Forget about Lofoten and Vesterålen; there is a new kid on the block that will make you fall in love with Norway: Senja.
This country's second-largest island is a hidden gem with everything you need for an unforgettable vacation. From breathtaking scenery and cosy fishing villages to thrilling adventure and fantastic wildlife,
Senja is a place where magic happens, as it offers two of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world: the midnight sun and the northern lights. Depending on when you visit Senja, you can witness either one of these wonders.
Senja enjoys the warmest temperatures and longest days from June to August. This is the peak season for tourism, as many people come to enjoy the outdoor activities and the midnight sun. The sun never sets from May 22 to July 21, which means you can have endless daylight and experience the magical phenomenon of the midnight sun.
From December to February, Senja transforms into a winter wonderland. This is the coldest and darkest season but also the most magical. The sun barely rises above the horizon from November 30 to January 12, which means you have only a few hours of twilight each day. However, this also means you have optimal conditions to see the northern lights dancing in the sky.
Senja is a paradise for nature lovers, as it offers a variety of landscapes, from rugged mountains and deep fjords to sandy beaches and lush forests. You can explore the island by car, bike, kayak, or on foot and enjoy the views of the dramatic peaks, some also known as the Devil's Teeth.
One of the best ways to experience Senja is to go on a road trip along the national scenic route, which covers 101 kilometres, mainly along Route 862. Along the way, you will find several rest areas with architectural and lookout points of interest. Some of the highlights include Tungeneset, where you can admire the view of the jagged Oksen peaks across the Ersfjord. At Bergsbotn, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Bergsfjord and the surrounding mountains.
At Ånderdalen National Park, you can hike through the old-growth pine forest and spot wildlife. The park's many trails, such as Husfjellet, Sukkertoppen, or Hesten, range from easy to challenging.
Where to stay
Various types of accommodation are available, from hotels, resorts, rorbu (fishermen's cottages), cabins, campsites, or private homes. Some of the most popular accommodation options on Senja are:
Hamn i Senja:
This is a former trading post, now a hotel and conference centre. It offers rooms, suites, apartments, restaurants and bars. It has a scenic view of the ocean and the islands of Bergsfjorden, where you can see the midnight sun or the northern lights.
Aurora Borealis Observatory
This unique accommodation allows you to observe the northern lights from your apartment or glass igloo. It also offers a restaurant, bar, lounge, sauna, hot tub, and activities. It is located on the south side of Senja, facing the open sea.
This collection of cabins and domes is designed to blend in with nature. They offer a cosy and comfortable stay with modern amenities and stunning views. They are spread out in different locations, such as Husøy, Mefjordvær, and Bergsbotn. They also offer accommodation in an old lighthouse. More information: https://norwegianwild.no/accommodation/
Where to eat
Before getting some sleep, we suggest digging into local cuisine.
You can enjoy fresh seafood, traditional dishes, or exotic flavours.
Senja By Heart
This is a restaurant that specializes in seafood and local produce. It offers a seasonal menu with cod tongue, halibut, king crab, reindeer, and cloudberries. It is located in Torsken, a picturesque fishing village on the west side of Senja. Senja by Heart also offers accommodation.
This is a restaurant that serves fine dining with a twist. It offers a tasting menu with scallops, duck breast, lamb shank, and chocolate cake. It is located in Silsand, the main town of Senja, and is part of the Aurora Borealis Observatory experience.
This restaurant specializes in fish dishes, and the menu is set depending on seasonal variations. It is located in Gryllefjord, a lively village on the west coast of Senja.
How to get to Senja
The closest airport to Senja is Bardufoss Airport (BDU), about an hour from Finnsnes/Senja. You can fly there from Oslo Airport (OSL), which takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
You can also fly to Tromsø Airport (TOS) or Harstad/Narvik Airport (EVE), about 2 hours from Finnsnes/Senja.
Senja is a destination that will amaze you with its beauty, diversity, and charm. Whether looking for a relaxing getaway or an active adventure, you will find something to suit your taste on this island. Take the chance to discover Norway's hidden gem of an island!
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