Ultimate Guide To Senja Island In Northern Norway, Your Lofotens Alternative

A beach On Senja Island
Segla HIke on Senja

Located in Northern Norway in the Arctic Circle, the magical island of Senja is a paradise of mountains, wild beaches and traditional fishing villages. Senja is an island that is somewhat close to the popular Lofoten Islands, and in our opinion is a better, less touristy alternative. To see our full guide to the Lofoten and compare the Islands go here. Senja Island is home to some of Norway’s most dramatic mountains for hiking, stunning landscapes to explore and incredible beaches. With around 8000 people, Senja Island is Norway’s second-largest island and is definitely worth 2 full days. If you have seen stunning footage from the “Lofotens” chances are some of it is actually on Senja.

How To Get To Senja

We flew into Tromso, the biggest city in Northern Norway, and we drove to Brensholmen to catch the ferry to Botnhamn on the island of Senja. The ferry was very scenic and was 45 minutes long. Make sure to get the Auto-pass if you are driving, because it will save you money and allow you to go on the ferries with ease.

The ferry service between Tromso and Senja is open all year around, with more frequent boats during the high season of summer. From April to September, you can expect around five ferries a day, whereas the winter season sees this drop to between two and four daily ferries, depending on the day.

Alternatively, you can drive from the Lofotens and this route takes about 7 hours. Public buses get there as well, but there are several stops. We recommend getting a car in this area as the public transportation is not the best, however it is doable.

A beach On Senja Island

northern lights

Senja Island is one of the best spots to see the northern lights, as the island is quite uninhabited. You can see the lights from September to April, but the peak time to see the Northern Lights is between November and February when there is almost 24 hour darkness Make sure to download the northern lights app to check the strength if you are there during this time. We there in September and were a bit disappointed by all of our cloudy nights, but we did end up seeing them on our last day!

Northern Lights By Tromso

Best things to do on Senja Island

Senja is a photographer’s paradise, as it had epic road trip views and one of the prettiest hikes on our arctic circle journey. It also had one of the best camping and beach spots on our trip, so I will highlight them here!

Drive the Senja national Scenic Route

Senja Island’s famous National Scenic Route is a gorgeous drive, taking you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Norway. This 100-kilometer-long road winds by the ocean, fjords and mountains on the western coast of the island.

From Gryllefjord to Botnhamn, the route can be driven or cycled and is fairly hilly. Along the way, you’ll drive through coastal villages and experience the majesty of Norway’s mountain valleys.

Senja Island National Scenic Route

Segla Mountain and Hesten Hike

Segla Mountain and Hesten Hike

It was a beautiful day when we arrived so we went straight to Fjordgard to do the epic hike up Hesten to see Segla Mountian.

The hike for Hesten starts at Segla/Hesten parking lot and it is a paid parking lot, so do not forget to pay.

NOTE: most parking lots use Easypay, so try to download the app before your roadtrip in Norway. On the app you estimate your parking time and it charges based on your time. You can add time, so try not to over estimate.

The hike took us about an hour to reach the top and the trail was fairly straight forward and easy, but the reward was absolutely incredible. The rugged peak at the top and the dramatic cliffs were mind blowing, it was seriously one of the best views of my life. We stayed up there for a couple of hours marvelling in the views, and we could not believe it was real. We wrote a whole blog post on this one, so if you would like more details and stats check it out!

Alternatively, you can hike up on the other side of the mountain and actually climb to the peak of Segla Mountain. This side does not have the dramatic views of Segla, so we opted to do Hesten! If you have time I would do both!

Best View on Senja Island Norway

Full hike guide on Segla and Hesten

Tungeneset Viewpoint

Tungeneset is another viewpoint along the main road number 862, located between Steinfjord village and Ersfjord Beach. It has this little wooden walkway that peers out to the fjords, it is stunning!

Tugeneset Viewpoint Senja Island

Husfjellet hike

Is another great hike that is about 3-4 hours long over 8km with 400m elevation gain. This is a great hike to view the fjords. We had a cloudy day, but I would imagine doing this hike during the midnight sun would be phenomenal.

Husfjellet hike Senja Island Norway
Husfjellet hike Senja Island Norway

Ersfjord Beach

Ersfjord Camping Spot Senja Island

Esfjord Beach had beautiful white sand, cute little picnic and fire areas and the most glamorous golden bathroom we have ever seen. This epic beach spot also has free camping and is where we decided to car camp for the night! It had a heated bathroom and an outdoor (cold) shower, and plenty of spots to pitch your tent and park your car. We saw the prettiest sunset of our whole trip at this spot! This is also a fabulous spot to look for the northern lights. This side of Senja is very far from any light pollution so if the lights are on you are sure to get an amazing view. We actually missed what would have been the best nothern lights of our trip here beacuse we were so tired. We just went straight to sleep and forgot to check. Dont be like us download the northern lights aps and check the forecast every night!

Ersfjord Camping Spot Senja Island

Ersfjord Camping Spot Senja Island

traditional villages

Senja’s traditional fairytale villages are must-sees during your trip to the island. Fjordgard was a really cute town, and was the base for Segla Mountain. It was a really quaint seaside village and had really nice hikes and walks. Additionally, the little town of Gibostad is home to many harbour side buildings that are over 200 years old, and is definitely worth a visit.

leaving senja island

From Senja we travelled by a ferry to Andoya, another really cool island in Northern Norway. Alternatively, you could drive straight to the Lofotens or back to Tromso!