In a circle round the Circle
This round trip goes in a circle round the entire Saltfjell massif, where the Svartisen glacier emerges at regular intervals along the way, from Mosjøen round outer Helgeland to Saltstraumen, and then on eastward and south to meet the Arctic Circle from the north.
From Mosjøen heading north
Northward from Mosjøen the road hugs the banks of idyllic lakes dotted with fine picnic places. From the highest points you can look out at Northern Norway’s tallest mountains: Okstindene to the east, the Svartisen mountain plateau to the north and Lukttindan to the southwest.
Mo i Rana
Mo i Rana was formerly an old market town, where Norwegians from the coast and Swedes from inland areas across the border met to exchange wares. Later, Mo i Rana became an important centre for mining and quarrying, which has influenced the town’s development.
Caves and fingers of the Svartisen glacier can be found in this area, too. Grønligrotta is a cave that is suitable for a family visit, while Sætergrotta is a somewhat more challenging cave. The Østre Svartisen glacier can be reached around 32 km north of Mo i Rana.
To the islands at the Arctic Circle
From inland the journey continues under high mountain peaks along Ranfjord (Rv12/17) . Car and fast passenger ferries run from Stokkvågen out to the islands of the archipelago. Lurøy, Lovund or Træna should be among the places you choose. Here you will find puffins, which arrive in Lovund on 14 April – more or less exactly – every year. Here are caves with evidence of ancient human settlement, characteristic mountains and beautiful countryside.no where else will you find more nesting sea eagles than along the Nordland coast!
Outer road around Svartisen
The road northbound from Stokkvågen to Storvika in Gildeskål is designated a National Tourist Route – the North Helgeland Coast. It is made up of several older local roads that have been linked together more recently. From Kolboghamn the ferry goes to Jektvik. The characteristic mountains Hestmannen and Rødøyløva guard the approach from the open ocean. Keep your camera at the ready! This is where you cross the Arctic Circle.
The next ferry goes from Ågskardet to Forøy. The Svartisen glacier stretches its white mantle right down to 20 m above sea level at the innermost end of Holandsfjord. Rising to a height of 1,454 m, the Helgelandsbukken mountain keeps watch over its realm. Along the road you will get impressive views of Engabreen, an arm of the massive Svartisen glacier. Park the car for a few hours and take the water bus (skyssbåten) from Holand to get a closer look at this amazing sight.
Glomfjord is an important industrial centre both regionally and nationally. Located here are production facilities for mineral fertilisers and calcium nitrate. In recent years Glomfjord’s industrial importance has reached new heights with the production of wafers for the solar panel industry.
Ørnes and Gildeskål
Ørnes is the centre of the Meløy administrative district. Car and fast passenger ferries run to the islands of the surrounding archipelago. The north and southbound Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Voyage) dock here in the morning. Take a side trip to Inndyr, Rv 838, and Gildeskål Old Church, which offers guided tours in the summer season. This beautiful medieval church dates from approx. 1130, but it has probably been a religious site since pre-Christian times. The famous Norwegian hymn writer Elias Blix was born on Sandhornøya in 1836. Among his hymns are “Northern Norway’s national anthem” and “Oh, I know of a land far, far to the north”, which remain popular to this day.
Børvasstindan and Saltstraumen
The mountains of Nordland are breathtaking. Take, for example, the Beiartindene – a range of peaks 1,000 m high. Or the mightly Sandhornet, or the beautiful Børvasstindene.
Fishing enthusiasts are in their element here. Both Kjellingstraumen and Saltstraumen offer a wealth of fish. And remember, fish always taste better when you have caught them yourself!
From Saltstraumen the route continues to Bodø or Fauske (see Route 3), while we set a course along the Rv 812 through the village of Misvær to Saltdal and Rognan (E6) . Misvær lies at the head of the Misværfjorden. It used to be one of Northern Norway’s main goat farming districts, and gave its name to the delicious Misvær goat cheese.
Why not take a trip to Beiarn along the Rv 813. This beautiful area stretches from the coast to the high mountains. Beiarn offers a host of outdoor opportunities – from potholing to fishing in the Beiarelva river and hiking on the many marked trails inland to Saltfjell.
Then the road curves down towards the green and pleasant Saltdal valley. The centre of Rognan was completely destroyed by fire in 1979. It was rebuilt in the traditional quayside style and is now a lively commercial centre. There is plenty to see and do in Saltdal. For those looking for speed and excitement, rafting in the Saltdalselva river could be just the thing. For fishing enthusiasts the river can offer salmon and trout. Or you could try your hand at potholing, or simply go hiking in the mountains.
Storjord is the gateway to the Junkerdalsura Nature Reserve, whose unique flora includes orchids and rare plants. The nature reserve borders the Junkerdal National Park. At the Nordland National Parks Centre you can learn all about the flora and fauna of the county’s national parks through films, displays and hands-on activities. You can also take a side trip along the Rv 77 to Junkerdal and the road to Sweden.
The Arctic Circle
You are approaching the Arctic Circle once again. The Arctic Circle Centre is situated where the Arctic Circle crosses the E6 at 66° 33’ north, and makes a natural stopping point. The centre offers a souvenir shop, cafe and multimedia show about the Arctic region.