Road Trip in Northern Norway with Lofoten & Helgeland
5 Days Road Trip in Northern Norway
Northern Norway in 5 days or 1 286 kilometers – (PART 1 Google Map Route) & (PART 2 Google Map Route) is maybe not the best way to see Northen Norway. We managed to squeeze in many beautiful places that we now know we will like to discover more in the future.
We went exploring the National Tourist Route of the coast of Helgeland and then further on to Lofoten. This Road Trip includes 2 of the 18 scenic National Tourist Route in Norway, that consist of scenic lookout points, visitor centers, bridges and public toilets. When being on a road trip, it is all about the stops along the road and the journey. Let’s not forget the cinnamon rolls! We had long days in the cars with 5 hours driving almost every day sometimes even a bit more because the ferries do take their time on these two National Tourist Routes in Northern Norway.
Natural Beauty is one of Norway’s Greatest Assets
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the natural beauty is one of Norway’s greatest assets. That is why the family and I went on Road trip vacation to Northen Norway and went exploring the nature tourism! We pretty much cruised along scenic landscape from Trøndelag, and past around 20 000 islands of Helgeland to Salstraumen at Bodø. Medieval churches, deep fjords, crystal clear blue water and sandy beaches, mountains that look like troll and sea eagles. Then six ferry crossings! When being on the ferries, we were indulging in eating svele, drinking coffee and being very Norwegian.
Nordland summer with its endless day!
Traveling in June means a ton of light! It never get’s dark. It excites your energy level. Sun shines golden, and the mountains are dancing in the sun sparkles, and the locals go crazy after finally seeing the light again with a winter that brings no lights. The locals make you forget to go to bed.
Knut Hamsuns Pan (1894): “Night was coming on again; the sun just dipped into the sea and rose again, red, refreshed, as if it had been down to drink. I could feel more strangely on those nights than anyone would believe”..
Northen lights are unique so are The Midnight Sun that never goes down! Midnight sun only occurs above the arctic circle. The further north you go, the more midnight sun you will have.
Where and when to experience the midnight sun:
- Arctic Circle: 12 June – 1 July
- Bodø: 4 June – 8 July
- Lofoten Islands: 28 May – 14 July
- Tromsø: 20 May – 22 July
- North Cape: 14 May – 29 July
- Svalbard: 20 April – 22 August
The best part of the experience is a midnight hike or enjoy the hours in front of the fisherman’s cabin by the sea. We were incredibly lucky with the weather! Having the sun every day and 20 degrees plus is a rare event. We appreciate it greatly. Severe weather is not going to break your trip to Northern Norway, but for Norwegian’s we do love it when the sun shines down the mountains and reflects into the fjord. At the same time, we Norwegian’s do live by the concept: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only wrong clothes.
National Tourist Route 17- Helgeland
Day 1 – Trondheim to Vega
Starting Point at Trondheim or Brønnøysund?
Choose your starting point! Flying into Trondheim is cheaper than flying into Brønnøysund. The point of departure is more about time and money. National Route of Helgeland starts in Holm and Godøystraumen and past Brønnøysund, Sandnessjøen, Mo i Rana and Bodø. National Route of Helgeland has 433 kilometers and is the longest tourist route and even contain six ferries (Remember to calculate ferry fees and time schedules).
1. Ferry from Holm to Vennesund
Starting the trip with the ferry from Holm-Vennesund (Check Ferrie Times! ) At Vennesund starting to drive on the Road E17, crossing scenic landscape and continue to you reach Brønnøysund.
Visiting Torghatten in Brønnøysind
In Brønnøysund comes the first stop on the Road Trip! That will give a dramatic scenery with Torghatten a Granite Mountain, which is known for its characteristic hole or natural tunnel that goes out to the other side of the mountain. A perfect 15-30 minutes hike of exploring and panorama view over Helgeland. Is highly recommended to be completed.
Decisions, should I stay or go? Vega Island a UNESCO World Heritage Area
Staying or going depends on time and money. Maybe you would like to spend a night at Brønnøysund or continue a bit further along the road? We decided to explore Vega Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Area. The island has a beautiful landscape with an edge of the hard sea coming in and creating the landscape Mustique.
“Vega Island demonstrates how generations of fishermen and farmers over the past 1,500 years have maintained a sustainable way of life in hard conditions close to the Arctic Circle, a way of life-based on the now unique tradition of eider farming. The status also recognizes the women’s contribution to the down processing work.”
2. Ferry from Horn to Vega
Second ferry of the day. The ferry from Horn to Vega only takes 45 minutes, which is a beautiful ride along the fjord.
Day 2 – Vega Island to Yttervik Camping
Vega Island Exploring
We decided to take the ferry over to the Vega Island, which should be considered maybe not to do if only having five days. It was a bit too much on the schedule. We loved exploring one Island on our Road Trip. The thing that must be considered is the ferry times are few, and it is limited space for cars. People were showing up 1 hour and 30 minutes in advance for the ferry, and they did not make the ferry. That sucks since it was four-hour for the next ferry.
The Farmers Bakery at Sandmo
What can you do in Vega? In Vega there can be done some beautiful hiking in the mountains, visiting E-Huset for an introduction to the unique tradition of eider farming. Our favorite was the Farmers Bakery at Sandmo. Here we enjoyed a Norwegian temptation of Pizza bottom with a dough that had a mix of potato and flavor For our dessert, we had Lefse, which is the best! Our favorite was potato lefse with sugar and butter, what can go wrong? Not buying enough!
3. Ferry from Vega to Tjøtta
Being on the ferries are kind like a free fjord cruise, or this is what we said to ourselves. We enjoyed very much sitting outside on the deck and enjoying the natural beauty of Norway and the sun. If you would like to look like a local, buy some coffee and Svele! Everyone should taste a svele, if not they haven’t been on a Norwegian ferry. Svele & Coffee is the tradition on ferry crossings.
After finally getting off Vega Island, the time was already late in the afternoon. Most of our day disappeared in waiting for the ferry. Vega Island was not a bad place for being or waiting for the ferry. I did just not calculate for 2 hours and 30 minutes waiting on the ferry, and then the ferry was 1 hour and 19 minutes long.
After that, we skipped the next ferry and went some kilometers at E6 – the easy way not the scenic way. We decided to do a camping outside Mo i Rana. Here we discovered Yttervik Camping, which was an undiscovered beauty for us. Mo i Rana was fully booked, that night. Our family had the pleasure of spending the evening at Scenic Yttervik. A pearl by Ran fjord that has excellent opportunities for fishing!
Day 3 – Yttervik to Bodø
Hellågå the Scenic Place for Picnic & Fishing
We rested well in the beautiful cabin at Yttervik Camping. Our family (mum, step-dad, sister, the dog and I) was ready to hit the road again. Our first stop on the day was Hellågå Picning place, which for me was the most scenic stop along the National Tourist Route of Helgeland. Scenic surrounded with fjord, mountains and the magic stairs down to the sea level. Here we spent an hour for fishing and lunch. We were all a bit in euphoria over the prettiness of Hellågå and the Sjona fjord
4. Ferry from Jektvik to Kilboghamn
We are by now appreciating the ferry rides, it is a break to stretch legs and enjoy fjord cruises and of course eating svele and drinking coffee or sometimes even ice cream. It is vacation time; we have to enjoy on our Road Trip in Northern Norway. The ferry from Jektvik to Kilboghamn take 1 hour and 10 minutes. Continuing along the beautiful road for another 30 minutes before catching the next ferry.
5. Ferry from Ågskardet to Forøy
On this ferry, you should be on the top deck! On the end of the boat journey, you will see an arm of Svartisen – literally translated into Black Ice. Svartisen is Norway second biggest glacier covering 370 kilometers.
Braset View Point of Svartisen – Norway’s second grandest Glacier
At Braset viewpoint take a picture of Engabreen the outlet of the glaciers of Svartisen. Engabreen ends at the lowest point of any glacier on the European mainland, at 20 meters above sea level. If driving a bit further, you will see the parking place for taking the boat over to the glacier, where you can either hike to the foot of the glacier or even go hiking on the glacier. Again, it all depends on time and budget.
Storvika Picnic Place with a Beach View
After driving one hour in an untouched natural landscape, it is time for a lunch break. Storvika is the spot! In Storivka you can enjoy a picnic and maybe even go for a swim if you want to be real Norwegian Viking? I’m Norweigan I did not swim in the 14-degree Arctic ocean. I did walk along the excellent beach.
Saltstraumen; World’s Strongest Tidal Current
Saltstraumen is one of the strongest tidal currents in the world. It is about 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) southeast of the town of Bodø. Saltstraunmen is why we stopped her and walked around to look at the Tidal Current and of course talk with the people trying their fishing luck. The Tidal current is fascinating where it is crossing around in the fjord.
Bodøy: The largest city in the county of Nordland
A starting point for the true north and the end of the coastal route Kystriksveien (Rv17)
Finally arriving Bodøy in maybe our longest day in the car. We only had an evening in Bodø, which is not much time to explore the largest city in the county of Nordland. It was time for dining and walking the harbor of Bodø. In this period we did not see any sea eagles soar across the horizon but plenty of happy people from Bodøy enjoying the Northern Norway summer.
National Tourist Route 10 – Lofoten
Day 4 – Bodø to Lofoten
Lofoten, the highlight of the trip, is coming alive! I have never been to Northern Norway. The Road Trip to Northern Norway has made a dream come true. I will see Lofoten, and that was the last missing part of Norway! Now I will understand this staggering beauty of Lofoten! I will say Visit Norway have made Lofoten very exotic even for Norwegians!
6. Ferry from Bodø to Moskenes
The ferry includes yet another fjord cruise in rare and unique Northern Norway landscape. I wish for you great weather when taking this ferry because it is 3 hours and 20 minutes long crossing. The landscape is on another level. If raining it’s not so great to be outside and enjoying this scenic view because it will be very cold. If raining, they do have the most excellent Café, with of course Svele, Coffee and even dinner. The ferry from Bodøt to Lofoten is the longest ferry ride on the entire road trip in Northern Norway.
Lofoten and its Staggering Beauty
The Starting point for National Tourist Route King Olav V’s Raod E10 and is 230 kilometers long, no ferry.
Lofoten with small beautiful islands, excellent fishing, grand nature filled with northern lights or midnight sun depending on the season. The most important, small fishing village of the beaten track telling an important part of Norwegian history and traditions. Did I mention staggering landscape? Rare wilderness with majestic mountains, deep fjords and sea eagles soaring in the sky.
Å Bakery in Lofoten – Cinnamon Rolls!
When the majority is driving left of the ferry, then turn right and go exploring Å in Lofoten. Once upon a time, it was an important fishing village, but a today is more a place for tourists to enjoy their beginning of Lofoten. My recommendation is to hit the local bakery straight away and capture the last Cinnamon Rolls! Before they are sold out!
When you see the line outside the door, then start making determined speed and get in the line. Her people from all over the world will be waiting to get served Cinnamon Rolls straight from the hot stone oven. Yes, I did manage to get four hot, sweet cinnamon rolls with pearl sugar in my hands. The whole family used around 20 seconds to finish them all, and I was in line for 20 minutes, well that is the pleasure of freshly baked Cinnamon Rolls.
Iconic Reine and Sakris Island
If you did not know, this is the diamonds in Lofoten and Northern Norway. Out of this world beautiful. We had to capture the iconic Lofoten picture and create some love on Instagram. I’m almost speechless, this beauty is rare and only in Northern Norway. Fjord Norway is beautiful but in a different way. Northen Norway has its uniqueness, that is not the same.
As a girl coming from Fjord Norway, it requires a lot to get the wow-factor from my side! Since I now have seen the entire coast of Norway, I can indeed say the places not to miss when being on vacation in Norway is Northern Norway and Fjord Norway this is the cornerstone of Norway and our Natural Beauty.
Sakris Island and the Old Fishermen’s Cabins
After taking the ferry from Bodø, visiting Å and taking the Iconic photos of Reine. We discovered Sakris Island and decided this was our accommodation for the night. We got the last cabin! What a piece of luck. When being in high season, I would recommend booking in advance; our family was a bit slow on that part. We went without any accommodation and just winged it every day. We had tents in case of bad luck not finding cabins.
The freedom of choosing every night made us spot Sakris Island. Sakris is the pearl of Lofoten. In my eyes the most beautified scene in Lofoten. Crystal clear blue water and with a fantastic visibility and the charming fishing villages as well as delicious bacalao with a significant amount of the Clipfish from Northern Norway. The Bacalao and the refreshing Lofotpils was served from the charming restaurant Underhuset.
When staying in Lofoten, you have to stay in and Old fishermen’s cabins (In Norwegian: Rorbuer)! That is the soul of the small fishing villages; her fishers baited their longlines, mended their nets, cooked their food, ate and slept. Today the cabins have been restored and turned into modern accommodation for travelers.
If you are doing camping in tents, bring enough warm clothes. As we experience our first-night camping in Vega was that it was freezing. We had good sleeping bags and everything, but still cold.
Day 5 – Sakris Island to Nusfjord
Nusfjord Authentic Fishing Village
The Authentic Nusfjord is one of the oldest and best-preserved fishing villages in Northern Norway. Nusfjord has long fishery traditions. In Nusfjord we found one open hut out of 50 charming fishing huts for the night. We enjoyed Nusfjord for what it was; Charming! What should you do in Nusfjord? Enjoy the outdoors activity, fishing and hiking. Exploring the cozy store on the second floor at the harbor is a must do. The store is a living museum, and nothing has been changed, and they have preserved all the great years and boxes from the glories days of Nusfjord. Entering the store is like entering back in time.
In Nusfjord there is the experience of calmness and tranquility by idyllic fishing ground and the respectful sea with dramatics and charm. Spending our last night in Lofoten at Nusfjord was not a bad choice. They do have an excellent restaurant on the site! It is on the higher price end, but probably well worth it for the pure taste of Lofoten. We had great restaurant meal at Sakris Island by this went cooking in our cabin at Nusfjord (Eating out in Norway is expensive even for Norwegians).
Last Day – Nusfjord to Evenes Airport
On our last day, we are cruising along the final part of the National Tourist Route 10. The goal is to reach the Evenes Airport before my departure in the evening and return to Oslo.
Henningsvær; The “Venice of Lofoten.”
Henningsvær is one of the most well-preserved architectures of the traditional Norwegian villages. We did not have much time in Henningsvær we only had a photo-stop and cinnamon rolls hunting! We found them at Lysstøperiet. What a crowd and favorite place Lysstøperiet turned out to be. Henningsvær has a different vibe than the other fishing villages, in Henningsvær everything is popping a bit more. Galleries, Pottery shops, Gift shops, Café places and even an own Coffee House. In Henningsvær there are more people!
Tips for Road Trip in Northern Norway
1. Check Ferry Times
The first and most important tips are to check ferry times! Plan to be a bit before departure, due to the high season there can be an advantage of showing up 30 minutes to an 1 hour in advance. Many Camper Vans do take more space than regular sized cars.
2. Chilly Summer Nights in Northern Norway
Even do it is summer in Norway and Northern Europe does not mean high temperatures. It means the chance of the weather changing whenever it wants to change. Bring warm clothes! Especially if camping! Pack clothing for four seasons.
3. Plan your time & budget
Get together and agree on what you want to explore and discover. If being on a road trip together, everyone should get to do something they like.
Road Trip in Northen Norway, have you been or going?