Senja is not only the second largest island in Norway but also one of the less visited. In other words, Vesterålen and Lofoten are beautiful but the lack of crowds is always a bonus when it comes to drinking in the scenery. Located above the Arctic Circle, Senja is a popular place in which to see the famous Northern Lights but then the mountains, beaches and ocean views are more than enough reason to visit.
With this in mind, you can expect to see few vehicles and spectacular scenery on Senja. Along the coastline, impressive rock formations, sheltered coves and colourful villages fill the gaps, while beautiful lakes, forests and mountains dominate the interior.
Senja is also a very cultural encounter, for the local cuisine and friendly locals is a great insight into a much older way of living than any urban area. In fact, the local government has taken proactive steps to strengthen local values and ensure this culture stays alive. Meanwhile, the extent of outdoor experiences and activities is the true highlight of Senja and a great way to explore everything the island has to offer.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
Visiting Polar Park
Polar Park is known as the most northern zoo in the world and home to ‘the big four’. Aside from the wolf, bear, wolverine and lynx, you can see many exotic creatures from the incredible dense northern forest. While getting into the actual wild is always a great thing, this is certainly the best opportunity to witness the animals up close.
Hiking, Fishing and Mountain Biking
We could talk about trails all day, for Senja is overflowing with hiking and biking trails. Many of these trails pass through the mountain or past the beaches and the network is well-marked throughout. As for fishing, the water is surpassingly calm and this is one of the best places in the world for casting out to sea.
Climbing Up to Ski on Målselv Mountain
Målselv Mountain Resort is a large alpine resort suitable for experienced and beginners skiers. In fact, you can even climb right up to the top of the mountain (900 metres) and ski all the way back down but there are also tours that you can take from the resort. For example, dog sled tours can take you out into the outdoors for several days during which you will go camping and exploring the surrounding wilderness.
Encountering the Northern Lights
Due to the favourable location, Senja is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. However, you should visit between September and April for this spectacle and a clear sky is necessary. While you can take a road trip for this experience, an organized tour is often better and the local surroundings look incredibly different when this aura lights up the landscapes.
Sampling the Food Experience in Senja Town
Many visitors seem surprised by the quality but the truth is, Senja offers a great food experience. For instance, one can sample char straight from Altevatn Lake or cheese from Balsfjorden, while the local seafood is always fresh and prepared to a world-class standard by people who know their cuisine.
Senja is all about remote scenery and local experiences. You can sample seafood in between activities and witness the local wildlife before encountering the Northern Lights. It’s true, Senja is a truly unique destination for many people and for everyone else, this island is nothing short of remarkable.