Travel on the Nordland Line
Norway is a beautiful country and, if you travel to Northern Norway, you may discover gems you did not know about.
One such gem is the train journey on the Nordland Line, the 729 km journey between Trondheim and Bodø – rated as “one of the world's most beautiful train journeys” by Lonely Planet.
When the train travels over the plateaus of Saltfjellet mountains and crosses the Arctic Circle, you are officially in the realm of the Midnight Sun.
Clickety-clack, clickety-clack... Sit back, relax, look out the window and enjoy the view of the purest nature and cleanest air in the world. Welcome to Salten, north of the Arctic Circle. After crossing this famous line, the scenic Nordland Line runs through the Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park, Junkerdal National Park and the three municipalities of Salten – Saltdal, Fauske and Bodø.
When you reach the Saltfjellet mountains, you can disembark at Lønsdal station (511.8 m.a.s.l.) to experience beautiful nature and enjoy an overnight stay in mountain tranquillity at Saltfjellet Hotell Polarsirkelen, which is located beside the station.
There are strong Sami traditions in the Saltfjellet mountains, and you will discover that the food and experiences offered here are influenced by the Sami culture and way of life. In this area, there are many excellent options for biking and hiking in all directions, while fishing enthusiasts can try their luck in mountain lakes or the Saltdal river. It’s a 20-minute drive from the hotel to the Arctic Circle Centre, which is situated at the approximate location of the Arctic Circle (the precise position is not fixed). This landmark centre features exhibitions, a café and a souvenir shop and serves as a meeting place for tourists. Around 10 km from the hotel in the opposite direction is the Nordland National Park Centre housing Visitor Centre National Park Nordland and Adde Zetterquist Art Gallery. You can get lost in a dream among beautiful art, Sami handicrafts and history, and learn everything you did not know about Nordland’s many national parks. If you get hungry along the way, you can stop for lunch, dinner and dessert at the nearby Saltdal Turistsenter.
Enquire at the hotel or tourist centre if they can assist you with transport so you can catch your planned train departure, either from Lønsdal station or the next station, Røkland (24.4 m.a.s.l.), a further 22 km towards Bodø.
At Røkland, you can do shopping or grab a bite to eat at the village’s shopping centre. Nearby, you will find Nordneskroa, which provides accommodation and local food and houses the municipality’s tourist information office. The next stop is Rognan station (12.4 m.a.s.l.) and the pleasant boatbuilding village which featured on the Norwegian reality TV series Alt for Rognan. You can stay overnight at Rognan Hotell and enjoy delicious food at the hotel’s restaurant. While strolling along the pleasant streets in Rognan, look out for the beautiful century-old piers that have played a central role in the village’s boatbuilding history. You can also visit the Saltdal Folk Museum and the Blood Road Museum. The latter reminds us of the time when unpleasantness was a part of everyday life.
At Fauske station (34 m.a.s.l.), you can choose between walking down to central Fauske and checking in at Fauske Hotell or taking the tour (bus) up to Sulitjelma and exploring the old mining community (or stay an extra day and do both). Up in the mountains at Sulitjelma, you can stay in a tent or cabin at Sulitjelma Turistsenter or book slightly more tailored experiences from Fjellfarer at Jakobsbakken Mountain Resort. Ask your host for suggestions of walks and hikes – we guarantee wonderful experiences in this fascinating settlement and in the surrounding mountains. We also recommend a visit to the idyllic Sjønnstå Gård, Northern Norway’s best-preserved cluster farm, on the way up to Sulitjelma.
The walk from the road to this historic farm only takes about 10 minutes and when you arrive you can taste of the legendary møsbrømlefsa they serve.
Don’t settle down too well on the train because you will soon get off at Valnesfjord station (10.9 m.a.s.l.). You are now in the famous carrot village. Even if you only make a brief stop, you must visit Han Sylte Kolonial and taste (and perhaps buy) some of the local delicacies they make and sell here. If you are lucky, an event may be taking place when you visit, and maybe they have a vacant room to offer you for the night.
Accept the offer. You will soon be in Bodø and, as the saying goes, “there is always another train”.
Even though reaching the coast and Bodø station (2.9 m.a.s.l.) marks the end of your train journey on the Nordland Line, it certainly does not mark the end of your journey and experiences. From Bodø, you can travel virtually anywhere by aircraft, boat, Hurtigruten, car, bus or train, but there is no reason to hurry. In the capital of Nordland, cultural experiences await in the form of top-class food, locally brewed beer, music, street art, art and history. Check in at one of the city’s many hotels or other places to stay. You will find everything from small inns and boutique hotels to large chain hotels with a sky bar and impressive breakfast buffets.
Enjoy a bite to eat. The city’s restaurants and cafés have gone up many notches in quality in recent years and can offer delicious pastries, exotic street food, sushi and other Asian favourites, tapas and tasty bar menus, exclusive ingredients and fine dining with white tablecloths.
If you are keen to experience more before continuing your journey, Bodø has many options, such as Mørkvedhallen, Norway’s largest climbing hall; Newton Flight Academy, a flight simulator that is guaranteed to give you a sinking feeling in your stomach; or you can go down to the marina and join a fishing trip in the Midnight Sun or a RIB safari to Saltstraumen, the world’s strongest tidal current.
Allow time to explore what all the different destinations in Bodø and Salten can offer summer tourists arriving by train, right up to the last stop on the Nordland Line. There is always another train, but just not further than here.
PS: Travelling by train is one of the most sustainable ways to explore the country. Do you need more good reasons to choose a holiday in Nordland by train? All aboard!
Please note: If you travel on the Nordland Line between Trondheim and Bodø, you can reserve a place for your bike. However, if you travel on a regional train service between Mosjøen and Bodø, unfortunately you cannot take your bike onboard.