Helgeland Coast: An Off the Beaten Path Introduction to Norway
Looking for an underrated part of Norway to visit? Look no farther than the Helgeland Coast!
Back when my friend, Sher, and I visited our friend, Silvia, in Norway, we got our first introduction to a place I’d never heard of before — the Helgeland Coast! You see Silvia had moved from Rauland a little over a year before our visit, and she was absolutely in love with the region. Considering she’s both Norwegian and had called the country home for a few years at this point, we already knew her new home had to be something special!
You see Helgeland itself is the most southern district in Northern Norway and covers something like 400+ km of coastline. This means that even visiting in winter can be enchanting (though everyone told us we should really come back in the summer)! While obviously the Norwegian winter is both cold and icy, it’s actually a lot more mild here than I initially thought. And you do get a decent amount of daylight!
We had so much fun seeing Norway through Silvia’s eyes, catching up in person, and exploring all sorts of different spots along the Helgeland Coast. Here’s a look into our very scenic introduction.
Thank you to Visit Helgeland for collaborating with us!
Northern Norway Tips
- The Geography: As the name suggest, Northern Norway takes up the northern third of the country. It begins at the border between the counties of Nordland and Trøndelag. If you look at a map, it extends over Sweden and Finland, sharing a little border with Russia. Most of it also lies in the Arctic Circle.
- Getting in: There are a number of airports depending on where you go. Most will have a layover in Oslo, and I know all my flights to Tromsø have had one in Helsinki.
- Getting Around: While Norway has cruise options, a train line, and some cities have bus transportation; this is definitely a country you’re going to want to rent a car in especially up north which sees a lot less tourism.
- Major Areas to Visit: the Helgeland Coast for the islands; the picturesque Lofoten Islands; Tromsø for the Northern Lights and access to the fjord, and mountains super far north.
- Must-Brings: Cramp-ons and Heattech undershirts in the winter. Norwegians can walk on ice in tennis shoes, but chances are you were not rasied in Scandinavia. In the summer, bring a solid sleep mask to combat Midnight Sun and actually supportive hiking shoes for the hikes. Learn from me!
Where We Went Along the Helgeland Coast
Our first stop in Helgeland was Mosjøen! This is the oldest town in the region. Though it was officially established in 1875, the land itself has history going back to the Viking Age.
I’d say Mosjøen is to Silvia what Namwon in Korea is to me. They’re both these smaller towns that don’t see too many foreign tourists but are both chock full of their own charm.
Anyway, we had two nights in Mosjøen where we stayed at Silvia’s apartment. Unfortunately, we had some pretty rainy weather on our one main day here, but we still managed to get a little tour of the town, see just how picturesque the street of Sjøgata is, visit the Helgeland museum, and even stop into Lydiabrygga for some waffles and brown cheese. In the evening we had a super delicious dinner at Fru Haugans Hotel, which is the oldest hotel in Northern Norway, dating back to 1794.
You’ll have to read Silvia’s post about Mosjøen for the full details of visiting!
Our next visit was to Susendal to do one of the most quintessential things to do when you’re up north – husky sledding! We sledded with Aaslid Polar and had such a fun (and exhausting) time. We started during the day and finished at night, and I still don’t think I’ve had such an intense workout in my life. The owner, Linda, runs her farm with the happiest Alaska huskies you’ll find. All of them have such insane energy!
You can stay in Susendal, but we circled back to Mosjøen.
Next up for us was the town of Brønnysund, which we visited briefly before going to the Island of Vega. The big thing to do is to hike Torghatten. In the winter we could only go to a certain point, but in the summer you can go all the way up and get some incredible coastal views. We also visited an aquaculture center to learn more about Norwegian salmon.
If you want to stay overnight, I thought Torgarhaugen and Norsk Havbrukssenter – Rorbuer both seemed idyllic! We stayed at the Corner Hotell to be as close to the ferries for Vega as possible.
Island of Vega
One of our island visits! So this might be confusing, but there are two Vegas in Norway – the Vega Archipelago and the island of Vega. The archipelago holds over 6,000 islands and the island of Vega is the largest of them all. It’s been inhabited since the Stone Age and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We were there for a day and a night, and in that time we visited the Vega’s World Heritage Center, learned more about the eiderdown culture, hiked partially up Vegatrappa, or Vega Stairs (no way were we going all 1,300 steps up lol), and munched on some pizza in our cabin over the water.
Our cabin was part of the Vega Opplevelsesferie and was the actual definition of hygge (which, fun fact, is a Norwegian word that the Danish stole ;)). I wrote more about the island in my post on visiting Vega, so check that post if you’re planning a trip.
Our last stop in Helgeland was the island of Lovund, which I quickly added to my list of “places I’d like to write a novel at.” If you’re curious, also on this list is Segovia in Spain and Mayne Island near Vancouver, Canada. Lovund is one of the tiniest islands along the Helgeland Coast. I remember out guide said the mountain took up 85% of the island, and less than 500 people call the village home!
Lovund is mainly visited during the summer when you can witness some 300,000 puffins get ready to nest. We obviously didn’t get to see any puffins, but we did have the most incredible stay at Lovund Hotel which is worth staying for the morning views alone. However, the true highlight was our multi-course dinner based around local produce and Norwegian food culture.
We did a mini hike over to this fun golf point where we attempted to knock some fish food golf balls into the water and even visited some sheep who were roaming about and living their best lives. If you’re planning a visit, you can read my Lovund guide here.
And there you have it! A little look at my introduction to the beautiful Helgeland Coast! Definitely check out Silvia’s blog for even more insight and places to visit as she’s gone to even more islands and, of course, she’s kinda known for all her Norway trips and travel advice!
For more Norway travel, read these next:
- A Little Trondheim Travel Guide for Winter
- What to Expect Hiking to Blåvatnet in Northern Norway
- 5 Fun Ways Norway and Korea are Actually Really Similar
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