Do you want to cycle around Helgeland, but aren't sure about how to organise the stages, or what excursions there are to go on? This tour itinerary has been prepared by Discover Norway, and is offered as a package, though you can also do it independently if you choose. It starts in Brønnøysund and ends in Sandnessjøen. Helgeland could have been made for cycling; the roads follow the shoreline, there are few uphill slopes, the numerous ferries and boat trips provide variety, and the rich history and the relatively densely clustered (for Northern Norway) villages mean that nowhere is too far from anywhere else. There is plenty to see, lots of places to eat, and an endless variety of landscapes.
Stage 1: Day trip from Brønnøysund
This programme includes two overnight stays in the delightful coastal town of Brønnøysund.
There are plenty of short trips that you can do from Brønnøysund without taking the ferry, and some of our favourites are:
- Torghatten: You can easily reach the mountain that is pierced by a hole, by crossing the bridge to Torget island. It's an easy walk from the centre of Torghatten up to the hole, from where there are lovely views south over the countless islands of Trøndelag.
- Tilrem: The restaurant Hildurs Urterarium started off as a special herb garden, and it preserves the ancient knowledge of the effects of herbs on our health.
- Ylvingen, famous from the series Himmelblå, is just as idyllic as it looks on TV. There aren't many roads here, which makes for a very relaxing day. Ferry from centre of Brønnøysund.
- Vega is a bigger island with varied terrain, offering hiking, canoeing, orchid walks, etc., plus a wide variety of restaurants. Ferry from centre of Brønnøysund.
Stage 2: Brønnøysund – Sandnessjøen
This is a full day trip of 70 kilometres (43 miles).The road follows the coastline, and two ferry crossings mean that you also get to have a welcome rest. The view to the left is of the Helgeland archipelago, and to the right, the Seven Sisters rise to a formidable height of 1,000 metres (over 3,000 feet). Despite this, the cycle route passes through easy terrain. There are two overnight stays in Sandnessjøen, a colourful coastal town with plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from.
Stage 3: Island-hopping to the island of Dønna – optional cycle tour of Dønna, 47 km.
A suggested excursion for today would be a trip to Dønna, a cultural island full of ancient monuments. Dønnes 13th Century church is regarded as the most beautiful church in Norway, and Dønnes farm beside the church is also well worth visiting. The Iron Age phallus has now finally been returned to the island. Energetic folk can combine Dønna with Herøy, which is a plethora of tiny islands linked by bridges. Herøy's 12th Century church, also known as Helgeland Cathedral, lies in the municipal centre of Silvalen. Ferry from the centre of Sandnessjøen to Dønna.
Stage 4: Trip to Alstahaug and boat trip to Lovund
Twenty kilometres (12 miles) south of Sandnessjøen lies the old centre of Alstahaug, with a 12th Century church, vicarage and the Petter Dass Museum, in a beautiful cultural landscape beneath the Seven Sisters. Upon your return to Sandnessjøen, you can take the express boat to the island of Lovund, an active coastal community with a major focus on aquaculture. The main attraction here is Lundeura, the huge bird cliff.
Stage 5: Ferry trip to Træna
You won't wear your tyres down today, since there are only a few roads on Træna. This bustling little island community depends on fishing, and its population is scattered across several islands. The Petter Dass Chapel is on the main island, and was decorated by the artist Karl Erik Harr. The island of Sanna is home to the famous Kirkhelleren cave, and a number of ancient monuments from various periods. Return to Lovund for overnight stay.
Stage 6: Final day
Express boat to Sandnessjøen and the end of the tour.
- The website of Discover Norway has all the details.
We also suggest Visit Helgeland's website, which is packed with great information about Helgeland; www.visithelgeland.com