Bodø is a vibrant city in northern Norway that serves as a gateway to stunning landscapes like the Lofoten Islands. But this Arctic town offers much more than a base for exploring. With an exciting mix of history, art, cuisine, and adventure, Bodø has something for every taste.
Ready to discover this Arctic jewel? Here are 22 of the best things to do in Bodø for an unforgettable trip:
Best Things To Do in Bodø
1. Take a Street Art Walk
Exploring Bodø’s vibrant street art scene is a must, where creativity and colors come alive. Thanks to events like the UpNorth Festival, talented street artists have covered city walls with amazing murals.
Join a guided walk to discover works like Phlegm’s fantasy creature at Sjøgata 18 or Dzia’s golden eagle at Tollbugata 13. You’ll also see David de la Mano’s Malstrøm mural and Rustam Qbic’s message of diversity through a multicultural couple kiss. Every artwork has a story behind it that you’ll learn about.
2. Do a Rib Boat Tour to Saltstraumen
Feel the crazy rush of the world’s strongest tidal current on a thrilling rib boat tour to Saltstraumen. Powerful currents flow through this narrow strait between two fjords, creating enormous 10-meter whirlpools.
Zip through in a rib boat while checking out the epic scenery. This 2-hour tour includes gear like seat, suit, and hot drinks. Friendly skippers guide with interesting facts about this natural phenomenon by the Arctic Circle. An awesome rush!
3. Go Snorkeling in Saltstraumen
For the daring, snorkel tours allow seeing Saltstraumen’s marine life up close. You’ll wear dry suits for warmth and follow the shoreline watching seaweed flutter below. Schools of fish, colorful anemones, even wolffish pass by if lucky.
Avoid the big whirlpools but feel the current’s exhilarating thrill. Tours last 2 hours, include equipment, and are suitable for most ages 12 and up with basic swimming skills. One of Norway’s coolest adventures!
4. Visit the Childhood Hero Pelle Politibil
Norwegians fondly remember the chatty Pelle Politibil from children’s books and TV. This smiling black-and-white Volkswagen now resides at Bodø’s Salten Police Station for visitors to meet.
Hop in Pelle’s seat and push his talk button to hear the friendly police car’s tales of solving Bodø mysteries. Snap some fun pics and rekindle childhood memories meeting a Norwegian icon.
5. Savor the Catch of the Day
Indulge in Bodø’s freshest flavors at the Bryggerikaia restaurant, famed for its use of local ingredients. A highlight is the daily catch – whatever bounty comes straight from the sea such as cod, salmon or halibut.
Savor seafood prepared perfectly as you take in gorgeous harbor views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Add a salad, soup or sides like creamy aioli potatoes. One of Norway’s most generous and delightful meals awaits!
6. Enjoy the Sunset and Incredible View From the Top of Scandic Havet
End your day watching the midnight sun sink into the sea from Northern Norway’s tallest hotel. The 17th-floor restaurant and bar at Scandic Havet offers panoramic sunset views of the harbor and silhouetted peaks beyond.
Savor gourmet local dishes like grilled reindeer or glazed halibut fresh from Bodø waters as the coppery sun drifts downward after midnight. This iconic Arctic sunset view makes memories to last forever.
7. Visit Kjerringøy
Escape to Kjerringøy village for a glimpse of Nordland’s coastal past. This remarkably preserved 18th-19th century trading post transports you centuries back with 15 original buildings.
Tours & Things to do hand-picked by our insiders
Wander through the merchant courtyard and peek inside homes, shops and storehouses. Inside the gleaming white church, marvel at intricately painted walls and ceilings from 1883. Then explore fjords teeming with majestic sea eagles on a guided boat tour.
8. Hike to Keiservarden
For panoramic views of Bodø, climb to the top of Keiservarden plateau just a one-hour trek from town. Stone stairways and trails etched into the hillside lead upwards through the scenery to the 366-meter summit marked by a plaque honoring 19th century German Emperor Wilhelm II’s 1891 visit.
On clear days, scan the entire region – from Lofoten peaks to Sweden’s distant mountains and the crystalline waters in between. The free panorama is worth every step! Watch in awe as the midnight sun circles without setting.
9. See the Northern Lights
Witnessing the dazzling northern lights shimmering across Arctic skies is an experience of a lifetime. The best chances near Bodø are between September and April on clear nights.
Many area tours take you away from city lights to dark skies for optimal aurora viewing. Some provide warm transportation like dogsledding through remote forests. Or try icebreaker cruises, camping under the stars, or relaxing in cozy glass igloos or cabins.
10. Visit the Norwegian Aviation Museum
Learn about Norway’s aviation milestones at the country’s largest niche museum. Inside Bodø’s creative propeller-shaped Norwegian Aviation Museum, discover over 40 aircraft plus exhibits on aviation development from early pioneers to today.
Test your pilot skills on a flight simulator, watch aviation films in the cinema, or gaze up at jets like the Lockheed U-2 or F-117 Nighthawk. The interactive museum offers something for all ages to appreciate the wonder of flight.
11. Experience the Midnight Sun
The otherworldly sight of the midnight sun is extraordinary. From late May to July, the Arctic receives 24 hours of sunlight meaning the sun never fully sets after midnight. The closer to the North Pole, the longer the phenomenon lasts.
Many tours showcase Norway and Sweden’s midnight sun from remote vantage points. Try scenic hikes, fishing trips, or cultural site visits in ethereal golden light. Attend festivals in Tromsø or Reykjavik celebrating the endless days. An arctic summer adventure like no other!
12. Explore Mjelle Beach
A stunning yet secluded beach awaits near Bodø where white and red sands mix with garnet speckles that sparkle against the sea. The cooler waters invite more relaxing than swimming yet Mjelle still impresses with its mountain-framed turquoise waves rolling gently onto the rainbow beach.
A 30-minute drive then 15-minute woodland walk leads to this hidden gem by the Arctic Circle. While here, feast eyes on a truly unique natural beauty with colors shifting from pink to purple under the midnight sun.
13. Visit Bodø Cathedral
Step into Bodø’s Lutheran history at its 1950s concrete cathedral, inspiration for churches across Norway. Gaze upwards at the 12-meter stained glass altar mural flanked by stone reliefs depicting religious scenes. Outdoors, pause at the sculpture honoring famed priest Petter Dass.
Inside, wander among 10 tapestries illustrating Nordland scenes from the 1600s onward. An elaborate rose window depicting the patron Saint Nicholas floods the space with color. Learn about WWII’s impact on the congregation during docent tours from noon to 3 pm.
14. Sail Around the Bodøvær Lighthouse
A 15-minute ferry ride transports you to an idyllic world of scattered islets offering both natural serenity and landmark lighthouses. Boats visit islands perfect for hiking, swimming, or just gazing at the midnight sun sinking slowly westward.
One top pick is Landegode with trails leading up to panoramic views plus a lighthouse and idyllic country church. Nearby Helligvær actually comprises 365 mini-islands speckled amidst the Nordland waves – each begging to be explored by kayak!
15. Visit Bodomarka
Pedal or ski through pristine nature minutes from Bodø’s city center within the epic Bodomarka forest. Over 35 km of trails weave across the countryside including loops illuminated after dark. Maps help navigate to stunning viewpoints, lakes, even cozy lodges to warm up in.
Rent a fat tire bike for snowy winter rides or a traditional cycle for summer. Venture further to the family-friendly Bodømarka farm filled with friendly animals like goats and ponies. A perfect urban nature escape!
16. Visit Jentofthaugen Bunker Museum
Discover a hidden relic of WWII history at the fascinating Jentoft bunker museum – once a German radar station. The enormous concrete structure housed equipment and staff transmitting messages between planes, vessels, and bases.
Walk through the cold bunker corridor seeing equipment from its operational era during WWII and the early Cold War traced to their original locations. Excellent video re-creations explain more about secret communication tactics employed here. An intriguing glimpse into Norway’s wartime past!
17. Kayak Down Futaelva River
For an easygoing paddle exploring breathtaking nature, kayak along the Futaelva River flowing just outside Bodø. The calm 11 km route takes between 4-6 hours to complete, allowing time to stop for scenery along the way. Listen for chattering birds and signs of beavers busy along the banks.
Pack a riverside picnic or go for a refreshing dip during warmer months! Local guides offer day trips complete with gear and transportation or extended multi-day camping adventures. Both first-timers and experienced kayakers find the Futaelva journey peaceful perfection.
18. Visit Svartisen Glacier
Get up close to towering blue ice and thundering waterfalls along Svartisen glacier – Norway’s second-largest ice sheet. The most popular hike reaches Engabreen glacier tongue, one of Svartisen’s arms cascading down to Holandsfjord waters.
After a scenic ferry ride across, set out on foot through valleys carved by ice ages past. Listen for cracks and groans emanating from the glacier while dodging gushing meltwater streams. Nothing matches standing dwarfed before mighty Engabreen’s crevassed snout!
19. Go Climbing at Nordlandsbadet
At Nordlandsbadet – northern Europe’s largest indoor waterpark – trade waterslides for a climbing wall right in the pool! Four color-coded routes snake upwards beside the plunge pools with difficulty ranging from easy to extreme. Take the vertical challenge or take it easier on the bouldering wall.
No special skills are needed – just secure the helmet provided and harness your inner Spiderman. Afterwards, soak any sore muscles in the hot tub and sauna. A perfect wet weather adventure that’s fun for daring kids and adults.
20. Play Golf at Bodø Golf Park
Hit the links at any hour at Bodø Golfpark, northern Norway’s largest course. Thanks to round-the-clock summer light, games happen practically 24/7! But it’s the midnight games that offer something extra magical.
As the glowing orb circles round without set, feast eyes on unforgettable views overlooking the Sea of Bodø and silhouettes of distant peaks and islands. With both wooded and seaside holes, Bodø Golfpark caters to all player levels for any odd teetime.
21. Challenge Friends to Bowling Duel
For some friendly competition indoors, gather a group for bowling night at Bodø’s premier alley. Neon-lit lanes equipped with bumpers welcome both casual players and serious keglers. Reserve ahead then let the strikes and spares fly!
Tummies will be satisfied too at the hip gastropub serving hand-rolled pizzas fresh from the stone oven plus craft sodas, beers and cocktails like the signature strike spritz. Outside the clatter of tumbling pins, try dartboards, shuffleboard, or the VR simulator room. An instant fun night for all ages!
22. Join a Heart-Pumping Laser Tag Match
Dodge and shoot moving human targets amidst glowing neons and booming tunes in an immersive game of laser tag. Individual players get matched to teams according to skill while groups book private matches. Multiple arena layouts with barriers and glowing decoys ensure games differ every round.
Kids enjoy specially tailored junior laser tag sessions while special black light configuration creates a trippy backdrop for teens and adults. Heart rates stay elevated for hours during rapid 10-minute matches! Perfect for birthdays, corporate team building, or just casual compete-with-friends fun any day.
Things To Remember
Bodø surprises visitors with stunning scenery, rich culture and diverse adventures. This Arctic jewel offers something to delight every traveler whether seeking outdoor challenges, cultural insights, or unique cuisine. Use this ultimate insider’s guide to uncover the very best experiences.
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Embark on your next Norwegian adventure with us and create memories that will last a lifetime.