The Arctic Circle – a magic boundary
If you drive over Saltfjellet in the north of Helgeland, you cross the Arctic Circle. You can also cross this magic boundary as you travel the Helgeland coast by express boat of ferry.
Northbound on highway E6 on Saltfjellet, you cross the Arctic Circle about an hour’s drive north of Mo i Rana. Find it with Google Maps.
On the small island of Vikingen, the Arctic Circle Monument marks the magic boundary. You will pass it if you take the ferry between Kilboghamn and Jektvik. Find Vikingen in Google Maps.
The Arctic Circle in Helgeland
In Helgeland, the Arctic Circle cuts through the municipalities of Træna, Lurøy, Rødøy and Rana.
On highway E6 northbound, you pass the Arctic Circle at Saltfjellet. In fact you find the Arctic Circle Centre here, at 66°33’N. The distinctive building has been designed to fit into the surrounding scenery. There is also a café and souvenir shop here. All postcards and letters posted here receive a special Arctic Circle stamp.
Another very visible announcement that you are crossing the magic boundary is the globe-shaped Arctic Circle Monument on the little island of Vikingen, situated north of Tonnes. It is a well-known sailing mark and is illuminated so it also is visible at night. The Norwegian coastal steamer, Hurtigruten, makes quite a ceremony of passing this island; any passenger who wishes may request to be “baptised” upon passing the Arctic Circle.
What exactly is the Arctic Circle?
Simply put, the Arctic Circle is the theoretical boundary for how far south you can see the midnight sun, and likewise the southernmost boundary for the Arctic winter when the sun never rises. However, due to atmospheric refraction, you can actually see the midnight sun all the way down to Vega. All the same, during the winter, much of Helgeland experiences several weeks of darkness, when the sun is below the horizon or so low in the sky that the day never gets brighter than twilight.
Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park
If you love the great outdoors and are travelling over Saltfjellet, we recommend you consider hiking and fishing in this beautiful national park. The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) has numerous cabins that are nicely spaced, with comfortable day hikes between them.