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THE LOCALS’ GUIDE TO BODØ

Top insider tips

Bodø is a lively city located just above the Arctic Circle, where you’ll get a perfect mix of cultural events and fabulous hiking trails.

Here’s how to spend a long weekend in true Bodø style: cultural Friday, Saturday with the locals, and beautiful Sunday walks.

Weekend activities in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media
Weekend activities in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media

Cultural Friday

“In the summer, take a trip to the old trading post Kjerringøy, where the history of Bodø is conveyed through fantastic nature”, says Halvdan Sivertsen.

Kjerringøy in Bodø, Northern Norway .
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life
Kjerringøy in Bodø, Northern Norway .
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life

The popular singer-songwriter was born in Tromsø, but he grew up in Bodø and has lived in the city all his adult life. Sivertsen’s love for Northern Norway is evident in many of his songs.

Kjerringøy in Bodø, Northern Norway .
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life
Kjerringøy in Bodø, Northern Norway .
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life

The popular singer-songwriter was born in Tromsø, but he grew up in Bodø and has lived in the city all his adult life. Sivertsen’s love for Northern Norway is evident in many of his songs.

Halvdan Sivertsen .
Photo: Brynjar Erdahl
Halvdan Sivertsen .
Photo: Brynjar Erdahl

Sivertsen’s tips for cultural experiences in Bodø

Day trip to Kjerringøy: On the picture-perfect island of Kjerringøy, there’s a café that serves møsbrømlefser. This is a kind of delicious (and highly addictive, some say) thin pastry that you eat with a brown cheese and sugar mix, sour cream and butter. Afterwards pop into the Karl Erik Harr Museum, which has several of the artist’s main works on display. Harr was a painter, illustrator, graphic artist, and author who is mainly known for his paintings of the dramatic nature in Northern Norway and illustrations of Knut Hamsun novels. In Zahlfjøsen, you can see works of other famous local artists such as Tor Kvarv, Are Andreassen, and Marit Ellisiv Bakken.

Capital of culture: Bodø is characterised by a contagious optimism for the future. The city is currently preparing to be the European Capital of Culture in 2024. It is also working towards becoming a more sustainable and emission-neutral smart city.

Stormen concert hall and library: The locals in Bodø are very proud of the concert hall and library Stormen, which is located in the area known as “the cultural quarter”. Stormen has been named Norway’s best library several times, and the concert hall acoustics are a treat for artists and concert-goers alike. On Fridays, you can enjoy a free lunch concert in the foyer. Nowadays the building also houses Sinus, one of Bodø’s oldest clubs for live rock, jazz, pop, and acoustic sets.

Aviation Museum: At the Norwegian Aviation Museum, right next to the airport, you can learn about an important part of the city’s (and Norway’s) recent history. Inquisitive minds will find interactive exhibitions, a wonderful aircraft park, a flight simulator (!), and World War II stories, including information about when Bodø was bombed and how a U2 spy plane was shot down.

Fishing history: At the Norwegian Jekt Trading Museum in Bodøsjøen, you can admire the last original Nordlandsjekt ship Anne Karoline. Built in 1876, this mighty boat symbolises the creativity, dreams, hard work, and income that the fishing in Lofoten finally brought.

Church concert: In Bodøsjøen you will also find Bodin, a beautiful medieval church that serves as living proof that Bodø was already inhabited back in the 13th century. The magnificent Bodø Cathedral, with its distinctive architecture from the 1950s, is also definitely worth a visit – ideally for a concert.

Club night: The informal and intimate night club Dama di is a great choice right in the city centre. Bodø hosts many festivals during the year. Parkenfestivalen is the largest and has the best atmosphere.

Arctic food: A rich supply of regional ingredients gives Nordland and Bodø a varied local food culture. Arctic fish species literally swim around the city, giving visitors every chance to indulge in seasonal fresh fish. Between January and Easter, the migrating Arctic cod skrei fill many plates, and it comes in many forms – even sushi. A few examples of restaurants with a worthy skrei experience are Omaha, Tiger, Captain Larsen, Bryggerikaia, Bjørk, and Lyst På. Take the opportunity to try some of the finest lutefisk in the country as well. Lutefisk is stockfish treated with water and lye to form an almost jelly-like consistency. Variations of lutefisk are a staple on Scandinavian Christmas tables. You will also find high-quality meat from reindeer, elk, and wild sheep.

One for the road: Round off the evening in one of Bodø’s many bars with a spectacular view, perhaps while sipping a local Myken gin & tonic or a beer from the local brewery Bådin.

While you’re here: Check out Bodø Art Society’s impressive collection of works by the famous painter Adelsteen Normann, the art gallery Bodøgaard, Bodø City Museum, which is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city centre, and tons of fun street art.

Halvdan Sivertsen playing guitar, Norway
Halvdan Sivertsen.
Photo: Brynjar Erdahl

Halvdan Sivertsen

Saturday with the locals

“In Bodø’s cafés, hipsters in designer clothes rub shoulders with outdoorsy types in trekking boots. This is because some are dressed up for a champagne bar, whereas others come straight from a mountain hike”, says Veronica Kåring.

Tasty treats in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media
Tasty treats in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media

Kåring is the general manager of the city’s main shopping centre Bodø Sentrum. She explains that Bodø has changed enormously in the last ten years, and now has much more of an urban, metropolitan feel.

Saturday in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media
Saturday in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media

Kåring is the general manager of the city’s main shopping centre Bodø Sentrum. She explains that Bodø has changed enormously in the last ten years, and now has much more of an urban, metropolitan feel.

Photo:
Veronica Kåring .
Photo: Frida Bringslimark

Kåring’s tips for a Saturday with the locals in Bodø

In Bodø, everything is within walking distance. The airport, the city centre, the harbour, the train station, and nature reserves – you can see it all on foot! All you need is a pair of decent shoes.

Experience the light: Bodø is located on a peninsula, right on the middle of Nordland’s beautiful coastline. The location by the water has the added benefit of stopping the surrounding mountains from blocking out the light. And the light is really something. You can see glimpses of the sun just below the horizon throughout the winter, even though Bodø is north of the Arctic Circle. All year round, even during the darkest month, the light conditions are truly spectacular. Ranging from dark blue through deep pink to pale yellow. In the winter you may also get more than a glimpse of the northern lights, while the summers offers long, bright nights with midnight sun. The special light conditions are a treat for amateur and professional photographers alike.

Shopping: Check out the local and sustainable designer bags from Studio EBN, made of salmon skin. The wool products from FOGG Gildeskål have a modern design, inspired by Arctic lifestyle and nature.

Visit an island: Go by boat to some of the many small island communities outside the city, such as Fleinvær, Bliksvær, Landegode, and Helligvær. Stella Polaris and Explore Salten offer guided tours on request.

Have a coffee: Melkebaren has the best takeaway coffee.

Delicacies: The bakery Brødrene Berbusmel on the central square is also a deli with products from local farmers and producers. For exquisite handmade chocolate, macaroons, French pastries, and champagne, Craig Alibone Pâtisserie & Champagneria is your paradise.

A plate of fish: The world’s only catfish farm is located outside of Bodø, and you can taste its delicious produce at Bjørk Restaurant. Bjørk is also a fab place to try different types of local stockfish, as is the restaurant Lyst På.

Not to be missed: Everyone should try møsbrømlefse, a kind of savoury flatbread, for example at Bodø Bakeri.

Craft beer: Go for Bodø’s main gastropub Hundholmen Brygghus and the local brewery Bådin.

Fine wine: Two local bars have earned a place on the Star Wine List: Lyst På and Larsen Mat og Vinbar. Both are well worth a visit.

Bars with stars: Swap your hiking shoes for pumps in the evening and head over to one of the city’s sky bars, like Topp13 or Roast. Wind down after a busy day with a wide selection of drinks and a 360-degree view of the sea, mountains, and archipelago.

Out and about: You can also round off the evening with the locals at the Dama di club – expect art, chaos, and a bar! This nightclub is like a small culture house with every art expression imaginable on offer: from book baths, panel debates, and puppet shows to concerts and DJs. The town’s smallest stage is tucked away at Piccadilly, a traditional pub right in the city centre.

Veronica Kåring walking Christmas street, Bodø, Northern Norway
Veronica Kåring.
Photo: Frida Bringslimark

Veronica Kåring

Sunday city walks

“Bodø is a fantastic city in so many ways. It is close to nature and the sea and has a good infrastructure. Not to mention the adventurous mountain peaks that are within easy reach”, says Bjørn Heitmann, who is most definitely the right person to ask for hiking tips.

Active Sunday in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media
Hiking in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media

Heitmann leads a tour group that walks up to Keiservarden, the city’s most popular hike, every single day. 365 days a year.

He has done the trip himself every day for more than seven years!

Outdoor activities in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media
Outdoor activities in Bodø .
Photo: SL Media

Heitmann leads a tour group that walks up to Keiservarden, the city’s most popular hike, every single day. 365 days a year.

He has done the trip himself every day for more than seven years!

Photo:
Bjørn Heitmann .
Photo: Bjørn Heitmann

Heitmann’s tips for urban Sunday walks

The most iconic hike: The highest rated hiking destination is no doubt Keiservarden. The incredible view at the top stretches across the city, the sea, and the mountains towards the Lofoten islands. The northern lights are often visible in winter, and thanks to the midnight sun you can go for a hike in the middle of the night during the summer months. It’s an uncomplicated and pleasant hike that starts a short bus or taxi ride from the centre. You can also cycle to the starting point.

A walk in the park: Elveparken (literally “the river park”) is perfect for a Sunday stroll. You’ll find it just outside the city centre in between the Norwegian Jekt Trading Museum in Bodøsjøen and Maskinisten, a car park close to a large recreation area. Nordland Museum has an app for nature and cultural walks in the area at vandring.no – download it if you plan to spend time in Elveparken.

The peaks around Bodø: If time permits, there are several fantastic mountain peaks around the city. One suggestion is to travel by speedboat to the Sandhornøya island and the Sandhornet mountain. Another tip is to hike up to Per Karlsatinden in the Børvasstindan mountain range. An easier trip with equally magical views is Finnkonakken, located on the way out to Kjerringøy.

Experience Saltstraumen: At the world’s strongest maelstrom, the difference between high tide and low tide is huge. The water from the sea is squeezed through a narrow strait, where fish, sea animals, and sea plants thrive. You can catch your own fish for  night.

Winter trips: The area is just as beautiful in winter. The floodlit Bodømarka cross-country track is a delight for everyone who likes to ski. Watching the northern lights in the evening or at night is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The reward: After your walk, you can have a well-deserved break at one of the outdoor cafés around the Stormen cultural quarter. Spend a cosy autumn evening at Bryggerikaia with a tasty fish dish. Or stop by at Gatsby for a top-quality, informal burger.

While you’re here: Bodø is an activity paradise. If you prefer, you can spend your Sunday exploring the area on a rented bike, in a kayak, or diving in Saltstraumen (with a guide). In the winter, you can go ski touring.

Plan your trip to Bodø today! Get the best offers from our partners Radisson Blu Hotels, Scandic Hotels, Nordic Choice Hotels, and Thon Hotels.

Bjørn Heitmann sitting by mountain lake, Bodø Northern Norway
Bjørn Heitmann.
Photo: Bjørn Heitmann

Bjørn Heitmann

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