Short food supply, romantic farm stays and historic gardens. The Helgøya peninsula in the heart of Norway’s largest lake is a summer idyll.
Nes and Helgøya is the heart of Mjøsa’s discovery route. Surrounded by the beautiful lake Mjøsa, the road meanders through a lush, rolling cultural landscape and past large and small farms, beautiful gardens, welcoming restaurants, outlets selling local products, and more. There is always something to see or do – whether you drive, explore by bicycle, arrive by boat, or go by foot.
Helgøya is an 18.3-square-kilometer (7.1 sq mi) island in the lake Mjøsa, located in Ringsaker Municipality. The island is the largest freshwater island in Norway and has been connected to the mainland by the Nessundet Bridge since 1957.
On a late summer day, the smell of flowers and chlorophyll hangs over Helgøya like a sweet perfume. But it’s not just wild plants that thrive here. First-class solar conditions and a mineral-rich soil have made the area one of Norway’s most productive food bowls since the early Iron Age.
Attractions within easy reach
Attractions are varied and within easy reach of each other. Accommodation is available at campsites, manor farms, or in welcoming private holiday homes. The renowned Wood hotel, the world’s tallest timber building, is not far away either. In short, the perfect holiday destination – for a day or a whole week!
The island consists of 32 farms. The most notable of these are the old manor Hovinsholm which had its own church until 1612. Another old farm is Eik (‘oak’) which is the source of the name of the tallest hill on the island: Eksberget. Another farm is Høvelsrud with its 17th century gardens. The island is generally rich in traces of medieval history.
Some call it Norway’s Toascana. Flowers, bees and tourists in beautiful harmony. Between June and September, the otherwise sleepy Helgøya bustles with activity. Shouts of joy can be heard through the forest from the inland’s largest climbing park. Tent pitches fill up at Skurven bathing area, while small boats from Gjøvik and Hamar dock to eat baked potatoes at Nessundet bridge.
In the Heart of Norway’s Largest Lake, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Helgøya. Photo: Statsforvalteren