Tromso, Norway, or Nor-BAE as I now call it has been on my bucket list ever since visiting Iceland 2 years ago. Iceland was magical and I knew that Tromso, Norway and in fact all of Norway was meant to be similar in its landscapes. On to the list, it went!
Following some deliberation on the best place to go and figuring out what would be the most cost-effective journey, the decision was made to do a 5-day road trip and head to Tromso, Norway.
Day 1 – Tromso, Norway
Our flight landed in Tromso, Norway at Tromso Airport around 2pm. This was following a layover in Oslo as there were no direct flights on this day. We picked up the car that we had pre-booked with Europcar and headed to our accommodation.
We stayed in the cutest cabin at Tromso, Norway Lodge and Camping. The staff there were so lovely, I had accidentally booked a cabin without a toilet and when asked if we could move to a cabin with facilities, they didn’t charge us the full price for the upgrade!
Here are some things to do in Tromso, Norway:
- Take a walk around the Harbour
- Visit the Arctic Cathedral
- Fjellheisen cable car (We didn’t actually go on these ourselves but took a drive up to a nearby viewpoint to see some of the views)
- Stock up on groceries at the local supermarket– Norway isn’t best known for its cuisine, and a basic toastie in a cafe can set you back a £7. If you’re staying somewhere with cooking facilities, my best bit of advice would be to cook your dinner and prepare lunch and snacks for the days ahead.
Day 2 – Tromso to Sommarøy Island
On day 2 we decided to get up early and set off for Sommarøy Island with a few scenic stop offs on the way.
Telegrafbukta beach was the first stop, which is in Tromso, Norway itself. If you are looking for more things to do in Tromso I would recommend giving this beach a visit, however, I wouldn’t say this is a must-do, you’ll see plenty of amazing beaches and fjords en route to and in Sommarøy itself.
Our next stop was the picturesque town of Ersfjordbotn. After walking around the shore and taking a thousand pictures we stopped for a coffee and cake at the cutest cafe Bryggejentene. I recommend trying the custard cinnamon swirl!
Stop 3 was completely unexpected as it was just something we passed on our driving route from Tromso, Norway. After a bit of googling I discovered that this place was called Nordfjordbotn and it was probably one of my favourite views from the trip.
To get the best view of the Fjord you will have to pull up in a small lay-by on the side of the road. You’ll know this is coming up as you’ll see a tall slim building on the to of a hill (bad explanation I know, but it’s a bit random and out of place so you’ll know what I mean when you see it).
Our penultimate stop was Krinta Beach on Sommarøy island itself. The water here is so blue (even when it’s cloudy). This is a definite must-see if you’re visiting Sommarøy.
Before heading to our accommodation we grabbed some lunch from Havfrua Cafe. We ordered two portions of chicken nuggets and chips and this set us back around £25 ( I think now you see why I recommend buying groceries and cooking your own meals). Although it was delicious and a nice escape from the cold.
After our day of adventuring, we finally checked into our accommodation at the Sommarøy Arctic Hotel (which is just over the bridge on Hillesøy island). We spent the rest of the evening relaxing, drinking endless cups of coffee, walking around the local area and chasing the Northern Lights (these where non-existent due to excessive cloud cover).
Note: This hotel does not have cooking facilities, so you will have to buy dinner here, or if like us you’re still pretty full from your chicken nuggets and chips, then you can live off your previously purchased snaaaacccckkkksss if you get peckish.
Day 3 – Sommarøy Island to Senja
Before checking out of our hotel we enjoyed the complimentary buffet breakfast, and also used some of what was on offer to make sandwiches for our lunch.
We had then planned to do a small hike in Sommarøy called Ørnfløya, but the designated parking spot was covered in meters of snow so we decided to leave it and head straight to our cabin in Senja.
After 3.5 hours driving and a few snack and pee stops we arrived at our cabin in the south of Senja in the cutest little town called Stonglandseidet.
We had a little walk around the village before sunset, then headed back to our cabin lit the fire and cooked our dinner (I know, I know the perfect set-up for a romantic couples get away rather than a best pals trip but hey ho).
The forecast for the evening was clear skies, so we spent 6 hours waiting for the Northern Lights to come out, but no such luck.
Note: I suggest using https://www.norway-lights.com/ to track activity Northern Light activity as well as downloading an app called “My Aurora Forecast” to decide whether it’s worth your time searching for them.
Day 4 – Exploring Senja
We woke up early to watch the sunrise from our cabin, and as you can see from the pictures we were in the perfect spot to see the sun come up from behind the mountains.
Stop 1 – Wildlife Cruise
We then set off to Hamn I Senja towards the north of the island to jump on a wildlife cruise we had booked on to the day before. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any wildlife on the cruise (apart from a few seagulls), but as per with Norway the views were just incredible, and to top it all off we did spot some wild reindeer near the grounds of Hamn I Senja.
Stop 2- Senja Tourist Route
As our accommodation was in the south of Senja Island and the majority of the Senja Tourist Route is in the very north, we decided just to do the last couple of stops on the tourist route, “Bergsbotn” (a viewing platform looking out over a fjord) and “Gryllefjord” another small town built around a fjord.
To be completely honest visiting these spots wasn’t completely worth it, yes the views are stunning, but so are all the views you will see on your journey around this area, so don’t feel like you need to visit these exact spots. Plus, there is only one main route around Senja Island, so that means a lot of going back on yourself, which I didn’t realise until it was too late.
Note: Toilet stops on the island are very limited, just something to bear in mind, otherwise you might be making some yellow snow of your own.
Day 5 – Home Time
On day 5 we drove back to Tromso to catch our flight back to London. The drive back from Senja to Tromso, Norway will take you approximately 3.5-hours.
In conclusion, it was a very successful trip (apart from the Northern Lights not coming out to say hello). I cannot recommend this Tromso, Norway road trip enough…So what are you waiting for?
Dates of Travel: 5th – 9th March 2020
Flights: £150pp with SAS
Rental Car: £300
Accommodation for 4 nights: £200pp
Spending Money: £300pp (including Wildlife cruise at £95)
If you are looking for some more Nordic/Scandanavian inspiration then check out my post on Iceland here.