Chase adventure and the northern lights on this epic 16-day road trip through the Arctic landscapes of northern Norway. Beginning and ending in Tromsø, you'll loop your way across to the Lofoten Islands, spending two nights at the spectacular Aurora Borealis Observatory on Senja Island en route. Between scenic drives and ferries, a packed itinerary of outdoor excursions awaits—including reindeer sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dogsledding, whale watching, and more.


  • Spot whales and other marine wildlife on a cruise through the fjords around Tromsø
  • Watch the northern lights at the Aurora Borealis Observatory on Senja Island
  • Ride horses to remote northern lights viewing locations
  • Watch the northern lights from a traditional Sámi tent in the Norwegian wilderness

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tromsø, Tromsø Fjord & Wildlife Cruise Tromsø
Day 2 Ski Day at AlpinPark Tromsø
Day 3 Drive to Senja Island, Stay at Aurora Borealis Observatory Senja
Day 4 Winter Horseback Riding in Senja Senja
Day 5 Drive to Svolvær, Floating Sauna Experience Svolvær
Day 6 Explore the Lofoten Islands Svolvær
Day 7 Trollfjord & Eagle Boat Tour, Chase the Northern Lights in Svolvær Svolvær
Day 8 Winter Kayaking Adventure in the Lofoten Islands Svolvær
Day 9 Drive to Reine, Explore Reine & Hamnøy Reine
Day 10 Drive to Svolvær, Overnight Hurtigruten Ferry to Tromsø Hurtigruten
Day 11 Arrive in Tromsø, Afternoon Snowshoeing Tour Tromsø
Day 12 Reindeer Sledding & Overnight in a Lavvu Tromsø
Day 13 Snowmobile Safari in the Lyngen Alps Tromsø
Day 14 Dogsledding Experience with Huskies Tromsø
Day 15 Whale Watching Safari in Tromsø Tromsø
Day 16 Ride the Tromsø Cable Car, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø, Tromsø Fjord & Wildlife Cruise

Winter view of Tromsø
Spot whales and other wildlife off the coast of Tromsø

Welcome to Tromsø, the largest city in northern Norway, known as the "Gateway to the Arctic." Surrounded by snowcapped mountains and home to 65,000 inhabitants, Tromsø is famous for its lively student culture, gorgeous panoramic views, and as one of the best places in the country to spot the northern lights. 

After you settle into your hotel, discover the beauty of Tromsøfjord and the area's wildlife on a cruise aboard a silent hybrid-electric ship, which minimizes nature disturbances and amplifies your experience. Enjoy cruising quietly past snow-covered mountains and landmarks such as Tromsø's famous Arctic Cathedral. Stop in a local fishing village along the route to learn about life in many Norwegian coastal towns and sample freshly caught fish.

Your guides will also share stories and knowledge about local culture, history, and nature while staying on the lookout for wildlife. Common species on this route include seals, dolphins, eagles, and other seabirds. 

Day 2: Ski Day at AlpinPark

Ski in Tromso at AlpinPark
Ski down the snowy slopes of the Tromsø Alpinpark resort

It's time to hit the slopes! Grab your skis and head to the nearest ski resort, Tromsø Alpinpark. Located in the lovely Kroken district, the resort has trails suitable for all levels, from the novice to the expert. If you tire of skiing, try the sledding slope, visit the bonfire, or have something hot to drink at Parken Lodge or Parken Lavvo. The Alpinpark also offers night skiing, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ski with the northern lights (or the midnight sun in summer). 

Day 3: Drive to Senja Island, Stay at Aurora Borealis Observatory

Drive between Tromsø and Senja
Take in the wintry fjord views from Senja Island

Today, you'll pick up your car and drive from Tromsø to Senja Island. The 3.5-hour drive takes you around the spectacular Malangen Fjord to Norway's second-largest island. Stop at Nordkjosbotn for a snack or lunch—a tiny, picturesque village where the Nordkjoselva River meets the fjord. 

Once you reach Senja, check out the staggering diversity of the landscapes surrounding you, with ocean views, mountains, beaches, lakes, forests, and fields within short distances of each other. Make your way to Aurora Borealis Observatory, a small, family-run resort that considers itself one of the best locations for spotting the northern lights in the world. Seeing the northern lights is weather-dependent, so the resort offers many other activities, such as hiking, dogsledding, and horseback riding. Stay in your glass-roofed hut to watch the dancing lights or enjoy the views from the cozy on-site restaurant. 

Day 4: Winter Horseback Riding in Senja

Northern Lights by horseback
Ride through the night on horseback to the best northern lights viewing spots

You'll have most of today free to enjoy the Aurora Borealis Observatory and take your pick of its many optional activities. But make sure to save some energy for later—when evening falls, you'll bundle up warm and set off to explore the remote Arctic landscapes on horseback, allowing you to get to places you would otherwise not be able to access. On this night excursion, you'll ride well-behaved horses from the three old Norwegian breeds suited to riders of all levels.

At the appointed time, a team member will pick you up from the observatory, and you'll be equipped with headlights, warm clothing, and security helmets (mandatory in Norway). Then, you'll strike out in search of the northern lights, enjoying the remarkable quiet and beauty of the wintry landscapes. At the end of the adventure, a transfer will be waiting to return you to the hotel.

Day 5: Drive to Svolvær, Floating Sauna Experience

Svolvær is the gateway to the Lofoten Islands
Explore charming Svolvær, the gateway to the Lofoten Islands

This morning, drive from Senja Island to Svolvær, the gateway to the Lofoten Islands, considered one of the most beautiful archipelagoes in the world. During the winter, there's no ferry connection in the area that allows for shortcuts between the two islands, so you'll need to follow the roads along the mainland, which takes around six hours in good weather. Keep track of the weather, make sure your phone is charged (just in case), and time your trip during the daylight hours to maximize your light.

Once you arrive in Svolvær, recover from your long trip at the floating sauna, Lofoten Sauna, located in Svolvær Harbor. Relax and sweat out your toxins with refreshing dips in the North Atlantic between sessions. 

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

Day 6: Explore the Lofoten Islands

Red fishing houses Lofoten Islands
Drive between the most beautiful sites of the Lofoten Islands

Welcome to your first full day in the Lofoten Islands! Today, you'll have free time to drive around the archipelago and explore the beautiful scenery and charming villages. Thirty minutes from Svolvær is Gimsøya, a lovely island with rich birdlife and hiking opportunities. Climb Hoven Mountain for 360-degree views of the Vesterålen Islands, visit the many white sandy beaches, and pet the horses at an Icelandic horse farm.

Drive on to Eggum, a fishing village on the seaward side of Vestvågøy Island, or enjoy the chilled-out vibe of Unstad, a cool little town known as an Arctic surf destination drawing surfers from around the world. Stop in Bøstad to check out the Lofotr Viking Museum and visit Henningsvær, a picturesque fishing village scattered across several islands just south of Svolvær.

Day 7: Trollfjord & Eagle Boat Tour, Chase the Northern Lights in Svolvær

Chase the northern lights in the area around Svolvær

Experience the spectacular region of the Lofoten Islands on a scenic boat tour today. Suit up with the proper gear, including waterproof wear and goggles, and take a RIB speedboat through the strait of Øyhellsundet to the stunning Trollfjord. Considered one of the most dramatic fjords in Norway, you'll cruise through the incredibly narrow entrance and steep mountainsides. Your guide will show you historic sites, beaches, and a whaling island called Skrova, known for its charming harbor. If you're lucky, you'll see eagles, seals, and various birdlife.

In the evening, go northern lights chasing from Svolvær, with an expert guide to lead you to the best locations to view the colorful Arctic sky. Travel away from the city lights, searching out perfect conditions to see and photograph this spectacular natural occurrence, and learn local knowledge and the science behind the world-famous phenomenon.

Day 8: Winter Kayaking Adventure in the Lofoten Islands

Kayaking in the Lofoten Islands
Kayak through the waters around the Lofoten Islands

During the winter, the water around the Lofoten Islands is quiet and peaceful—and what better way to experience it than by kayaking? Today's half-day adventure lets you paddle with a local guide along the islands' pristine coastline.

The three-hour tour begins on the beach at the Eggum village for a brief paddling and safety tutorial. Once in the kayak, paddle northeast and around the beautiful "frozen" islands while stopping for snacks and hot drinks. Look for birds or sea life while your guide shares stories about the life and nature of Lofoten. 

Day 9: Drive to Reine, Explore Reine & Hamnøy

Reinebringen hike
Soak in the views of the town of Hamnøy in the Lofoten Islands

Today, make the scenic drive for 2.5 hours through the seven islands of the Lofoten archipelago to the village of Reine. Stop and explore the scenery along the way by taking the picturesque coast roads on the islands of Årnøya, Gimsøya, and Kvalnes

Once you arrive in Reine, considered one of the most beautiful villages in the world, check into one of the traditional rorbuers—red and white fisherman's cabins converted into accommodations for travelers—which dot the shoreline of the island and provide incredible views of the granite peaks jutting straight out of the sea. Many of the best hiking trails on the Lofoten Islands are within a short distance, or you can arrange kayaking, biking, and skiing trips. Nearby is the small but beautiful neighboring town of Hamnøy, the oldest fishing village in the archipelago, where you shouldn't miss trying the locally caught cod. 

Day 10: Drive to Svolvær, Overnight Hurtigruten Ferry to Tromsø

Explore the streets of Svolvær before boarding a night ferry back to Tromsø

Spend the morning relaxing in the charming village of Reine before you drive back to Svolvær. Once you arrive, continue to explore the region's capital at your leisure. Have a drink in an ice palace at Magic Ice Lofoten, or visit the Lofoten Krigsminnemuseum, a museum commemorating Norway's place in World War II. For the truly adventurous, climb the Svolværgeita, an imposing rock formation that looms above the city. 

In the evening, you'll board the Hurtigruten, a local ferry that makes the 17-hour trip from Svolvær to Tromsø. Park your car onboard and stay the night in a comfortable cabin, enjoying the dramatic views and ever-shifting coastline. 

Day 11: Arrive in Tromsø, Afternoon Snowshoeing Tour

Aerial view of Tromsø
Explore the beautiful city of Tromsø, the largest city in northern Norway

Welcome back to Tromsø! Disembark the Hurtigruten and drive to your hotel to get settled in. When you're ready, suit up in your warmest winter gear to experience the fresh air and unspoiled beauty of the Norwegian backcountry during a snowshoeing tour.

This activity is a mix of fun and exertion, where you can experience the simple enjoyment of being outside in stunning surroundings. Your professional guide will choose the best locations based on your physical ability, share knowledge about the region and snowshoeing techniques, and play the part of your personal photographer.

Day 12: Reindeer Sledding & Overnight in a Lavvu

Get up close to reindeer on this unique overnight excursion
Meet reindeer and their Sámi guides near Tromsø 

Todoay's epic overnight excursion is your chance to try reindeer sledding, the oldest means of transportation in the north, with local Sámi guides from a family-run company. After your sledding adventure, spend the night in a lavvu, a traditional Sámi tent. Sample local specialties like bithos (reindeer stew) and listen to stories about Sámi culture and history before sleeping on reindeer hides in winter-insulated sleeping bags.

Use the remote location and the excellent conditions to look for the northern lights—the lack of artificial light gives you another chance to catch a late-night dance from the "Lady Aurora."

Day 13: Snowmobile Safari in the Lyngen Alps

Snowmobile in the Lyngen Alps
Snowmobile through the wintry forests of northern Norway

See nature at its best in the nearby Lyngen Alps today with a snowmobile tour through some of the most beautiful scenery in northern Norway. Get a quick and thorough lesson in navigating a snowmobile before hitting the snowy trails. For two hours, you'll zoom through the snow, listen to the stories and facts provided by your guide, and take in the fascinating views of mountains, forests, and fjords. 

Stop to play in the snow and take photographs before heading back to the starting point, where you'll be served hot drinks and freshly prepared soup with locally baked bread. 

Day 14: Dogsledding Experience with Huskies

Dog sledding with Alaskan huskies
Go dogsledding through the snow-covered highlands near Tromsø 

Dogsledding is one of the best ways to enjoy the Arctic landscape, and you can experience it yourself just 25 minutes from Tromsø. Heading toward the farm, your driver will take you through the snow-covered highlands of Kvaløya before you begin your outdoor adventure.

After you don all of the necessary gear, including warm suits, winter boots, woolen socks, hats, mittens, buff (covering the neck, mouth, and nose), and headlamps, you'll meet the happy and healthy huskies before hopping aboard your sled. Take turns driving and riding behind the sled team for around two hours, then head back to the farm for cake and coffee by the fire. 

Day 15: Whale Watching Safari in Tromsø

Winter whale watching in Norway
Spot majestic beasts on a whale watching cruise through the Norwegian waters

The herring-rich fjords around Tromsø are teeming with various marine animals, including humpback whales and orcas. The winter months are a perfect time to spot the majestic creatures, and today, you'll board a quiet, electric ship and head out into the winter seas. Your ship is designed to minimize noise to protect the wildlife and is equipped with an underwater drone and microphone for a better chance at seeing whales. 

Depart in the late morning to take full advantage of the daylight and enjoy the beautiful views of winter-clad landscapes from the comfort of the decks and lounge, where you can purchase drinks and snacks. Spot whales above and below the surface using cutting-edge technology, and watch for other animals such as puffins, seals, and otters. Don't forget to dress warmly, and bring your camera! 

Day 16: Ride the Tromsø Cable Car, Depart

Get a birds-eye view of Tromsø from the cable car and platform
Get a birds-eye view of Tromsø from the cable car

On your last morning in Tromsø, take a spin on its famous cable car for excellent views of the city and surrounding landscapes. The car runs up to a mountain ledge in just four minutes using two gondolas, known as "Seal" and "Polar Bear," and ends at the sky-high platform with a spectacular panorama that includes islands, mountains, and fjords. Grab a bite at Fjellstua, the restaurant at the top, to savor the views longer. 

After your descent, it's time to say farewell to Norway! You'll head to the Tromsø Airport to drop off your rental car and catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Northern Lights Adventures in Northern Norway: Road Trip to Senja, Svolvær & Tromsø - 16 Days
Map of Northern Lights Adventures in Northern Norway: Road Trip to Senja, Svolvær & Tromsø - 16 Days