The Helgeland coast
A highlight reel of natural and cultural treasures along the north Norwegian coastline.
Whether your journey takes place during the endless summer days or in winter darkness with the Northern Lights, you will never forget your trip along this section of coast, which was once the home of Norway’s famous 17th-century poet-priest, Petter Dass.
The Vega Islands
These 6,500 islands, islets and skerries have been recognised on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2004. This rare honour makes sense when you get into your kayak and soak up the scene around you, surrounded by towering mountains that drop sharply to the sea below.
The archipelago has also attained status as a sustainable tourism destination, and regardless of whether you arrive by kayak, boat or organised tour, there are many places that can offer you a room for the night.
As you paddle rhythmically past Vega’s countless islets, you’ll hear birdsong – a reminder that you are entering the realm of the Eider Duck, which breeds naturally in large numbers here. Their feathers are improbably light and well suited to making warm, yet comfortable bedding.
In addition to fishing and farming, locals produce eiderdown and the ducks are practically livestock for the locals. Naturally harvested and hand-processed, their prized feathers can cost as much as NOK 30,000 (about $4,000) per kilo.
The Seven Sisters
Legend has it that these seven beautiful mountaintops are actually female trolls turned to stone. The story goes that Botnkrona (1,072 m), Grytfoten (1,066 m), Skjæringen (1,037 m), Tvillingene (the Twins) (980 m), Kvasstinden (1,010 m) and Stortinden (910 m) were all daughters of the Suliskongen, who kept them under strict control. One night he fell into such a deep sleep that all seven maidens were able to sneak out.
But Vågekallen, who had been eager for a wife, was lying in wait. The sisters fled south down the coast, with several trolls chasing, all of whom were either trying to capture or save them. But when the sun rose the next morning, the troll sisters and their pursuers were petrified and turned to stone by its rays.
The proximity of the Seven Sisters means that a good hiker can climb them all in a single day. The Norwegian Trekking Association estimates that a fit walker should take just under thirteen hours to complete the 27-kilometre hike, which includes a 3,225-metre altitude difference.
If all together are too challenging, you can always choose just one to tackle. As the shortest of the seven, Stortinden is the easiest for less-experienced hikers.
Rising for 258 metres vertically from the sea, Torghatten is known for the 30-metre high, 25-metre wide and 160-metre-deep hole that runs through the mountain. According to legend, the hole is the hat of a Brønnøy King that froze to stone.
The story goes that, early one morning, Lekamøya and her seven sisters were fleeing from Vågekallen, who was desperate to capture a wife. The King heard them and came to their rescue. However, Hestmannen, who had been awakened by the noise, got up and shot an arrow towards them. The King threw his hat towards the maidens to protect them. Just as the arrow pierced the hat, the sun came out and its rays turned the trolls, hat and all to stone.
There is another, more rational explanation for the hole, however: after a period sitting at a lower level, the mountain was pushed upwards, during which time the sea gradually wore a hole through its layers of rock.
The hole is most commonly accessed from the eastern side via a path up the mountain. The walk takes around 25-30 minutes, and the sensational view out from the hole across the Helgeland coast makes it worthwhile.
Explore the Helgeland coast with Hurtigruten
We call in at Brønnøysund, Sandnessjøen and Nesna, and offer a number of excursions that bring you closer to the region’s people, nature and culture.
- Multiple offers
Bergen - Kirkenes - Bergen (Roundtrip)
Roundtrip Voyage from Bergen | Explore Norway’s Coastline
Regular departures - 12 days
- Multiple offers
Bergen - Kirkenes - Trondheim (Roundtrip)
11-Day Norwegian Voyage | Bergen - Kirkenes - Trondheim
Regular departures - 11 days
- No single supplement on selected departuresUp to 45% off
Bergen - Kirkenes (Northbound)
7-Day Classic Voyage North: Bergen to Kirkenes
Regular departures - 7 days