The road leads north

How to travel from Oslo to Bodø

Rondane National Park road leads north

Photo: Arkadij Schell / Colourbox
On the road north from Oslo to Bodø, the magnificent scenery of Norway’s Rondane National Park may be experienced.

David Nikel
Trondheim, Norway

Here are your best options for traveling between Oslo and Bodø. If you’re planning to attend a cultural event in Bodø this year, or perhaps you’ll carry on to Lofoten, read on for your travel options.

Northern Norway’s Bodø has long been known as a waypoint for those traveling to the Lofoten Islands, and as a major stop on the Norwegian coastal route. But in recent years, the Arctic city has become a firmer fixture on the tourist trail.

More cruise ships are calling into Bodø on winter northern lights and summer midnight sun itineraries. But most importantly, the city has been gearing up for its year in the spotlight as a European Capital of Culture in 2024.

With the cultural festival now underway, many people will visit Bodø over the year to come. Festival organizers will hope the year leaves a lasting legacy, with increased tourism numbers in future years.

Oslo and Bodø

More than 1 million people live within easy traveling distance of Oslo, while the capital is also the main entry point for international visitors. So, when explaining how to get to Bodø, we will use Oslo as our starting point.

Oslo and Bodø are a long way from each other, and the Norwegian mountains make ground transportation notoriously slow.

Flying is the most obvious option to travel between the two cities, but it’s not the only one, especially for tourists embracing the growing trend of slow travel.

Flying to Bodø

For the vast majority of people, flying is the only realistic option to get from Oslo to Bodø. Most people living in Norway wouldn’t even consider doing anything else. The reason? Flight duration is about 1 hour 25 minutes.

Another bonus to flying is that Bodø’s airport is relatively close to the city center compared with many other Norwegian airports. It takes just 15-20 minutes to walk, less than 10 minutes on a local bus, or just five minutes in a taxi.

Both Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian serve Bodø from Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen (OSL). Typically, SAS operates between four and seven flights per day to Bodø, with Norwegian operating four.

As with all domestic flights in Norway, the earlier you book, the cheaper the fares. If you’re planning in advance, watch out for regular sales from both airlines.

Bodø Airport is an important hub for the airline Widerøe, but the airline focuses on regional connectivity. As such, there are no direct Widerøe flights from Oslo to Bodø.

However, although flying is the obvious choice, it doesn’t mean you have to do so. With increasing environmental concerns and a growing emphasis on slow travel, there are other options for tourists to consider.

Driving from Oslo to Bodø

Keen drivers may wish to consider planning a road trip. It’s not something I’ve ever done, as for most of my time in Norway, I’ve lived in Trondheim, midway between the two cities.

Road trippers shouldn’t plan to drive directly from Oslo to Bodø, though! According to Google Maps, it would take at least 16 hours to drive the 1,189 km distance. And that’s without stops!

Driving might also be a good option for you if you plan to continue your trip on to Lofoten. Driving in Lofoten is a wonderful way to experience the very best the archipelago has to offer.

However, there are some issues with driving from Oslo to Bodø. Unless you plan to drive both ways, renting a car just for a one-way trip adds a huge amount in fees, if it’s even possible at all.

The real reason to plan a road trip is to enjoy some of the great destinations along the way.

By extending your journey, you could include one or more of the scenic Rondane National Park, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Røros, the historic city of Trondheim, and the picturesque Helgeland coast.

Instead of driving the entire way, a good option is to fly to Bodø and rent a car from there. This way, you can explore the surroundings of Bodø and take the car ferry to Lofoten but avoid the costly, lengthy drive from the capital.

Train travel from Oslo to Bodø

Another good option for slow travel is to take the train. There is no direct train from Oslo to Bodø. However, the trains on the Oslo to Trondheim line are timed to arrive in time to connect with departures on the Trondheim to Bodø line.

Although it’s possible to travel between the two cities by train, the total duration would be about 18 hours, and one of the two trains would need to be a night train. This increases the cost (if you want a sleeping cabin) but it could prove a good use of time.

At the time of writing, there is long-term disruption on the Oslo to Trondheim railway due to the damage caused to infrastructure during Storm Hans in 2023. An estimated time for full operations to resume is yet to be set.

This means that there are currently fewer options for traveling by train. There is a direct train from Oslo to Trondheim that runs via Hamar and Røros, but this takes considerably longer than the main line.

Another option is to travel by coach from Oslo to Trondheim and continue on the train from Trondheim to Bodø. Check the current schedules for both trains and long-distance coach services using the En Tur website.

A creative option for tourists

The world-famous Oslo to Bergen railway lets you see some of Norway’s spectacular mountainous scenery from the comfort of a train carriage. But it also takes you to Bergen, the starting point of the well-known Norwegian coastal route.

These days. both operators Hurtigruten and Havila Voyages heavily promote shorter voyages. Subject to cabin availability, a departure from Bergen is available from one of the two companies every day of the year. The ferry leaves Bergen at 8:30 p.m. and arrives in Bodø at 1: 05 p.m., after a three-night stay on board. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a stay in Ålesund or a visit to the Geirangerfjord or Hjørundfjord, depending on the season. You’ll also spend a few hours in Trondheim.

Prices vary based on demand and will be more expensive during the summer months. In the summer, securing a cabin will be the biggest limiting factor, so book early.

Have you taken any of these options other than flying to get from Oslo to Bodø? Which is your preferred mode of transport? Let us know your thoughts in the comments at the original post at:

This article originally appeared in the June 2024 issue of The Norwegian American and was reprinted from the Life in Norway blog with permission.

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David Nikel

David Nikel is a freelance writer based in Norway. He runs the popular website and podcast and is the author of the Moon Norway guidebook, available now in all good bookstores.