A summer holiday in Helgeland means enjoying the midnight sun and summer evenings that never end. It means steady steps as you hiking the trails of the mountain wilderness, a refreshing swim in the sea, and the comforting rhythm of oars as you row sheltered waters between the islands. A summer holiday here means slowing down time itself to enjoy adventures with family, good food and refreshments with friends, and the warm hospitality of the Helgelanders. A summer holiday in Helgeland means so much more… Join us and discover the magic that awaits you here!
The Helgeland coast or the mountain wilderness?
Helgeland is vast. For a simplified overview, we have divided the region into four parts: the outer islands, the Norwegian Scenic Route along the coast, highway E6 through the centre of Helgeland, and the Wilderness Road (Villmarksveien) through Helgeland’s scenic interior.
Explore the outer islands with the Nordland Express boats
During the summer, the express boats call on extra many island destinations, including the outermost islands such as the Vega archipelago, Lovund, Træna, Myken, Bolga and Støtt.
These island communities are vibrant and intimate, and each is unique in its own way. Far from the mainland, they face the ever-changing sea. The islanders have a keen appreciation of the powerful forces of nature and have attuned their lives to the rhythms of the tides, wind and weather. When you visit, you may well find the vastness of the sea and sky breathtaking – after all, this is coastal Helgeland at its most rugged and magnificent.
You can take the express boat out to any one of the islands mentioned and be quite content spending most of your holiday there. Or you can go “island hopping” with the Nordland Express. Travel Pass Nordland is just like Interrail, except that you are travelling by express boat instead of by train
Norwegian Scenic Route Helgeland Coast – the Coastal Highway, Fv17
The Coastal Highway (Fv17) is the popular scenic alternative for a car holiday along the Helgeland coast. In fact, this has status as a Norwegian Scenic Route. The highlights and destinations en route include Torghatten, the mountain with a hole through it near the town of Brønnøysund, the Lomsdal-Visten National Park, the Seven Sisters mountains near the town of Sandnessjøen, the coastal village of Nesna, island mountains such as Rødøyløva, Meløy and the Svartisen glacier. And when you feel the outer islands beckoning, they are just a detour away by express boat.
We realize it is popular to drive the entire Coastal Highway and then return via highway E6, but consider slowing your pace and exploring a smaller area in depth. In addition to being able to see more of the attractions nearby and explore the varied landscape, you will gain a deeper experience of the local communities. Slow your pace – discover your own Helgeland!
Central Helgeland – via highway E6 or the Nordland Line
If you want a little of everything, or a lot more than that, travelling by train is a great way to go. By car, you can choose highway E6. Both means of travel will bring you to many exciting attractions and open up great opportunities for adventure. For instance, the historic town of Mosjøen has the famous Helgeland Stairs and a Zip-line, Hemnes offers the Okstindan mountains with the dramatic Rabothytta cabin, and Rana has the Svartisen glacier, the natural marble formations known as Marmorslottet (the Marble Castle), and the nearby Arctic Circle.
The advantage of this route and a holiday stay in these areas is that you don’t have to choose between fjords and mountains – you are close to both. Within easy reach you have the Helgeland coast and three amazing national parks: Børgefjell, Saltfjellet and Lomsdal-Visten
Drive the Wilderness Road – or hike the Nordland Trail
The Wilderness Road (Villmarksveien) runs from Majavatn lake in the south to the village of Korgen in the north. It takes you through the most scenic areas of the Grane, Hattfjelldal and Hemnes municipalities. You will travel close to Børgefjell National Park, Røssvatnet, the second-largest lake in Norway, and the Okstindan massif, which has the highest peak in Northern Norway.
This route is particularly satisfying if you are eager to go hiking and yearn to try your luck fishing the lakes and mountain tarns. The Nordland Trail goes from Børgefjell to Saltfjellet, with cabins that are spaced a comfortable day hike apart.
When should you visit Helgeland?
In Helgeland, each season brings its own delights and opportunities for activities and adventures. Let us mention some of them.
Early summer – green leaves and snow-capped mountains
By the beginning of June, the leaves will have unfolded in the lush woodlands and forests of Helgeland, and the lowlands are alive with bright green grasses. High above, the mountain peaks are still capped with winter snow. Many natives and visitors believe this is the time when Helgeland is at its most beautiful.
From 12 June, parts of Helgeland enjoy the midnight sun. Although by now most Helgelanders have put away their skis and brought out their hiking boots, bikes, kayaks or boats, those who wish can still easily find snow-covered mountains to ski.
For reasons beyond the scenic beauty, this is a great time to visit Helgeland. With the peak tourism season just around the corner, many seasonal companies have opened their operations, although in some cases starting with slightly reduced offerings. For instance, the ferries and express boats may not yet be on their summer schedules, which see more frequent departures and in some cases extra ports of call. And given that there is still a lot of snow in the high mountains, you want to carefully consider the conditions and weather before going hiking. That said, unless you are in a hurry, this really is a time to experience Helgeland – at perhaps its most beautiful.
Mid summer is peak season – warmer and full of light
From the end of June and well into July, we can enjoy warm bright days. The summer holidays have officially started. Although heat waves are the exception here in Northern Norway, we do suggest that you pack your shorts and swimwear as well as an all-weather jacket – you might well need them all. By now, the full range of summer activities is available, our opening hours are generally extended, and many ferries and express boats have extra departures and make additional destinations available.
Our coastal mountains and the lowest of the inland mountains are by now more or less snow-free and ready for hiking. And although the midnight sun ends in early July in Helgeland, the evenings don’t really get dark until August.
This is the time for the long, lazy summer days and seemingly endless summer nights. Go kayaking in the archipelago or explore scenic Helgeland on two wheels, before you enjoy great conversation over a late dinner in the evening glow. If you prefer fast-paced adventure, there are plenty of opportunities for that too. Just be mindful that during this peak season, you should book accommodation and dining well in advance, especially at the most popular places. In fact for some places it’s a good idea to start thinking about booking already by December.
Late summer – late August to early September
As school approaches, Helgeland’s tourist season calms down. Some places have reduced their opening hours and selections, the ferries run less frequently, and express boats are no longer running on their expanded summer schedule. With fewer departures, you may need to plan your local travels more thoroughly.
On the other hand, the crowds are gone. Experienced hikers know that the wilderness and mountain realms are at their best right now. There is still warmth in the air, and after months of summer the snow has retreated to the highest peaks. The mountains and forests have a bounty waiting for you: a wealth of blueberries. And if you know where to look, you can find nature’s golden delicacies – chanterelles and cloudberries!
Late summer and early autumn are ideal times to explore beautiful wilderness areas such as Røssvatnet lake, the Okstindan mountains, or our three national parks: Saltfjellet-Svartisen, Børgefjell and Lomsdal-Visten. Each evening the sun sets earlier and the night is a little darker. With luck you may see the Northern Lights dance across the sky! Nonetheless these late summer days still last longer than at southern latitudes, giving you extra time to explore and experience the wilderness. The most eager connoisseurs of our great outdoors will tell you with grin: “Do your sleeping when you get home!”
Book your experience
In 1885, Ellen Haugan acquired a reputation for good food and excellent service. Today the family-run hotel that carries her name is renowned for a menu that combines the very best ingredients of Northern Norway with culinary impulses from throughout the world.
To Elise from Marius – From farm to table
In the village of Utskarpen, between Mo i Rana and Nesna, Elise and Marius established a culinary attraction that is drawing a steady stream of foodies. They offer a dining experience where every dish is made from ingredients fresh from the farm and pasture. They also offer accommodation – charming rooms in a countryside setting.
Offersøy Camping – Accommodation with boat and bike rental
With Offersøy Camping as your holiday base, you can easily explore the islands of your choice along the Helgeland coast. You can island hop by kayak, or by bringing your bicycle on the express boat or ferry so you can explore various islands on two wheels. Either way, it’s a delightful way to immerse yourself in the region’s rich cultural heritage and feel close to the magnificent landscape and natural elements.
Kulturverkstedet Mosjøen – A cultural workshop
The cultural workshop in the old town, Sjøgata in Mosjøen, is a unique environment where past and present blend together.
Gilles Café & Music
This café is located in No. 6 on the historic Sjøgata street in Mosjøen, in a long row of well-maintained wooden houses that date back to the 18th and 19th century.
Vitensenter Nordland – A science center for the whole family
At Mo i Rana’s science centre, Vitensenter Nordland, you can experiment, explore, and learn about the natural world, technology and mathematics. The interactive exhibition encourages you to touch and be active, not just to see. And the centre offers activities for the whole family.
Træna overnatting (Accommodation)
If you visit Husøya, the main island in the Træna archipelago, consider staying at the cosy little hotel called Træna Overnatting. Træna is a vibrant community, and here you will find good dining as well as strikingly beautiful scenery.
Hattfjelldal Hotell – GoExtreme
This hotel, located just outside the village centre, enjoys a fantastic view of Hattfjelldal, a picturesque community in the mountains of Helgeland.
Storli Camping and Aernie – Accommodation and a sámi experience
Aernie offers a culinary and cultural experience that highlights the Sámi heritage. Accommodation options include spending the night in a luxurious traditional tent (goahti), or staying in a cabin, caravan, camper or a conventional tent. Aerni and Storli Camping are situated by highway E6, a 20-minute drive north of the town of Mo i Rana.
Falch Old Trading Post, Rødøy
Falch Old Trading is beautifully situated on the Tjongsfjord, and it’s just a short detour from the Coastal Highway, Fv17. This trading post has provided many functions through the years: a fish plant, cod liver oil production, fishnet production, country store, doctor’s offices and pharmacy.