County road 17 from Steinkjer to Bodø is one of the most varied and beautiful roads in the country, offering both beautiful scenery and a rich heritage. Here it is point by point

From south to north

The Coastal Route is also one of our National Tourist Routes. Here is a list of some of the main sights, activities and detours, listed from south to north.

Sør-Helgeland: Torghatten and eiderdown

From the border of Trøndelag county, road Fv. 17 passes through a varied landscape of burnished rocks, pockets of temperate rainforests and green meadows surrounded by a myriad of small islets, heading towards the lovely coastal town of Brønnøysund. From here, you can take many detours.

  • The hole in the rock, Torghatten, Sør-Helgeland's signature mountain, rewards you with fantastic views if you take the short trip up to the cathedral-like hole.
  • World Heritage Site, Vega: On the islets off this great island, eider ducks and people have lived in mutual dependence for centuries. The e-house at Nes is a museum that puts it all in context, and then you have to take a boat trip to the down islands (islets where eider ducks live).
  • Hildurs Urterarium is a herb garden inspired by Norwegian folk medicine, with a restaurant for sampling the products.
  • At the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre, you can tour a salmon fish farm.

Travel info:

Namsos (Trøndelag) – Brønnøysund: 126 miles (202 km)/3.5 hours

Ferries (www.kystriksveien.no):

  • Lund–Hofles via road Fv. 17: 20 min (NB: Trøndelag)
  • Holm–Vennesund via road Fv. 17: 20 min
  • Horn–Andalsvåg via road Fv. 17: 20 min.
  • High-speed ferry from Brønnøysund to Vega, ferry to Vega from Horn.

Central Helgeland: Folk-tale mountains and medieval churches

Below the mountain range known as the Seven Sisters, you will find Sandnessjøen, the town centre of lush, green central Helgeland and a convenient base for excursions in a vast archipelago.

  • Forvik: Trading post with old houses on the ferry quay, now a gourmet restaurant and a coffee roaster.
  • Alstahaug: The priest and poet Petter Dass worked in the old church from the 12th century, and the modern Petter Dass Centre celebrates his life and work.
  • Dønnes: This 13th-century church is regarded as northern Norway's most beautiful, and the Dønnes manor offers great interiors and a rich history. Nearby is an Iron Age phallus.
  • Herøy: The largest of the three medieval churches is the 12th century Herøy church, known as Helgeland Cathedral.
  • The Seven Sisters: The distinctive mountain range that rises above the coastal town of Sandnessjøen
  • Helgeland Bridge: 0.7 miles (1065 m) long and 453 feet (138 metres) high, this bridge has been voted Norway's most beautiful.

 Travel info:

  • Brønnøysund–Sandnessjøen: 57 miles (92 km)/2.5 hours
  • Mosjøen (E6)–Sandnessjøen: 44 miles (71 km)/1+ hour

 Ferries (www.kystriksveien.no):

  • Forvik–Tjøtta: 60 min
  • Levang–Nesna: 25 min
  • Sandnessjøen–Dønna, for excursions to the islands off Sandnessjøen: 25 min

Northern Helgeland: Islets, mountains and glaciers

Wilder, with higher mountains and longer ferry routes under the giant Svartisen glacier, and with only a few small settlements — Northern Helgeland is magnificent and quite unknown.

  • Lurøy, Lovund and Træna: From Stokkvågen, ferries can be taken to three very special island communities, for island hopping by bike
  • Lurøy, with its manor house and Renaissance garden
  • Lovund, with Lundeura, a bird cliff where puffins return every year on 14 April
  • Træna, Norway's oldest fishing village and the outermost island in Helgeland, with a special three-peaked skyline
  • Selsøyvik (detour from Kilboghamn), a well-preserved 18th-century trading post
  • Vikingen island, with the globe that marks the Arctic Circle, can be seen from the ferry between Kilboghamn and Jektvik. Behind it is the stunning Hestmannen mountain.

 Travel info:

  • Sandnessjøen–Ørnes: 147 miles (236 km)/5 h (3 ferries)
  • Mo i Rana (E6) – Ørnes: 124 miles (200 km)/4 h (2 ferries)

 Ferries (www.kystriksveien.no)

  • Levang–Nesna (road Fv. 17): 25 min
  • Jektvik–Kilboghamn (road Fv. 17): 60 min
  • Ågskardet–Forøy (road Fv. 17): 10 min
  • Ferry and boat services from Stokkvågen out to Lurøy, Lovund, Træna and several other islands
  • Ferries from Kilboghamn to Rødøy and Selsøyvik

Salten: Glacier and current

The wildness continues in Meløy, in the far south of Salten, where the Svartisen glacier can always be seen between the peaks. The fjord, however, is lush and green. Further north is the towering 3600–3930 foot (1100–1200 metre) high Børvasstindan, before you stand on an elegant bridge and look down on the eddies of Saltstraumen. From here, it is only a short distance to Bodø.

  • Engabreen, a tongue of the Svartisen glacier that almost reaches the sea
  • Glomfjord Mountain: Entrance to Norway's newest national park, Láhku, with a special limestone karst landscape
  • Trading post at Ørnes, with well-preserved 19th-century houses under craggy mountains
  • Storvika, with great beaches and views all the way to Værøy and Lofoten in clear weather
  • Gildeskål, an old church from 1130, perhaps Norway's oldest church, linked to the hymnist Elias Blix (detour)
  • Saltstraumen, the world's strongest tidal current, is a remarkable natural phenomenon. Read the tide tables to be there when it seethes and boils at its worst

Travel info:

  • Ørnes–Bodø: 74 miles (119 km)/2 hours
  • Ørnes–Fauske (E6): 85 miles (136 km)/2+ hours

Activities:

The scenery is not just beautiful; it is also easily accessible.

  • Island hopping on bikes is easier than you think. You take your bike on the ferry out to an island and then you cycle the lightly trodden rural coastal roads with little traffic. Tourist offices rent bikes.
  • Hikes come in all shapes and sizes, from the little trip up to the hole at Torghatten to the 10–15-hour trek up to the Seven Sisters. The tourist office sells maps and information about the routes.
  • The coast is made for kayak paddling, with the calm waters between islets and the many sandy beaches where you can go ashore. Visit our search engine to find organised kayak trips along the coast.

Useful info:

  • The Coastal Route has many ferry routes. There are few queues in the autumn, winter and spring, but there may be lengthy queues in the summer. Be early, or take it as it comes.
  • Accommodation: For northern Norway, the conditions are exceptionally varied and rich. Trading posts, boathouses, old boarding houses and more conventional hotels and campsites usually have plenty of space. The exception is July, when you may need to book in advance.
  • Places to eat are also easy to find. The coastal towns of Brønnøysund and Sandnessjøen offer everything from a sandwich in a café to Chinese eateries and elegant restaurants. Diners, cafés, ferry cafeterias with generously buttered griddle cakes and the occasional real gourmet restaurant are found in villages and towns.

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