Itinerary tromso senja lofoten norvege

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Organizing a roadtrip in northern Norway, when it’s your first trip, isn’t easy.

Going only to Tromso, Senja or Lofoten, honestly, isn’t too complicated to organize because you’ve got the time to visit many places. But when it comes to adding it all up, you have to make choices, and that’s when things get complicated: how long to stay in each place, which activities to do, which to leave out, which places are essential and which to put aside for a future trip (because yes, we always come back to Norway, I’d rather warn you now), and of course all this depending on the season 🙂

In short, as you can see, there are hundreds of possibilities! That’s why, as it’s a fairly frequent question, as well as not being an obvious one, I’m proposing a 2-week itinerary that will show you the essentials of Tromso, the most beautiful landscapes of Senja, or all the must-sees of the Lofoten Islands. Obviously, this is a proposal, everything is adaptable. You won’t be dog-sledding in summer (although you can go go-karting…), but you’ll have plenty of opportunities for hiking, while the whales are only visible from November onwards, for example.

So take this as a base, it can be done in any season, just add a day or two in Senja, for example. Anyway, I’ll explain it all to you, day by day:)

Senja hike husfjellet Norway

Day 1 – Arrival in Tromso

Arriving at Tromso Langnes airport, the first thing to do will be to collect your car.

To rent your car, you absolutely must compare! I compare on Kayak and on DiscoverCars, a car rental broker that I find very efficient. You can also rent your car on Getaround, a private car rental company.

If you don’t arrive too late, after check-in you can enjoy a leisurely tour of the city center and harbor. If the weather is fine, you can take the cable car to see the northern lights. But don’t overdo it on the first evening, as the next few days will be busy 🙂

tromso norway itinerary what to do
best hotels tromso where to sleep

Day 2 – Discover Grotfjord and Ersfjord

It’s time to get serious! You’re off to the island of Kvaloya during the day:

  • First go to Ersfjord. On the way, stop off at the Kaldfjord fjord, with its many viewpoints.
  • Ersfjord: stop at the high-level parking lot, then go down to the Bryggejentene café and store. You can go down to the water’s edge. You can go further along the shore at the small port.
  • On to Grotfjord: several viewpoints en route. Stop above the village of Grotfjord – you can even go down there, it’s very small and nice.
  • Then head into the fjord, which is superbly impressive. There are numerous viewpoints all along the fjord. You can stop at the very bottom and go down to water level without worrying.
  • Continue on to Tromvik. The village can be visited quickly, and there’s the fishing port.
  • Take the road to Rekvik, stopping at the Brosmetinden pass, where you’ll enjoy superb views and the possibility of a walk if the snow is not too heavy.

In the evening, if it’s that time of year, I’d strongly advise you to take a tour to see the northern lights. Why, when you have a car? To get all the information you need at the start of your trip, to know how the guides work and where to go depending on the weather.

Of course, you’ll have read the information on the northern lights beforehand, but to give you confidence, using a professional guide is not a bad idea at the start of your trip. I suggest the best agencies here.

Fjord Ersfjord Tromso Kvaloya
Northern Lights Grotfjord Kvaloya Tromso Norway

Day 3 – Discover the Lyngen Alps

The Lyngen Alps are among the most beautiful landscapes in Norway, no less. A mountain range rising out of the sea, that’s not bad. To visit them, I suggest 3 alternatives, with the possibility of seeing Signaldalen mountain:

  • By car:
    • Option 1: Head for Breivikeidet. If you have time before the next ferry, drive down to Nakkevatnet and Sjursnes. Then take the ferry from Breivikeidet to Svensby, up to the north of the Lyngen. Then continue to Lyngseidet via the superb fjord. If the weather’s good in the evening, you can have dinner at Nordkjosbotn and come back here to see the northern lights.
    • Option 2: a little more driving. Drive south to Laksvatn, then on to Lakselvbukt, to see the Lyngen from the other side. Then back down to Nordkjosbotn, to see Signaldalen mountain. Then head for Lyngseidet, then the fjord and all the way north. To get back, you can take the ferry to avoid having to drive all the way back, but beware of the late timetables.
  • By snowmobile
    • Several snowmobile agencies are based in the Lyngen Alps. And it has to be said that the setting lends itself rather well to snowmobiling! Although there are a lot of mountains, we’ll find a sufficiently flat area a little to the north. In other words, an idyllic setting. Among these agencies, we’ll find Camp Troll, which is a reference. They’ll pick you up and take you back to Tromso.
Fjord Lyngen Alps Tromso Norway Fall
Road to Lyngen Alps Tromso fall Norway

Day 4 – Dogsledding excursion

Perhaps Tromso’s most popular activity when it snows. Dog sledding is a really funny moment, for several reasons.

Firstly, when you see the how enthusiastic the dogs are, they really love running in the snow! They’re crazy! Of course, we’ll give them all the love they deserve. But the activity itself is also great.

There are many dog-sledding agencies in Tromso, so it’s not easy to choose. Without a car, you’re picked up and brought back. I’d recommend Norwegian Travel in Breivikeidet, for example, because you’re facing the Lyngen Alps, and the surroundings are, once again magnificent 🙂

If you want to go on your own, then why not go to OffTrack Experience, a smaller, family-run kennel?

In short, you won’t regret it, but you REALLY need to book several weeks (even two months) in advance to make sure you have room.

Night: if you haven’t already been, and the weather’s fine, head to the Fjellheisen cable car for sunset or dawn

Dog Sledding Lofoten Norway
Whale watching orcas Tromso Skjervoy Norway

WHALES & ORCAS

  • Early November to late January
  • Catamaran or inflatable
  • From €140
Red northern lights Tromso fall Norway

NORTHERN LIGHTS

  • Early September to early April
  • Many quality tours but be careful
  • From €120
faire du chien de traineau en Norvege

DOG SLEDDING

  • November to April, depending on snow
  • Several quality kennels
  • From €185
motoneige à Tromso

SNOWMOBILE

  • November to April, depending on snow
  • Beautiful surroundings
  • From €195

Day 5 – Discover Sommaroy

The idea here is to do another beautiful route around Tromso, but above all to get closer to Senja. So you’ll be heading for Sommaroy. A superb archipelago, with clear waters, beaches, mountains and frequent reindeer sightings. Not bad at all, isn’t it?

The journey is really superb and well worth taking several hours to make, even if it is “only” 60km from Tromso. By staying overnight in Sommaroy, you’re very close to the ferry to Senja the next day. So you can spend the evening on the archipelago without any worries, the setting is really beautiful.

Night: You’ll be staying at the Sommaroy Arctic Hotel, ideal for a fresh start the next morning

Sommaroy Arctic Hotel
Sommaroy Tromso winter

Day 6 – Drive to Senja and its fjords

Ferry: having slept nearby, you can catch the first ferry to Senja. It’s at Brensholmen, just to the south. Arrive a little early, as it’s paid for automatically with the autopass. The journey takes 45min. Once in Senja, I recommend the following route:

  • the fishermen’s island of Husoy, with its stunning view from above
  • the opposite village of Fjordgard
  • take the road back to Tungeneset, passing through 2 pretty fjords. Superb views, but beware of the slippery conditions!
  • then on to the Bergsbotn platform and its view over the fjord.

Overnight: you can spend the night on Hamn i Senja and its superb peninsula. Otherwise, there’s good accommodation in Skaland too.

tungeneset senja sunset norway
FJord Mefjordbotn Senja norway
Hamn i Senja hotel senja Norway

HAMN I SENJA

  • Idyllic location
  • Ideal for hikes
  • 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

Day 7 – Visit to West Senja

Another day in Senja! Leave your accommodation and head west :

  • the atmospheric fishing village of Gryllefjord. Embedded in its fjord, it has an end-of-the-world feel.
  • then continue quickly to Torsken, the end of the road.
  • Take the road back to Sifjord, quite simply the most beautiful sight on the island.
  • You can continue as far as Flakstadvag.

Overnight: to save a little time for the next day’s drive, I advise you to sleep south of Senja. For example, at the pretty Furoy Fishing Camp.

Fjord Gryllefjord Senja bridge
Sifjord view Senja Island Norway sunset
vincent voyage instagram northern lights norway

Day 8 – Off to the Lofoten Islands

Today, the idea is to head for Svolvaer, in Lofoten Islands.

It may not seem like it, but the distance between Senja and the Lofoten Islands is huge! That’s why you slept a little to the south. But rather than doing nothing but driving, I suggest you take a trip to Polar Park, near Bardufoss.

Here you can see Arctic wildlife in an environment resembling semi-freedom. Bears, lynxes, foxes… very cool!

On the road to Svolvaer, I’d say there’s no emblematic place to stop. On the other hand, it’s really pretty, so you’ll get plenty of photo breaks, I can guarantee it. That’s also why this trip takes so long.

Overnight: sleep in Svolvaer, for example at the Anker Brygge, the Svinoya Rorbuer or, for those on a budget, the FastHotel.

Svolvaer Lofoten Hotel Svinoya Rorbuer
Lofoten island lake autumn
Fast Hotel Svolvaer pas cher lofoten

FAST HOTEL SVOLVAER

  • Cheap and very correct
  • Good place to stay in Svolvaer
  • From €73
Anker Brygge Svolvaer hotel iles lofoten

ANKER BRYGGE

  • Cosy and warm
  • Perfect location
  • From €153
Rostad Rorbuer Hamnoy Reine Lofoten hotel pas cher

ROSTAD RORBUER

  • A breathtaking view
  • In Hamnoy, near Reine
  • From €173
Naustplassen Rorbuer Ballstad lofoten pas cher

NAUSTPLASSEN

  • Between fjords and mountains
  • In Ballstad, 9.7/10 on Booking!
  • From €141

Day 9 – Visit Henningsvaer and the Viking Museum

Today, we head west to Svolvaer:

  • Morning discovery of Henningsvaer via the mini beach of Rørvikstranda. The little port is cute, the village nice. There’s a soccer pitch at the far end. The visit is fairly quick.
  • Then off to the Lofotr Museum, a reconstruction of a Viking village (beware of opening hours!). Well worth a visit, it’s not just folklore, it’s interesting 🙂
  • Go to Unstad beach, where there are several surfers who don’t mind the cold, and have a wonderful kannelbolle at Unstad Arctic Surf.

Overnight : sleep in Ballstad, a pretty little town in a superb setting, for example at the Solsiden Brygge Rorbuer or the Hattvika (incredible but more expensive)

islands Lofoten Norway Unstad
le village de pecheurs d'henningsvaer dans les iles Lofoten

Day 10 – Discover the beaches and Nusfjord

One of the highlights of the Lofoten Islands is its heavenly beaches. Yes, yes! lots of fine sandy beaches, turquoise waters, all surrounded by fantastic mountains. And with water at 5-10 degrees, of course 😀

These beaches are generally located on the north coast of the island of Vestvagoy, a little above Leknes. The best-known are : Uttakleiv, of course, where you need to get away from the crowds, as the surroundings are magnificent.

But also before, there are Vik and Haukland beaches, great for sunsets, and then off to discover the village of Nusfjord.

It’s very small, tucked away between mountains, and really pretty. They’ve recently renovated it to make it a little more interesting, with different huts representing life in the old days, the fishermen’s huts.

Overnight: you can sleep there, notably at the very nice Nusfjord Arctic Resort, to enjoy the evening here. Alternatively, head for Ramberg, with the Ramberg Gjestegard right on the famous beach. Not bad!

beaches vik haukland lofoten
nusfjord village Lofoten islands Norway

Day 11 – Flakstad, Fredvang and Ramberg

For this day, let’s start at Ramberg beach, with its famous red hut and its really top setting.

Return to Flakstad with its surfers’ beach. Then cross the bridges to Fredvang. The bridges are typical, and on the other side you can see the famous leaning mountain. But don’t stop there! Hardly anyone goes there, but take the road from Fredvang south-west towards Selfjord.

It’s truly superb. Along the way, snow and weather permitting, you can do one of the 3 hikes that lead to Kvalvika. Departures are from here, and all 3 are at different levels, so be careful!

Overnight: spend the next 2 nights in superb surroundings, facing the famous Hamnoy mountains, at the Eliassen Rorbuer. Good cabins and waking up here facing these mountains, I loved it!

Fredvang lofoten islands
beach ramberg lofoten islands Norway

TROLLFJORD BY BOAT

Day cruise trollfjord Lofoten islands Fjord
  • Discover Norway’s smallest fjord
  • A boat trip through beautiful scenery
  • Opportunity to see eagles
  • Prices from €110

Day 12 – Visit to the small villages of Lofoten

Today, there’s little driving and you’ll devote yourself to the small villages in the area:

  • Hamnoy, where you spent the night. Of course, you’ll go over the bridge to take the famous photo, in the mini harbor right next door. It’s very small but very nice.
  • Sakrisoy, another tiny village known for its yellow houses (although they’re red next door), which is literally on the other side of the bridge and has a very good fish restaurant.
  • Reine, the great classic, exceptional views, especially from the bridge, but not only. Go to the end, towards the port, towards the red houses, it’s magnificent.

Always at night in Hamnoy, at the Eliassen Rorbuer , how convenient and central

Reine Lofoten islands Summer mountains Norway
Hamnoy village Reine Lofoten islands Norway winter

Day 13 – A and return to Tromso

It’s a long way from here to Tromso. But before you go, be sure to visit the village of A i Lofoten, the village at the end of the world. You can see it before if you have time, but if you don’t, take a couple of hours for a morning stroll. It’s really very nice, more authentic than the previous ones, I think.

I’ve heard there’s a bakery there that makes the craziest kannelbolle.

Then, unfortunately, it’s back to Tromso. From there, it will take you a good 8 hours, so don’t leave too late.

If it’s not your last night, you can sleep a little before Tromso, in the wilderness. If you need to sleep close to the airport, the new Moxy is very convenient, and parking is included.

A i lofoten village lofoten islands Norway red cabins
Maisons rouges village A i Lofoten en Norvège

Day 14 – Tromso sightseeing and souvenirs

If you have one last day to spend in Tromso, then it’s time for some final shopping:

  • Visit the interesting Polarmuseet museum
  • Enjoy the pretty town center and harbor
  • Have a hotdog at Raketten Bar & Pølse, the world’s smallest bar! They also serve mulled wine and chocolate.
  • Buy souvenirs at the Tromsø Gift & Souvenir Shop (yellow facade), there’s plenty to choose from, and I don’t feel like I’m being taken for a sucker like the ones on the main street.
hot dog tromso city center best Norway
Church city center Tromso

ACCOMMODATION IN TROMSO

Find the best accommodations with Booking

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  • Book early, as demand is very high in high season!
  • From nice hotels to shared accommodation
  • Hotels slash prices in low season
  • Prices from €55

Practical information about this route

In what season can we do it

Easy, you really can do it all the time, in any season. You can visit in winter or summer. The difference is in the activities. In winter, there’s all that revolves around snow (sled dogs, snowmobiling, whales too), while you can hike and enjoy the scenery more in summer and autumn, for example. There’s ALWAYS something to see and do, it’s really great 🙂

Tromso northern lights Nakkevatket

Is this itinerary adaptable

Oh yes, very easily adaptable. If you like, here’s a one-week itinerary for Tromso. But you can adapt it as follows:

  • +/- 1 day in Tromso and Senja
  • See all the villages at once in Lofoten, or even stay for a week to do more hiking.
  • if the days are short, don’t overload the days.
  • You can do the loop from Bodo and take the ferry back down to Tromso.

Then, is it possible to do it in 10 days? Yes, if you take off 2 days in Tromso, 1 in Senja and 1 in Lofoten. Some people do it in a week, but they spend their whole week on the road, and I think that’s a shame. But it’s doable, it’s 4 full days of driving after all.

Is it necessary to book well in advance

It depends!

In high season (November to mid-March) yes yes yes. Flights, excursions, accommodation, especially in December and February. It gets quite touristy, so in the very high season, everything leaves several weeks (or even months for the most popular) in advance.

In summer, July and August, it’s the same: book your accommodation in advance or you’ll pay a small fortune. You can go day by day, but that’s more expensive. In winter, you can go day by day in Senja and Lofoten, but not in Tromso.

In low season, you can start later because there are far fewer people. It’s very pleasant.

CAR RENTAL IN NORWAY

Rent a car in Norway from Discover Cars

Discover Cars Norvege Pas cher location voiture
  • Rent a car from Tromso, Bodo, Leknes
  • Small model, SUV or 4×4 for adventure
  • Prices from €30

Is this itinerary self-organizing

Absolutely! and it’s very easy 🙂 I’ve put all the links for you to be able to book, to see the timetables, to know where to go. It’s a turnkey itinerary, but you must first :

  • define the period by asking yourself when to go to Tromso, Senja and Lofoten, depending on what you want to see (northern lights, midnight sun, snow, hiking, whales…)
  • book your plane tickets and car
  • choose the activities you’d like to do, and put them in front of the dates
  • and now that you know roughly how long you’ll be staying in each place, you can book the hotels.

Or don’t bother, just follow this step-by-step guide and off you go!

You can also use the map of Tromso to see where the must-see places are, to build your itinerary:)

When to go to Tromso activities

Conclusion

That’s it! Yes, it seems complicated at first because there are so many things to see and places to go, but in the end I hope I’ve given you all the guidance you need to make your stay a success. I’ve tried to balance out this itinerary by not filling up the days too much, by not overloading the mule. Otherwise, I think it’s less fun. Be careful, as there can be quite a lot of road, so depending on the time of year, you’ll have less visibility (like in December). To help you plan your itinerary, I’ve started making maps with all the information for each place:

If you’d like to find out more, and define your itinerary even better, don’t hesitate to consult the following resources:

And depending on the season, it can be a great place to see the Northern Lights. Don’t forget to consult these articles, which may also be of interest to you:

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