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Senja

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Dec 15, 2021

Senja is the second largest island in Norway. The island is situated in Northern Norway, between the City of Tromsø and the town of Harstad.

A fjord in the rugged Western coast of Senja

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The island is divided into four municipalities. The eastern, central and northern parts belong to Lenvik, which also encompasses large tracts of the mainland. On the western side, facing the Atlantic, you find the municipalities of Berg and Torsken, and Tranøy municipality is situated along the southern coast of the island.

The town of Finnsnes is on the mainland. From here the Gisund bridge leads over to Senja. The hamlet on the Senja side is called Silsand. Gibostad is a picturesque village further north along the straights of Gisundet, and Vangsvik is south along the same waterway.

The more picturesque villages, though, are found on the western side. Husøy (House island) is flat island surrounded by dramatic mountains. Mefjordvær has a pictureque lighthouse and some old buildings, again with fabulous landscapes around. Gryllefjord is the biggest village on the west side, with a more modern feel. Torsken is an ancient centre with an 18th c. church.

Ånderdalen National Park is a relatively small national park on the southern side of Senja. However, the variations are huge.

Senja has its own particular accent of Northern Norwegian, that is particularly pronounced on the west coast. Texas-style rounded r’s and high intensity are characteristic traits. Until recently, Sami dialects reminiscent of the one in Northern Sweden were spoken in inland hamlets, but Sami is today a dying language on the island.

Finnsnes is easy to reach by plane (Bardufoss airport) from Oslo. Several catamarans depart for Harstad and Tromsø daily. There is also a catamaran connection nine times a week to Lysnes (Northern Senja) with onward bus connections from Tromsø. From Skrolsvik on the southern tip of Senja, there is a catamaran connection to Harstad.

In summer, convenient car ferries go from Brensholmen near Tromsø to Botnhamn in northern Senja. From Gryllefjord there is a car ferry to Andenes at the northern tip of Vesterålen.

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