Senja is an island in Norway far north of the Arctic Circle with no airport. It can be tricky to work out how to get to Senja, but it’s accessible from Tromsø, Lofoten, and Oslo. Renting a car, or driving your own, is recommended to best explore the island.

Norway’s second largest island, Senja is located between the Lofoten islands and the city of Tromsø in Northern Norway. The island has a population of under 8,000. One of Norway’s 18 scenic routes travels across Senja. The route is 102 kilometers long and provides access to some of the best attractions and trails on the island.

The main entry point for Senja is Finnsnes. Finnsnes is the last town on the mainland before the only bridge over to island. It is a good spot to stock up on groceries before heading across to Senja. The key ports for car ferries in the summertime are Gryllefjord (coming from Vesterålen/Lofoten) and Botnhamn (from Kvaløya/Tromsø).

Tromsø to Senja

One of the easiest ways to travel from Tromsø to Senja is the express boat to Finnsnes. The boat leaves from Tromsø city and takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. A ticket costs 320 NOK.

It’s possible to rent a car from Avis near Finnsnes, or catch a bus on to the island. Some accommodation providers on Senja will arrange private transport from Finnsnes.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays there is an express boat from Tromsø to Lysnes on Senja’s eastern coast. It takes just under an hour and costs around 200 NOK. There are corresponding buses to other parts of the island.

In the summer months (April–August) the easiest way to reach Senja from Tromsø by car is the car ferry connecting Kvaløya and Senja from Brensholmen to Botnhamn. The ferry takes 35 minutes and runs 5–7 times per day. Try to be at the terminal at least an hour early to get in line. For the rest of the year, you need to drive around the coast.

Check prices for car rental from Tromsø airport or Tromsø city →

Lofoten to Senja

Car ferry sailing near Gryllefjord on Senja island, Norway

A popular way to travel from Lofoten to Senja in summertime is via Andøya island in Vesterålen. From May to September a car ferry connects Andenes and Gryllefjord. The ferry runs two to three times daily and the journey takes an hour and forty minutes. Arrive at the terminal in Andenes 1–2 hours before departure to secure a place on the ferry.

Otherwise, the drive from Svolvær to Finnsnes takes around 5 hours.

Traveling by public transport is challenging, but possible. The best option is probably to take buses to Harstad and from there take the express boat to Finnsnes. Check the options on en-tur.no.

Oslo to Senja

The easiest way to travel directly from Oslo to Senja is to fly to Bardufoss airport (BDU). Both SAS and Norwegian fly from Oslo-Gardermoen (OSL) daily. The flight takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Find cheap flights from Oslo to Bardufoss →

Bardufoss to Senja

Bardufoss airport is the closest airport to Senja. It is a small airport on the mainland, just under an hour’s drive southeast of Senja. Car rental is available through most of the usual agencies including Avis, Budget, and Hertz.

Check prices for car rental from Bardufoss airport →

An airport express bus runs to Finnsnes and finishes in Silsand, the first town over the bridge from Finnsnes. Departures correspond with arriving flights. Buy a ticket in advance (179 NOK) as it’s more expensive to purchase one onboard.

A cheaper alternative can be to rent a car from Avis near Finnsnes. Take the airport express bus to Finnfjordbotn just before Finnsnes and then walk up to the road to the agency. It’s a small agency, so the choice is limited, but it’s cheaper than rentals from Bardufoss airport (even with the bus ticket). It’s vital to book in advance. See our guide to Senja for more information.

Check prices for car rental from Finnsnes →

Traveling around Senja

Cars parked at Tungeneset viewpoint on Senja island, Norway
The easiest way to travel around Senja is by car. This allows you to pull over and enjoy the countless viewpoints and hiking trails around the island. The 102 kilometer Senja scenic route travels through stunning landscapes on the western coast of the island.

There are some public buses, but they run infrequently so plenty of flexibility is required. Download the Entur app (iOS, Android) for access to public transport schedules all around Norway.

Senja is also a popular cycling destination and the tunnels along the scenic route have been made safe for cyclists. For shorter rides, rent a bike at Hamn in Senja or Mefjord Brygge.


Hopefully this guide has helped you decide how to get to Senja. If you have any questions about your trip, just let us know in the comments below.

33 Comments

  1. Hello
    I am a travel agent from Argentina.
    I need for February 19, for my 9 year old daughter and for me, we will be staying in Hamn I Senja and we want to know Polar Park and then go to Narvik to continue trip to Abisko.
    Is this possible? or have any contact to pass me that can help me?
    thank you very much

    • Espen Oldeman Lund

      That travel is possible but you are dependent on renting a car and driving all the way. Driving conditions will also include snowy roads so you should know how to handle a car in those conditions.

  2. Hi there,
    I am trying to find a ferry from Harstad to Finnsnes but i get to dead end. Is that ferry still in operation?
    Is is Troms Fylkestrafikk? There are mostly buses but not ferry i am looking for. Are you able to point me in the right direction please.

    Nany thanks!

  3. Jorge Mario Arriaza

    Hello there.

    I’m going to Senja in late October, but I’ve heard that driving can be kind of hard, due to the icy pavement. Is this true? Is it recommended for people with no experience in driving on icy conditions to drive in late October?

    Thanks!

    • Espen Oldeman Lund

      You never know what type of weather Senja will have in October, but there is definitely a good chance of ice and snow. If you have no experience driving in such weather you might not want to test that out on Senja while vacationing. But this, of course, is totally dependent on how much driving you are planning to do and how flexible you can be.

  4. Arfana Khan

    hi I plan to visit Senja end of September to view the Northern lights
    can you advice what route to take from OSLO .
    and were to stay in a 4 star or 5 star accommodation.
    we are 3 travelling we will need 2 rooms .

  5. Janet A Gilvey

    Hi,
    I plan on going to see the lights Sept 2019. Would you recommend a different time to go where we have a better chance of seeing them? Is it better to view it from Senja or Tromso? Is it worth it to stay at the Aurora Borealis Observatory? Any info will be helpful. Thank you!

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Janet, there is equal chance of seeing the lights between September and March/April. The best thing you can do is allocate several days, to give yourself more opportunity to see them.

      Both Senja and Tromsø are worthy destinations, so it depends a little on what else you want to do while you’re there and if you want to join a tour or drive around yourself. In Tromsø you would probably want to leave the city to escape the city lights and there are plenty of tours available.

      Senja is great if you want to be a bit more independent, and the hiking there is really special. I can’t speak for the observatory, but it depends on what type of experience you’re after. There are other places to stay on Senja where you could also get amazing northern lights views close by.

      Hope that helps!
      Aaron

  6. Janet A Gilvey

    Thank you Aaron for the information. Are you able to recommend places to stay in Senja and Tromso and really good tours where there aren’t too many people. I may be coming with a total of 5-8 people. Thank you!

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Janet, on Senja Hamn i Senja is beautifully located. Mefjorde Brygge has small houses you can rent, which could be good for a group. Both have restaurants and self-catering options. I’m sure both could organise tours for your group as well.

      On Kvaløya, not far from Tromsø, is the Sommarøy Arctic Hotel. It’s not the greatest hotel, but the location is quite good. I don’t have any specific hotel recommendations for Tromsø.

      For activities, I would go through the hotels I mentioned on Senja. For Tromsø, you can find some good options on GetYourGuide.

  7. Mark Edwards

    Hi Aaron

    We are about to book flights to Tromso for next February, we have visited twice before in winter but now would like to visit Senja. It’s really hard to find accurate information about the fast ferry, we have used Hurtigruten before but the timings are terrible. Do the fast ferries run in February?

    Also are there any supermarket on the island ? If we are going to rent a private house.

    Many thanks

    Mark

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Mark, the fast ferries from Tromsø to Finnsnes and Lysnes run year round. You can use the Entur website to find times.

      There are small supermarkets located around Senja, but for the most choice try and stock up a bit in Tromsø.

      All of this information is covered in our guide to Senja.

      Aaron

  8. Mark Edwards

    Hi Aaron

    I purchased the guide it’s very informative.

    If we take the ferry from Tromsø to Finnsnes, are there car hire companies other than Avis? They don’t seem to have the cars we require.

    Many thanks

    Matk

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Mark,

      Avis is the only car hire available in Finnsnes. It’s run out of the car dealership there, which is why they don’t have a lot of inventory. You could try and call them and ask if it’s possible to get the cars you need.

      Tromsø will have the most choice for rental cars, and it’s about a 2.5 hour drive down to Finnsnes.

      The other option is to check Bardufoss airport. Then you could take the airport express bus from Finnsnes to Bardufoss to pick up the car (about an hour each way).

      Hope that helps!

      Aaron

  9. Mark Edwards

    Thanks Aaron

    We drive a large Volvo at home which gives us comfort in the snow but probably now think that the Ford Focus that Avis are offering will be fine in the snow. I think the studded tyres will be more useful than 4WD.

    Really looking forward to our trip, first visited Tromsø 12 years ago, it’s probably getting a bit touristy for us now.

  10. Hi, i just read about Senja and it sounds amazing. I would like to plan a trip there to enjoy the northern lights, aurora boreales and midnight sun. When is it the best time? Are there lodges/hotels? We would of course rent a car and drive. Most likely fly from Oslo. Thank you

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Adriana, Senja is amazing 🙂 If you want to see the midnight sun, you need to go in summertime. The northern lights are only visible during the darker time of the year, from September through until April. Check out our post about the best time visit Senja for more info.

      There are indeed some lodges. See the best places to stay on Senja for our recommendations.

      Hope that helps!

      Aaron

  11. Kanika Mediratta

    Hi, thanks for your article. I’m planning a trip to Lofoten Islands in January 2020. How do I get to Senja from Lofoten islands in the winter? Is it best to drive?

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi!

      Yes, driving is the easiest if you familiar with winter roads. Otherwise there is an express boat between Finnsnes and Harstad. From Harstad there are bus connections.

      I hope that helps!

      Aaron

  12. Hi, I’m planning to visit Senja in October, will a bus be available from Bardufoss Airport to Senja ? Xx

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Paula, yes the airport bus meets arriving flights and drives to Finnsnes (on the mainland) and finishes at Silsand just across the bridge on Senja. If you need to travel further around Senja you’ll need to use the local buses which are quite infrequent. Use Entur to find local bus schedules around Norway.

  13. Kristina

    Hi,

    We plan of visiting Norway in August. We will be flying in to Tromso for 4 nights and wanted to do a day trip to Senja. Is this possible by public transportation? We are trying not to rent a vehicle. Thanks!

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Kristina,

      It’s possible to take a boat from Tromsø to Finnsnes, just over the bridge from Senja. The bus services on the island are infrequent though and make it pretty tricky to get around, especially just for a day trip. If you really want to go to Senja for a day, I’d probably recommend renting a car and travelling via Kvaløya. Alternatively, if you book an activity on the island they can probably transport you to and from the boat terminal in Finnsnes.

      I hope that helps!

      Aaron

  14. Hi, love this site, lots of great information and may need to buy the Senja guide. We are 9, flying into Tromso and staying at an Airbnb in Finnsnes for 5 days. We are trying to decide between renting a car (or 2) in Tromso or taking the express ferry to Finnsnes and renting there. I know either is possible, but what would you suggest for cost and hassle? Also, 4 in our group are leaving from Bardufoss airport and I couldn’t find a suitable bus from Finnsnes to Bardufoss. Once or twice a day I saw. Is that correct?

    Thanks!
    Tom

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Tom,

      The choice of cars available in Finnsnes usually isn’t as good. It’s run out of a car dealership a bit out of town so you’ll probably need to take a taxi out there. I’d first check the selection for your dates as that could make the decision for you. Prices change all the time so that’s a bit hard for me to comment on. Otherwise the drive across Kvaløya and the ferry to Senja is a scenic way to travel from Tromsø (assuming you are travelling in summer).

      There is a bus from Finnsnes to Bardufoss Airport that connects with the departing flights.

      Aaron

  15. Shelley Willmer

    Hello – I am disembarking the Hurtigruten at Finnsnes port in November to spend a few days on Senja. I am hiring a car from the nearby Avis, though as it is not near the port, are you able to advise whether taxi’s will be available to catch at the port to get to the Avis office? What is the distance to the Avis office? Is this information covered in your e-booklet?

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Shelley!

      I think you’ll quite easily be able to catch a taxi to the Avis office. It’s about 6 kilometers away from the dock in Finnsnes. Make sure to book the car in advance.

      The ebook covers some tips for the best way to get to Senja and how to spend your time there.

      Have a great time, it’s a beautiful place.

      Aaron

  16. Hi there! My family and I we are planning to visit Tromso and Senja in late December this year. Would you suggest that we rent an accommodation based in Tromso? and do daily drives out to Senja? Would the roads be opened during Christmas or Christmas eve as well?

    Thanks so much!

    Jasmine

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Jasmine,

      It’s too far to do daily drives from Tromsø to Senja, especially in winter. I would definitely recommend finding some accommodation on Senja, even if it’s just for a night. There are a number of options depending on your budget and what you want to achieve. The roads should be open.

  17. Hi
    We will be in Tromso for 4 nights in January and would love to spend one of them in Senja but I’m wondering wether that is really feasible. Does the express boat still run daily from Tromso during this time? We arrive in Tromso about 2pm on the Hurtigruten ferry. Would it be possible to go straight there?

    My second question is around climate – is there likely to be snow cover at this time of year or can the weather still be quite rainy and washed out?

    • Aaron Beaton

      Hi Kathrynn, it’s feasible with some planning but it would probably be a bit rushed. Yes the express boats run in January. You would need to organise a transfer with your accommodation from either Lysnes or Finnsnes ports (depends on the day). Alternatively you could also hop off the Hurtigruten in Finnsnes to save one trip on the express boat.

      Hope that helps!

      Aaron

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