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Why visit Senja

Still in doubt? rohlala! Unquestionably, Senja is one of the most beautiful places in Norway. Quite simply. A place with few tourists, little infrastructure, a bit far from everything.

And yet, although Senja is the country’s second-largest island after Spitzbergen, it’s still very natural, very wild. In winter, it’s a paradise for northern lights and fjord visits, while in summer, it’s an incredible place for hiking.

Senja is a succession of fjords, each more beautiful than the next, and truly impressive mountains. It’s a veritable distillation of Norway – I’d even say it’s a smaller, denser version of Lofoten. Fjords, mountains, white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water.

Quite simply, it’s my favorite place in Norway, because it’s so good to be there, so peaceful, in such perfect surroundings.

Anyway, the point is to tell you how to get there. If you’ve got a car, it’s obviously much easier, but there are other ways to get there, including by boat. I’ll explain it all below.

And this part is important to help you to build your itinerary in Northern Norway.

Let’s go !

tungeneset senja sunset norway

Getting to Senja by car

Getting to Senja by car is the most obvious, the easiest and the most spectacular. The most obvious because it’s almost always the same road from Tromso. At one point you have to turn right, but this road is 3 hours of pure bliss.

From Tromso, we head south to Nordkjosbotn, where the road is superb, and then along the enormous fjord to Storsteinses. Up to Olsborg it’s fun, but then it’s back to top form.

A good tip: the service stations near Olsborg, and especially the one just before you take the road to Senja, are the cheapest in the region!

It takes 2.5 hours to get to Finnsnes, but you’ll take longer because you’ll be taking a lot of photo breaks. Once in Finnsnes, it takes 45min to get to the northern fjords.

So I’d say from Tromso, by road, it’s 3hrs 15mins without stopping, but allow more like 4hrs.

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Coming to Senja by boat

It’s possible and often a convenient option! There are several routes, I’ll explain it all to you

The boat Tromso – Senja

You can come from Tromso, via the ferry between Brensholmen and Senja, now all year round! Whereas this super-convenient ferry used to be available only in summer, you can now get to Senja quickly from the island of Kvaloya: it’s only a 1-hour drive from Tromso, at Brensholmen just below Sommaroy.

So, once you’ve visited Kvaloya, made your way to Sommaroy and slept at the Sommaroy Arctic Hotel, this is your chance to take the 45-minute boat trip to paradise. Well, the boat goes in both directions, of course!

There are between 1 and 6 trips a day, and you can find the timetable on Entur.no, the Norwegian trip planner, or here with all the information.

Ferry Tromso Senja Brensholmen Botnhamn

The Senja boat – Vesteralen Islands (Andenes)

But you can also take the boat between the Vesteralen Islands (Andenes) and Senja (Gryllefjord). It’s a longer trip, taking around 1h30, but above all it’s not open all year round, only for 4 months from mid-May to mid-September. Well, that’s not bad, because before it was even worse.

The journey is also subject to weather conditions, as it’s often very windy on the Andenes side. But it’s a journey that saves you an enormous amount of time, because if you want to get to the Vesteralen from Senja, it’s at least a 6-hour drive!

Ferry Senja Gryllefjord ANdenes Vesteralen horaires

The speedboat between Tromso and Senja

There are two speedboats between Tromso and the island of Senja. These two boats do not take cars.

  • Tromso – Finnsnes (continues to Harstad): between 2 and 4 connections a day, super convenient. You can find timetables here.
  • Tromso – Lysnes: 2 daily connections 3 times a week. Timetables here.
Speedboat tromso lysnes harstad senja

The Hurtigruten

The Hurtigruten is now seen as a cruise ship, but it was originally an omnibus mode of transport serving many ports along the coast.

So it’s perfectly possible to take the Hurtigruten only for a dedicated section, between two specific ports, and with or without a car, with or without a cabin if you want to sleep. On the other hand, prices really do change, as do timetables, so I can only advise you to look at the Hurtigruten website for more precise information. But there’s a stop in Finnsnes, that’s the most important thing 🙂

Favorite accommodation

The sublime location of Hamn i Senja

hamn i senja
  • A magnificent location, in its own archipelago, surrounded by clear water and beautiful beaches, with the mountains as a backdrop
  • A beautiful hotel for all budgets, comfortable, top for the Northern Lights
  • Prices from €120

Getting to Senja by plane

There are no airports in Senja. The nearest are:

  • Bardufoss:
    • There are usually 2/3 flights a day from Oslo with Norwegian, nothing on Saturdays.
    • Even though the airport is smaller, it’s no cheaper.
    • Compare on Kayak to get an idea, but you’ll need at least one stopover in Oslo.
    • To get from Finnsnes to Senja, there are several bus options every day, usually taking 1 hour. Look on Entur for the different routes (make sure you start at Bardufoss Lufthavn).
  • Tromso:
    • Many flights a day, sometimes direct from France (with Air France and Norwegian).
    • Prices sometimes competitive
    • Likewise, compare with Kayak to get a good price.
    • To get to Senja, you can either take the boat as we’ve seen, or the bus. The boat is faster, and you’ll find all this on Entur.

Getting to Senja by train

There is no train station up there. The two nearest are:

  • Narvik
    • but that’s on the Swedish network, so you’re coming from Stockholm or Kiruna
    • you have to take the bus to Finnsnes, which takes about 3 hours.
  • Bodo
    • very far south, but the highest station on the Norwegian network
    • it takes between 10 and 15h by bus, and sometimes by boat. Not the easiest way to go!
Fjord Gryllefjord Senja bridge

Getting to Senja by bus

Here you have no choice, you must first arrive at Finnsnes, the (not very pretty) gateway to Senja. We’ve already seen several options before, but we’ll recap everything here.

  • Tromso – Finnsnes:
    • takes around 2h30
    • take the Tromso-Narvik (line 100) then change half way (gas station) to take the 110. There’s usually a 10-minute wait between the two buses, which are synchronized.
    • 2 trips per day, one in the morning, one in the evening
    • costs NOK 263, tickets available on entur.no
  • Bardufoss – Finnsnes
    • takes about 1h, 1H30 if there are changes
    • several direct routes, with the 300 or FB90
    • About ten trips per day
    • from 88 NOK
  • Narvik – Finnsnes
    • takes 3h
    • about 4 trips per day
    • take line 100 from Narvik and change either at Bardufoss (line 300) or at a service station in Olsborg (line 110)
    • costs NOK 350
  • Alta – Finnsnes
    • 1 trip per day, and it’s a pain in the ass
    • takes 7h40, and you have to make lots of changes
    • the 150 to Lyngseidet, then the 460 to Nordkjosbotn, then the 100 to the petrol station and the 110 to Finnsnes. Good luck with that.
    • it costs 614 NOK
Aurores boréales Senja

Getting around Senja by bus

So getting around Senja by bus is possible. Not super obvious, but possible. You’ll almost always have to make a change, and there’s only one or two buses a day, plus they’re usually school buses.

  • bus 362: from the central road to Mefjordvaer
  • 360: from Finnsnes to Torsken
  • 365: from the center of the island to Flakstadvag or Grunnfarnes
  • 380: Finnsnes to Husoy
  • 370: Mefjordvaer to Gibostad

And roughly speaking, to reach the main stops, here are the lines:

  • Torsken / Gryllefjord / Hamn: bus 360
  • Bergsbotn / Skaland / Tungeneset: bus 362
  • Sifjord: bus 365
  • Husoy: bus 380
  • Fjordgard: bus 370

But with only one bus a day, rarely more, once you stop, getting off is complicated.

rorbu Senja senjahopen fjord winter

Route planners

If you don’t have a car, or if you have ferries to catch, you MUST use a journey planner, with bus and boat timetables. There are two possibilities:

  • entur.no, super-efficient, easy to read, sometimes you can buy tickets on the app or website
  • fylkestrafikk.no, which covers the Troms region. Works very well, but a bit ugly. But works very well.
Torsken harbor mountains Senja Norway sunset

Senja hotels, where to sleep

In Senja, the big advantage is that it’s not super touristy. As there’s no big access like Lofoten or Tromso, one of the most beautiful places in the country is still pretty quiet. But that also means that there aren’t millions of accommodation options, although I can assure you that there’s plenty to choose from, from houses to nice hotels:

  • Hamn i Senja, on its little peninsula, a heavenly location
  • Mefjord Brygge, a little like Hamn but on the other side. Cheaper, beautiful surroundings and perfect views
  • Kaikanten, lovely cabins in Gryllefjord
  • Skoghus, very reasonable prices in Silsand
  • Senja Fjordhotell, a little remote but very good
Hamn i Senja hotel senja Norway

HAMN I SENJA

  • Idyllic location
  • Ideal for walking around
  • From €104
Mefjord brygge mefjordvaer hotel senja

MEFJORD BRYGGE

  • Very good location
  • In Mefjordvaer, a little paradise
  • From €78
Kaikanten Gryllefjord Senja hotel

KAIKANTEN

  • Superb fjord views
  • Located in Gryllefjord
  • From €158
Visit Leif appartement Senja pas cher

VISIT LEIF

  • Apartment in Gibostad
  • 9.6/10 on Booking!
  • From €111

5 must-see places in Senja

In the following article, I’ll tell you more about Senja’s most beautiful places, but to make a long story short, here are a few must-sees in my opinion:

  • Gryllefjord, especially the view from the bridge. If it’s not winter, go over the tunnel and around the fjord.
  • Bergsbotn, the platform overlooking a very pretty fjord
  • Tungeneset, the island’s best-known view of the “Devil’s Teeth” mountains
  • Sifjord, quite simply the most beautiful view on the island. When you come out of a tunnel, you have a breathtaking view of a fjord.
  • Husoy, above all a high view from the road of this truly special island.
Sifjord view Senja Island Norway sunset
vincent voyage instagram northern lights norway

Include Senja in an itinerary

In the following article, I show you a beautiful itinerary between Tromso, Senja and the Lofoten Islands. As it’s on the road, it’s super easy to go through Senja on your way to Lofoten. You can get there from Sommaroy, take the ferry and spend a day in the fjords, then take Sifjord on the way down. So you can spend 4 days in Tromso, 2/3 in Senja, 6 in Lofoten, for example, and it’s very easy to do 🙂 Or a day in Tromso, which is also very easy to plan. If you want to spend the night, you can do as described above:

  • arriving by boat in the morning, travel through the fjords, Husoy, to Gryllefjord, via Mefjord, Ersfjord, Tungeneset, Hamn…
  • Sleep in Hamn, for example, and the next morning head for Sifjord via Anderdalen Park, then Flakstadvag – the road is superb and there’s no one around!
FJord Mefjordbotn Senja norway

In conclusion

Now you know everything! Getting to Senja is easy. Extremely simple if you have a car, your choice will be between the ferry from Sommaroy or the car (well, you can do one of each if you’re making a return trip). It’s true that the nearest airport isn’t necessarily the most convenient. In general, we go to Tromso, but if you want to go straight from the airport, then the ferry is the most convenient. But basically, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go to Senja, at least for two days. And if you’re a lover of wide open spaces, nature and solitude, then you can stay much longer!

To make it easier for you to get around and find what you’re looking for, I’ve put everything together in a map of Senja created on Google maps. You’ll find :

  • the most beautiful places
  • accommodation in many places, with prices and ratings
  • hiking trails
  • supermarkets
  • cafés and restaurants
  • some activities

All with photos!

⭐️ Access the Senja map! ⭐️

Google maps Senja hikes hotels

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