Bodø and Lofoten are a treat for nature lovers
Bodø in northern Norway is known as the gateway to the stunning Lofoten archipelago. However, you should also make time to stay in Bodø for a few days. Both destinations offer wonderful nature, interesting history, and authentic Scandinavian lifestyle.
There are several options to travel from Bodø to Lofoten. Most travellers will choose to rent a car in Bodø and take the daily car ferry to Moskenes, that takes around three hours. You could also drive the entire way but prepare to drive for over eight hours. If you would prefer to travel by public transport, you can board the ferry to Moskenes as a foot passenger, choose a smaller passenger-only ferry to Svolvær, or join the Hurtigruten ferry, which is the slowest and most expensive option, but also offers great sight-seeing along the way.
Natural wonders are what Lofoten are known for. You could start at Lofotodden National Park, offering astounding coastal views as well as unique mountainous flora. Lofoten also has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Some of the seaside spots worth visiting include Haukland, Kvalvika, Uttakleiv and Rambergstranda. In the summer you might even want to have a swim or try some surfing!
The traditional villages of Å and Reine should also be on your list of places to check out. In both idyllic fisherman’s huts are perched perfectly between the coastline and mountains. Å is also partly preserved as the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum, aimed to showcase the areas rich culture. Another interesting museum destination is Lofotr Vikingmuseum where you can get a real sense of Viking living.
The natural wonders of Bodø
Bodø is also a fantastic destination for nature travel. To see a good range of the area’s natural wonders, head out to Bodømarka. The natural park has almost 35 kilometres of trails where you get to enjoy amazing mountain and sea scenery. There are different levels of hikes and walks, so you can take the children with you. The area is well serviced with many activities on offer, from horse-back riding to water sports.
Even if the beaches at Lofoten are pretty much unbeatable, Bodø has one serious gem on offer as well. Mjelle beach is a must-see known for its lovely mountain side location and amazing sunsets. Some of the sand on the beach is an unusual pink colour due to the high levels of garnet minerals. Around the beach there is a good hiking trail with rest stops.
You might also want to see an interesting natural curiosity in Saltstraumen. The narrow strait has the strongest tidal currant in the world, creating impressive whirlpools that can be up to ten metres in diameter. Watching the tide itself is interesting too, with the sea level changing drastically in minutes.
History in Bodø
If you are a history fan, Bodø is your place to be. Kjerringøy Handelssted or trading post is a well-preserved example of coastal living in the 19th century, now serving as a museum. The museum consists of 15 building, with original objects and interiors. The idyllic trading post village even has a cute little shop and café.
Nyholmen Skandse is a 19th century fortress on a narrow peninsula. It is an interesting part of war history and houses some impressive cannons, but it is also worth visiting just for great scenery over Bodø. The best unobstructed sea views can be seen from the very edge of the peninsula, where there is also a lighthouse.
Anyone interested in WWII should also check out Batterie Dietl, a stronghold on an island off Steigen. The guided tours around the stronghold show both the living quarters and the bases, known for their huge cannons used in guarding the surrounding sea route.
Scandinavian food in Bodø and Lofoten
After all the sight-seeing you are bound to get hungry. Luckily both Bodø and Lofoten have a great array of restaurants offering high quality Scandi cooking. In Bodø one of the best places to visit is LystPå. Its menu is filled with modern Nordic dishes from fish soup made of local catch to reindeer. Another good option is Roast, housed on the 17th floor of Scandic hotel. You should try the ceviche made of local cod or a sea buckthorn cheesecake.
In Svolvær Lofoten a true culinary destination is Børsen Spiseri, showcasing unique Lofoten sourced ingredients. The restaurant's specialty is stockfish, which you can order cooked several different ways. For dessert try the selection of local cheeses. In Å the best place to eat is Brygga, making hearty local dishes. The restaurant is open from breakfast to dinner and offers options that children will love too.
Finnair flies to Bodø three times a week during the summer season starting on 27 May 2023.