How To Get To Senja

The island Senja in northern Norway is considered to be one of the best places to visit if you are after incredible nature experiences and places that make for amazing Instagram shots.

Tall mountains that falls steeply into the fjords, lush nature, and incredible beaches are just a few of the things you will experience on Senja. So, what’s the best and easiest method of getting to Senja?

The easiest way to get to Senja is by rental car from Tromsø or Bardufoss, but you can also get to Senja from Tromsø by bus or by express ferry in the summer.

Incredible mountains on Senja
Incredible mountains on Senja. Photo published with permission.

Northern Norway is not really the best at having public transport systems, but it’s absolutely possible to get to Senja.

You just need to make plans ahead of time. Luckily, you’re in the right place, because we’re going to take a much closer look at the best way to get to Senja in Norway!

Reach Senja by plane and rental car

The easiest method of getting to Senja is to fly to one of the three airports that are close by, then rent a car from either of these and drive to Senja yourself.

Not only is this the easiest way of getting to Senja, but it’s also important to remember that it’s very difficult to use public transport on Senja to get between places there.

So a rental car is absolutely useful!

The three airports within easy driving distance are Tromsø Airport Langnes, Bardufoss Airport (closest, but also the smallest airport) and Harstad/Narvik Airport Evenes. These are all easy to reach from other bigger airports in Norway, such as from Oslo.

Segla on Senja
Segla on Senja. Photo published with permission.

Total drive time and basic driving directions to Silsand on Senja from:

  • Tromsø Airport: 2 hours 20 minutes. Drive south on E8, then west on E6, and follow Fv86 when you get to Bardufoss.
  • Bardufoss Airport: 50 minutes. Follow Fv86 all the way to Finnsnes then cross the bridge over to Senja.
  • Harstad/Narvik Airport: 2 hours 40 minutes. Follow E6 north until you get to Bardufoss, then change to Fv86.

To drive to Senja, follow the signs towards Finnsnes. This is a somewhat big town (by Norwegian town standards) that is the last town on mainland Norway before you cross the bridge to Senja.

Finnsnes is technically considered to be a part of Senja even though it’s not actually on the island. You can drive over the bridge between Finnsnes and Senja island, or cross it by foot.

Silsand is the first town on Senja that is closely connected with Finnsnes, but you can add additional time to the travel time estimations if you are going further into Senja (which you probably will want to).

Gisundbrua / Gislesund bridge. Photo by Rob Glover / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Get to Senja by bus

You can get to Senja by bus all the way from Tromsø, but be prepared for around 3 to 4 hours of buses, and a few changes. The buses follow the same basic route as the cars by driving on E8 and E6 to Bardufoss, then driving onwards towards Finnsnes.

It’s also possible to get on the bus at Bardufoss Airport for those of you that prefer to fly to this airport instead.

To check bus tickets to Senja, visit Troms Fylkestrafikk’s website here. Be aware that there are typically only between 1 and 3 buses from Tromsø to Senja daily, so it’s not like these run all day long.

You cannot directly book tickets on their website, but you can download the “Troms Billett-app” for Android here or iOS here to book them in advance.

Protip: Can’t find any buses? Try getting on a bus to Finnsnes, then change buses there to get further to Senja. You can even cross the bridge to Senja on foot if you want to.

Senja coast at winter.
Senja coast at winter. Photo published with permission.

Drive the ferry to Senja (Summer only)

There are both regular ferries as well as express boat ferries between different harbors on Senja and Tromsø during the summer months. These are aimed at tourists, and they are a great option if you are visiting Senja in the summer!

There are four different options for getting to Senja by ferry:

1) Brensholmen outside Tromsø to Botnhamn in Senja

The summer route between Brensholmen and Senja is a popular one, but keep in mind that there’s a 1 hour drive or bus ride to get to Brensholmen in the first place. However, the ferry itself is only around 35 minutes!

This ferry takes you straight to Botnhamn on Senja, which is a great little place to start your Senja adventure. It’s also your only option if you want to bring a car on the ferry. The price is around 250 NOK for a car, and passengers are free with the car.

2) Tromsø to Finnsnes outside Senja (Express boat line 2)

There is an express boat between Tromsø city and Finnsnes, which is the most popular option for people who are traveling by ferry to Senja. There are about 2 to 4 daily departures (but mostly 2).

The total travel time is 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The price in 2022 is 267 NOK if you book the ticket in advance, or 321 NOK if you buy it at the ferry. These are booked from the Troms Fylkestrafikk’s website.

Segla on Senja
Segla on Senja. Photo published with permission.

3) Tromsø to Lysnes on Senja (Express boat line 4)

It’s also possible to ride the ferry directly from Tromsø to Lysnes on Senja, which is another good spot to start your Senja adventure at.

This ferry operates on most days, and changes it’s departure times a few times yearly, so check out the departure times at Troms Fylkestrafikk’s website before you plan your trip. The ferry ride is around 2 hours in total.

The 2022 price for a ticket is 183 NOK if booked in advance, or 229 NOK if you pay on the ferry. Again, book them from Troms Fylkestrafikk’s website.

4) Hurtigruten line between other destinations and Finnsnes

Hurtigrution is not really a ferry, but rather a cruise ship that can be boarded at one place and departed at another. It’s not really a common method of getting to Senja, but I wanted to mention it for those of you that are planning a trip on Hurtigruten anyway.

The price level is on par with other cruises, so expect several thousand Norwegian kroner per night on board. Even small rides from Tromsø to Finnsnes are expensive.

Hurtigruten MV Spitsbergen
Hurtigruten MV Spitsbergen. Photo by Isak Løvik / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Why you should consider visiting Senja on your next trip to Norway

Senja is a beautiful island with some of the most dramatic mountains in all of Norway. This is a great destinations for hikers who are looking for some challenging and steep hikes.

There are lots of opportunities to get active on Senja, and it’s popular with adventurous travelers who want to try ocean kayaking, dog sledding, or biking around on the island.

The island is also amazing for families and others who just want to see the dramatic nature from down below, perhaps even from one of the many beaches on the island. The beaches are great, even though they often get overlooked because of the even better beaches in Lofoten and Vesterålen.

Senja at winter
Senja at winter. Photo published with permission.

Senja is extremely popular for wildlife tourism, and there are lots of options for watching the white-tailed eagle on a hunt, to go on a whale safari, to go deep-ocean fishing or just watch the incredible bird life.

Other than that, just enjoy your stay at Senja. You will find several smaller towns, cozy campsites where you can rent a small cabin, and amazing views wherever you go. I highly recommend driving on Senja, because the roads are all super scenic!

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