Senja island in Norway is a truly hidden gem. Dramatic peaks dropping into the sea, white sand beaches surrounded by the mountains, the abundance of wildlife and untouched nature. Add to this opportunity to see the natural phenomenon of Midnight sun and Northern Lights and you will get the recipe for the perfect outdoor travel destination in Norway. Find out more reasons why you should consider visiting Senja in Norway, like, right now!
Have you ever heard of the Senja island in Norway? There is a big chance that you haven’t – after all, Senja can still be considered as a Norway off the beaten path. I am not entirely sure why, since it offers so much beauty that it’s hard to match with.
It’s definitely one of the less-visited summer destinations where you can head to escape the crowds. It also offers great hiking opportunities, like the one with a stunning view to Segla from Hesten hike. Everyone can find their favourite activity from many things to do on Senja.
Senja island is located in the Troms Country in Northern Norway, above the Arctic Circle. It’s the second largest island in Norway with the area of 1 589.35 km2. Thanks to its location, during the summer, the sun never sets, and in the winter there is a polar night, just like in Svalbard. The climate is also generally colder than in the south of Norway.
We finally managed to visit Senja a few weeks ago at the beginning of June. I was dying to go there after seeing breathtaking photos of the jagged mountains, including the stunning Segla, and reading about wonderful Senja hiking opportunities.
If, after this introduction, you still need some convincing of why you should visit Senja in Norway, here are some more reasons!
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WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT SENJA, NORWAY
#1 Senja island is still relatively off the beaten path destination in Norway
Norway is popular with tourists, especially in the summer. I love this country for its wilderness and availability of nature, but the number of tourists flocking to the most popular spots in Norway like Trolltunga, Priekestolen don’t appeal to me. That’s why I try to escape the crowds and visit popular places off the season like Norway in a Nutshell in winter, or find the locations that are not yet so popular, like Senja!
A few years ago I visited Lofoten, which was still quite quiet back then (at least in May). Now, Lofoten is up and going summer destination, not only for Norwegians but also for travellers from all over. But while everyone goes there, you can escape the seasonal tourists and find similar landscapes on the island of Senja.
Senja does get some of the tourists at different times of the year, but the numbers are considerably lower compared to the most popular destinations in Norway. And this is what I like about it. The tranquility of the area, the remote hiking trails, the availability to go on the hike at night during the summer (thanks to the midnight sun), all that allows for some peaceful and quiet time by yourself with the stunning views.
If you want to escape other travellers, even more, head to the south-west part of the island, near the Ånderdalen National Park. The landscape there is less dramatic than in the north, but it is also quieter.
We visited Senja during the long weekend in Norway from the end of May to the beginning of June and we’ve seen only a handful of other travellers on the way. On the top of Hesten where we hiked for the best views of Segla in Senja, we were entirely alone.
#2 Senja island is not that hard to get to – how to get to Senja in Norway
Even though Senja island is located a bit off the beaten path in Norway, quite far in the north and, well, it’s an island, Senja is not that hard to travel to. Even the flights to Senja in Norway are quite frequent, and it’s also not difficult to get from Tromsø to Senja. You have two options – by taking a bridge or a ferry.
- Option 1 – Fly to Tromsø, travel to Brensholmen and catch the ferry to Bothamn. The ferry operates only between April and August. With that option, on the way you can also visit Tromso and Sommeroy. To find the timetable for the ferry click here.
Option 2 – fly to Bardufoss airport and drive to Senja. Then you can drive through the Gisund Bridge straight to Senja island and its southern town of Finnsness. That’s what we did, as we wanted to make the most of the days on Senja and we had a direct flight from Oslo. From Oslo, the flight takes around 1 hour and 50 minutes. The drive from Bardufoss is around 1 hour.
There are also other ways to get to Senja like taking a ferry from Andenes on Vesteralen to Gryllefjord in Senja, or a speedboat.
#3 Senja’s views are to die for
The jagged mountains surrounded by the white sand beaches, turquoise water dotted with the islands like straight from Indonesia, high cliffs dropping straight into the sea. The views in Senja will not disappoint you, and I can guarantee that you will make multiple stops on the road trip through the island.
In the northern part of Senja island, you can follow the National Tourist Route for some of the best views and viewing platform. I recommend hiking in Senja to get to the most picturesque locations, such as famous Segla view from Hesten, hike to the top of Segla, the hike to Husfjellet or the view of the Bergsoyan archipelago.
#4 Senja offers a range of activities in every season
There are plenty of things to do in Senja with a huge choice of activities for everyone at all times of the year.
Come in winter to admire the Northern Lights dancing in the sky, try dog sledding or set off for snowshoeing in the mountains. The adventurous souls can try free skiing or snowboarding. In the summer, there is an abundance of stunning hiking trails in all parts of the island. Pitch your tent on top of the mountain and look out for the Midnight Sun. Rent a kayak and paddle through the gentle fjord, go fishing or bird watching.
#5 Senja island is called a Norway in miniature
Thanks to its diverse landscape, Senja island is sometimes called Norway in Miniature. The landscape changes from the dramatic mountains and sandy beaches in the north to the green hills and forests in the south. There are lots of small fishery villages and picturesque wooden houses.
In the south, you can find the Ånderdalen National Park with many forest walks and open fields. Throughout the island, you can also find several interesting museums and cultural experiences.
Until recently, Senja was also the home of the biggest troll statue in the world. Unfortunately, the troll and his wife burnt down in the recent fire. The troll center is still open and can be visited.
Where to stay in Senja
During our stay, we mainly camped or stayed in the car.
Senja camping opportunities are plenty ranging from great wild camping spots to prepared campsites. For those who want to stay in other types of accommodation, there are numerous hotels, guesthouses or Airbnb.
Hotels in Senja
Hamn i Senja – we visited this holiday resort on magical Senja island for some coffee and, man, the views there! The Hamn i Senja lies on the little island near Hamn and offers wooden sea cabins and modern apartments. The water around is turquoise and there is even a little marina to dock your boat (if you have one ;-)). Check availability and prices here.
Campsites in Senja
Fjordbotn Camping is located in the north east of the island, in a perfect location for some of the most spectacular hikes like Segla.
How to travel in Senja
In order to see the most in the shortest time, it’s best to rent a car when travelling to Senja. We always check the prices for car rental through the comparison tool such as rentalcars in order to find the best deals.
We stayed 4 days on the Senja island and that was a good amount of time to see its different parts and do some hiking. If you want to do even more activities, then you can stay even longer.
From Senja, you can easily go up to Tromsø, or south towards the Lofoten islands.
Would you like to visit Senja, Norway? Have you been yet? Let me know in the comments!
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