Tucked between some of Norway’s most majestic mountains and beautiful islands, Sandnessjøen is an underexplored pearl along Helgelandskysten. Whether you want peace and tranquillity or fun and adventure, Sandnessjøen has something in store for you.

Along the Norwegian coastland, the northern city of Sandnessjøen is surrounded by some of Norway’s most beautiful natural sights, such as the hat shaped mountain Torghatten, the mountains of Træna, and of course the incomparable Seven Sisters mountain range, with its seven distinct peaks rising from the sea. The mountains offer fantastic opportunities for hiking, being easily accessible and with varying degrees of difficulty, and are also ideal for day trips.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel. Photo: Scandic Syv Søstre

Photo: Scandic Syv Søstre

“We’re located in the middle of the Helgeland Coast in Nordland, making us a perfect base for travellers not just here but also in the surrounding areas. There’s easy access to all the most sought-after sights and experiences,” says Trine Mathisen Vassvik, cultural consultant in Alstahaug municipality, in which Sandnessjøen is located.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

Photo: Ketil Born

While the natural sights bring hikers and travellers from all over, many tend to overlook the rest of Sandnessjøen, thinking perhaps that the landscape might be the only thing the area has to offer. In reality, the city is a hub for culture and history, not to mention a summer full of fun activities.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

Photo: Inge Ove Tysnes

Swing into summer with music and Vikings

Odd Arnold Skogsholm, head of culture in the municipality, explains that Sandnessjøen has a long and rich history stretching back to before the Viking ages, with evidence of settlements from over 4,000 years ago, and further excavations show permanent settlement as early as the year 800.

“Alstahaug church, which is one of the seven preserved medieval churches in Northern Norway, was built around the year 1200, possibly before,” says Skogsholm. “From the 1300s to 1738, it was Helgeland’s ecclesiastical centre, and today it’s co-located with the Petter Dass Museum, designed by Snøhetta.” Often considered the foremost Norwegian priest and poet of his generation, Petter Dass served as one of the most important figures in Danish-Norwegian literature from the 1600s.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

Photo: Scandic Syv Søstre

“Visitors seeking history will not be disappointed,” he assures. “Sandnes, for example, was an important location during the Viking Ages, and today visitors can experience the Viking Chiefdom seat, which is mentioned in the saga about Egil Skallagrímsson.”

Sandnessjøen’s position along the coast means that it has served as an important location for as long as the area has been inhabited. Fishing, seafaring and trade have always been and continue to be important to the city. “Today, we remain a hub for seafarers, with boats to many of the surrounding areas on a daily basis, such as the World Heritage Site, Vegaøyene, and this year’s European Culture Capital, Bodø,” adds Vassvik.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

Photo: Emil Sollie

Harbour festival and culture centre

Sandnessjøen has always served as a port of call for the Norwegian Coastal Express, and the harbour is important to its locals. The people of Sandnessjøen are proud of their history and local businesses and treat the harbour as more than just a place of work.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

Map: Visit Helgeland

“We have one of the largest harbours in northern Norway and the sea has always been important to us. Because of its historic and contemporary importance, the harbour also serves as a cultural meeting point,” Skogsholm explains. “We also celebrate an annual harbour festival, which is a two-month-long music festival. Visitors to Sandnessjøen can expect a lively summer!”

The cultural programme is not limited to the warmer season. At Kulturbadet, the municipality’s local culture centre, there are activities for people of all ages, ranging from music and literature to film and theatre. At Kulturbadet, visitors have access to traditional culture centre activities, but also a cinema, library, art gallery, and a water park. “My favourite thing about living in Sandnessjøen is the easy access to anything one might need, including a rich and vast culture scene,” says Vassvik.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

Photo: Kristoffer Mollevik

Kick back, relax and eat your heart out

For guests travelling from far away, there are different opportunities for overnight stays, all depending on preference. The beautiful wilderness offers great camping opportunities, but if you’re looking for something a little bit more comfortable, there’s a range of hotels and inns, such as the Scandic Syv Søstre Hotel. It’s attached to Kulturbadet, making it a great base with access to everything. The hotel is located near the harbour and offers a view of the mountains on one side and the sea on the other.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

Photo: Emil Sollie

“At Scandic Syv Søstre, we work with the local area to showcase everything Sandnessjøen has to offer. Naturally, there’s a range of activities available on-site, being attached to Kulturbadet and all, but we also like to host different events ourselves,” says Sara Karlsen, sales and marketing manager at Scandic Syv Søstre.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

There are plenty of ways to experience the Seven Sisters – hiking, kayaking, or maybe just glancing at them from a restaurant in the city. Photo: Johanne Tysnes

Working with local producers and farms, the hotel likes to host themed culinary evenings with inspiration from the local areas. Steak nights, Dinner in the Dark, and immersive theatre experiences are some of the possibilities at the hotel.

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

Photo: Johanne Dahl Tysnes

In addition to the hotel’s own restaurant, the culinary possibilities in Sandnessjøen are endless. “Many of the other local hotels, such as Napoli Hotell og Restaurant and Havkanten Gjestehus, also offer great gastronomic experiences. Furthermore, there are wonderful restaurants and pubs such as Restaurant Soprano, Frk. Lovise, Helgeland Kolonial, Onkel Oskar, and many more,” Karlsen says. “That’s the wonderful thing about Sandnessjøen; no matter what you’re looking for, there’s something here for everyone.”

Alstahaug: Sandnessjøen: Experience Norway’s coastal jewel

Swing into summer with the many concerts that take place over the season. Photo: Kenneth Solfjeld

Travel here!
Sandnessjøen Port – 0.3km away
Sandnessjøen Airport – 11km away
Mosjøen Train Station – 60km away
Mosjøen Airport – 69km away


Facebook: Alstahaug Kommune
Instagram: @alstahaug

Facebook: kulturbadet
Instagram: @kulturbadet

Facebook: Scandic Syv Söstre
Instagram: @scandicsyvsostre


Other local hotels to check out: Havkanten Gjestehus www.havkanten.no Skogsholmen Gjestehus www.skogsholmen.no Sandnessjøen Overnatting www.sandnessjoenovernatting.no Napoli Hotell og Restaurant www.napolihotell.no

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