479km (297 miles) N of Trondheim; 1,430km (887 miles) N of Bergen; 1,305km (809 miles) N of Oslo

This is a great place to spend a day or two -- not for the city itself, which is dull architecturally, but for the attractions of nature in the wilds that envelop the town. This seaport, the terminus of the Nordland railway, lies just north of the Arctic Circle. Visitors arrive here, the capital of Nordland, for a glimpse of the midnight sun, which shines from June 1 to July 13. But don't expect a clear view of it. What those tourist brochures don't tell you is that many nights are either rainy or hazy, cutting down considerably on your enjoyment of the spectacle. From December 19 to January 9, Bodø gets no sunlight at all.

Bodø is Nordland's largest city, with some 40,000 inhabitants living at the northern entrance to Salt Fjord. Although burned to the ground by the retreating Nazis at the end of World War II, the city dates back to 1816, when it was founded by merchants from Trondheim seeking a northern trading post. In time it became one of the leading fishing centers of Norway, specializing in the drying of cod, and it has also become known for its ship repair yards.

Bodø faces an archipelago rich in bird life, and no other town in the world boasts such a large concentration of sea eagles. From Bodø, you can take excursions in many directions to glaciers and bird islands; the most attractive are the Lofoten Islands.