Hiking on Senja Island

Trail guides and maps

Hiking Grytetippen. Photo: NicoElNino / Shutterstock

Where to hike

Often described as a miniature Norway, Senja is a compact destination with beautiful and diverse landscapes. Hiking trails are sprinkled all over the island, and commonly lead to the top of the nearest mountain.

On the northern and western sides of the island sit dramatic mountains that plummet into the Atlantic ocean, alongside beautiful sandy beaches.

To the south, by Ånderdalen National Park, lie pine forests, lakes, and wetlands. A short drive away is Kaperskaret with the sensation of traveling over a high mountain pass. In the east the landscape softens once again with birch woods and small farms.

Terrain and difficulty

Hiking on Senja is characterized by steep mountains, sharp peaks, and sea views. Quick gains in altitude ensure that it doesn’t take too long to find an amazing view.

Many of the hiking routes on Senja have steep trails, often with some exposed sections and long drops. In addition to the total distance, check the elevation gain on a trail to get a good understanding of how tough it is. Reconsider hiking if the weather and visibility is poor. Ideally, hike on a clear day. Watch your step and be well prepared.

For easier summits, which are also suitable for children, try the trails to Husfjellet or Riven. Additionally, the coastal trails of Flatneset and Russehula offer a good opportunity to stretch your legs and explore without too much effort.

Download our Senja hiking guide, including all trails and maps, in the Outtt app.

Suggested itineraries

Spend at least two days on Senja. This allows you to drive the length of Norwegian Scenic Route Senja and enjoy a couple of the best hikes on the island. If you’re traveling between Lofoten and Tromsø, a couple of days on Senja is a must for your Northern Norway itinerary.

To fully explore the island, allocate a week. Over the course of a week on Senja you will likely have one or two days of wet and cold weather, even in summer. This means that even a perfectly crafted plan might need adjustments as you travel.

For detailed two-day and one-week itineraries, download a copy of the Outtt Guide to Senja. The itineraries include a recommended route, the best hikes, where to stay, plus other tips and tricks.

15 hiking trails on Senja

Segla

Krevende
4 km · 2 – 4 t

Husfjellet

Middels
7.6 km · 3 – 4 t

Sukkertoppen

Krevende
4.1 km · 2 – 4 t

Barden

Middels
6.7 km · 3 – 4 t

Hesten

Middels
3.7 km · 2 – 3 t

Breidtinden

Ekspert
7.3 km · 4 – 6 t

Åndervatnet Lake

Middels
12 km · 4 – 5 t

Kvænan

Krevende
5.2 km · 4 – 6 t

Grytetippen

Krevende
6.8 km · 3 – 7 t

Lonketind

Krevende
5.7 km · 4 – 6 t

Russehula

Enkel
1.9 km · 1 – 2 t

Riven

Enkel
4.9 km · 1.5 – 2.5 t

Inste Kongen og Kongeporten

Ekspert
9 km · 7 – 12 t

Keipen

Krevende
6.9 km · 3 – 7 t

Fra Straumsnes til Flatneset

Middels
9.8 km · 3 – 4 t

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Getting around

The easiest way to travel around Senja is by car or camper van. Driving allows you to easily stop at the many roadside attractions and trailheads, as well as explore deeper into the island. Senja is connected by one bridge to the mainland, between Silsand and Finnsnes in the southeast.

Norwegian Scenic Route Senja is a 102 kilometer route along the northern edge of the island between Gryllefjord and Botnhamn, with a couple of additional detours. In the summer months ferries connect the end points to nearby islands for onward travel to Tromsø or Vesterålen/Lofoten.

Car

The roads are narrow and windy, with passing bays along some stretches to safely pass oncoming traffic. There are a number of tunnels around the island and those off the main road between Gryllefjord and Botnhamn are dark and narrow. In the busy summer months with large camper vans on the roads the average speed can be quite low, but the distances are not far.

Major car rental agencies operate in Tromsø and at Bardufoss Airport. There is a small Avis agency just outside of Finnsnes.

Man looking at Segla from Hesten, Senja

View of Segla from Hesten. Photo: David Varga / Shutterstock

Public transport

Public buses do run on Senja, but departures are infrequent which makes it difficult to access and enjoy Senja’s hikes and attractions. Note that the timetables can change depending on if it’s a school day or not.


Cycling

Senja is also a popular destination for cyclists. With beautiful nature at every turn it’s not hard to see why, although changing weather can prove a challenge. The scenic route in particular is well suited for biking. Most tunnels have high-visibility vests available at either end which you can borrow to help ensure motorists can see you. Additionally, there are buttons outside the tunnel which turn on a sign, alerting passing motorists to the presence of cyclists.

When to go

As in most of Northern Norway, the best time to go hiking on Senja is in July, August, and September. In these months, the trails will be clear of snow and the days are long. The average high temperature in this period is between 10 and 15°C, but high temperatures over 20°C do occur in July and August. The evenings are cool and warm layers are important.

If you’re happy to stick to lower ground along the northern coast, good hiking can be had from May. There are no hard and fast rules though and the true beginning and end of the seasons varies depending on snowfalls and general weather conditions. Rain is always a possibility, along with thick fog.

The midnight sun is present between late May and late July, opening up possibilities for night hiking. On summer evenings the western and northern coasts offer stunning “sunsets”. If you plan on camping, consider packing an eye mask to help block out the light at night.

Prepare for crazy weather

It’s important to remember though that even in summer, the weather is unpredictable. You can start a hike in warm sunshine and reach the peak in driving rain. Entire days can foggy and wet. Ferries might be cancelled. Building in flexibility to your itinerary, as well as having some activities in mind for bad-weather days, is key to having an enjoyable and safe experience.

Trying to tick off a hike on a rainy day is rarely worth it. Not only will the trail be wet and slippery (and possibly dangerous), there won’t be much of a view, and all your gear will be soaking wet. Dealing with soggy clothes and hiking boots when camping is not ideal.

The Norwegian national weather service provides detailed weather reports and forecasts for Senja in English. These forecasts are also included within each trail description in the Outtt app.

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