Captain Nemo survived the maelstrom near Bodø, after having steered the Nautilus straight into it. We know, because Jules Verne’s literary hero from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea reappeared in the sequel The Mysterious Island. The fact that Nemo and his crew survived the encounter with this force of nature is no doubt a testament to the skills that must have gone into the construction of the Nautilus – arguably the world’s most well-known submarine.
The maelstrom in question is known as the Moskstraumen, found close to the Lofoten peninsula in North Norway – and relatively close to Bodø on the Norwegian mainland. Closer to Bodø, there’s a second, even stronger, maelstrom: the Saltstraumen. Perhaps only Verne could have told if Captain Nemo would have survived an encounter with the Saltstraumen, which is considered the world’s strongest tidal current. Water speeds of up to 22 knots result in the vortices that lie behind the maelstroms here.
As far as we know, the good captain and his crew never set foot on dry land in this region of Norway. That’s a pity, really, because Bodø and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer visitors.
Situated just north of the Arctic Circle, Bodø visitors can experience both the midnight sun and polar nights (although not at the same time, of course). But there’s more to nature here: This is also Norway’s windiest city. No doubt, Bodø is a destination of extremes.
Bodø also has another side, though: one that is softer, allowing time for reflection. Few cities this size have the outback around the corner, but Bodø does. Surrounded not only by the sea but also by several national parks, visitors will find a number of mountain peaks not far from the city – ideal for climbing or finding solitude. Or both.
If you have the slightest interest in fishing, Bodø is an ideal destination. Cod, sole, salmon and trout are but some of the species that attract anglers from near and far. The Saltstraumen, in particular, is a well-known hotspot for fishing.
With close to 50,000 inhabitants, Bodø is the capital of the county of Nordland. The city was established as a municipality in 1838.
Bodø features two cruise terminals, one in close proximity to the city center and one a quarter of a mile/450 meters away. Tourist information is available quayside.
- Housed in one of the oldest buildings in Bodø, the Nordland Museum features exhibitions covering the Viking Age, the indigenous Sami people, the Lofoten fisheries – and Bodø itself. Built in 1903, the Nordland Museum building was one of the relatively few that was not destroyed during World War II.
- Following a ten-minute ferry crossing over the Mistfjorden, you will arrive on Kjerringøy. The Trading Post here is considered a unique example of coastal heritage, representing one of Norway’s most important collections of buildings from the 19th century. You will find a shop and a café on the premises. Even if you’re not particularly interested in the trading post as such, Kjerringøy might be worth a visit due to its nature. Find a beach, sit down for a while and soak up the Norwegian nature. Kjerringøy can also be reached by car or coach, but the journey is longer.
- The Bodøsjøen open-air museum is the ideal destination for peaceful walks, providing outstanding views of the area surrounding Bodø.
- The National Norwegian Aviation Museum puts focus on the history of Norway’s air traffic as well as the technological development that has led to today’s air transport. On display are a wide range of aircraft, such as Spitfire, Mosquito, Junkers Ju-88, and the spy plane U-2.
- For the culturally interested, Bodø Kunstforening might be something to include on the agenda. With ten to twelve different exhibitions per year, this art association provides art experiences for kids as well as for grown-ups.
- Galleri Bodøgaard represents the largest private collection of art in North Norway.
- Saltstraumen and the tidal current here is definitely worth a visit. Seeing the forces of nature close up as 400 million cubic meters of seawater rush through the narrow strait every six hours is a formidable experience. The water can reach speeds of up to 22 knots, resulting in maelstroms up to 33 feet/ten meters in diameter. Saltstraumen is situated some 20 miles/30 kilometers from Bodø.
A wide range of shore excursions in and around Bodø are available. Examples include:
- Sightseeing to Saltstraumen, which is the world’s strongest tidal current (see above).
- The Svartisen Glacier can be reached from Bodø. The second largest glacier in Norway, Svartisen is a true experience.
- Bodø is an ideal point of departure for deep sea rafting. Some tours will bring participants to the Saltstraumen.
- Tours of Bodø by car or coach can be available. Typically, they will take in the city’s main sights. Guided city tours by foot can also be on offer.
- With a large number of caves found in the area close to Bodø, cave exploration can be on offer.
It’s 745 miles/1,200 kilometers from Bodø to Oslo, Norway’s capital.