7 Reasons You Should Stay in Bodø When Visiting Northern Norway
SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO AROUND BODØ
Above the Arctic Circle in the summer, Northern Norway is amazing. And the town of Bodø is a perfect base to explore all the area has to offer. Bodø is easy to get to and has lots to offer both the active traveler and the slower soak in all the scenery type.
First, let’s get oriented. Bodø sits in the Salten region of Nordland County. It’s way up north. Look at a map. As the capital of Nordland, Bodø is one of the largest towns in the area, with a population of nearly 51,000 people. You won’t find many historic buildings in Bodø, as much of the town was destroyed during WW2 and rebuilt in the 50’s. What it might lack in architecture and charm, it more than makes up with the landscape. Surrounded by mountains, this harbor town is a beautiful base for your Arctic explorations.
1. STAY UP FOR THE MIDNIGHT SUN OR SWOON OVER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
We landed in Bodø late July, a month past summer solstice when the sun up above the Arctic Circle does not actually set. Did you hear me? It does not set. Not at summer solstice on June 21st. So at the end of July, while the official sunset was around midnight, it was rising again around 02:30 so the sky remained a pinkish twilight and never actually turned dark. It is surreal to experience and definitely something to get used to. I didn’t want to use the blackout shades at the hotel as I wanted to see what it looked like all night! After a few nights of little sleep and general excitement, you may have give in to the sleep demons and pull the shades shut.
With 21+ hours of daylight, you have PLENTY of time to discover all the Bodø has to offer!
2. FEEL THE VIBE AND ENERGY OF THIS HARBOR TOWN
This is a port town, taking passengers and cargo up and down the Norwegian coast. The famous Hurtigruten mail route cruises in here and you could hop aboard and explore with them further north. Or hop a ferry to the Lofoten Islands, several sailings daily. But before you go, spend a few days in Bodø as base. We jumped on bikes borrowed from our hotel and rode around the charming harbor. On a sunny day, cafés and restaurants open to tables outside and everyone is out. You might even be able to get drinks on a boat!
3. STROLL THROUGH THE OLD FORT FOR GREAT VIEWS
Drive or bike your way around the small Bodø harbor to the old fort for great views of the town from the opposite side. A beautiful place for a picnic, pack one in and plunk down at one of the many tables that surround the park. Don’t miss the little lighthouse on the point. Wildflowers blooming and clear blue water made this a perfect afternoon out.
4. FIND SOME SWEET Street Art
Bodø hosts the UpNorth festival that brings street art to the city. I loved the sea eagle right outside the Visit Bodø information center. Keep your eyes peeled for other amazing murals around the city.
BEYOND BODØ | EXPLORE THE AREA KNOWN AS NORDLAND
5. SEE THE WORLD’S WILDEST WHIRLPOOLS | SALTSTRAUMEN MAELSTROM
Just 30 kilometers west and then south from the town of Bodø you will find one of the most amazing places in Northern Norway. In anywhere really. Every 6 hours when the tide changes you can play witness to an astonishing display of Mother Nature’s brute forces here at Saltstraumen. This is the world’s strongest maelstrom with 400 million cubic meters of water pushing through a narrow strait that separates the islands of Knaplundsøya and Straumsøya. The strait spans 3 kilometers but is only 150 meters wide at the smallest point. When the tide changes, you can witness impressive surges as the water rushes to move between the massive Skjerstadfjord to the outer Saltfjord.
6. TAKE THE FERRY FROM FESTVÅG TO KJERRINGØY PENINSULA
Like to take in a little local history with your nature? Don’t miss the Kjerringøy Gamle Handelssted, an adorable museum that replicates what was life like in the heyday of a Norwegian cod fishing town. Easily doable in a day trip from Bodø.
7. MAGICAL MJELLE BEACH SHIMMERS REDDISH PURPLE
Arctic beaches are some of the best in the world. Not necessarily known for wonderful water temperatures, the stunning swaths of sand offer something different up here. And Mjelle beach less than 30 minutes north of Bodø is magical. Here the sand sports tiny particles of gemstones and minerals that give it a unique reddish-purple cast. And the rocks? They shimmer and shine. It is divine.
READ MORE: MAGICAL MJELLE BEACH | DAY OUT FROM BODØ
GOOD TO KNOW:
HOW TO GET TO BODØ:
WHERE TO STAY:
Tollbugata 5, 8006 Bodø, Norway
Upon the recommendation of fellow blogger, Vanessa from Snow in Tromsø, we stayed at the Scandic Havet right on the Bodø waterfront. It was the perfect spot in the middle of all the action. Head upstairs to the roof bar for brilliant views of the harbor and islands beyond. Scandic Hotels have amazing breakfast spreads included in your room price where you can try all the Norwegian treats before embarking on your day. Borrow a bike (for free!) and toodle about town.
Note: Our stay at the Scandic was not sponsored and my recommendation is my own.
READ MORE: WHAT TO EAT IN NORTHERN NORWAY
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