Taking the Bodø to Svolvær Express Ferry

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The express ferry is a daily, passenger-only service between mainland Norway and the Lofoten islands. Here's everything you need to know about the trip.

Getting around northern Norway without a car or flying is always a challenge, but it can be done. There are many local ferries to shuttle people between islands and express boats to travel longer distances.

Svolvaer to Bodø ferry in Norway.
Svolvaer to Bodø passenger ferry.

One of the most convenient options for travellers is the express ferry between Bodø and Svolvær. Also known as the ‘speedboat’, it’s a popular way to travel between mainland Norway and the Lofoten islands.

I recently took the speedboat for the first time and it was very similar to the Trondheim to Kristiansund express boat, both in terms of style and price.

Svolvær Travel ResourcesFind a Hotel – Car Rental from Bodø – Book ToursTravel Insurance

The trip is on the pricey side, but it’s much cheaper than flying and/or taking a car on the car ferry alternatives, although that's not always the case if your car is full of passengers.

The Express Ferry Route

There is typically just one of the express services each day. On weekdays, the boat leaves Svolvær at 6am, arriving in Bodø at around 9.15am. On weekends, the boat leaves Svolvær at 7.55am on Saturday and 12.45pm on Sunday.

Svolvær to Bodø route map.

That might not seem especially fast, but the service calls at several stops along the way. Travel across the water between the stops is therefore pretty speedy. From Svolvær, the ferry takes just 10 minutes to reach the delightful island of Skrova.

From there, it crosses the water towards the mainland and then makes a series of stops at ports on islands and remote mainland ports along the coastline before reaching Bodø: Skutvik, Bogøy, Nordskot and Helnessund. Some departures also call at Brennsund.

From Bodø, the express boat leaves at 6pm on weekdays and Saturdays, arriving in Svolvær at 9.25pm. On Sunday, the departure is at 7pm.

Boarding the Express Ferry

In Svolvær, the ferry leaves from the Hurtigbåtkai, which is just next to the Hurtigruten port in the centre of town.

Boarding the express ferry in Svolvær.
Boarding the express ferry in Svolvær.

Somewhat confusingly, this is in a different part of town from Svolvær ferjekai, from where car ferries depart.

In Bodø, the ferry departs from Sentrumsterminalen next to the Scandic Haven. This is downtown and more convenient for most travellers than the Hurtigruten and cruise port farther out.

The Onboard Experience

There is a small rooftop deck at the back of the ferry, but most of the accommodation is underneath is one long room. As you'll see, there is aircraft-style seating, although with more space and wider aisles.

Onboard the Regine Normann ferry from Bodø to Svolvær.

There is also some seating with tables. The seats are comfortable and the windows large, an important element on such a scenic route.

We were given advice to sit on the left side and that advice proved worthwhile! While the scenery was great throughout the trip, the view from the left hand side was truly spectacular at times.

Express ferry view approaching Nordskot.
Approaching Nordskot.

When we boarded at Svolvær the ferry was relatively empty, so it was easy to get a window seat. By the time we reached Bodø the ferry was about two-thirds full.

Three and a quarter hours just flew by with so much coastal scenery to see. I made several short trips up to the top deck to get a better look when we were approaching some of the ports.

Luggage racks on the Bodø ferry.
Plenty of luggage space (more off-camera)

Aside from the bathrooms and substantial luggage racks, the only other facility of note was the small cafe at the centre of the ferry.

The usual range of sandwiches, salads, pølser, hot and cold drinks, and sweet and salty snacks were on sale. This will be familiar to anyone who has travelled by ferry in Norway before.

Cafe onboard the Bodo-Svolvaer ferry.
Onboard cafe.

I ordered a chorizo panini which was better than expected and a black coffee, a must-have on any Norwegian ferry of course. My parents had a shrimp salad, pølse and cappuccinos and everything was a “good enough” option for lunch on the move.

Alternatives to the Bodø-Svolvær Express Boat

The timing of the crossing isn't always ideal, especially the 6am departure from Svolvær on weekdays. So, if this service isn’t for you, there are a few other options.

The quickest is to fly. Widerøe operates daily departures between the two airports and it takes less than 30 minutes. However, prices are rarely cheap, especially at the last minute.

There is also the Hurtigruten. Some tourists who know about the coastal voyage don't realise you can take Hurtigruten as a local ferry service. The cost of the crossing from Bodø to Svolvær is comparable with the speedboat, but it takes 6 hours.

View of Svolvær from the express ferry quay.
View of Svolvær from the express ferry quay.

However, those 6 hours are spent crossing the sea towards Stamsund, allowing you to watch the mountains of Lofoten gradually loom larger. From Stamsund to Svolvær, the cruise along the Lofoten mountains is a wonderful sight.

You can also of course drive. Options include the ‘long way around' via Narvik on the E6, taking the car ferry from Svolvær to Skutvik (summer only) or the car ferry from Moskenes to Bodø.

Bodø to Svolvær Ferry FAQ

To sum up, the express ferry is a great option for travellers without a car. I know there will be many questions, so I'll try to answer some of the most obvious here.

Is this a sightseeing cruise? No, this is not a tourist ferry. It is part of the regional public transport network. That being said, the scenery along much of the route is fantastic.

Top deck of the ferry.
Top deck.

Do I need to buy tickets in advance? No. But it’s easy to book in advance via the Reis Nordland website. Alternatively you can pay with a credit card upon boarding.

What if I’m late and/or miss the boat? This is public transport so it runs to a schedule. If you miss the boat, you must wait until the next departure (typically the following day) or seek alternate transport.

Svolvær Travel ResourcesFind a Hotel – Car Rental from Bodø – Book ToursTravel Insurance

How much does the ferry cost? At the time of writing, an adult ticket between Bodø and Svolvær costs NOK 745. Children under 16, full-time students under 30, and seniors over 67 are entitled to a discounted fare of NOK 373. Photo ID will likely be asked for to prove eligibility.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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14 thoughts on “Taking the Bodø to Svolvær Express Ferry”

  1. Is there still a passenger ferry between Narvik and Svolvaer? I know there used to be one, but that was 40 years ago! My younger son and I are doing an InterRail trip to celebrate the 40th anniversary of that 1983 trip, and I’d like to do the Narvik-Svolvaer-Bodo sea trip again.

  2. Hello David, thank you for your interesting site. I am planning to visit Svolvaer (from Australia) in March next year taking express boat from Bodo. Do you think the boat schedule will remain the same for next year? At this stage my flight from Oslo arrives Bodo at 4pm on a Saturday and the boat leaves at 6pm.
    Your comments/suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Thank you Peter

  3. Hi there! I am going to be traveling into Bodo via plane and taking the ferry into Svolvaer in September. How long is the travel time from the Bodo airport to the Ferry Port? Any guidance is appreciated, thank you!

  4. Is there an email adress of the speed boat company to ask questions to? I have following questions: next March most flights land at 17:00. If the boat leaves at 18:00 (if….), is this enough time in between?

    • Hi Rik
      I’m flying into Bodo this week from London, and have no time issues – however, I rang the ferry people in Bodo who said it was only 5 minutes in a taxi to the speed ferry, although you need to be onboard by 5.30pm for the 6pm departure. You also don’t need to reserve seats, apparently.

  5. Just took the Svolvaer/Bodo ferry last week and your site was helpful in figuring out the details – it was a spectacular day with a smooth ride and sun – outside the whole time!

    thanks for sharing all this!

  6. HI , interested to make a ferry trip in winter (feb)from Oslo to Southern tip of Lofoten to be exact REINE. Can you help me .thanks David
    Kate B. from Australia

    • There aren’t any ferries like that from Oslo. You could take the Havila/Hurtigruten coastal ferry from Bergern to Lofoten (Stamsund or Svolvær), or travel from Oslo to Bodø by air and take the car ferry to Moskenes, which is only a few miles to Reine. Hope this helps.

  7. Hi David, thanks a lot for sharing your experience, this is very useful ! We are going for a 4 weeks trip in August and plan to take the ferry express from Svolvaer to Bodo (6am). Do you know if this is really booked or can we still wait before booking as we are still not sure on the day ? Thanks a lot !


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