Explore northern Norway at your own speed with this self-drive itinerary. Seven days allows you sufficient time to explore the city of Tromsø and its historic streets, hike around isolated islands like Senja and Sommarøy, and sea safari alongside the fjord wildlife on your journey.

Highlights

  • Explore the streets of Tromsø, northern Norway's largest city
  • Hike the many trails on Norway's second-largest island of Senja
  • Take a kayak tour and paddle alongside puffins and porpoises
  • Drive some of Norway's most scenic roads and bridges

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tromsø Tromsø
Day 2 Explore Tromsø in Summer Tromsø
Day 3 Drive from Tromsø to Senja via Nordkjosbotn Senja
Day 4 Hiking in Senja Senja
Day 5 Scenic Drive Around Senja Senja
Day 6 Explore Sommarøy, Senja to Tromsø Tromsø
Day 7 Depart Tromsø  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø

Winter view of Tromsø
Overhead view of Tromsø
Welcome to Tromsø, the largest city in Northern Norway!

Surrounded by snow-capped 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 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 to find a 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-level in-town hike draws visitors, especially in the evening, who want to find 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.

  • Kayak 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 can 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: Drive from Tromsø to Senja via Nordkjosbotn

Forests and rivers on the way to Senja
Forests and rivers on the way to Senja
After breakfast in Tromsø, hit the road and take a three-hour drive for 130 miles (210 km) to Senja, Norway's second-largest island. Stop at Nordkjosbotn along the way for a snack or lunch—this tiny village is located at the end of the Balsfjorden where the river Nordkjoselva meets the fjord.

Once you reach Senja, check out the staggering diversity of the landscapes around you, with ocean views, mountains, beaches, lakes, forests, and fields within short distances of each other. Staying here allows you to partake in a wide variety of adventures all on the same day, including, hiking, kayaking, fishing, cycling, or just lying on the beach.

Restaurants and eateries in Senja also reflect the region’s scenery and nature. To get a real taste of local delicacies, keep your eye out for char from Altevatn Lake, cod from Senja, and goat cheese from Balsfjorden. 

Day 4: Hiking in Senja

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, with many options to choose from. 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, 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 paddling between the hundreds of surrounding islets in the calm water with eagles and breathtaking views of mountain peaks.

Day 5: Scenic Drive Around 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 juts 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: Senja to Tromsø, Explore Sommarøy

Sommaroy
Sommarøy
Leave Senja behind and set out to explore the area of Sommarøy today. 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. 

Once you've finished exploring, you'll drive along the coastal scenic road and make your way back to Tromsø.

Day 7: Depart Tromsø

Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø

Say goodbye to Norway as you depart Tromsø for your trip home or on to your next adventure.

Map

Map of Arctic Norway Summer Road Trip:  Tromsø & Senja - 7 Days
Map of Arctic Norway Summer Road Trip: Tromsø & Senja - 7 Days