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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.
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.
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.
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.