The tidal stream Saltstraumen is one of the biggest highlights in Northern Norway and simply belongs to a Norway road trip. No matter if you are on your way to the Lofoten Islands or if you are on a round trip through Norway, you should stop here to have a look at this special sight of Northern Norway. But what is Saltstraumen exactly and does it always look so spectacular? What should you keep in mind when visiting? We tell you in our travel report
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
The Saltstraumen Tidal Stream in Norway
Saltstraumen is a tidal stream and even the biggest and strongest in the world. A tidal current is created when water is pushed through a strait due to high and low tide. The narrower and shallower the strait, the stronger the tidal current.
Saltstraumen is about 150 meters wide and almost 3 km long. The hotspot of this tidal current is conveniently located directly under a huge road bridge from which you can view the whirlpool very well. Almost 400 million m³ of water squeeze through this strait every 6 hours (low tide & high tide alternate every 6 hours) and the currents reach speeds of up to 40 km/h.
All this results in strong currents, large swirls and eddies that look like a giant whirlpool. The whirlpools created in the process can be up to 10 meters in diameter. Pretty spectacular to see something like that on this scale. The name Saltstraumen, by the way, is made up of the words Salten, which is the name of the region, and the word Straumen, which is old Norwegian for current. There are other -straumen (meaning tidal currents) in the area, but they are far less spectacular.
Travel Tips for Saltstraumen
Does the Saltstraumen tidal current always look the same? Is it worth it?
You see very blatant footage of Saltstraumen on the internet and Youtube, and with the hope of totally blatant swirls and whirlpool-like currents, we went there too. Unfortunately, it did not look as spectacular as we hoped.
When should you visit Saltstraumen?
When is the Saltstraumen actually the strongest? We just went there on the off chance during our visit, but what we didn’t know is, that there are calculations for every day of the year when the tidal current is the strongest.
I have attached the tide table for the year 2022. You can also always find the current table at the visitor parking lots at Saltstraumen. This doesn’t mean that the tide will be strongest at this minute and nothing else will happen.
But you should orientate yourself approximately on these times.
Where is the Best Place to see Saltstraumen?
The best place is certainly on top of the bridge. There is a narrow strip for pedestrians on both sides of the bridge from which you can see the whole strait very well.
It is not really possible to change sides of the bridge by foot, as there are guard rails. But it is possible, although quite dangerous. Alternatively, you can also walk on the northern side of the strait on various paths directly along the water and thus have a completely different view of the tidal current Saltstraumen.
You can easily reach these trails from the official parking lot.
By Boat Across the Saltstraumen
If you want a little more action, you can take a massive zodiac across the tidal stream. You are directly above the currents and see the eddies up close.
This pleasure costs about 100€ and you can book it online here: Boat tour Saltstraumen
Accomodation near Saltstraumen
If you are not traveling in a camper or campervan and therefore need accommodation, we can recommend the following. Only a few kilometers away from Saltstraumen are these cozy wooden cabins right on the water.
They are typical Norwegian and offer a huge terrace and great facilities for a large family.Wooden cabins at Saltstraumen | show prices*
Parking at Saltstraumen
Parking at Saltstraumen is completely free and there are plenty of parking possibilities. You can find the free parking at Saltstraumen here on Google Maps.
Is it possible to stay overnight with camper & campervan at Saltstraumen?
Officially it is forbidden to stay overnight with a campervan at the above mentioned parking lot. But we and many others have stayed overnight at the neighboring separately designated camper parking lot without any problems.
You are right next to the noisy road, but you are right on the water the next morning.
Fishing at Saltstraumen
If you are a passionate fisherman, then you can also fish here at Saltstraumen. Due to the strong tidal currents, the water here is very rich in nutrients and attracts many fish. Therefore, you can see many anglers on the shore or on boats on the water.