Gateway to Northern Norway
The gateway to Northern Norway should be your first coffee break. The northern lights that arch over the E6 mark the information centre from where you can obtain useful information about the road ahead. The E6 runs north along Majavatn, from ancient times a Sami meeting place, from WW2 a sombre reminder of resistance and battles fought. As an alternative to the E6 you can take the “Villmarksveien” (Wilderness Road) from Kappfjell in the south to Korgen in the north, some 150 km of wild and wonderful countryside. Børgefjell National Park and Norway’s second largest lake, Røsvatn, offer the chance to experience this rugged, yet beautiful terrain up close.
Where Northern Norway starts
You find the coast by leaving the E6 at Brenna and taking the Rv 76 Tosenveien to Brønnøysund. The Velfjord area is an Eldorado for anyone who enjoys outdoor pursuits. Habitation along the fjord is typical of Northern Norway. Steep slopes. Farms hugging the narrow lip between mountain and sea. Boathouses. On windless days the mountains reflect their full height in the waters of the fjord. And then there is that fabulous coastline – with the varied and beautiful Main Coast Road – Rv 17.
Side trip to Bindal
Take a side trip to Bindal, Nordland’s southernmost administrative district. Along the way you will pass Sømma, traditionally described as Northern Norway’s granary. The ferry runs from Vennesund to Holm. On the other side lies Bindal, a wild rural district offering rich salmon fishing, but actually better known for its version of Nordland’s traditional wooden boats – Bindalsfæringen. These boats are still being produced, and every summer regattas featuring traditional Nordland boats are held all over southern Helgeland.
Brønnøysund and Torghatten
Brønnøysund offers a lively small-town atmosphere, framed by lush green pastures, smooth-faced mountains and an amazing archipelago. Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Voyage) vessels pass through the narrow Brønnøysund straits on their way both north and south. Torghatten, the mountain with a hole in the middle, keeps watch over the proceedings with its ever open eye. The legend of the Nordlandfjella mountains tells how Torghatten and all the other giant trolls along the Nordland coast were turned to stone when the sun rose over the horizon. The tourist information office can get you the complete tale.
World heritage at Vega
Boats run out to the islands of the archipelago from all the major villages along the Helgeland coast.com prising thousands of islands, islets and skerries, the archipelago has much to offer – and the birdlife is unique. The Vega islands were included on UNESCO’s prestigious world heritage list in 2004. Many of the islands offer overnight accommodation, and stretches of road. But it is no bad idea to take your bike – not forgetting a tent!
Tjøtta’s history is exciting. From Viking times until the 19th century, 200–300 farms belonged to the Tjøtta estate. A number of sites of historic interest are open to the public. The International War Cemetery on Tjøtta is a potent reminder of the tragedies suffered during the last war. Here lie some 10,000 victims of the war.
Seven Sisters and Petter Dass
Alstenøya is the land of the Seven Sisters (De Syv Søstre) . The mountain range has peaks ranging in height from 910 m to 1,072 m above sea level, and offers a variety of marked hiking trails. You can also get to know Petter Dass, Northern Norway’s famous poet-priest, in his domain at Alstahaug. The church dates from the mid-12th century. The parsonage from 1650 has been faithfully restored. Here, too, you will find Northern Norway’s largest Viking burial mounds. In October 2007 the Petter Dass museum opened at Alstahaug. It is a spectacular, modern museum, which is also Nordland County’s millennium site.
Sandnessjøen and the islands
Sandnessjøen also has a busy harbour. In addition to being the final destination for the fast passenger ferry from Bodø and a port of call for the Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Voyage), you can easily travel to the various islands of the archipelago. Both Dønna and Herøy are great places to visit. Here you will find white sandy beaches, picturesque buildings, a medieval church and fantastic views from the top of the Dønnesfjell mountain. Herøy also offers good places to fish and bathe, in addition to a rich collection of historic buildings and the 12th century Helgeland Cathedral.
Inland to Mosjøen
At the head of Leirfjord you turn off the Rv 17 onto the Rv 78 heading south along Vefsnfjorden. Take your time and enjoy the view! The road may be winding, but it is certainly exciting as it twists its way along a mountain ledge. The route takes you safely inland to Mosjøen, a place with an extraordinary history. After being a sleepy little seaside village, it experienced a boom time from 1860 when British entrepreneurs set up a timber export business based on the rich pine forests of the Vefsn district. Mosjøen’s Sjøgata is the longest, contiguous stretch of wooden buildings that has been preserved from that time in Northern Norway. Here you will find restaurants, small cafes, galleries, exhibitions, shops, houses, boathouses and a guest marina.
www.visithelgeland.com has all the details