night, so plan your trip accordingly. As a general rule, arrive 15 minutes before departure to secure a place on the ferry.

The ferry between Holm and Vennesund takes 20 minutes. The route runs 13 to 15 times per day. Check departure times on Entur (Holm ferjekai, Bindal to Vennesund ferjekai, Sømna).

The ferry between Horn and Anddalsvåg takes 20 minutes. The route runs 11 to 14 times per day. Check departure times on Entur (Horn ferjekai, Brønnøy to Anddalsvåg, Vevelstad).

The ferry between Forvik and Tjøtta takes 50 to 60 minutes. The quicker, direct route operates two to four times per day. The local route operates five to six times per day and stops in Mindland, Tro, Stokkasjøen, and Vågsodden. Check departure times on Entur (Forvik ferjekai, Vevelstad to Tjøtta ferjekai, Alstadhaug).

The ferry between Levang and Nesna takes about 20 minutes. From June through August, it runs 11 to 14 times per day. From September through May, it runs 8 to 13 times per day. View the timetable.

The ferry between Kilboghamn and Jektvik takes about 1 hour. From June through August, it runs 9 to 10 times per day. From September through May, it runs 4 to 5 times per day. Check departure times on Entur (Kilboghamn ferjekai, Rødøy to Jektvik ferjekai, Rødøy).

Tip: The waiting room at the Jektvik terminal is something special. Clad in translucent fiberglass, it lights up like a Chinese lantern as darkness sets in during winter.

The ferry between Ågskardet and Forøy takes about 8 minutes and runs very frequently. From June through August, the route operates 20-23 times per day. From September through May, it runs 14-18 times per day. Check departure times on Entur (Ågskardet ferjekai, Meløy to Forøy ferjekai, Meløy).

Note that it’s possible to access many of the larger islands by express boats or ferries. This provides the opportunity for worthwhile detours, for instance to Vega, Dønna or Rødøy.

Experiences

Cycling is a good choice if you want a close encounter with the Helgeland coastline. Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten is part of National Cycle Route 1, which runs along the entire coast of Norway. The route also coincides with the EuroVelo 1 “Atlantic Coast Route”.

Undertaking the whole route is ambitious because of long stretches of road and tunnels. It’s recommended to take it stage by stage. The flat terrain makes the southernmost part the easiest to cycle.

Most towns and some of the islands offer bike rental. There is no charge for bikes on the local boats and ferries. Brønnøysund or Sandnessjøen are excellent starting points for island-hopping by bike. Rent a bike in Brønnøysund and visit islands such as Vega, Herøy, and Dønna before returning the bike in Sandnessjøen. Visit Kystriksveien Reiseliv for tour suggestions.

In the archipelago, kayaks are a great means of transport. Because of the large number of islands, you can paddle for long distances without having to cross wide expanses of open sea. VisitNorway has information about kayak providers along the Helgeland Coast. You can also book kayak adventures through Kystriksveien Reiseliv.

Tips

  • Set aside at least three days, and up to a week, to explore Scenic Route Helgelandskysten. Frequent ferry crossings and tempting detours often take up more time than expected.

  • If you don’t have time to drive the whole route, it’s easy to alternate between the scenic route and Road E6, as there are several connections between the roads.

  • Scenic Route Helgelandskysten is part of Kystriksveien (The Coastal Route), which runs a total of 650 kilometers from Steinkjer to Bodø. If you want help to plan your trip or to book activities or accommodation along Kystriksveien, check out Kystriksveien Reiseliv.

  • You can check departure times on ferries and other public transport by using the travel planner on Entur or 177 Nordland. It’s also possible to view fares as well as booking speed boat tickets in advance through 177 Nordland.

  • There’ll be a new speed boat service going from Bodø to Sandnessjøen in summer 2019, which will make it easier to visit many of the islands along the Helgeland Coast. View the timetable.

  • There may be some distance between the villages and petrol stations along the route, so make sure to fill up and buy food where available.

  • Sea fog can appear suddenly along the coast. This is something to be aware of when trekking up the mountains along the coast. If you see signs of fog coming in, wait and see whether the fog settles before starting on the hike.

Download this guide, including all hiking trails and maps, in the Outtt app.

Holm to Godøystraumen

Heilhornet

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Demanding
10.4 km · 5 – 7 hr

Heilhornet

Just 18 kilometers south of the Holm ferry terminal lies the start of the trail to Heilhornet, Southern Helgeland’s highest mountain. At 1,058 meters above the ocean, Heilhornet delivers views of the surrounding mountains and zig-zagging fjords. As the final climb to the top is exposed, this is an adventure for experienced hikers.

Park your car at Hornelva rest stop and start your hike from there.

Read more about Heilhornet

Torghatten

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Easy
0.5 km · 0.5 – 1 hr

Torghatten

Wrapped in legends, the 35-meter high and 160-meter long natural tunnel through Torghatten Mountain is worth a detour. From the tunnel, you have great views of the Brønnøysund archipelago.

Torghatten is just a 20-minute drive away from Brønnøysund, along Road 54. 

Read more about Torghatten

Gullsvågfjellet

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Demanding
5.5 km · 3 – 4 hr

Gullsvågfjellet

Gullsvågfjellet Mountain is a popular hike on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Vega Island. From this peak during midsummer, you can watch the midnight sun hover just above the horizon.

The first part of the trail, which follows the gondola lift from Moen up to Gullsvågfjellet, is extremely steep. However, it’s possible to take a 1 kilometer longer, but less demanding trail from Gullsvåg.

Vega is well connected to the mainland and is worth a detour. The Vega archipelago was the first Norwegian cultural landscape to enter the UNESCO World Heritage List. These inhospitable, but bountiful islands bear testimony to 1,500 years of generations leading a sustainable way of life based on fishing and the harvesting of eider ducks. On Vega and the surrounding islands, you’ll see fishing villages, quays, warehouses, eider houses (built for eider ducks to nest in), farming landscapes, lighthouses, and beacons.

There are ferries and express boat services to Vega both from both Sandessjøen and Brønnøysund.

Read more about Gullsvågfjellet

The Seven Sisters

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Demanding
24.7 km · 12 – 20 hr

The Seven Sisters

Like pearls on a string, the Seven Sisters tower over the Helgeland Coast. These mountains are set so close together that they can all be climbed in one day. The seven peaks offer stunning views of the Helgeland Coast and archipelago.

Undertaking all seven peaks in one day is a test of endurance. However, there are individually marked trails to each of the peaks, so you don’t have to take them all in one go.

The Seven Sisters are just a 15-minute drive southwards from Sandnessjøen, along Roads 809 and 17.

Read more about The Seven Sisters

Åkvikfjellet

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Medium
4.8 km · 1 – 2 hr

Åkvikfjellet

Situated on the beautiful island of Dønna, Åkvikfjellet is an easier alternative to the more well-known, but challenging Dønnamannen. You’re awarded spectacular views of many Helgeland highlights as you ascend Åkvikfjellet’s 287-meter high peak.

Dønna is just a 25-minute ferry ride away from Sandnessjøen. Another possibility is to take the ferry from Søvik in Alstadhaug to Silvalen on Herøy. The drive through the coastal landscape on the narrow bridges from Herøy to Dønna is in itself worth the detour. There’s also an express boat service operating on the route Sandnessjøen - Bjørn (Dønna) - Nesna.

Read more about Åkvikfjellet

Hestmannen

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Medium
5.8 km · 3 – 4 hr

Hestmannen

Hestmannen is another iconic mountain along the Helgeland Coast that’s surrounded by myths. Legend has it that it was Hestmannen who shot the hole through Torghatten Mountain while chasing the beautiful maiden Lekamøya. From Hestmannen’s 571-meter high summit, you’ll have stunning views of Helgeland highlights such as The Seven Sisters, Svartisen Glacier, and Rødøya Island.

Hestmannen is located on Hestmona Island, and the most direct way to access the island is by taking the speed boat from Tonnes.

Read more about Hestmannen

Rødøyløva

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Medium
7.6 km · 3 – 5 hr

Rødøyløva

From the top of the lion-shaped Rødøyløva Mountain, you can enjoy the view of the archipelago spreading out like a carpet consisting of hundreds of tiny islands. If you’re looking for a nice spot to watch the midnight sun, Rødøyløva or the beaches below are excellent choices.

Rødøyløva is located on the beautiful Rødøya Island. With its white beaches, majestic mountains and spectacular archipelago, Rødøya is worth a visit. Rødøya is well connected to the mainland. It’s possible to take the express boat from Sandnessjøen, Bodø or Tonnes (Lurøy), or the ferry from Jektvik. 

Read more about Rødøyløva

Braset

Helgeland

Viewpoint
Easy
 

Braset

Braset viewpoint is the perfect place to admire Europe’s lowest-lying glacier Engabreen, a mighty branch of the Svartisen Glacier. The viewpoint is located only a 15-minute drive away from the ferry terminal in Forøy. 

Read more about Braset

Helgelandsbukken

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Demanding
17.1 km · 6 – 8 hr

Helgelandsbukken

From the peak of Helgelandsbukken Mountain, you’re awarded some of the best views possible of the Helgeland Coast and Svartisen Glacier. The hike includes an unforgettable boat trip across the Holandsfjord, where you can see Engabreen Glacier up close. It’s possible to spend a night surrounded by steep peaks at Tåkeheimen cabin on your way up to Helgelandsbukken.

The trail starts from the parking lot at Holandsvika, located along Road 17 between Halsa and Glomfjord.

Read more about Helgelandsbukken

Fykantrappa

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Demanding
1.8 km · 1.5 – 3 hr

Fykantrappa

At the heart of Glomfjord in Meløy, you can walk some 1,129 wooden steps from the bottom of the valley to the top of the mountain. The Fykantrappa Staircase was built in 1919 by migrant workers called “Rallare.” At the top of the stairs, you’ll find Rallarbrakka, a tiny restaurant serving mountain food.

The road that leads to the trailhead at Fykanvatnet Lake is located between the Fykan Tunnel and the Svartis Tunnel along Road 17.

Read more about Fykantrappa

The Forgotten Town

Helgeland

Hiking Trail
Easy
0.6 km · 0.5 – 1 hr

The Forgotten Town

About 15 kilometers south of Inndyr in Gildeskål, you’ll find the magnificent stone construction The Forgotten Town. Walk just a couple of hundred meters away from the road, and you’ll be transported to a different place and time. 

Read more about The Forgotten Town

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