There are many ways of spotting the Northern Lights. Most of them involve being active and working hard. However, for the lazy among us, there is an alternative, seeing the lights from a bathtub. Here are some of the options on the island of Senja.
A winter holiday in the Northern Lights zone can be hard work. Being active in the snow all day long, and evenings consecrated to hunting for the Northern Lights. Maybe you return more tired to the office than when you left. If your idea of a winter holiday is relaxation, doing nothing, and still having a fair chance of spotting the Northern Lights, a hot tub in Senja might be the answer.
Senja is the fairy tale island
Senja offers relaxation and Northern Lights
Senja is an island away from the big tourist crowds. The places to stay are small, homely, and comfortable. They provide a warm and safe place from which to explore beautiful scenery. Locally owned, they are found in small communities lining the coasts of this island. In the daytime, you can explore the wonderful landscapes, and at night relax in your cozy abode. Part of the experience is bathing, but scented oils and massages are nowhere to be found. Instead, good old-fashioned saunas with immediate sea access as well as more modern hot tubs and jacuzzis can be found in many holiday villages.
Bathing in Hamn i Senja is windswept comfort
The old trading post of Hamn i Senja is located in a sheltered port just metres away from the rumbling seas of the Atlantic. Today, it is a modern and comfortable resort. Here, a traditional fishing boat, a sjark (a smack in English) on land, has been turned into a jacuzzi. Badesjarken (“The bathing smack”) is a fun and sociable place for a group of friends, Refreshments are provided. For a zen experience, the four jacuzzis on the cliffs provide views to the rocky coastline, as well as to the endless horizon. After your soak, you can relax and hope for the light in the little lighthouse on the ocean cliffs or in specially designed Aurora rooms.
Bathing in Torsken is festive and sociable
The little fishing village of Torsken, with the small resort Senja by Heart, is a quiet haven on a little fjord amid steep mountains, albeit very close to the roaring Atlantic. Here the bathing experience is light-hearted and fun: One gets towels and crocs, and there is a modern spa bath on the waterfront, as well as a sauna. The locals, both those born here and the newcomers working in fishing, like a good bath after work, so the atmosphere is light and talkative. Invigorated, you can go for a drink in the little pub and chat with the locals. Have your jackets on the ready, though; Aurora might be turning up halfway down your second glass.
In Tranøybotn, bathing is all about calm
On Senja’s quieter southern side, the atmosphere is different. On a tranquil bay, surrounded by light birch forests and with views to distant peaks, Norwegian Wild is a lighthouse for those seeking closeness with nature. In fact, they do have their own lighthouse with wide views to landscapes and Northern Lights. After a day of winter kayaking on calm waters or snowshoeing into the pine forest, nothing beats the hot tub. Then one can let the heat make every limb relax while studying every bit of the night sky minutely. A sip of dry white and a low-voiced talk about life; nothing is urgent. What is that haze between those stars; could it be the Northern Lights starting?
Bathing at Stonglandet is a big laugh
Serene calm may happen at Senja Arctic Lodge at Stonglandet, at the southern tip of Senja, too. More typical, though, is a lot of laughing. The three large holiday houses are suited for groups of friends and for self-catering. After a day’s exploration on Senja’s idyllic southern side, an aurora bath can be arranged on short notice. The small jacuzzi and the barrel-like sauna will keep the gang warm and happy. Expect a lot of banter, some diving into the snow, snowball fights and maybe a dip in the sea. Clean and warm, everybody can join in at preparing dinner in the tiny BBQ cabin. This is an evening out, the Senja way, and we’re sure Aurora would like to join in.
In Laukvik, bathing is a spontaneous thing
Laukvik is a small village on the northern side of the island. The small resort GoSenja caters for those seeking solitude. After a day’s exploration, it’s time to wait for the Aurora, scanning the horizon around the cliff island of Håja in the far north. Then one can book the hot tub and sauna, grab a few soft drinks from the fridge, and let the soothing water warm you up. The little sauna is practically on the beach itself, and you can dare a brutally cold swim in the water. When the numbness subsides in the sauna afterward, you feel energetic and alive. And not a single Aurora ray will be missed.
What other ways are there to see the Northern Lights in Senja?
Found directly under the Northern Lights oval, Senja is a prime destination for seeing those magic rays. But about that day or hour no one knows, Aurora is a shy and unpredictable being. Fortunately, Senja offers many ways of spotting the light. There is dogsledding and snowshoeing. The local resorts and guest houses also have look-out point from where you observe the lights. The local tourist board, Visit Senja, is very helpful with tips.
Facts about Senja and about bathing
Senja is an island in Northern Norway, some 300 km inside the Arctic circle. The city of Harstad is found on its immediate south, and Tromsø is north of Senja. The main centre is Finnsnes, from where a bridge leads to Senja.
The bathing options are for the most part very simple; a good old sauna on the beach, a bath tub and maybe a jacuzzi. On some places, you bring your own drinks, others have a bar. Usually, you need to pre-book a bath with your hosts, and typically it takes a few participants to start up. Massages and fancy skin treatments? Nope, bathing on Senja is about relaxation and/or being sociable, not
Lining the beautiful coasts of this island, there are small and medium-sized holiday villages with huts, bungalows, hotel rooms and rorbuer (fisherman’s huts). For an overview, consult the website of Visit Senja, the knowledgeable local tourism organisation.
Senja is found under the Northern Lights oval, and is thus one of the best places on the planet to witness this phenomenon.
Visit Senja is the local tourism organisation, informing in depth about Senja on their website.