We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

In cooperation with: Visit Norway
Exeter, United...
Level Contributor
226 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

Trip Report: 2 weeks by car from Tromsø to Senja, Vesterålen and Lofoten

a few photos here: http://tinyurl.com/ldwb97p

This is quite long :)

Budget: tried to keep a lid on it without compromising enjoyment (I love cooking so not eating out helped a lot!) but basically did what we wanted to – car hire 3600 NOK, petrol/ferries/bus 2200 NOK, accommodation 11800 NOK (around 850/night for double), food 1500 NOK (but we had quite a few lovely big breakfasts), trips/museums 7400 NOK so 26500 NOK for 2 weeks for 2 people. I thought it was extremely good value for what we did and how much we enjoyed it!

Day 1: We took the Friday evening flight from London Gatwick. Got out of the airport quickly and took the 41 bus to town; arrived just in time to have some food at the hotel (Clarion With) then took advantage of the sunny evening to go up the mountain in the cable car, where we bumped into someone we knew from England! Beautiful views of the midnight sun and Hurtigruten sailing under the bridge; had a quick snowball fight too.

Day 2-3: After a lovely Norwegian breakfast we picked up the hire car (Hertz: 3600 NOK for 14 days which we thought was pretty reasonable) and popped into the Botanical Gardens – even my husband who has zero interest in plants liked it a lot. I think small children would enjoy the rocky paths going up and down and round the planting areas. Really interesting place. Then stocked up with food at the supermarket and set off for Senja. Lovely scenic drive on the E6 – so relaxing driving in Norway – which got even better when we hit the wonderful National Tourist Route. We did the detour to Husøy – quite a surprise to find a thriving village in such a remote location. Wonderful scenery all the way to Hamn i Senja. An idyllic, relaxing place – fantastic apartment with lovely outlook, midnight sun etc but possibly not so good in poor weather so a bit of a lottery (which we won this time). After a night marred only by a noisy drunken group from Bergen at 3-5am we had a beautiful hike up Sukkertoppen and a lovely relaxing afternoon/evening. The sea is very cold but we did have a swim.

Day 4: ferry to Andenes then a trip with Seasafari Andenes to look for whales. I can really recommend them; fantastic trip. They had a call from a local photographer who had seen a humpback in the fjord so we didn’t go to Bleik canyon for the sperm whales but followed this whale along out to sea. They were very respectful of the whale and kept their distance but it nevertheless came to us and swam under the RIB. The Spanish and French whale researchers were super enthusiastic which added to the experience. Great soup and bread on our return. Stayed in Andenes Rorbuhotell.

Day 5-6: Off to Myre via a dentist in Sortland for my husband’s lost filling! She was very good and we were stunned to find that private dental treatment is much much cheaper in Norway than in the UK. We stayed at a charming little campsite in Oppmyre – friendly and clean with excellent kitchen facilities. We had a small double room (bunks) which was only 300 NOK, the cheapest accommodation we have seen in Norway and incredibly good value. We liked the Myre area – peaceful and scenic. On day 6 we drove to Stø and did the Dronningruta hike; definitely in my top 3 hikes ever. Quite up and down and a rocky path so typically Norwegian. Then we went out in a RIB (sunny and very windy) from Stø Bobilcamp to see the birds on Anda island – puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots and more. I would love to return to Stø as it’s a beautiful place and the people are so warm and friendly.

Day 7-8: Kabelvåg hostel. Another scenic drive to Lofoten. We wandered around Henningsvær and Svolvær and booked a boat trip for following day. The summer hostel is in a “folkehøgskole” and very comfortable. On day 8 we did the trip to Trollfjord in the morning with a nice group of Spaniards and caught fish/saw sea eagles etc. Beautiful sunny day helped. After that we walked up Tuva for yet another fabulous view.

Day 9-11 Eliassen hostel. We visited the Krigsminne museum in Svolvær before setting off which was fascinating. The weather started to get a bit changeable so I don’t think Hamnøy appeared to its best advantage but it was still a great place. And I have seen the pictures when it is sunny! We went food shopping then had a bit of a rest. The next day we went up Reinebringen – predictably fab views and really worth the steepish climb. Then on to Å in the sunshine before being picked up in Hamnøy for a RIB trip to Refsvika caves. This was a highlight of the holiday – we had expected a bit of rain but the evening turned out fine and the trip was wonderful. We saw loads of sea eagles, the “maelstrom”, the deserted villages and the caves; our guide was brilliant, the scenery beautiful and the others on our trip were really interesting to talk to. We tasted stockfish (I was surprised that I really liked it!) and were given a kuksa (wooden cup) which I was especially pleased about as I had coveted one whilst in Finland but my OH had talked me out of buying! All in all a fantastic evening.

On day 11 it was rainy but by the time we got through the roadworks it had cheered up. We walked to Mulstoa then on to the hike to Kvalvika beach – stunning location. We went up Ryten, well worth it for the views and a lovely grassy summit, then past Fredvanghytte for a good circular walk. We were impressed with the hytte and think it would be a great place to stay.

Day12-13 Stamsund hostel. Another great location! We visited the excellent Viking museum at Borg en route (axe throwing, bows and arrows etc but sadly not enough manpower to go out in the Viking boat!) and walked by a stormy sea at Eggum (great sculpture) and got a happy phone call from our son to say he got a first in his finals which felt very odd as we were in such a remote place. The weather had deteriorated so we didn’t do our planned hike as it was cloudy but had an enjoyable time pottering around, making cakes, attempting to fish and spent a surprisingly entertaining 30 minutes watching Hurtigruten docking and unloading. We also saw some cars doing the Baltic Sea Circle Rally which looked fun.

Day 14 We drove up to Harstad which although busy (well compared to where we had been!) we liked very much for its setting. I dropped my husband off in town and he had a pleasant time on the quay in the sun while I went to the very interesting Historiske Senter on the lovely Trondenes peninsula. He then joined me for our tour of the Adolfkanonen – amazingly interesting with a guide who was a real enthusiast (80 NOK cash, just turn up in the car park but you do need a car). It’s incredible to see the level of organisation and expertise the Germans had in the war. It had turned cold and windy by then which made me think how harsh it must have been for the poor Russian POWs there.

We stayed at the Clarion Arcticus hotel which was simply excellent.

Day 15 Back to Tromsø – great drive; we could see weather systems coming in but had the sun for a couple of hours then sleet – down to 2°C as we drove through the mountains! I guess maybe typical Norwegian summer weather. Although I gather summer 2014 was pretty good; we picked the 2 weeks with a few cooler days). We had time to shop and visit the excellent Polar museum and MS Polstjerna. The schools had just broken up so it seemed very busy on the roads as people set off on holiday. The 42 bus to the airport took us along the tunnel system – impressive to see a big roundabout underground.

I was sad to fly back south into the darkness - I loved the 24 hour sunlight. Northern Norway is so beautiful and there is so much more to see - a month would have been better than 2 weeks! I hope we will return one day soon.

Harstad, Norway
Destination Expert
for Bergen, Norway
Level Contributor
32,728 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

Thank you so much Kayw294 for this excellent and detailed report. It will be very valuable to future travellers to the area. I must say I was thinking of you at the time and how you had picked the two only weeks with low temperatures. But to be honest, the heat wave in July was too much of a good thing, it would have been simply too hot for hiking. Besides, the temperatures do not drop much in the evenings like they do elsewhere where the sun is actually setting. I am not as brave as you when it comes to bathing in icy water, but when my garden thermometer showed 32C, I had to capitulate to the water to cool off.

Oslo, Norway
Destination Expert
for Norway, Oslo
Level Contributor
17,428 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

Fantastic report thanks. How did you get such a good deal for the car hire - any tips?

Tromso, Norway
Level Contributor
6,403 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

Thanks for a lovely trip report!

But, for next time or for another travelers who will do the same route;

1) instead of the drive via E6, take road 862 over Kvaloya via Sommaroy and ferry from Brensholmen to Botnhamn, Senja. Just a short cut to Husoy.

2) when you are in Myre, take a drive to http://www.nyksund.com

It's a most when you are in Vestterålen!

The walk on the Queens route goes between Nyksund and Stø.

Harstad, Norway
Destination Expert
for Bergen, Norway
Level Contributor
32,728 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

They were travelling in June, I am not sure the Brensholmen-Botnham was actually running at the time of their visit.

Tromso, Norway
Level Contributor
6,403 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

This year they are planning to start at May 22nd...

www.senjafergene.no/brensholmen-botnhamn/

Tromso, Norway
Level Contributor
6,403 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

Yeah, I think also the rental price was amazing great..;)

I thought one week in USA for NOK 2000 was great... but, depending of the car size too, so which kind of car did you got that price..?

Stavanger, Norway
Destination Expert
for Western Norway, Stavanger
Level Contributor
7,595 posts
108 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

Kayw,

Thank you for this detailed trip report! Your input on the Norway forum is also very much appreciated. Hang in there with us :-)

Pippi

Edited: 10:06 am, February 14, 2015
Exeter, United...
Level Contributor
226 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

GG, the ferry was running and initially we planned to do that route (looks lovely!) but our timing meant that we had to get the 17:00 crossing. We wanted to take our time on the road and not arrive too late in the evening at Hamn i Senja so we decided to drive the "long way round" instead which suited us perfectly as we could take our time on the tourist route. If there had been a ferry at 15:00 that would have been perfect!

As for Nyksund, we were going to stay there but Arctic Whale Tours had closed (I see they have a new owner now) and so we had to go to Andenes which meant we juggled the plan/timing. We did see Nyksund from the Dronningruta! We didn't take the diversion down there as we wanted to fit in a bird trip as well - sadly can't do everything. But there's always another year...

As for the car hire, I've just been looking at my files to check I didn't make a mistake :) I definitely paid £356 which at the time was about 3600 NOK (just checked exchange rate history for 15/11/13 and it was 3520 NOK). I had tried lots of different ways and have a record of all the options - the airport one (14 days) came out at 5327 NOK, hiring in Lofoten for a week (original plan) was 2908 NOK, 3 days from airport was 1373 NOK... I spent a while juggling routes etc and ended up going for 2 weeks car hire so we could use it as a big suitcase and also it would be very convenient. I had a 10% discount and a free extra driver code (for being member of the AA). I had excess insurance already. I guess I got lucky - and I booked it 7 months in advance. Using the town pick up was cheaper (and also saved a day's hire/parking charges). It was low season - summer, and before school holidays. I was chatting to the guys at Hertz and they said that winter was their busy time. They had doubled their fleet for the winter so probably were trying to hire as many as possible out in summer? They were certainly relaxed - only put a 1000 NOK hold on my card (don't know why - should have been 8000?). We booked an "A" size car for the 2 of us (and mindful of the "narrow" roads which turned out to be much wider than at home!) but got a "B" one (Peugeot 208) as they don't have the smallest ones in the Tromsø fleet. So maybe the tips are to be lucky ;) and also spend ages shopping around and juggling itinerary options. I was initially budgeting about £600 (6000NOK?) for car hire so was pretty pleased in the end. Now the kroner is weaker I don't see that Norway needs to be at all expensive as long as you plan carefully.

Although the weather wasn't hot, we did get lots of sunny days (and parts of days). Even the cloudy ones were good as the light is different and the cloud formations can be beautiful. We call the bad weather "atmospheric" which makes it seem better! It's best to expect less-than-perfect weather in Norway then you won't be disappointed.

Thanks for all your kind replies.

9. Re: Trip Report Senja-Vesterålen-Lofoten June 2014

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:17 am, February 16, 2016