Gjester koser seg med is- og sjokoladedessert på brygga på Sjokoladebrygga på Dønna en fin sommerdag

Explore Helgeland’s culinary delights and rich cultural heritage: From Viking history to the unique World Heritage of the Vega Islands, the fascinating history of aquaculture, medieval churches, historical trading places, and exquisite local eateries.

Key info

Length: About 211 kilometers
Recommended duration:
6 to 7 days
Stopping points:

Thank you for respecting the local communities, and for helping us preserve the natural beauty of Helgeland!


  • Strive to leave no trace of your visit. Bring back all your rubbish, including used toilet paper, and discard it in the nearest rubbish bin.
  • Plan your toilet visits and use the opportunity when you pass a toilet. In the wilderness, make sure you are not a nuisance to others.
  • Respect the local wildlife. Keep a good distance from wildlife, livestock and birds. Keep your dog leashed.
  • Respect private property. Keep a respectful distance from houses and cabins.
  • Show good boating sense. Keep a good distance from shore and drive at a low speed, especially when you are close to anyone or anything on the water, including birds or animals. Avoid loud and disturbing engine noise. Be aware that some islands and nature reserves are important nesting sites, and that going ashore is prohibited during the nesting season.
  • Follow the Norwegian Mountain Code (Fjellvettreglene). Plan your excursion according to the weather forecast, your skills and experience.
  • Join a guided excursion or consider hiring an experienced guide, especially when you don’t have sufficient experience or knowledge to guarantee a safe trip.

Day 1: Meet the vikings in Sandnessjøen

Your journey begins in Sandnessjøen, a city at the heart of the Helgeland coast, surrounded by majestic mountains and picturesque islands. You will stay at the Scandic Syv Søstre Hotel, a modern establishment in the city center. It’s conveniently close to the harbor and the pedestrian street, bustling with boat life and cozy cafés, and the hotel’s dining room offers a stunning view of the sea and the mountains around Sandnessjøen.

Today’s highlight takes place at the Chieftain’s Seat in Sandnes, just outside the city center. In this authentically reconstructed longhouse, you will hear one of the area’s best-documented stories from the Viking Age. The story encompasses trade, power, and politics, but also daily life at the chieftain’s seat and the people who lived there. Look forward to an evening of celebration with a Viking-style feast, complete with costumes, true Viking tales, legends, contests and competitions. And, of course, enjoy good food and drink in the spirit of the Vikings.

Day 2: Stately accommodation and cultural walk on Dønna

About 35 kilometers
View todays route with Google Maps
View the ferry schedule from Sandnessjøen to Dønna

After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, it’s a short walk to the ferry that will take you to the neighboring island of Dønna. From the ferry you can enjoy the views of the fjord and the islands around Sandnessjøen, before you disembark and drive about 30 minutes to Dønnes Gård.

On the way, we highly recommend stopping at Sjokoladebrygga on Dønna, possibly the world’s smallest chocolate factory. Here, chocolatier Heidi offers tastings and sales of her self-made, organic, handmade chocolate, infused with the raw power and history of nature.

Your journey continues to Dønnes Gård, a stately home with a remarkable history dating back 800 years, related to a wealthy family that owned large parts of Helgeland. The hosts have been awarded the Olav’s Rose, a mark of quality from Norwegian cultural heritage, for their efforts in preserving the historic manor house.

After a satisfying lunch and some relaxation, take a guided tour of the manor, which boasts a beautiful English landscape park with a gazebo and a farm shop. You can also explore Dønnes Church, originally built as a private chapel for the manor. The church houses a 17th-century mausoleum containing 22 coffins, making it Norway’s largest and best-preserved mausoleum.

Before dinner, we recommend a hike to the top to the small mountain Dønnesfjellet. It’s a very low mountain and an easy walk, with breathtaking views of the coast and the islands north of Dønna. It takes about 20 minutes to walk following the hiking trail, but there is also a road to the top if you prefer to cycle or drive.

Your evening concludes at Dønnes Gård, with a delicious dinner made from locally sourced ingredients.

Day 3: From Herøy’s botanical delights to the world heritage of Vega

98 kilometers
View todays route with Google Maps
View the ferry schedule from Herøy to Søvik
View the ferry schedule from Tjøtta to Igerøy (Vega)

To give you a chance to experience more of what Dønna has to offer before moving on, this day starts early with breakfast and check-out around 8:00 AM. Your first destination is the old trading post in Nordvika, which is part of the Helgeland Museum on Dønna. This trading post is one of the oldest and most intact in Nordland, beautifully located among the stunning mountains around Solfjellsjøen, northwest on Dønna. The drive there takes about 20 minutes from Dønnes Manor. At the trading post, you can explore exhibitions, shop in the old-style general store, or enjoy a coffee in the cozy living room where the wallpaper is decorated with real gold. Nordvika is open during the summer season and by appointment at other times.

Next, you’ll head to the beautiful island of Herøy via the Åkviksund Bridge to visit the botanical extravagances at the store Etcetera . Etcetera is created by Norway’s champion in flower decoration, Tommy Eide. It is a large flower and interior design store, so beautifully and meticulously decorated that the store itself is like a work of art. Here, Tommy has created his own wonderland for you to get lost in, complete with a year-round Christmas room, interior art, books, and chocolates.

As lunchtime approaches, set your course for Skolo, about a 10-minute drive from Etcetera. Skolo is not a typical hotel or restaurant, but rather the old school of Seløy, transformed into a soulful and exclusive building designed by an architect, with historical roots. The old gymnasium has been turned into a cozy restaurant with a pizzeria, coffee bar, and cultural venue. Skolo’s kitchen is renowned for its delicious food, and groups can, by prior arrangement, enjoy a tailored tasting menu. They are especially known for their long-fermented pizza made from local ingredients. Be sure to save some time for a cup of coffee after your meal, as it is exceptionally good at Skolo.

Keep an eye on the ferry schedules, as you have two ferries to catch to continue on to Vega. First, from Herøy to Søvik, and then from Tjøtta to Igerøy on Vega. The last ferry doesn’t run very often, so it’s wise to allow plenty of time to ensure you make it on board.

Once you arrive at Vega, you have a short drive to Vega Havhotell, where you’ll have the chance to relax and perhaps take a stroll in the surrounding area before dinner. Vega Havhotell is renowned for its excellent cuisine, inspired by the modern classic kitchen and grounded in continental culinary traditions. A five-course meal here is highly recommended. The menu is based on local seasonal ingredients, so you’ll truly enjoy an exquisite “taste of Vega.”

Day 4: Explore Vega

This day is all about enjoying Vega and experiencing what the island has to offer. You might consider visiting the Vega World Heritage Center to learn more about the island’s exciting cultural heritage that has earned UNESCO World Heritage status. Alternatively, you could take a boat trip out to a genuine eiderdown harvesting island and see how the tradition of eider duck farming and bird watching is still kept alive. If you’re in the mood for more activity, consider taking a trip to one of the island’s many beaches, cycling through the cultural landscape, or hiking some of the magnificent mountains that dominate the island’s west coast.

If you prefer a quiet and relaxing day, you could comfortably spend another night at Vega Havhotell. However, if you’re looking for a change of scenery, consider staying at the cabins of Basecamp Vega, which are built in the traditional style used by bird watchers when constructing eider duck houses.

Dag 5: From Brønnøysund to Vega

52 kilometers
View todays route with Google Maps
View the ferry schedule from Igerøy – Horn

Whether you opt for a long morning in bed or an early breakfast on the beach, you’ll need to catch the morning ferry to the coastal town Brønnøysund. The ferry ride takes about 50 minutes, followed by a roughly 20-minute drive into the town.

Brønnøysund is a charming coastal town, perfect for starting your day by wandering along the harbor and exploring the cafés and shops in the heart of the city. Enjoy an ice cream by the quayside as you watch the bustling harbour, or savor the sea air with a cup of coffee at an outdoor café. For lunch, we recommend a visit to Svang Restaurant and Wine Bar, where skilled chefs always have delicious dishes on offer.

As evening approaches, we recommend heading to Hildurs Urterarium for dinner. Located about 6 kilometers from the city center, they host a celebratory five-course meal in “Sagastuen”. Hildurs is a unique and food-loving family restaurant situated in a 250-year-old house rich with history and character.

All the food is based on local ingredients from farm, forest, mountain, and sea. Before or after your meal, you are free to wander through the beautiful herb garden, a splendid sight featuring sections for culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, a biblical garden, and an area dedicated to roses, perennials, and rhododendrons.

Day 6: Aquaculture and Adventure Mountains

52 kilometers
View todays route with Google Maps

Today, it’s time to head to Torghatten, the famous mountain with a hole right through it. Torghatten is just a short drive from downtown Brønnøysund. The hike up and through the mountain is relatively short and easy, accessible for most people. All you need is good footwear. At the top, you walk through the hole, which is about 160 meters long, 35 meters high, and 20 meters wide, offering a magical view over the southern Helgeland coast.

On your way from or to Torghatten, you can also visit the Norwegian Aquaculture Center at Toft. In this impressive facility, you can see and learn about fish farming and aquaculture with a guided tour through the farming installation, which includes exhibitions and aquariums. Here, you can also enjoy lunch at the restaurant Smak.

For dinner, we recommend making a reservation at Torghatten Strandrestaurant, considered one of Helgeland’s finest kitchens. Here, you will enjoy a delightful five- or eight-course menu featuring the best local ingredients the area has to offer.

For the journey ahead

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