Norway's Arctic Circle Region: Myths and Marvels in Helgeland

The Arctic Circle Region is a place of magical light, breathtaking peace and isolation, miracles of human ingenuity and survival, and gloriously unspoilt nature and wildlife.


12 days



Best suited for

Travellers looking for something different; intellectual stimulation as well as drifting into a world where science and superstition walk hand in hand.

Visit the edge of the Arctic, known as the gateway to the midnight sun and twilight winter. These magical natural phenomenons have birthed several Norwegian myths, including “The Helgeland Myth”.

“It is said that long before people arrived in Helgeland, trolls were the masters of this region. Two kings ruled the area, Vågakallen in Lofoten, and The Sulis King in the mountains. One warm summer night The Sulis King’s seven daughters went for a swim in the ocean, protected by the beautiful Lekamøya. Across the fjord, Vågakallen's son in Lofoten spotted Lekamøya, and enchanted, he galloped towards her. However, he quickly realised he would not make it in time before sunrise. As Lekamøya and the daughters fled, Vågakallen's son in a rage fired an arrow towards them just before the first ray of sunlight turned them all into stone.”

On this journey, you will immerse yourself in the mythical fairy tales of Norway, and become a part of the story of the eternally immortalised trolls in the peculiar mountains around you. One thing’s for sure: after this trip, it’s you who will live happily ever after…

Impact Statement

The Arctic Circle Region is a place of magical light, stories from our indigenous people, and gloriously unspoilt nature and wildlife. When at the Svartisen glacier, you will witness the effects of climate change and have the opportunity to reflect on how we can all contribute to UN SDG 13.3. Being so close to the ocean also offers a good opportunity to identify roles in how we can all contribute to SDG goal 14 - protect life below water.

Your itinerary

Itineraries are designed by our travel curators in collaboration with our partners to give you the most rewarding experience possible.

Please note that itineraries can be tailored to your specific wishes, when you make an inquiry.


A First Encounter with the Helgeland Myth

Your journey starts in the Lofoten islands where you will encounter a range of majestic mountains dropping straight into the sea. Vågakallen is one of these; once upon a time a major protagonist in the love story which, according to the myth, has shaped the geological landscape of the region.

Your base for the next three days will be a luxurious version of a traditional fisherman’s cabin, known locally as a ‘rorbu’. Spend your time exploring the vistas and take the pulse of Lofoten's charm and tradition. You have truly not seen Norway until you have experienced Lofoten.



Lofoten - It's Electric!

With a rental car to hand, we will guide you to all the Lofoten sights we think you’ll love, and introduce you to our favourite warm-hearted Northerners, local art and history, as well as the regional cuisine such as Lofoten lamb, stockfish and cheeses from goats and cows lucky enough to graze in the some of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world.



Cultural Tasting Cruise

Onboard the brand new hybrid catamaran Brim, you will be taken on a cultural tasting cruise from Svolvær to the fishing village Henningsvær. Lofoten is still an off-the-beaten-path destination, where you will experience unspoiled nature and unique ruggedness. The cruise is a taste of ‘slow travel’ giving you the time to take in the fjords, mountains & wildlife aboard this sustainably powered sea vessel. On the culinary agenda is a meeting with the goats who graze around the hills in the summertime, where you will get to taste the famous brown cheese (‘Nordic caramel’).

Optionally, get ready for a real Arctic experience with a private surf lesson! You can just as easily surf in the Nordic waters as in tropical oceans - where there are waves, there is a way!


Head towards the mainland

Wave Goodbye to Vågakallen and Lofoten as you set sail on the local passenger ferry in the direction of Vågakallen's biggest rival, The Sulis King - father of the Seven Sister Peaks. We'll base you in Bodø for the night. The city has become a cultural hub with plenty of interesting bars and restaurants. Enjoy an exclusive 4-course menu at one of our favourite restaurants “Lyst På”, and spend a relaxing night overlooking the Arctic ocean. We'll make sure to let you know what's going on in the city while you're there.



...and from Pasture to Table in Rural Norway

Arctic Train Ride

You will embark on an unforgettable Arctic train ride towards Mo i Rana. The journey full of majestic mountains, fjords and waterfalls will make you feel like you are on a real life “ Polar Express”. Enjoy the magical scenery of a beautiful and wild landscape as the train takes you to your new destination, while conserving the beauty of the wilderness in an environmentally friendly manner.

Dinner is served at the food destination “Til Elise”, where you will also spend two nights among breathtaking fjords and mountains. The owners, Marius & Elise, saw the value in the ruralisation trend, a counterforce to urbanisation, and started the restaurant as a “pasture to table” concept. This concept is all about getting the best possible ingredients not just from grazing animals but from mother nature and its majestic beauty. Here, you'll be shown a little piece of natural heritage taken from the forest, the sea, the soil, and the farm.


Meet the locals

A Sami Encounter

The Sami are the native people of Norway and through this journey of storytelling and culinary exploration, you will learn about the culture that boasts a proud heritage rich in colour and tradition. Around the fire in a peat-covered ‘gamme’ hut, the Samis will share stories from their lives and introduce you to their traditions and local sagas, which blend in with the Helgeland myths.

You will learn about their eight seasons, the genius of their reindeer-herding cyclical economy, and gain an understanding of how the Samis have used sustainable thinking for generations. Enjoy a Sami lunch consisting of traditional reindeer meat and bread cooked on the fireplace. Through yoik, the native Sami musical expression which is reminiscent of singing, you get a true immersion into Norway’s rich native history.



Slow living at Lovund island

A private car will take you to the dock at Stokkvågen, from where the local passenger ferry is waiting to take you to the iconic island of Lovund which can easily be identified by its bird mountain, towering some 625 metres above sea level.

The young island community of 500 at Lovund is here for the same reason as the puffins who outnumber them: the fish. Over the next couple of days, you will be introduced to a forward thinking society that thrives thanks to one of Norway’s most important exports, the Arctic salmon.

Perhaps the best thing you can do at Lovund is to embrace the slow living mindset. Let the ocean wash away your worries, out here humans are small, and the forces of nature rule. Spend two nights at Lovund Hotel, giving you the time to freely explore the island.


Active living with the historic trading port Støtt as your base

Board the ferry to Støtt, known as the top of Helgeland, where you will spend three nights in the restored buildings of what used to be an old trading port. This will be the hub for your next days of exploration; by foot, bike, kayak or RIB!

Here you will find thousands of undiscovered islands, midnight sun and white sandy beaches. Why not spend the afternoon leisurely exploring the island on a bike?


Svartisen Glacier / The Rødøy Lion / Guided kayaking

Helgeland coastal immersion

Spend one day discovering Norway's second-largest glacier. Using a high-speed RIB boat from Støtt to Svartisen you get to encounter possibly the most spectacular glacier Norway has to offer! Svartisen is the lowest glacier in mainland Europe, making it easily accessible for hikes and nature-based experiences. With our local insiders, all you need to bring is your sense of adventure!

The next day we recommend you practise your kayaking skills along islets and reefs around Støtt, great for all who want to explore the Helgeland coast from the water. Parts of Støtt form a nature reserve, and in your kayak, you'll get close to the unique flora, fauna, and rare bird life unique to the Norwegian coastline.


A third option is to go by RIB to Rødøy island and spend your day hiking to the top of the picturesque mountain, The Rødøy Lion. With its peak 443 metres above sea level, it is one of the most majestic mountaintops the Helgeland coast has to offer - a memory that no doubt will last a lifetime.


Follow the arrow back to the beginning

The antics of Vågakallen, Suliskongen, Hestemannen and the Seven Sisters came to an end when daylight turned them all into stone, and froze them forever in their current locations. This journey ends back at Bodø, with a boat from Støtt. From here there are both domestic and international flight connections.

If you really don’t want the story to end, we can reveal that there are still two bits of scenery and one actress in the Myth who you haven’t been introduced to yet. Follow Hestmannen’s arrow through Torghatten, one of the world’s most distinctive mountain formations, with a hole straight through it. At the point where the arrow hit the sea, you will find beautiful Lekamøya, the beauty who was pursued all the way to Trøndelag… but that’s another story.


Personalize and book the Myths and Marvels in Helgeland journey

  • Personalized itinerary

    This journey has been curated to give you the best of the Arctic Circle Region. A place of magical light, breathtaking peace and isolation, miracles of human ingenuity and survival, and gloriously unspoilt nature and wildlife. The journey can be booked as proposed or further personalized to you.

  • Worry-free booking

    With our flexible terms, we hope to provide you with all the certainty and adaptibility you need when booking your well-deseved escape.

  • Pricing

    Read more about our pricing here.

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Torunn Tronsvang

September 18th, 2022

The Arctic Circle in Norway: Basking in the fairytale Glow

September 18th, 2022

The Arctic Circle in Norway: Basking in the fairytale Glow

Get to know more about Norway's Arctic Circle Region on a train journey from Bodø to Mo i Rana.

Torunn Tronsvang


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Anja Mobæk

Travel Manager
Hi there, I'm Anja and I'm a Travel Manager here at Up Norway. Let me know if I can help answer some questions.