Why you should add stunning Senja, Norway to your bucket list

Segla SenjaPhoto: Ansgar Scheffold / Unsplash
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Senja’s residents live in tandem with nature, a lifestyle which guests in the town often take on during their stay, too.

Senja coastline
Senja’s coastline. Photo: Ludovic Charlet / Unsplash

The outdoors way of life in Senja is reflected in the island’s numerous recreational activities on offer, which include biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fishing, kayaking, and much more.

Not to be overlooked, though, are the town’s human elements, which make the island all the more worth visiting.

Through the hospitality of local islanders, whether they be tour guides, restauranteurs, and other folks you’re lucky enough to meet along the way, Senja masterfully ties in the charm of the people with the charm of the landscape.

Read on for help with trip-planning or to simply remotely explore Senja.

Get to know Senja: Things to do and sights to see on the island

Senja, Norway’s northern lights

The auroral oval is a polar ring where the greatest intensity of aurora borealis occurs. This oval is located 100 km directly above Senja, making the island one of the best – and most secret – spots to see the northern lights in Norway.

Senja northern lights
Senja northern lights. Photo: Federico Bottos / Unsplash

Contact local tourist offices to see which option for viewing the awe-inspiring auroras is best for you. There are many to appeal to all aurora lovers:

  • Rent a car and drive to the coast, where you’ll be treated with a more isolated experience,
  • Hire a local tour guide who’ll know which secluded spots on the island offer the least light and most clear skies,
  • Cozy up in a rented inn or cabin in the villages of Silsand, Gryllefjord, or other settled areas and gaze at the celestial show from the comfort of your own balcony.

Ånderdalen National Park

Senja’s national park, Ånderdalen National Park, spans 125 square kilometers and features mammoth rock formations, pine and birch forests, the winding Ånderelva river, and amazing Åndervatnet Lake.

The national park boasts not only a diverse floral landscape, but it’s also home to fauna galore: moose, stoats, hares, seals, otters, trout, char, and salmon are the hosts here.

Recreational and adventure activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and fishing wait to be undertaken in Ånderdalen.

If you wish to hike (this is among the most popular activities), the hiking route Senja på langs (meaning, Senja from north to south) stretches throughout the entire park. If you’re short on time, smaller trails are also available.

Bonus tip: For an epic hike outside of the national park, you can check out Senja’s Segla Mountain.

Senja Segla
The striking Senja Segla. Photo: Sami Takarautio / Unsplash

Another sought after Senja activity is fishing. Here, you can spend the day baiting away for salmon, sea trout, and char in the freshwater Ånderelva river. Just remember to apply for a fishing license in advance! This is required for all those living outside of Troms og Finnmark County.

After a heart-pumping or relaxing – or both – day, kick your feet up and camp directly by the hiking trails, or opt for a rental cabin to rest your head in.

A spunky resort: Hamn I Senja

Senja, Norway hotels can be a wonderful experience in and of themselves, too.

In case you’re staying in Senja for a while, treat yourself to a stay at holiday resort Hamn I Senja, located on a northwest arm of the island’s coast.

This top-notch hotel includes 65 luxury apartment-style abodes, featuring complimentary breakfast, a hotel bar, on-site fishing, an outdoor hot tub (hello, seeing the northern lights in style!), and mountain and sea views.

Hamn i Senja
A view from Hamn i Senja. Photo: Yves / Unsplash

It’d be a shame to miss the optional activities offered by the inn as well, including sun cruises, kayaking tours, snowshoeing, skiing, and northern lights tours.

Hamn I Senja has an onsite restaurant as well: the Storbrygga Spiseri. Along with seasonal menus, the restaurant stays true to traditional regional dishes, such as fish soup and dried Arctic cod. During the winter season, though, meals must be booked in advance.

A totally-Arctic day tour

This once-in-a-lifetime fjord tour begins in Tromsø, about a three-hour car ride from Senja, but that’s a small sacrifice (if you can call a scenic drive that) to make in exchange for the breathtaking views and unforgettable experience.

From Tromsø, the expert-guide-led mountain drive continues to Sommarøy, a quaint fishing village two hours from Senja. Along the way, keep a diligent eye out for reindeer, moose, otters, eagles, and seals (maybe even a wandering troll or two), complemented with views of intertwining beaches and bays, islands, and inlets, and the one and only Senja skyline.

A meal is included on board on select days, either self-serve or menu-ordered. Vegetarian options are always available, along with coffee or tea.

The trip starts at 10:00 AM and lasts around 5-6 hours with a usual capacity of 3-12 people.

Locating splendid Senja, Norway

Troms og Finnmark County, the northernmost county in Norway, is where Senja’s landscapes stretch.

Senja map
A Senja, Norway map. Photo: Google Maps

Calling Senja home is a population of around 8,000.

The Senja, Norway weather

For avid northern lights and midnight sun chasers, a visit to Senja is ideal thanks to its position on the 69th latitude north.

August is Senja’s warmest month, with a brisk average of 4 degrees Celsius, while temperatures usually vary between 2 degrees Celsius and 5 degrees Celsius. In August, the Senja sunrise is around 4:25 AM, while sunset is around 10:05 PM, making for a little less than 16 hours of sunlight per day.

March is Senja’s coldest month, with a glacial average of -12 degrees Celsius, and temperatures ranging from -15 to -9 degrees Celsius. It’s clear that the cold is here to stay in Senja year-round, but there are plenty of things to do and see in this winter wonderland nonetheless. In March, sunrise is around 6:25 AM, while sunset is around 5:25 PM, making for around 11 hours of sunlight per day.

Senja’s climate is usually classified as subarctic due to its short, cool summers and long, arctic winters.

How to get to Senja, Norway

We’ve got you covered with all of the distance information on other Norwegian cities you might be traveling from, to, or via car or plane to the fantastic island of Senja, Norway.

The roadway distance from Senja to Tromsø is 179 km, from Senja to Henningsvær 379 km, from Senja to Bodø 467 km, from Senja to Hammerfest 556 km, from Senja to the North Cape 652 km, from Senja to Trondheim 1,066 km, from Senja to Molde 1,282 km, from Senja to Ålesund 1,361 km, from Senja to Lillehammer 1,398 km, from Senja to Flam is 1,524 km, from Senja to Oslo 1,555 km, from Senja to Bergen 1,689 km, and from Senja to Kristiansand 2,185 km.

Do you prefer flying to Senja, Norway, instead? We – and Norway’s well-connected airports – have you covered.

Bardufoss Airport is located about 46 kilometers from Senja. The airport hosts three daily flights to Oslo, its only destination.

The closest large-scale airport nearby is Tromsø Airport, about 65 kilometers away from Senja. Its international flights include: Alicante, Spain; Frankfurt, Germany; Gdansk, Poland; Krakow, Poland; London, United Kingdom; Stockholm, Sweden; and Zurich, Switzerland.

As for domestic air travel, Tromso Airport is connected with Alta, Andøya, Bergen, Bodø, Hammerfest, Harstad/Narvik, Hasvik, Kirkenes, Lakselv, Leknes, Longyearbyen, Oslo, Sandefjord, Sorkjosen, Stokmarknes, Trondheim, and Vadsø.

To help plan your trip, we have the full lowdown on all of Norway’s airports for you here.

Senja lake
The landscapes of Senja. Photo: Ansgar Scheffold / Unsplash

Have you visited Senja and fallen in love already? Tell us about your trip! If you haven’t yet, let us know what you’d like to experience the most on this northern Norwegian island.

Source: Norway Today

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