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The Nordland Railway under the northern lights
The Nordland Railway.
Photo: Tommy Pettersen
Travel Trade

A poetic journey on the Nordlandsbanen railway

Named one of the world's most beautiful train journeys by Lonely Planet, the Nordlandsbanen railway offers unique views and vistas for the traveller.

Norway's longest railway line

According to Lonely Planet, who named this line one of the world’s most beautiful night train journeys, it really is a wonderland trip to take the Nordland Railway train from Bodø to Trondheim. Just as the poet Sveinulv Jarnæss described the Nordland night in his poem from 1950: 

"Embrace the Nordland nights, if you can, the most beautiful in the world. The sky aflame in the fire of the Northern Lights, above a wonderland of dreams"

Cross the Arctic Circle

At 729 kilometres, the Nordlandsbanen railway is Norway's longest. The journey presents huge variety, in landscape, culture and climate, through fertile farmland and great forests in Trøndelag, across the majestic Saltfjellet range, down to the coast between Rognan and Bodø.

At Saltfjellet mountain range, you cross the Arctic Circle, marking the boundary of the polar region. In winter, you can experience the magical northern lights here, and in summer the gleaming midnight sun.

On the southward journey, the train passes through Mo i Rana, with its industrial history, and from there down Børgefjell, where those with a thirst for adventure can make their dreams come true.

The train then carves its way through massive forests, past wild mountain scenery, alongside rivers teeming with fish, passing Namsskogan Familiepark, narrow fjords, Stiklestad, and eventually arriving at the 1000-year-old university town of Trondheim.

The northern lights

The Nordlandsbanen railway line takes you deep inside the polar regions, where the northern lights play across the sky in the winter nights.

The lights are at their most frequent in late autumn and winter/early spring. Between the autumn equinox and spring equinox (21 September - 21 March), it gets quite dark in the middle of the night, and you have maximum chances of spotting the lights. However, the weather is also of importance, and September, October and November tend to be wet and snowless in the north.

Download the free Norway Lights app and start exploring. The app will show you when and where to look for the northern lights:

Mo i Rana

En route, the train also stops at Mo i Rana, one of the oldest habitations along the Nordland coast.

Up until 1988, the iron and steel manufacturer Norsk Jernverk was the dominant industry in the town and the region.

More recently, there has been a boom in employment, not least at Mo Industripark, which is one of Norway’s largest industrial clusters with 1,850 employees serving 115 companies.

A number of governmental bodies have also been established in Mo i Rana, including the National Library of Norway.


In Bodø, there is no shortage of experiences awaiting the visitor. This location is an excellent base for glacier hiking on Norway's second largest glacier, Svartisen, or for a trip to the Saltstraumen maelstrom, the world's most powerful naturally-occurring whirlpool.

Bodø is also the ideal stopover for a ferry trip to the majestic Lofoten archipelago.

Other spectacular train journeys in Norway

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