Some 65km west of Fauske along the E80, the town of BODØ was founded in 1816. However, it wasn’t until the herring boom of the 1860s that it really began to thrive, with the town’s harbourfront crowded with the net-menders, coopers, oilskin-makers and canneries that kept the fleet at sea. Later, it accrued several industrial plants and became an important regional centre, but was heavily bombed during World War II, and there’s precious little left today of the proud, nineteenth-century buildings that once flanked the waterfront. Nonetheless, Bodø manages a cheerful moder nity, a bright and breezy place whose harbour looks out onto a batch of rugged, treeless hills. The small settlement rambles over a low-lying peninsula that pokes out into the Saltfjord, its long and narrow centre concentrated along two parallel streets, Sjøgata and Storgata.
Bodø has long been a regular stop for the Hurtigruten coastal boat route, and is also within comfortable striking distance of the old trading post of Kjerringøy, one of Nordland’s most delightful spots. Perhaps most important of all, however, it’s much the best place from which to hop over to the choicest parts of the Lofoten islands.