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
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.
Lofoten to Senja
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
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.
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.
Traveling around Senja
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.
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.