This quick-paced yet relaxed Nordic itinerary hits two key spots above the Arctic Circle for travelers keen on skipping high season crowds. You'll start in Tromsø with two days to explore the 'Paris of the North' by foot. From here, travel to Senja, Norway's 2nd largest island, where a local guide who will show you otherworldly coastline, wildlife, fishing villages, and inland lakes and forests. Finish with a Hurtigruten ride through the Norwegian Sea to complete this off-the-beaten-path adventure.

Highlights

  • Check out Tromsø's hip dining, culture, and nightlife scene
  • Travel to and from Senja island by ferry and coastal steamer
  • Tour the island with a local guide for a series of unique activities
  • Enjoy plenty of free time to partake in hiking or snowshoeing
  • Spend evenings stargazing and watching for the Northern Lights

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tromsø - Explore the Winter Sites Tromsø
Day 2 Ferry to Finnsnes - Transfer to Mefjord Brygge Senja
Day 3 Discover Senja with a Local Guide, Part 1 Senja
Day 4 Discover Senja with a Local Guide, Part 2 Senja
Day 5 Hurtigruten - Depart Tromsø  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø - Explore the Winter Sites

Aerial view of Tromsø
Aerial view of Tromsø

Welcome to Norway! Your adventure begins with a domestic flight to Tromsø, the largest city in Northern Norway.

When you arrive, get settled in your hotel, bundle up, and walk around the self-proclaimed 'Gateway to the Arctic'. Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, Tromsø is a lively place with 65,000 inhabitants. The city has a large student population and is famous for its robust music and film culture. 

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. Dine at the restaurant on top of the mountain, or head back down to sea level for a variety of pubs and restaurants.

In the afternoon, walk around and explore the city's architecture. In addition to the modern Arctic Cathedral, Tromsø has many historic wooden houses in the city center dating as far back as 1789. 

Spend the evening choosing between a number of dining and nightlife options—this is, after all, called 'Paris of the North' for a reason. 

Day 2: Ferry to Finnsnes - Transfer to Mefjord Brygge

Senja's coastline
Senja's coastline

After a relaxing breakfast in Tromsø, you'll have more time to enjoy the city before taking an afternoon ferry to Fissnes located just across the Gisundet strait from Senja island (about 1.5 hours).

Upon arrival in Fissnes, you'll be picked up for an hour drive to your hotel in the small village of Melfjord Brygge on the island's north coast. This quaint village is a great base for travelers with activities in the area such as hiking, wildlife watching, ice climbing, and more. 

Sit back and relax at your hotel while the friendly staff prepares dinner onsite. You'll also have a chance to see the Northern Lights if the skies are clear, so step outside and get some fresh Arctic air!

Day 3: Discover Senja with a Local Guide, Part 1

Orca whale sightings
Orca whale sightings

Rise and shine in Mefjord Brygge and have breakfast at your hotel. You'll then meet a local guide who will present you with activity options for the next two days, which will be modified for current weather conditions.

If daylight hours permit during your visit, this list might include an Arctic Boat Safari to see wildlife and marine landscape (about 3 hours).

You can also go on a Whale Watching Excursion. January has been statistically the best month to see humpback and killer whales, but these species may return to the area in late winter (March and April). It's not possible to predict whale behavior each year but local guides do their best to make your visit filled with plenty of other memorable experiences.

In the afternoon, you'll return to the hotel and have time to relax. If you're still feeling energized, go for a winter hike or put on snowshoes and explore Senja's magnificent island landscape.

A traditional Norwegian dinner will be served at your hotel in the early evening. After that, get ready for a Northern Lights excursion (about 3 hours). Your guide will take you to some remote spots on the island visiting scenic vantage points where it's possible to admire the Aurora Borealis without light pollution.

Day 4: Discover Senja with a Local Guide, Part 2

Put on some snowshoes and explore the scenery
Put on some snowshoes and explore the scenery

Refuel with breakfast before you reconnect with your local guide and take part in a different activity from the previous day (about 3 hours). Depending on the day's weather and preferred intensity of activity, this may include a sightseeing tour of the island, a snowshoeing, ice-climbing, or hiking trip, or in case of inclement weather, a minibus trip along the rugged Arctic coast where you'll see the power of the Norwegian Sea. Take note of how different Senja looks depending on cloud formations and time of day!

The afternoon will offer some free time to spend as you choose. Later that day, dinner will be served at the hotel restaurant followed by an evening of culture (3 hours). Locals will entertain you with old stories, interesting places, and introductions to Northern Norwegian traditions.

Day 5: Hurtigruten - Depart Tromsø

Ride the mighty Hurtigruten to Tromsø
Ride the mighty Hurtigruten to Tromsø

After an early breakfast, bid farewell to the hotel staff and Senja's spectacular surroundings as you're transferred to Finnsnes to catch a Hurtigruten cruise to Tromsø. Snag a window seat, sit back, and enjoy the Norwegian Sea.

When you deboard in Tromsø later that morning, you'll connect to the airport to begin your departure journey. Although it's time to say goodbye to Norway, the memories from your trip will surely stay with you forever!

Map

Map of Tromsø & Senja Winter Excursion - 5 Days
Map of Tromsø & Senja Winter Excursion - 5 Days