Paradisbukta beach close to the town of Bodø

What Bodø is most famous for

The Norwegian town of Bodø, just north of the Arctic Circle, is well known for being surrounded by a beautiful countryside but that’s not all the town is famous for.

Diplomatic fracas

Bodø has a reputation for intrigue and scandal. In 1818, an English trading company was involved in illegal activities in Bodø. Norwegian officials seized the company’s cargo and arrested one of the owners. 

However, the Swedish government (then overseeing Norwegian foreign affairs) favored the British and even paid them compensation. The result? A diplomatic fracas that has never entirely faded from memory.

Fishermen in Bodø in the 19th century
Photo: Salten Museum

Incredible churches

Bodø is home to incredible churches. Bodø Cathedral, built in 1956 to replace a cathedral destroyed in World War II, is a fine example of post-war architecture. 

Another house of worship, the Bodin Church, thankfully survived the conflict. Dating to 1240, this building is an irreplaceable treasure and one of the oldest churches in Norway.

Bodø Cathedral, built in 1956 to replace a cathedral destroyed in World War II
Photo: Ernst Furuhatt |

Norway’s best preserved trading post

Bodø is huge on history and the famous Kjerringøy Trading Post is nearby. It has the distinction of being Norway’s best preserved trading post. There were once hundreds of posts across the country and a visit to Kjerringøy showcases just how important they were to rural families and businesses.

Rowing boat outside Kjerringøy Trading Post
Photo: Terje Rakke | Nordic Life |

The beaches

Bodø’s beaches are nothing short of stunning. They’re often described as some of the very best in Europe, with brilliant turquoise waters to rival the Mediterranean. 

If you can only explore just one, make it Mjelle Beach. Its shores are a mix of white and red sand (reputed to be from crushed garnets) and the colors change with the tides.

Paradisbukta beach close to the town of Bodø
Photo: Terje Rakke | Nordic Life |

Worlds largest maelstrom

You’ll find one of nature’s most curious natural phenomenons not far from Bodø : the world’s largest maelstrom. Rushing waters and powerful tidal currents passing through a long, narrow strait create the Saltstraumen maelstrom. This massive whirlpool’s an astonishing ten meters (33 feet) wide.

RIB cruising close to Saltstraumen in Bodø
Photo: Tommy Andreassen |

Symbol of resilience

Finally, Bodø is a symbol of resilience and regrowth. Most of the town was destroyed during a 1940 aerial attack in World War II, and 3,500 of the town’s 6,000 people lost their homes. This determined community kept rebuilding until 1959, when a new town hall concluded their efforts.

Experience the powers of tidal current

RIB boat driving in the currents of Saltstraumen

RIB to Saltstraumen with sea eagle safari

See the world’s strongest tidal current at Saltstraumen and scout for sea eagles
From NOK 1195