Take yourself on a 10-day journey through the Arctic landscapes of northern Norway with this glorious self-drive itinerary. You'll explore the craggy coasts, isolated islands, and extensive networks of hiking trails via boat safaris, kayak tours, and your own two legs. Learn about Norwegian history, try to spot eagles, and pet some dogsled huskies along the way.


  • Take a boat safari down the Arctic coast and spot local wildlife
  • Join a sea kayaking experience and paddle between islands
  • Go summer whale watching in Andenes and witness marine life up close
  • Hike alongside huskies and sled dog puppies on summer trails

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tromsø, Gateway to the Arctic Tromsø
Day 2 Arctic Summer Sail Safari Tromsø
Day 3 Pick Up Rental Car, Midnight Sun Sea Kayaking, Drive to Senja Senja
Day 4 Guided E-Bike Tour, Free Time in Senja Senja
Day 5 Scenic Drive Surrounding Senja Senja
Day 6 Hiking in Senja, Ferry to Vesterålen Vesterålen
Day 7 Summer Whale Watching in Andenes Vesterålen
Day 8 Drive to Narvik, Scenic Fjord Cruise Narvik
Day 9 Drive to Tromsø, Guided Hike with Husky Dogs Tromsø
Day 10 Depart Tromsø  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø, Gateway to the Arctic

Overhead view of Tromsø
Board the cable car to see Tromsø from above and understand the fjord landscape

Welcome to Tromsø, the largest city in northern Norway! Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, Tromsø is a lively place with 65,000 inhabitants. In addition to its lovely scenery and rich history, the city has a large student population and is famous for its robust music and film culture, so get out and explore this self-proclaimed "Gateway to the Arctic." Take a taxi to your hotel, drop your bags, and set out to explore. A good place to start the cable car. Board one of two gondolas—known as Seal and Polar Bear—and reach the panoramic mountain ledge just four minutes later.

Head back down to Tromsø and spend the afternoon exploring the Alpine Botanic Garden, stroll around the petite island city, or dive into history and culture at the Polar Museum (Polarmuseet) to explore scientific, cultural, and archaeological exhibits chronicling Tromsø's history. Find a local pub or restaurant for dinner—you could try Mack Brewery and indulge in a mini tasting, or make a reservation at Bardus Bistro, Fiskekompaniet, or Emmas Drømmekjøkken. Then marvel in wonder at the midnight sun with endless summer days in the Arctic Circle.

Day 2: Arctic Summer Sail Safari

Tromsø's picturesque harbor
Set sail from Tromsø's picturesque harbor and explore the fjords and marine wildlife

If you've looked at a map, you'll see the fjord-dotted island landscape around Tromsø is best explored by boat. Late this morning you'll board a cozy and warm catamaran for a half-day summer sail across the fjords. Soak up the sun from the deck and take in the best views of the Tromsø mountains, or kick back in a beanbag with a cup of coffee as panoramic landscapes pass by. Spot local wildlife, from eagles and seabirds to seals, and try to catch your own fish. If you're lucky, your skipper will cook a delicious fish soup from the catch of the day.

Return to Tromsø in the late afternoon and find a warm pub to spend the evening, or continue the adventure at Telegrafbukta. Located just south of the city center, Telegrafbukta offers a stunning beach with captivating mountain vistas. It's an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or to enjoy a picnic in the midnight sun.

Day 3: Pick Up Rental Car, Midnight Sun Sea Kayaking, Drive to Senja

Discover the peace and tranquility of life on Sommarøy

After breakfast in Tromsø, collect your rental car and hit the road about an hour west toward Sommarøy. When most people lived on Hillesøy they sent their cows to graze on the next island in summer, so the place was called "Summer Island." Now it's home to around 300 people. Board a sea kayak in the coastal community and set off to explore the surrounding archipelagoes under a never-setting sun. Paddle silently in tune with wildlife, looking for seals, otters, sea eagles, porpoises, and curious whales. Admire the white sandy beaches, clear waters, and 1,800-foot (550 m) peaks that stretch up from behind.

Return to dry land, wave goodbye to your kayak guides, and return to the road for the three-hour drive to Senja, Norway's second-largest island, around 130 miles (210 km) away. There are two sides to the island: a wild, mountainous side that faces the open Atlantic, and a calm and lush interior. You'll get to explore the two contrasting halves, but first, check into your accommodation and relax for the evening.

Plan your trip to Norway
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Guided E-Bike Tour, Free Time in Senja

Look for marine life on this Arctic boat tour
The unreal landscapes of Senja are best explored with an e-bike

Explore the untamed and exquisite beauty of Senja effortlessly from the saddle of an electric bike today. Your powered wheels will make easy work of the winding roads that meander alongside majestic fjords and over towering peaks. Follow your guide across the landscape, over Torskenskardet, and along a historic path that leads to Gryllefjordbotn and onward to the captivating Ballesvikskardet. You'll pause to savor the panoramic vista before retracing your path through the charming, narrow streets of Gryllefjord, ultimately returning to Torsken. 

The afternoon is yours to explore more of the island as you wish. You could embark on a self-guided hike through the epic landscape, or join an Arctic boat safari to experience the coastal destination from the water. 

Day 5: Scenic Drive Surrounding Senja

Senja is a great place for day hikes and photography even on a rainy day
Senja is a great place for day hikes and photography even on a rainy day

Use today to drive the Norwegian scenic route across Senja, ticking off breathtaking sights. Husøy Island, situated in the middle of the Øyfjord, is the most prominent fishing community where the oldest houses are secured with wire so they don't blow away with fierce winds. Make sure to hold onto your hats while visiting! Make a stop at Ersfjordstranda beach, covered in white sands and surrounded by the picturesque peaks of the Ersfjord. You can bring a picnic lunch and even build a fire to warm your food and your hands at one of the many grills available.

The ocean meets the sky at the village of Bergsbotn. Stop and walk out onto the 140-foot-long (44 m) platform to snap amazing photos. Tungeneset is another notable viewpoint situated on the tip of the promontory that separates the Steinsfjord and the Ersfjord. At the end of the route lies Mefjordvær, a historic fishing village. Walk out onto the jetty and feel a sublime sense of closeness to the ocean.

Day 6: Hiking in Senja, Ferry to Vesterålen

Hit the beach after your hike
Hit the beach after your morning hike and before the afternoon ferry

Today, you'll have the freedom to hike Senja's network of trails. Armed with a wealth of local knowledge from the previous day, choose to return to your favorite area and tackle a half-day hike. Not all of the trails are steep and challenging—there are more moderate, relaxed options too. For a gradual uphill climb, choose the rewarding Husfjell trail with stunning scenery and varied terrain on the northwestern coast. When you arrive at the top, you can also climb to other nearby peaks for impressive panoramas of Ersfjorden, Steinfjorden, and the Okshornan mountain range.

You could also combine hiking with other activities like biking, fishing, wildlife viewing, or sunbathing at one of Senja's uncrowded white-sand beaches. After you've had your nature fill, jump in the car, and make your way to Gryllefjord for the ferry to the archipelago of Vesterålen, just north of the more touristy Lofoten Islands. The 1.5-hour ferry (available from late May to early September) deposits you in Andenes at Vesterålen's northern tip. Nature lovers will be in heaven here, with varied landscapes that span from calm and peaceful beaches to craggy, alpine mountains and dramatic fjords.

Day 7: Summer Whale Watching in Andenes

Go whale watching off the coast of Andenes with a guide

This morning you'll cruise the scenic waters near Norway's famous Andenes Lighthouse with the largest and most experienced whale watching provider in Norway. Since 1989, your experienced marine guides have been studying the area, local whale populations, and animal habits. Begin the journey on dry land with a guided tour of the Andenes Whale Museum, where you'll learn about marine mammal biology and ecology. Discover different whale species, the ocean food chain, and get up close with whale skeletons.

Then you'll board your boat and start the thrilling whale watching adventure. As you sail out into the sea, enjoy the views of the mountain peaks, lush hillsides, and rugged islands from inside the warm cabin or outside on the viewing decks. You can expect to see porpoises and puffins, plus orca, humpback, fin, and pilot whales. Your guides will share facts and stories as you spot various creatures. On the return to shore, you'll warm up with hot soup and bread.

Day 8: Drive to Narvik, Scenic Fjord Cruise 

Rombaksbotn (photo courtesy of Norway's Best/Michael Ulriksen)
Take a fjord cruise through the scenic Rombaksfjord to Rombaksbotn 

Today you'll make a scenic drive across the Vesterålen archipelago en route to Narvik, a 2.5-hour journey of approximately 150 miles (241 km). Once you arrive in Narvik, a port town with pristine fjords, snowcapped mountains, and gorgeous flora in the summertime, you'll board a fjord cruise that will take you through the scenic Rombaksfjord.

This area, where steep mountains rise from the sea, was the location of several major marine battles during World War II. Your boat will visit Rombaksbotn, famous for its naval heritage, and you'll see the wreck of Georg Theile, a sunken German destroyer. Your guide will share war stories and nature facts as you pass through the beautiful fjord back to town. 

Day 9: Drive to Tromsø, Guided Hike with Husky Dogs

Photo from Arctic Adventure Tours
Make friends with friendly huskies as you trek along summer trails together

It's time to return to Tromsø, and today's drive crosses the interior of northern Norway, along Balsfjorden. After the 3.5-hour, 140-mile (225 km) journey you can stretch your legs with a special guided hike through the Norwegian countryside. Who's leading the way? A pack of adorable huskies and their pups. Two litters of pups are born every summer—so there's a good chance you'll get to meet a handful of playful puppies. After cuddles, it's time to get serious.

Choose your hiking buddy, pick your trail level, and then set off on an adventure with your new furry friend. As you walk with your guide, you'll learn about the kennel and what the huskies do when they're not pulling sleds in the winter. After your hike, relax inside a traditional lavvo hut, and enjoy warm drinks. You'll want a slice of the owner's famous chocolate cake before heading back to Tromsø for your final evening in Norway.

Day 10: Depart Tromsø

Breathe in the spectacular Tromsø coastline one last time

It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your last few hours walking along the shoreline in Tromsø. Then, when the time is right, drive to the airport with enough time to return your rental car and catch your departing flight onward or home via Oslo. Safe travels!

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