Halfway between the Lofoten Islands and Tromsø lies Senja, Norway’s second largest island.
If you’re considering a trip here and you’re wondering what to see, I want to reassure you right away that you’ve landed on the right page.
In the next few lines, in fact, I will share my itinerary in Senja with you , I will reveal the best facilities to stay in, I will suggest how many days to stay and the best activities to try based on the season.
What do you say, okay?
If you believe that this article is right for you, don’t wait any longer and dedicate yourself to reading the next paragraphs, also letting yourself be enchanted by the photos of the picturesque landscapes you will encounter.
Things to do in Senja (Norway)
On the island of Senja there are many things to do (even if you don’t think so at first glance).
Visit fishing villages, hunt for the northern lights during the long winter nights, hike during the midnight sun in the summer, see reindeer or even eagles at the roadside, breathe in the slow rhythms of the people who live here (even if they are not many, consider that 7 inhabitants live here every km² .. and well, you could hardly get a stroke of social anxiety).
I’ll be direct with you: in the following lines you won’t find a list of villages with absurd names to memorize because I myself remember just a couple of them (obviously the most beautiful, hehe).
I thought it would be more helpful to share mine with you instead itinerary with photos and descriptive stops (and yes, of course also the names of the villages).. therefore, read on and save the map day by day to find out what to see during your Senja itinerary.
3-day Senja itinerary: here’s what to see
Two small clarifications before starting with the things to see on the island of Senja, in Norway: this itinerary took place by landing in Tromsø, renting the car at the airport and staying for 4 nights in Kaikanten Gryllefjord, a pretty red wooden house overlooking the fjord.
If you have special needs to get to Senja or would like to get an overview of the accommodations to stay in, be sure to continue reading even after the itinerary.
Day 1: Ersfjord Beach, Husøy, Mefjordbotn and Senjahopen
Before you board your car, be sure to check out the Norwegian roads website to find out about any road closures or roadworks.
1: Ersfjord Beach
Depart your accommodation in the morning and head towards Husøy.
Take the Senja National Tourist Route (86 and 862), the start of which is well signposted in the village of Gryllefjord.
Follow the road that runs alongside the fjords, cross the bridges, enter the tunnels dug into the rock and follow the gentle course of the path that will take you up and down to admire the landscape that changes around you from time to time.
The first stop of the day, however, is the Ersfjord beach.
Even if the small village that develops just after has almost nothing to offer, you will notice that you have arrived in the right place not only because you will see a beach with clear sand, but also because on the opposite side, you will see a bizarre golden structure (small spoiler: inside there are the bathrooms).
Park your car, walk on the cool Norwegian sand as the waves break in front of you and enjoy the surrounding mountain peaks.
Get in your car and this time your stop will be Husøy, one of Senja’s most beautiful and characteristic villages (and so yes, a must-see on your trip!).
The real peculiarity of this place is that it is spread over a tiny island, which reminded me a lot of Sakrisøy in the Lofoten Islands: unlike the rest of the island, the houses here are close to each other.
After crossing the bridge, visit it calmly on foot: here there is a supermarket, a factory, a school and a church.
After the visit and having left the islet, you will be able to see some stockfish hanging to dry on stilts and some warehouses overflowing with already dried fish.
So, keep your eyes peeled!
Returning to Gryllefjord, I couldn’t resist and made a very short stop in Mefjordbotn, a microscopic village but in an enchanted valley that can be seen on the way back.
4: The Senjahope
In the late afternoon, then take a short detour to Senjahopen, a fairly large village that will not go unnoticed due to the large fish factory that develops along its coast.
Here the houses are typically Norwegian but of a visibly higher standard.
Continue to Senja Lounge, a place to grab a snack or eat something more substantial.
If you have time, consider continuing to Mefjordvær.
Day 2: Gryllefjord, Ballesvika, Port of Senja and Bergsbotn
Spend this second morning visiting Gryllefjord : a really pretty village where you can find a supermarket with a petrol pump, a library, a “kafé”, a church and a second-hand shop where you can also immerse yourself in Norwegian everyday life and, perhaps, see women knitting.
Then continue to Ballesvika, a tiny cluster of houses in a rather spectacular setting and overlooking crystal clear waters.
But keep an eye out while you’re here: right on the coast I could see a herd of reindeer!
3: Port of Senja
Get in your car and follow road 86 until you reach the junction for Hamn i Senja, an islet that used to be a commercial place in the past and is now one of Senja’s most popular tourist destinations.
Here, in addition to many lodgings and accommodation for all types of budgets, you will also find a restaurant, a sauna, a lighthouse and a “characteristic” boat in which you can immerse yourself in the hot water.
You can also choose to participate in different excursions with meeting point Hamn, such as:
- Boat trip to the Bergsfjord archipelago
- Snowshoe tour in Hamn
- Northern Lights Snowshoe Tour.
4: Bergsbotn viewing platform
End the day by making your way to Bergsbotn utsiktsplattform, to enjoy the panorama of the fjord and surrounding peaks from the wooden platform (but be warned, it could be quite windy here!) and wait for the northern lights in winter or the sun-kissed panorama of midnight in summer (on the way between Hamn i Senja and Bergsbotn you will also see the home of the trolls, the Senjatrollet!).
Day 3: Skaland, Bøvær and Fjordgard
Departure in the morning towards Skaland.
This is a very popular camping area in the summer.
It is no coincidence that here you may also happen to spot some sea eagles on the roadside.
But don’t stop there: even if the village has everything you need for your holiday (supermarket, petrol station and tour departures), take the single lane road that passes the village and heads straight towards Bøvær.
A remote village, indeed very lost, but with so much beauty to offer that it almost took my breath away.
Bøvær is a village located in the very north of the Bergsfjord in Senja and is located by the sea.
Admire the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea that generate spectacular waves that break majestically on the long beach of fine sand, while strolling at the mercy of the wind and beauty, among corals and glimpses.
Before leaving, also stop by Kråkeslottet Senja ArtiJuli, a nice place from which to enjoy the view of Bøvær.
Current population? 8 inhabitants (last surveyed in 2015).
Once you’ve had your fill of beauty, it’s time to get down to business: head to Fjordgard and leave your car in the well-signposted (paid) car park to reach the Hesten peak (the most beautiful hike to do on the island of Senja ) which will take you to admire the Segla peak.
The advantage of doing this hike instead of Segla itself is that you can actually see Senja’s most iconic peak, the surrounding fjords and mountains.
The hike is not very long, but in the final part it becomes more tiring.
Your destination is 639 meters above sea level, but from here you will be able to admire a panorama that will literally leave you breathless!
Accommodation in Senja
Even though I’m a lover of road trips and the possibility of changing accommodation (almost) every night, for this Senja itinerary I preferred to get out of my usual schemes and choose just one structure for the entire stay.
The reason is really very simple: even if this required me to travel further to return “home” every evening, it also gave me the incredible possibility of not planning anything, but simply following my heart and instinct by taking detours at case.
It was truly wonderful to get lost in the off the beaten track in Senja, so it’s an experience that I recommend you do too.
Best Places to Stay in Senja:
- Kaikanten Gryllefjord (from €162) : the apartments are pretty red wooden houses with 3 bedrooms, a lounge and a spacious kitchen.
Even if this village is located in a somewhat inconvenient area to reach the opposite side of the island where many attractions and treks are concentrated, this accommodation has a good value for money (which never hurts!).
Furthermore, the tourist road starts right here and walking it every day won’t really be anything negative (that’s why it was my choice);
- Hamn i Senja (from €135) : not far from Gryllefjord, this is a real tourist destination.
The village is spread over a small island and really has every possible and imaginable comfort: the houses are equipped with large windows that will allow you to enjoy wonderful glimpses of the panorama around you and, with a bit of luck, see the aurora prawn dancing in the sky.
You can also choose whether to opt for accommodation with a kitchen and save on the cost of meals or rely on the restaurant that can be easily reached on foot.
If you seek a superior experience for a Senja itinerary, be sure to check availability for your dates at Hamn i Senja.
Many activities are also organized here: just ask for information at the reception;
- Mefjord Brygge (from €100) : opt instead for this accommodation if your trip will be dedicated to trekking.
From this area the departures of the most beautiful paths can be reached, but in less time than the two solutions just above;
- Aurora Borealis Observatory (from €351) : in an inconvenient area to visit the attractions of Senja, but really superb to watch the Northern Lights show.
If you want to enrich your trip make sure you book a couple of nights at the Aurora Borealis Observatory located at the beginning of Senja island, upon your arrival or before you leave Senja.
When to go: best time
If you are wondering when is the best time to travel to Senja, you need to know that there is no single answer, it simply depends on your personal tastes!
But there are some things you need to know: being the island of Senja above the Arctic Circle it is characterized in winter by the phenomenon of the polar night and in summer by the midnight sun.
Find out the daylight hours in Senja by clicking here.
When it is reported that the sun never rises, it means that the polar night is in progress, but even if the sun never rises, the landscape becomes clearer for about 4h per day.
Temperatures are not as rigid as inland, but the wind could be quite biting.
In short: you can organize your Senja itinerary in any month of the year, for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, the Easter holidays or any other period in which you have holidays that you will find something nice to see or do.
Bad luck, you can follow my itinerary (made in November)! If it helps, consult weather and climate forecasts on this site.
What to Do in Senja (Summer or Winter)
Things to do in Senja in winter
Winter on this island is characterized by long nights and a slow pace.
If you are going to organize a trip in this period, I suggest you choose a really pleasant accommodation, to make the experience even more beautiful (and maybe be able to see the northern lights directly from the window, who knows).
Things to do in winter are mainly visit the fishing villages, go hunting for the northern lights independently or with a tour organized by a local guide, do some short hikes and maybe participate in the experience of the daily snowshoe excursion (or evening under the Northern Lights).
The best treks to do in Senja in summer
When the weather permits, try to enjoy the beauty of Senja Island especially from the air.
Here are the treks you shouldn’t miss:
- Hesten : even if the Segla peak is the most spectacular and iconic of all Senja, be sure to take the path to Hesten to admire it in its best version.
Depart from the village of Fjordgard.
- Segla : This is a rather demanding climb that starts just after the school in the village of Fjordgard.
The beginning of the trail is easy, but gradually becomes more demanding and slippery (to be avoided in case of bad weather).
The distance of the trek is 2km with an elevation gain of 610m, but it will take you right to the rocky peak of the iconic peak.
- Sukkertoppen : starting near Hamn i Senja and with an altitude difference of 450 metres, it is an excellent trek to enjoy views of the Hamn resort and the surrounding landscape.
As the final part of the trek is slippery, avoid it in bad weather.
This is also a fantastic place to enjoy the midnight sun in the summer.
Find more detailed information or other trekking ideas on this page.
How to get to Senja
Even though Senja is an island, you should know that it is well connected to the mainland by a bridge.
You can therefore easily reach it by car from anywhere in Norway, perhaps landing at Tromsø airport and driving for about 179 km, or at the nearest Bardufoss airport , but the prices may not be so convenient.
You must know, however, that it is also possible to reach it by ferry (with the possibility of loading your rental car on board as well) in the months from June to September: from Andenes you can take the ferry to Gryllefjord, or from Brensholmen board the ferry which will take you to Botnhamn (you can check timetables and costs on the company’s official website ).
How to get around in Senja
The only option I recommend for getting around Senja is the car, renting it comfortably upon your arrival at the airport.
If you would like to continue your journey, you might also be interested in reading: Itinerary Lofoten Islands on the road.
FAQ: Questions with Answers
1 – How many days to dedicate to Senja?
One day or a lifetime, it depends! Seriously, if you follow my 3 or 4 days Senja itinerary that will be enough.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to dedicate yourself to much more trekking, extend your stay in base.
2 – What to expect from a trip here?
Eagles flying over your head, reindeer feeding on mosses near the coast, tunnels dug into the rock, mountain passes, fjords, mountain peaks and a landscape that at times is very reminiscent of the Enchanted Valley of Piedino’s dinosaurs (remember this cartoon animated?).
3 – What is the best accommodation?
The accommodation from a thousand and one nights that you should consider for your Senja itinerary is definitely Hamn i Senja.
Choose the accommodation that best suits your needs and let yourself be pampered by all the services offered by the structure.
We have finished this guide with useful information for organizing a Senja itinerary.
I hope I have really helped you in organizing your trip and things to see in Senja.
If at this point you still have any doubts or questions, feel free to leave your comment below and I will reply as soon as possible.
Are you going to Norway? Read also:
- Discover all our articles about Norway: all articles about Norway are listed here.
- Top 10 Things to Do and See in Tromsø (Itinerary Map)
- Lofoten Islands: Planning Your Trip from A To Z
- Top 14 Things to Do and See in Lofoten Islands
- Lofoten Islands Itinerary: Ultimate 1 week Itinerary
- Where To Stay In Lofoten Islands: 10 Spectacular Rorbuers – best rorbuers in the Lofoten Islands
- Oslo Itinerary: Ultimate 3-Day Oslo Itinerary