If you’re looking for a fantastic Norway road trip Itinerary then look no further. In this post, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about a 5-day Tromsø to Senja road trip!
Home to trolls, fairies, fjords, of course, the Northern Lights, Norway is a magical land that looks like something straight out of your favourite fairytale.
One of the most majestic parts of Norway can be found 350 km above the Arctic Circle from the city of Tromsø to the island of Senja.
If you’re in this stunning corner of the world you’ll want to do a road trip to see the best of what this part of Norway has to offer. This is where my Tromsø to Senja 5-day road trip itinerary comes in!
A road trip from Tromsø to Senja will have you admiring mesmerising fjords and uncovering some true hidden gems and if you’re really lucky, you might even see some wild reindeer along the way.
Whilst 5 days in this majestic land might not feel like a lot of time, it certainly is enough to discover all of the remarkable landscapes that this route from Tromsø to Senja has to offer!
In this post, I’ll share all of the best things to do and see from Tromsø to Senja, the best times of year to visit Tromsø, what you need to budget for a Norway road trip and so much more!
So let’s get into it!
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About this Tromsø to Senja road trip itinerary
This Tromsø to Senja road trip is based on the exact 5-day itinerary that I followed on my trip to Norway.
I believe it gives you the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation as well as ensuring that you’re not spending too many hours driving in the car.
Although, you will find that the drives from Tromsø to Senja are just as stunning and picturesque as the major landmarks themselves.
How to get to Tromsø
Flying to Tromsø
Thankfully Tromsø has its own airport and you can fly directly into Tromsø from many European cities such as London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and many more.
Other routes will see you catching a connecting flight from Oslo.
Travelling to Tromsø by bus
Several bus services connect Tromsø to other Norwegian cities as well as Finland.
From Finland, you can catch buses from Rovaniemi and Kilpisjärvi however these buses only run between December – March.
More information on catching the bus from Finland can be found here.
Travelling to Tromsø by Train
Unfortunately, there is no train station in Tromsø. Travellers looking to travel by train will have to get to the towns of either Fauske or Narvik and connect to Tromsø using the local, long-distance bus service.
Norwegian train and bus information can be found at www.vy.no.
Travelling to Tromsø by ferry
- Bergen: 64 hours
- Trondheim: 51 hours
- Bodø: 24 hours
- Svolvær: 17 hours
- Harstad: 7 hours
- Finnsnes: 3 hours
- Kirkenes: 35 hours
- Honningsvåg : 18 hours
- Hammerfest: 12 hours
- Skjervøy: 4 hours
Renting a car in Tromsø
Renting a car in Tromsø for your road trip is easy!
You can pick up a rental car from either Tromsø Airport or Tromsø city centre.
Car rental prices in Tromsø start from 1,000 NOK per day.
Can I do this Tromsø to Senja road trip via public transport?
Unfortunately renting a car is the only option when looking to embark on this specific Tromsø to Senja road trip itinerary.
Whilst there are bus and ferry options to take you to places included on this itinerary (eg Sommarøy and Senja Islands), due to the limited schedules of public transport and journey times it would take quite some time to get from A to B and therefore would make it difficult to complete in 5 days.
You would also miss some of the incredible hidden gems included in this Tromsø to Senja itinerary that are only accessible by car.
Day 1 Tromsø
What to do in Tromsø
There are a whole host of things to do in Tromsø, so much so that a lot of travellers will spend their whole trip here.
However for this Tromsø to Senja 5-Day itinerary I recommend spending just 1 day in Tromsø and picking 1 or 2 activities that call out to you.
Admire the Arctic Cathedral
The Arctic Cathedral is quite the icon in Tromsø and its Pyramid glass structure is somewhat hard to miss when you’re in Tromsø city.
The cathedral is both stunning inside and out. So, you don’t necessarily have to visit inside the cathedral to witness its beauty.
You can simply admire the stunning architecture from afar.
Entrance to the cathedral is 70 NOK and free for children under 12.
Go on a Whale Watching Tour
Whale watching is one of the coolest things to do in Tromsø. Whale-watching season in Tromsø is from November – January and you will have the opportunity to see both Humpbacks and Killer Whales.
There are two types of Whale watching tours you can go on. There is the catamaran cruise which will allow you to admire these creatures from afar and have a slightly more comfortable time out on the water.
Or, you can book on to a rib cruise which will see you getting much closer to the whales, but it will be a much colder and bumpier ride!
Ride the Fjellheisen Cable Car
If you want to witness one of the most beautiful panoramic views in Tromsø then I highly suggest taking a ride on the Fjellheisen Cable Car.
You’ll get the opportunity to see Tromsø’s stunning landscapes, city lights, and if you time it perfectly; the Northern Lights.
The cable car operates from 10 am to Midnight and tickets start from 190 NOK.
Relax at Pust Sauna
Why not start your Tromsø to Senja road trip off with a little rest and relaxation? Pust sauna is a Finnish-style sauna that overlooks the Tromsø Harbour. As well as a spa/sauna experience they also offer yoga and meditation classes.
Tickets to Pust Sauna start from 225 NOK.
Walk around Tromsø Harbour
If you’re looking for an easy and free activity in Tromsø, then walking around the harbour is a great thing to do.
You can spend some time here admiring the local fishing boats and colourful buildings.
Where to stay in Tromsø
Ami Hotel – This is a small hotel located in Central Tromsø and one of the cheapest you’ll find in town.
Tromsø Lodge and Camping – This is a great midrange option with an extremely picturesque backdrop which allows you to stay in cosy Nordic cabins.
Area Glass Lodge – A stunning glass lodge perfect for admiring the Northern Lights from the comfort of your bedroom.
Days 2-3 Sommarøy Island
Stop 2 on this Tromsø to Senja road trip will see you visiting the breathtaking Sommarøy Island.
Sommarøy is an old fishing village that can be found in the western part of Tromsø. It is home to beautiful beaches, picturesque landscapes and a wide range of hikes.
The journey from Tromsø to Sommarøy
The distance between Tromsø and Sommarøy is approximately 59 KM and it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to drive there.
However, if you plan on visiting some of the stops I have listed below en route from Tromsø to Sommarøy, this will take you a little bit longer.
Places to see en route from Tromsø to Sommarøy Island
Telegrafbukta is a stunning beach located just outside of Tromsø centre on route to Sommarøy.
During spring/summer, this is a great place to take a relaxing walk and admire the surrounding landscapes.
During the colder months, it’s still worth the visit and a cool opportunity to see snow on the beach.
Your next stop en route from Tromsø to Sommarøy is the Island of Kvaløya and more specifically the town of Ersfjordbotn.
Ersfjordbotn is a picturesque town with beautiful snow capped mountains and cute colourful cabins. Its most famous landmarks are the frozen waterfall and Klokka Ti viewpoint.
After Ersfjordbotn you’ll pass by the incredible Nordfjordbotn on the next part of your journey to Sommarøy
This was one of my favourite views from my whole Tromso to Senja road trip simply because of the sheer vastness of the view.
To get the best view of the fjord you will have to pull up in a small lay-by on the side of the road (you’ll know this is coming up as you’ll see a tall slim building on the top of a hill).
You’ll be passing a whole host of fjords on the route to Sommarøy, and throughout this Tromsø to Senja road trip, so if you skip this one, don’t worry there will be plenty more!
Things to do in Sommarøy
Hike Ornfloya viewpoint
Ørnfløya is an epic viewpoint that offers incredible panoramic views of Sommarøy. The trailhead is located 5 minutes between Sommarøy and Brensholmen (located here).
The hike to the top is roughly 30-minutes, but make sure to leave some extra time to admire the 360° views of Sommarøy once you get to the top!
This hike is probably best only attempted during the summer months. Unfortunately, we attempted and failed at this hike during our trip during the winter. The parking spot and entrance were completely covered by meters of snow so we were unable to do it.
Visit many of the beautiful beaches
The beaches in Sommarøy are stunning. The water is a pale icy blue and the sand a bright white. It’s kind of hard to believe that you’re in Norway when you see just how clear and blue the water is!
My favourite beach in Sommaroy has to be Krinta Beach.
Go on a kayaking adventure
Kayaking through the fjords has to be one of the best things to do in Sommarøy. You can book a kayaking activity (and much more) with Sommarøy Adventure.
Looking for more European Inspo? Check out my other guides here.
Watch the Northern Lights, Polar Night or Midnight Sun
Depending on what time of year you complete your Tromsø to Senja road trip will dictate what natural phenomena you see.
During the months of November – February you have the greatest chance of seeing the Northern Lights and experiencing a Polar Night (when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon).
OR, If you travel to this part of Norway during the summer months of late May to late July you’ll get to experience the Midnight Sun (where the sun never sets).
Where to stay in Sommarøy
The Sommarøy Arctic Hotel is pretty much the only place to stay on the island. This is a beautiful Nordic design hotel situated on the water and surrounded by colourful cabins.
What I loved most about this hotel was the fact you could arrange for a Northern Lights wake-up call if they were to show up during the middle of the night.
Days 3-5 – Senja
The 3rd and final stop on this Tromso to Senja road trip is Senja itself.
Travelling from Sommarøy to Senja Island
There are two options you can choose from when thinking about travelling from Sommarøy to Senja. By Ferry (cars allowed) or by driving the complete route.
Driving the road from Sommarøy to Senja is recommended for those who prefer the scenic route.
The distance between Sommarøy to Senja Island is approximately 188 KM and takes from 3 hours and 15 minutes to drive.
If you would prefer less time in the car there is the option to take the ferry from Sommarøy to Senja.
To catch the ferry from Sommarøy you must get to the port of Brensholmen which is just a 10-minute drive away. From here you can catch the ferry to Botnham located on Senja Island.
Places to see en route from Sommaroy to Senja Island
If you do decide to drive and take the scenic route here are some more impressive fjords and villages you can see along the way.
Things to do in Senja
Watch the Northern Lights, Polar Night or Midnight Sun
Much like Sommarøy, Senja is also an ideal place to watch the Northern Lights, Polar Night or Midnight Sun.
During November – February you have the greatest chance of seeing the Northern Lights and experiencing a Polar Night.
During the summer months of late May to late July you’ll get to experience the Midnight Sun.
Go on a Wildlife Cruise
Book onto a wildlife cruise with Hamn I Senja. You’ll get the opportunity to witness wildlife like seals and sea eagles, all whilst sailing through an archipelago that is known as the “Caribbean of the Arctic”
Hamn I Senja also offers other activities such as kayaking and snowshoeing if that’s something you are also interested in.
Explore Ånderdalen National Park
Ånderdalen National Park is a breathtaking area of natural beauty that offers up diverse landscapes and wildlife.
You’ll see awe-inspiring lakes backdropped by snow capped mountains, and an incredible array of wildlife including wild reindeers.
Drive the Senja tourist route
- Mefjordvær – A historic fishing village.
- Tungeneset – Where the sea meets the impressive Okshornan mountain range, also known as the “Devil’s Jaw”
- Ersfjordstranda – A Beautiful beach with clear emerald waters surrounded by mountains.
- Bergsbotn – A viewing platform that looks out over an extraordinary view of water and mountains.
If you had to pick just one or two places to visit on the Senja tourist route then I would recommend Tungeneset and Bergsbotn viewing platform.
Go for a Hike
Senja is every hiking lover’s dream. With rugged peaks and lofty landscapes, hiking in Senja is not to be missed.
Some of the best hikes in Senja include:
Where to stay in Senja
Norwegian Wild – Small cabins located in Vangsvik with beautiful fjord views and for those on a tighter budget.
Skagi Senja Hotel – Beautiful cabins and lodges located in Skaland region of Senja.
Aurora Borealis Observatory – This hotel offers luxury glass cabins complete with hot tubs for that perfect Northern Lights viewing experience (staying at this hotel has always been on my bucket list but always out of my price range…maybe one day).
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Travelling from Senja Island back to Tromsø
The distance between Senja and Tromsø is roughly 180 KM and takes approximately 3 hours to drive.
If you want to cut out the long drive back you can take the ferry.
Catch the ferry from Botnham located to Brensholmen.
From there you can drive from Brensholmen to Tromso which is 54 KM and 1 hours drive.
Catch the ferry from Finnsnes directly to Tromso.
The ferry is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. However, this ferry does not run a daily schedule so you will need to make sure this fits around your itinerary.
You can find out more about journeys and ticket prices here.
What is the best month to visit Tromsø for a road trip?
The best time to go on a Tromsø to Senja road trip is during the peak winter months and the peak summer months.
This way you’ll get to experience the natural phenomena that I mentioned earlier in this post such as the Northern Lights, Polar Night and Midnight Sun.
If you’re looking to experience seeing the Northern Lights, Polar Night or both, then visiting Tromsø during the months of November-February will be the best option for you!
Temperatures reach a low of -5° during the winter months so make sure to pack lots of layers with you!
If it’s the Midnight Sun you want to see then you’ll need to visit Tromsø from late May to late July.
Temperatures reach highs of just 17° in the height of summer so you’ll probably still need to pack a few light layers, especially in the evenings.
NOTE: Visiting outside of these times of year is absolutely fine too and just as beautiful. However, if you want to have a truly spectacular experience that is unique to this part of the world then I would highly recommend planning your trip around these dates.
How much to budget for a Tromsø to Senja road trip
I am sure you’ve probably heard that things aren’t that cheap in Norway. You’re probably wondering how expensive it is to do a Tromsø road trip.
So, Here’s what you can expect to budget for a Tromso to Senja Road Trip.
- Rental Car (per day): 1000 NOK/ $90/£75
- Budget 2 person Accommodation (per night) : 2000 NOK/$180/£130
- Budget Food (per day) : 700 NOK//£50
- Activities (per activity): 2000 NOK/$180/£130
**Please note that prices will fluctuate based on the season and costs will increase depending on the choice of accommodation and restaurants so the above is just a rough estimate. Currency conversions are accurate as of November 2023.
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I hope you have a wonderful Tromso to Senja road trip and enjoy this 5-day Norway itinerary that I have put together. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out!