The town of Sandnessjøen, also known as the ‘Gateway to the Helgeland Coast’ is located in the Alstahaug municipality and has around 5,000 inhabitants (there are 7,400 inhabitants in the entire municipality). Sandnessjøen became a hub for Helgeland as early as 1899, when the transport company Helgelandske Dampskipsselskap was first based here. The municipality has a rich history. Øyvind Skaldespiller, Hårek of Tjøtta (from Snorre’s saga), Sigrid of Sandnes and Petter Dass were all closely linked to the municipality.
The Seven Sisters mountain range
Sandnessjøen, which was granted town status in 1999, is probably best known for its Seven Sisters mountain range. Her Majesty Queen Sonja has hiked in the ‘Sisters’ many times, and has played a major part in making the mountain range so famous. The Seven Sisters are easily accessible via the FV17 highway and range from 910 to 1,072 metres (2,986 to 3,517 ft.) in height.
Petter Dass Museum
The museum is located near the FV17 highway and consists of several buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. It also boasts the spectacular museum building opened in 2007 and designed by the famous architects ‘Snøhetta’. Among its displays, the museum building contains exhibitions focusing on the parson poet Petter Dass. Margrethe's Café also serves locally produced food from the Helgeland region.
Alstahaug church was built in the 12th and 13th centuries using locally quarried soapstone. The church is Romanesque in style, and is one of seven medieval churches that have been preserved in Northern Norway. The church and the Petter Dass Museum are both housed in the courtyard at Alstahaugtunet.
Chieftain’s house at Sandnes
Just outside the centre of Sandnessjøen is the Viking chieftain’s house at Sandnes. In the banqueting hall in the longhouse, you can taste Viking food and experience authentic Viking history, competitions and games. There are also items for sale.
The city is an excellent starting point for boat tours around the beautiful archipelago. The standard boat service makes round trips to the islands of Træna, Lovund, Herøy and Vega, which is an amazing experience.
Go for a walk to the ‘House of Winds’, Alstahaug’s contribution to ‘Artscape Nordland’. The sculpture was created by the artist Sissel Tolaas, and is located beside Helgeland Bridge. During your walk, you will also pass a huge elk statue made by the sculptor Skule Waksvik.
Located in the centre of Sandnessjøen is a shop belonging to glass artist Turid Grov — a delightful shop selling beautiful hand-made glass art. The artist takes her inspiration from the nature found along the Helgeland coast.
You will also find many other shops in the town, as well as excellent cafés and restaurants.