Route Tips!

The Helgeland coast

Route Description and map

Route 1: Brønnøysund – Vega – Herøy – Dønna – Sandnessjøen

Take the fast passenger ferry from Brønnøysund, or the ferry from Horn, to Vega. Spend your day visiting the Vega World Heritage area and the fantastic “E-House” that documents the utilisation of eider ducks as domestic animals. The following day you can take the boat from Vega to Herøy, where you can really feel what it is like to have the sea as your next-door neighbour, as you cycle through this island borough where the highest point on the road is on the bridges you cross.

In Herøy you can pay a visit to the folk museum, Herøy Bygdemuseum, that offers a unique impression of old coastal culture. There is a ferry from Herøy, via Austbø, to Søvik where you will have the chance of taking a fresh approach to your tour. If you leave Herøy via the Åkviksund bridge, however, your trip will take you to Dønna. On the way to Bjørn, you will pass by the ascent to Dønna Man peak, and for those looking for an extra challenge the trip up there is highly recommended. Dønna is also referred to as the “isle of fertility” and at Valhaugen in Glein, you will find northern Europe’s oldest marble phallus.

A little further north you will find Dønnes Church, a very impressive mediaeval church dating back to the 1100’s, which in 2006 was voted North Norway’s most beautiful church. It is situated at the foot of Mount Dønnesfjellet from where, on a clear day, you can look out across all the well-known landmarks along the coast of Helgeland, from Rødøyløva in the north, to Mount Torghatten in the south.
Should you be interested in a detour from Dønna, the summer boat between Solfjellsjøen and Lovund is highly recommended. From Bjørn in the borough of Dønna, there is a ferry over to Sandnessjøen.

Distances
Rørøy – Kirkøy, approx. 9 km
Tennvalen – Flostad, approx. 7 km
Flostad – Silvalen, approx. 1 km
Silvalen – Åkviksundbrua, approx. 10 km
Åkviksundbrua – Bjørn, approx. 18 km
Bjørn – Dønnes, over Solfjellsjøen, approx. 27 km
Bjørn – Dønnes, over Våg, approx. 18 km


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Route 2: Sandnessjøen – Lovund – Træna – Stokkvågen
Take the fast passenger ferry from Sandnessjøen out among the isles and skerries. After a few stops, where the vessel winds its way among the islands, you will reach Lovund, the isle of the puffins. If you wish, you can walk towards the scree where the birds colonies are found, and maybe catch a glimpse of the tiny puffins that nest there. Further out to sea we find the Træna archipelago, where you can visit a vibrant fishing village and the Petter Dass Chapel that has been decorated by Karl Erik Harr.

We recommend a trip out to Sanna, where you will find the mountains of Trænstaven and Gompen together with Kirkhelleren cave (the only larger North Norwegian cave inhabited in the Neolithic age). The return journey from Træna is on the fast passenger ferry which makes several stops on its way to Sandnessjøen. We recommend going ashore in Stokvågen for a greater cycling challenge. If you prefer not to, then just stay on the ferry all the way to Sandnessjøen.

Route 3: Stokkvågen – Utskarpen – Nesna – Levang – Sandnessjøen
This is the most demanding route, but on a fine day it will be all the more worth it. Just north of Stokkvågen you can visit, amongst other things, a World War II fort, or you can take in the view northward towards Stigen and Aldersundet. On the road between Stokkvågen and Utskarpen you cycle through 2 tunnels, each of which is 2800 metres long. You are now on the national tourist route and can enjoy the view from the impressive picnic spot that was opened to mark the occasion.

On the road between Utskarpen and Nesna you pass Mount Sjonfjellet, the highest point along the road. Just after passing the top, we recommend that you stop and take in the view from the viewpoint that has been set up there. From there you will be able to see the islands of Lovund and Træna as well as the town of Nesna and the surrounding islands directly below you. There are daily ferry links between Nesna and the Nesna islands and these represent an excellent alternative for a day trip. There are several ferries a day from Nesna to Levang, from where you can take your bike to Sandnessjøen. On the way, you can visit the candlemaker’s in Levang and perhaps drop in at the Leirfjord Bygdesamling folk museum (consisting of the old school, Bergh’s country shop, the millhouse, etc).

Just before you reach Sandnessjøen you will pass the Helgeland Bridge, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world. From there you will see the Seven Sisters mountain range. At the top of the final ascent from the Helgeland Bridge towards Sandnessjøen town centre, you should catch sight of the full-scale, realistic statue of a moose. Should you prefer a more relaxing day, you might consider a trip on the fast passenger ferry or Coastal Voyage vessel, both of which offer daily direct links between Nesna and Sandnessjøen.

Distances
• Stokkvågen – Utskarpen, approx. 39 km
• Utskarpen – Nesna, approx. 31 km
• Levang – Sandnessjøen, approx. 32 km

Route 4: Sandnessjøen – Tjøtta – Forvik – Brønnøysund
This trip follows the coastal route (RV17), and from Sandnessjøen you cycle alongside the Seven Sisters mountain range towards Tjøtta. We recommend the signposted detour for those wishing to hike to the Seven Sisters, where all summits are clearly marked. Carrying on, you pass by Alstadhaug church (the Nordland county millennium site), where the clergyman and poet Petter Dass lived and worked. The well-known firm of architects, Snøhetta, has designed a new museum building there due for completion in June 2007.

Approximately 10,000 of those who died during World War II are buried at the war cemeteries in Tjøtta. 7,551 Russian prisoners of war who died in North Norway are buried at one of the cemeteries there. The other cemetery is devoted to the 2,457 who perished during the sinking of the transport ship “Rigel”.

From Tjøtta you take the ferry to Forvik. On certain days you can also take the Tjøtta ferry directly to Vega. At Forvik there are rock carvings in the Vistnesdalen valley that are signposted and well-worth a visit. There are daily fast passenger ferries from Tjøtta and Forvik to Bønå at the head of the Vistenfjord, known as one of the country’s cleanest fjords. Bønå is a great starting point for those interested in hiking in the Lomsdal/Visten area.
From Forvik you cycle southward towards Andalsvågen to catch the ferry across to Horn. On the way from Horn to Brønnøysund, we recommend a visit to Hildur’s Urterarium (Herbarium), the only combined vineyard and food and herb garden in North Norway. You can enjoy your lunch out in the fresh air there. Pizza is served from a wood-fired baker’s oven together with home-made berry wine. Safely back in Brønnøysund we recommend a trip to Mount Torghatten, the mountain with the characteristic hole right through it.

Should you prefer a more relaxing day, the stretch of countryside between Sandnessjøen and Brønnøysund is serviced by both the Coastal Voyage vessels (daily) and fast passenger ferries (on certain days).

Distances
Sandnessjøen – Brønnøysund, approx. 71 km
Sandnessjøen – Tjøtta, approx.40 km
Forvik – Andalsvågen, approx. 17 km
Horn – Brønnøysund, approx. 14 km

For further information, maps and bicycle hire; www.helgelandskysten.com