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Blog Why Bodø should be on your Norwegian travel bucket list
Date: 11 January 2023

Why Bodø should be on your Norwegian travel bucket list

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Planning an adventure in Northern Norway? Be sure to visit Bodø on your journey. Known as the ‘gateway to the Lofoten Islands’, the city, which sits just north of the Arctic Circle, has a lot going for it, and is well worth a visit in it’s own right.

With its quirky shops, fabulous restaurants, and thriving cultural scene, Bodø has everything a great city should offer. But it’s also within easy reach of the magnificent Svartisen glacier, Børvasstindan mountains, and the world’s strongest maelstrom, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.

If that wasn’t enough, thanks to its northerly location, there’s a high chance of spotting the Northern Lights (if you’re visiting between September and April).

A must-see destination, here are six top activities to add to your Bodø itinerary.

Tip: Norwegian Reward members earn CashPoints on flights, hotels, car hire and other travel-related services.

Fly to Bodø

1. Marvel at the world’s most powerful whirlpool

Saltstraumen maelstrom unleashes its awesome power four times a day. Photo: Arvid Høidahl – Unsplash

A maelstrom is a powerful whirlpool. And the world’s most powerful one can be found 30 minutes drive from downtown Bodø, at the Saltstraumen Strait.

This spectacular natural phenomenon is caused by conflicting tides cause one fjord to drain into another. The result is a churning vortex that shifts over 400 million cubic metres of water one way, then the other, every six hours. It’s an awe-inspiring sight.

If you’re a thrill seeker, you can get up close and personal to Saltstraumen on an RIB speedboat. But in our opinion, the best way to see it is from the air. So, why not treat yourself to a helicopter flight over Bodø and Saltstraumen and earn yourself some CashPoints in the process?

Tip: Visit at high tide to see mother nature at work. Check the tide table here.

2. Travel back in time at Kjerringøy

Kjerringøy Trading Post is a unique example of Norwegian coastal heritage. Photo: ©Roger Johansen – @nordnorge.com

The scenic village of Kjerringøy (located 30 km north of Bodø) is well worth a visit. Packed with gleaming, white sandy beaches and majestic mountain scenery, the idyllic, coastal-alpine landscape will take your breath away.

The village is also home to an important piece of Norwegian cultural heritage – Kjerringøy Trading Post. One of Norway’s best-preserved fish trading sites, it dates back to the 19th century.

Now an open-air museum, the site consists of 15 authentic buildings, with their original features intact. Exploring the buildings and watching the 20-minute audio-visual presentation will give you unique insight into north-Norwegian coastal culture.

3. Enjoy a picnic on Mjelle beach

Enjoy a picnic on the red sands of Mjelle Beach. Photo: ©Alexander Benjaminsen/VisitNorway.com

Fancy a beach day? Head to Mjelle Beach. A mere 30-minute drive from Bodø, plus a 15-minute hike along a pretty coastal trail, you’ll be rewarded with the most amazing views.

Mjelle beach is a gem, quite literally. The sand is white and red (the red colouring comes from garnet mineral particles). The hue of the sand changes all the time, depending on how the wind and tide affect the ratio of the grains.

An Instagrammer’s dream, Mjelle is one of the best beaches in Norway and an ideal spot for a picnic on a warm summer’s day.

4. Walk on Svartisen Glacier

vartisen is a collective term for two glaciers located in Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park. Photo: ©Noverodus – Pixabay

Another must-see attraction near Bodø is Svartisen glacier. At 370 square kilometres, it’s Norway’s second largest glacier, and the most accessible to visit in Europe.

You can get close to Svartisen by foot or bicycle (you can hire a bike at the quay), but you can get even closer on a guided glacier hike. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk on a relic from the Ice Age.

If you choose to do this, don’t forget your camera. Svartisen is up there with the most instagrammable places in Norway.

If you’d rather observe the glacier from a distance (with a warm drink in hand), the views of the glacier and Svartisvannet (the lake beneath it) are fantastic from Brestua café. Just bear in mind, the café is only open during the summer months.

If you’re pushed for time, why not appreciate Svartisen from above, on a Svartisen Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight?

5. Go on a sea eagle safari

Bodø is known as the City of the Sea Eagle. Photo: ©Tommy Andreassen – www.nordnorge.com

Bodø is home to the world’s largest population of sea eagles. These majestic birds have a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters which makes them very easy to spot.

The most exhilarating way to see them is by speedboat on a guided RIB Safari (if you choose to do this, you’ll see Saltstraumen at the same time).

Sea eagles aren’t the only birds you’ll see around Bodø either. Puffins and eider ducks are a common sight. And if you’re lucky, you might see some sea life too. Whales and dolphins are common in the winter, while white dolphins can be seen in the summer.

If you’re into wildlife, you won’t want to miss this, as sea eagles are a rare sight. Don’t forget your camera!

6. Indulge in the local cuisine

Stockfish (unsalted, dried cod) is a delicious Norwegian delicacy. Photo: ©Monika – Pixabay

Renowned for its fresh seafood, one must-have dish whilst visiting Bodø is Tørrfisk (known in English as stockfish). A Norwegian delicacy, tørrfisk is dried, unsalted Atlantic cod (skrei) that’s dried out in the cold Norwegian air on giant wooden racks.

One of the world’s oldest preservation methods, drying the fish naturally gives it a long storage life and unique texture.

You’ll find tørrfisk on the menu at many restaurants, but Bryggerikaia serves up some of the best. Their grilled stockfish is to die for.

For dessert, head to Kjelen Kafe for some møsbrømlefse, a traditional Norwegian sweet snack consisting of a lefse flatbread stuffed with melted goat’s cheese, buttermilk, syrup, and flour. It’s dreamy.

Want to try out some more Norwegian delicacies? Check out our weird Nordic food post for inspiration.

Get exploring!

Bodø is worthy of any Norwegian travel bucket list. Tick it off with Norwegian and earn CashPoints on your Arctic adventure.

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