Person på fjelltur på toppen av fjellet Dønnamannen på Dønna med utsikt over Helgelandskysten en vakker sommerdag Kristoffer Møllevik / Visit Helgeland

Helgeland has thousands of mountains. Some of the more distinctive peaks have served as navigation landmarks for generations of seafarers, while others have inspired legends as to how they came to be. Here is our suggested itinerary for adventurous summit hikes to four of them: Torghatten, Dønnamannen, Rødøyløva and the Seven Sisters (De syv søstre). Our seven-day trip allows you to relax and experience other highlights between your mountain hikes.


Recomended duration: 7 days
Brønnøysund and the mountain Torghatten
Dønna and the mountain Dønnamannen
Sandnessjøen and the Seven Sisters
Rødøy and Rødøyløva

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.

The mountain Torghatten in the summer Kristoffer Møllevik / Visit Helgeland

Day 1: The mountain with a hole through it

Destination: Brønnøysund.
Hike: Torghatten. Easy hike, about 1-2 hours total.

Our journey starts in Brønnøysund, a town midway between the southern and northern tips of Norway. This charming coastal town is beautifully situated on a narrow peninsula. Nearby attractions include our first peak: Torghatten.

Torghatten is a distinctive hat-shaped mountain, famous for having a hole through it. The walk up the mountain, and through the hole, takes about an hour – and the walk is surprisingly easy. Eager hikers can also choose to climb the summit.

Ever since our ancestors told stories around the campfire, we have come up with explanations for unusual landscape features. Helgeland legends tell us the mountain hole was created when the Sulis Troll-King threw his hat into the air to deflect an arrow fired at the Maiden of Leka by the enraged Horseman who was chasing her. Just as the arrow pierced the hat, the sun rose and all were turned to stone. (Modern day geologists insist the 75 metre high hole was more likely carved by ice and water during the last ice age.)

On a stormy day, you can sit dry-shod inside the hole, listen to the wind and rain raging outside, and watch the foamy waves churn on the Torgfjord. In good weather, consider ascending to the summit, which offers an even more expansive and impressive view of the coast.

After your mountain hike, return to Brønnøysund to dine in one of its excellent restaurants or charming cafés.

Person on a mountain hike at the top of the mountain Dønnamannen on Dønna with a view of the Helgeland coast on a beautiful summer day Kristoffer Møllevik / Visit Helgeland

Day 2: A mountain like an upturned face

Destination: Dønna
Hike: Dønnamannen. Very demanding hike, about 4-7 hours total.
From Brønnøysund to Dønna: About 4 hour drive, with two ferries. View the route with Google Maps.

We suggest you start the day with a stroll through Brønnøysund to get a deeper sense of its coastal culture. Then take the ferry to the island of Dønna where sweet delights await you. Lunch at Heidis Sjokoladedrøm (“Heidi’s Chocolate Dream”), perhaps the smallest chocolate factory in the world, must include its delicious handmade chocolate!

Our second mountain will be more challenging. Dønnamannen looks like the upturned face of a man. According to legend, the “Dønna man” is lying on his back, taking a nap next to the Seven Sisters. The mountain actually consists of three peaks: Nasen (the nose), Leppa (the lip) and Haka (the chin), with the lip protruding highest, at 856 m. The summit offers a stunning view of many of Helgeland’s islands and coastal mountains.

This hike is steep – in places you are actually climbing. Be cautious, as the rock can be slippery when wet. And stay on the trail, which at several points brings you close to the precipice.

After your summit hike, you deserve a swim. We suggest you head to Breivika, a beautiful beach favoured by the locals of Dønna.

Two women bathing in Markvollkulpen in the mountains Kristoffer Møllevik / Visit Helgeland

Day 3: Viking life, good food and a natural pool

Destination: Dønna
Hike: Markvollkulpen. Easy hike, about 1 – 2 hours total.
From Dønna to Sandnessjøen: About 1 hour drive, with 1 ferry. View the route with Google Maps.

The friendly town of Sandnessjøen lies between mighty mountains and beautiful islands. Here you are near the legendary Seven Sisters mountain range, which is our next hiking destination. But first, a relaxing day focused on other attractions and, of course, good food.

We suggest a visit to the recreated Viking farm at Sandnes, just outside the town of Sandnessjøen. More than a thousand years ago, this was the seat of a local chieftain who is mentioned in the sagas. The impressive longhouse, which is 65 metres long and 7–10 metres wide, has been rebuilt where the original building stood. Here you can experience what Viking life was really like – with storytelling, Norse legends, craft demonstrations, and perhaps even a taste of hearty Viking food.

Afterwards you can get a glimpse of the hike that awaits you tomorrow. From a parking lot near the Seven Sisters, follow the marked trail towards Skjæringen and Gemini, two of the seven peaks. After a few hundred metres you reach Markvollkulpen, a natural pool with crystal clear waters. Here you can soak, chill, and peer up at mountains.

View from the top of the mountain range The Seven Sisters in the midnight sun on a beautiful summer day Viktor Andreas Olsen

Day 4: Conquering one or more of the Seven Sisters

Destination: One more day in Sandnessjen
Hike: The Seven Sisters. Very demanding hike, about 5-8 hours total.

You should arise early to get the most out of your visit to the Seven Sisters! These seven legendary peaks, each rising to about 1000 metres, overlook the town off Sandnessjøen. Each year, this impressive mountain range draws many hikers, who are usually content with reaching one or two summits. There are well-marked trails to each peak, as well as between the peaks.

Some local hikers and a few intrepid visitors insist on ascending all seven peaks in a day. That 26.1 km trek, which has a total ascent of 3525 metres, is an immense endurance test and it’s not to be taken lightly! The full hike takes 10–15 hours; the record is three hours fifteen minutes – but that requires running up the mountains.

However, as mentioned, there is no shame in settling for just one or two summit hikes. If you choose Skjæringen and perhaps also Gemini, you can savour a cool swim in Markvollkulpen on your way down. This natural pool has crystal clear waters and an excellent view. Perhaps you did that yesterday as prelude to today’s hike? Regardless, at day’s end you should celebrate by treating yourself to a good dinner in Sandnessjøen.

The island Rødøy seen from the air Kristoffer Møllevik / Visit Helgeland

Day 5: A rest day with scenic views

Destination: Rødøy
Hike (optional along the way): Tonnes grotto. Moderately difficult. Short, but steep.
From Sandnessjøen to Rødøy:
With car: About 4,5 hours drive, with three ferries. View the route with Google Maps.
Without car: About two hours with express boat.

While mountain peaks offer great views of the magnificent Helgeland coast, so does a boat trip or a drive along the Coastal Highway (Kystriksveien, Fv17). In fact, National Geographic Magazine lists it as one world’s 101 most beautiful drives. The 150 km drive from Sandnessjøen to Rødøya is quite breath-taking and should not be rushed.

One of many attractions along your route is Grønsvik coastal fortress, built by Nazi Germany during their World War II occupation of Norway. Here you can explore the gun positions, the foxholes and the command bunker. With a range of 17 km, the guns here controlled the shipping lane. Grønsvik was part of Germany’s Atlantic Wall, a series of 15,000 fortified positions and fortresses that stretched along the coast of Europe, from the Pyrenees in the south all the way to the Arctic Ocean in the far north.

To reach the island of Rødøya, you need to take the ferry from Kilboghamn via Jektvik – or better yet, park your car and take the express boat from Tonnes. Near Tonnes you can visit the 200-metre-deep Tonnes grotto. Unlike most caves, sunlight reaches all the way inside.

For a hearty meal (and accommodation), head to Klokkergården, the old sexton’s residence. Every dish here is made from scratch, using old recipes and the best local ingredients. During the summer you can dine outside on the garden terrace. Make your reservation well in advance.

The mountain Rødøyløva and the beach Storsanden during sunset Kristoffer Møllevik / Visit Helgeland

Day 6: Kayaking – and a hike at sunset

Destination: One more day on Rødøy
Hike: Rødøyløva (The Rødøy “Lion”). Moderatly challenging hike, about 2-4 hours total.

A good way to spend your morning on Rødøya is to head to one of the many sandy beaches. If you yearn for more outdoor adventure, we suggest a kayak trip to explore the nearby waters.

The trail to Rødøyløva starts right near Klokkergården (the sexton’s residence). In some respects, Rødøyløva is our easiest summit. Although only 443 metres high, the mountaintop offers a fabulous view of an especially scenic portion of the Helgeland coast. Your panorama spans from the jagged peaks of the Lofoten Islands in the north to the Vega archipelago in the south. The view is especially impressive on a clear summer evening, when the sun seems to take forever to dip towards the horizon. Tread carefully and beware, especially if you suffer from vertigo – on one side of the summit is a sheer cliff with waves far below.

Kayakers at a beach in summer Terje Rakke, Nordic Life / Visit Helgeland

Day 7: Rest or explore

If you wish, you can spend the day relaxing and exploring the island of Rødøy. You can also take the local ferry to neighboring islands, and for example, have lunch at Gjerdøya or Selsøyvik. The boat trip is a lovely little fjord cruise in itself.

If you are heading back to Bodø or Sandnessjøen, you can take a express boat from Rødøy. If you’re heading to Mo i Rana, it’s easiest to drive there by car or take a express boat to Nesna and then a bus from there.

Whatever you chose to do with this last day, we hope you’ve enjoyed exploring scenic Helgeland, and wish you a safe journey home!

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