Take yourself on a 10-day journey through the Arctic landscapes of northern Norway with this 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.

Highlights

  • Take a boat safari down the Arctic coast
  • Cruise through the cliffs of the fjords
  • Wander through isolated islands
  • Hike alongside sled dog puppies

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tromsø Tromsø
Day 2 Explore Tromsø in Summer Tromsø
Day 3 Tromsø to Senja, Explore Sommarøy Senja
Day 4 Arctic Boat Safari in Senja Senja
Day 5 Scenic Drive Surrounding Senja Senja
Day 6 Hiking in Senja, Transfer to Vesterålen Vesterålen
Day 7 Hike the Queen's Route Vesterålen
Day 8 Vesterålen to Narvik, Fjord Cruise in Narvik Narvik
Day 9 Narvik to Tromsø, Guided Hike with Husky Dogs Tromsø
Day 10 Depart Tromsø  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø

Overhead view of Tromsø
Overhead view of Tromsø
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'.

A good place to start is taking a ride on the cable car, which runs up to a mountain ledge in just four minutes. The two gondolas, known as Seal and Polar Bear, each have a capacity of 28 passengers. From the viewing platform at the upper station, you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Tromsø and the surrounding islands, mountains, and fjords. 

If you want to stay for dinner, Fjellstua restaurant on top offers dinner with views. Otherwise, head back down to Tromsø for a variety of pubs and restaurants.

Day 2: Explore Tromsø in Summer

Tromsø's picturesque harbor
Tromsø's picturesque harbor
You will have the whole day to explore Tromsø. Here are a few suggested tours and activities that can be arranged with local guides.

  • Walk Through History: Meet your local guide and set off on a three-hour walking tour of Tromsø. Visit the largest city in the north—street by street—and take in its rich culture and beautiful architecture, including historic wooden houses dating as far back as 1789. View relics and buildings dating back to medieval times, and learn about the city’s extensive fishing culture, which was established when trade in Norway was at its peak. You will also tour the modern Arctic Cathedral

  • Hike to Mount Fløya: This easy to moderate in-town hike draws visitors, especially in the evening, who want to see the city's best place to watch the Midnight Sun. That being said, you can hike up any time of day for a great view of the city and surrounding islands. There are several ways to get to the top: some choose to ride the cable car to Storsteinen and then walk further up the hill, while others climb 324 steps along the “Sherpa staircase”, which starts close to the lower station located on Tromsø’s mainland.

  • Kayaking under the Midnight Sun: Explore the Arctic wilderness by sea kayak under the magical light of the Midnight Sun. This activity led by a professional guide passes small picturesque villages, mountainous fjords, and small islands with opportunities to encounter jellyfish, sea stars, otters, sea eagles, puffins, and bottlenose dolphins. During a break on a nearby island, you will enjoy the warmth of an open wood fire with grilled sausages and hot beverages.
If you remain in the city in the evening, great restaurants and lively nightlife await.

Day 3: Tromsø to Senja, Explore Sommarøy

Sommaroy
Sommarøy
After breakfast in Tromsø, hit the road and take an approximately three-hour drive for 130 miles (210 km) to Senja, Norway's second-largest island. Along the route, your main area for exploration today is the island of Sommarøy. The island got its name from the time when most people lived on Hillesøy and sent their cows to graze on the next island over the summer, so the place was simply called Summer Island. In the early 1900s, people started settling on Sommarøy too, and today it's home to about 300 people. Naturally, the biggest source of income here comes from the sea. Herring is caught and processed at Sommarøy and exported all over the world.

You have a few options for how to spend your day here.

  • Kayak tour: Explore Sommarøy from the sea with a local guide to show you the sights. Enjoy the clean air and the icy blue water below you. If you're lucky you might meet a seal or two, or even spot some orcas in the distance.
  • Hike to Håja and boat trip: Get a bird's eye view of the area on a guided hike to the top of Håja, 1,595 feet (486 meters) above the sea. You'll be brought to and from the start of the trail via boat. On the way back, see if you can spot some local wildlife, like the white-tailed eagle and porpoise.
  • Sea safari: Join a boat ride to see some of the beautiful landscapes in the area, as well as meet some of the wildlife. Many animals like to make their home here, far from the cities, including white-tailed eagles, porpoises, otters, and puffins.

Day 4: Arctic Boat Safari in Senja

Look for marine life on this Arctic boat tour
Look for marine life on this Arctic boat tour
After breakfast in Senja, you'll join an Arctic boat safari, one of the ultimate ways to experience the unique landscapes of the island.

During this half-day excursion, you will visit some of the beautiful coastal destinations where you can admire the remoteness and wilderness of Arctic nature. Your crew will also be focused on spotting sea eagles, as well as several species of whales and seals, so keep your camera close. If time permits, you will also get a sneak peek of the local fishermen and their daily routine on the job. 

In the afternoon, you will have free time to explore more of the island on your own, perhaps with a self-guided hike in the area.

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
Hit the road and take the Norwegian scenic route across Senja for a day of breathtaking sights. You can stop at any of the many notable points along the route and get out, stretch your legs, and take a hike.

Husøy Island, situated in the middle of the Øyfjord, is home to Senja's most prominent fishing community. The little island, which has in recent years been connected to the mainland, has its oldest houses secured with wire so that they do not blow away due to the 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. This is a great place to stop and eat your lunch on one of several picnic benches or even build a fire to warm your food and your hands at one of the many grills available. 

Where the ocean meets the sky you will meet the vista that overlooks the village of Bergsbotn. The vista itself is a great place to stop and walk out onto the 44-meter-long platform where you can take in the views and also snap some amazing photos. 

Tungeneset
is another notable viewpoint that is worth stopping for. It is situated on the tip of the promontory that separates the Steinsfjord and the Ersfjord. There is a walkway that just out over the rocks and allows for spectacular views of the Norwegian Sea in the west and the mountain Oksen in the north.

At the end of the route lies Mefjordvær, a historic fishing village. There is a jetty here that you can walk out on that provides a sublime sense of closeness to the ocean. Take a seat on benches placed along the jetty and enjoy your proximity to nature. 

If you are keen to take the scenic route on foot there are a couple of great hikes along the route. All three of these will take you approximately three hours.
  • Flatneset is a 3-mile (4.9 km) hike and is the best choice if you are looking to get out and hike with your family. The trail runs from Straumsnes to Flatneset along the water’s edge and offers amazing views.
  • Sukkertoppen is a moderate 1.3-mile (2.1 km) hike. There are a couple of steep lengths and some exposure towards the top, including a section with a chain. The peak itself is small, so hike this one in the morning to avoid crowds, and don't attempt it in wet conditions.
  • Husfjellet is a moderate 2.4-mile (3.8 km) hike with a gradual incline that allows you to take in stunning views of the surrounding areas such as the Devil's Jaw. There is a little exposure towards the top but ample room to keep your distance from the edge.

Day 6: Hiking in Senja, Transfer to Vesterålen

Hit the beach after your hike
Hit the beach after your hike
Today, you'll have the freedom to explore Senja's network of trails as you please. Now that you're armed with a wealth of local knowledge from the previous day, you can choose between many options. Better yet, pack a picnic, hop in the car, and stop at several places while looping around the island.

Not all of the trails are steep and challenging—there are more moderate, relaxed options to choose from, too. One idea for a gradual uphill climb is Husfjell, one of Senja's most rewarding trails with stunning scenery and varied terrain, located on the island's northwestern coast. When you arrive at the top, you can also climb to several other nearby peaks to find more impressive panoramas of Ersfjorden, Steinfjorden, and the Okshornan mountain range.

You can also combine hiking with other activities like biking, fishing, wildlife viewing, or sunbathing at one of Senja's uncrowded white sandy beaches. Another activity is to paddle between the hundreds of islands in the calm water with eagles and breathtaking views of mountain peaks.
 
After you've hiked your fill, you'll depart Senja via 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, for the varied landscapes span from calm and peaceful beaches to craggy, alpine mountains and dramatic fjords.

Day 7: Hike the Queen's Route

Hike and hit the beach today
Along the trail
Set out towards the fishing village of Stø—a beautiful 2.5-hour drive from Andenes, 93 miles away (151 km).

From here, you'll take the self-guided hike along Dronningruta, the Queen’s Route. This moderate, 9-mile (15 km) round trip takes you along the shoreline and over the mountain between Stø and the old fishing village of Nyksund, in the far north of Langøya, Norway's third-largest island.

Named after Queen Sonja, who first visited the island in 1994, the route itself is much older and has been used by many locals, including (according to legend) the midwife of Stø on her way to births in Nyksund. The route is now a combination of two well-marked hiking trails (a low and high route) running along the ocean's edge. Together, they form an incredibly beautiful walk.

When you're done hiking, take time in the late afternoon for a drive on the National Tourist Route along the west coast of Andøya—one of the best ways to experience the region's coastline and its characteristic fishing villages with colorful wooden houses.

Day 8: Vesterålen to Narvik, Fjord Cruise in Narvik

Rombaksbotn (photo courtesy of Norway's Best/Michael Ulriksen)
Rombaksbotn [Photo from Norway's Best/Michael Ulriksen]
Drive across the Vesterålen archipelago en route to Narvik, a journey of approximately 150 miles (241 km). Once you arrive in Narvik, embark on a guided cruise that will take you through the scenic Rombaksfjord. This area was the location of several major marine battles during the Second World War. The cruise visits Rombaksbotn, famous for its naval heritage, and then returns to Narvik as you take in both the dramatic history of the area and the beauty of the surrounding Arctic nature along the way.

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

Photo from Arctic Adventure Tours
Along the trail [Photo from Arctic Adventure Tours]
Today, you'll drive across the interior of Northern Norway and along Balsfjorden from Narvik to Tromsø, a journey of approximately 140 miles (225 km). Once you arrive, you can enjoy a hike through the Norwegian countryside in the company of adorable huskies and their pups. You can customize this family-friendly activity to your liking, choosing amongst hiking routes that vary from easy to medium.

To start, you'll meet your guide and several puppies (you might even meet a new litter, as two are born every summer). The puppies are playful and love attention. Then, you'll pick your hiking buddy, and your guide will help you adjust the belt and harness. Set off on an easy stroll, or opt for the medium hike up into the highlands for beautiful views. 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're welcome to try a slice of the owner's famous chocolate cake before heading back.
 
Spend the evening exploring Tromsø's restaurants and cultural scene.

Day 10: Depart Tromsø

Tromsø coastline
Time to say goodbye to Norway as you depart Tromsø to head home or on to your next adventure.

Map

Map of Arctic Norway Summer Road Trip: Tromsø, Senja, Vesterålen & Narvik  - 10 Days
Map of Arctic Norway Summer Road Trip: Tromsø, Senja, Vesterålen & Narvik - 10 Days