Leg 1: Your departure city to Oslo. From the US, there’re daily nonstop flights from Newark (NWR) to Oslo (OSL) on Continental Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), both are in Star Alliance. You can also get to Oslo via Reykjavik on Icelandair, which is often the cheapest.
Leg 2: Oslo to Bodø. For this leg you can travel by air on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) or Norwegian, Norway’s discount airline. Or you can travel by train, which can be very cheap (200 Norwegian Kroners or 35 US Dollars) if you book precisely 3 months before your travel date. It’s a 17 hour train ride with a train change in Trondheim. You can get a sleeper car for one of the legs for an extra charge.
Leg 3: Bodø to Rødøy. The boat is a well-appointed catamaran: comfortable, stable and fast, with food, drinks, and electricity onboard. The entire trip takes 3 hours. There is one departure every day. From Monday to Saturday the boat leaves at 4:00 PM and arrives Rødøy at 7:00 PM. On Sundays it leaves at 1:00 PM and arrives at 4:00 PM. I had no problem taking the SAS flight that arrives Bodø airport at 12:10 PM and then a 15-minute taxi ride to the boat terminal. You need to tell the Taxi driver that you’re taking the Helgeland Hurtigbåten to Sandnessjøen. Write this down: people may not know which boat goes to Rødøy. You should buy tickets on the ticket office before getting on the boat. The boat going back leaves Rødøy at 9:00 AM and arrives Bodø at 12:00 AM from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays it leaves at 5:00 PM and arrives at 8:15 PM. The boat schedule is here and the boat operator’s Web site is here.
The simplest way to book travel is to search for a flight from your departure city to Bodø, whose airport code is BOO, and try to arrive BOO close to the boat departure time to avoid staying the night in Bodø. You’re better off stay a night in Oslo. Bodø is a great home base for exploring this whole region (Nordland), but the city itself is not an exciting destination. Here’s a shocker: the shortest itinerary from New York City to Rødøy takes exactly 14 hours:
- Newark-Oslo: Continental Airlines 8:00 PM – 9:45 AM
- Oslo-Bodø: Scandinavian Airlines 10:40 AM – 12:10 PM
- Bodø-Rødøy: Express Boat 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
If you want to be cheap, or use miles, you’ll have to try out different combinations and weigh cost, time, and convenience. The three legs remain the same, however. For example, you can use miles to get to Olso, and then take the train to Bodø. Or take Norwegian Air from Oslo to Bodø. If you have Star Alliance miles, it could work out well since you may be able to use miles to fly all the way to Bodø. Keep in mind the hotels in Norway are generally expensive: It’s hard to find a place for less than $150 per night.