Northern lights in Bodø - spellbinding arctic Norway |

Events are all about taking clients out of their daily experiences, to elevate thoughts, reboot ambitions and create lasting memories. In our crowded, connected world we are saturated with familiar real and virtual experiences. A week ago, I was on a site visit to Bodø and in that time, the magic of the place hasn’t even begun to dim. Gems are rare, but Bodø is truly one of them.

A town of 50,000 happy, welcoming Norwegians, Bodø sits north of the arctic circle and offers a remarkable window on how nature was before we strained it to breaking point, where proud locals have a glint in their eye when welcoming visitors and where Nordic quality permeates the town, underpinned by deep Norwegian pockets. Bodø is like few other places, and the eyes of Europe and the wider world will be more sharply focussed on it when it becomes the 2024 European City of Culture. There are mixed feelings knowing that the secret will be well and truly out!

Think pacific atoll and you will be somewhere near the water clarity and pristine coastline of the Norwegian arctic. The rugged coastline is as unspoiled as any in the world – wild and fringed with ice. Sea Eagles fly overhead, the waters churn with world-beating tidal flows and the air is laboratory clean. Buses and cars are electric, and the town is in the process of acquiring sustainable recognition. The fundamental nature feels as pure and unspoilt as it would have been centuries ago.

From the airport arrivals hall to a harbourside hotel lobby takes less than 10 minutes. Electric buses cruise the town but most things are possible on foot as well. Meeting venues are available right across the town, from the waterfront to the stunning new concert hall – everything from immaculate Nordic to quirky and intimate spaces. Norway comes complete with a reputation for the pricey. Not so - hotels and dining are broadly comparable with the UK and both the accommodation and restaurants we visited offered superb quality. The bars were pricier but it impossible to avoid them after a day in arctic heaven.

There are coastal walks like no other, rib boats skim across the raging whirlpools generated by the world’s most powerful tidal flow, glaciers offer the chance to learn mountaineering skills, whilst Bodø must surely have the world’s greatest sauna. Bodø harbour has a floating sauna, illuminated beneath the water with steps to evacuate the frigid arctic water. I’ve spent a lifetime watching unhinged Scandinavians steaming and the deep-freezing themselves – in utter wonderment. It’s possible and one of life’s great experiences. Viva Bodø!

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