The Lyngen Alps are one of the most scenic places in Northern Norway, located overlooking the Lyngenfjord, a deep inlet that stretches from the desolate lands of Lapland, almost on the border with Finland, to the Arctic Sea.
The beautiful Lyngen Peninsula is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts – the Lyngen Alps offer excellent opportunities for skiing, snowmobiling and reindeer sleigh rides. In summer, however, the surrounding areas become a hiker’s paradise, with hundreds of kilometers of trails to explore.
What you will find in this guide to the Lyngen Alps:
- Where are Lyngen Alps and Lyngenfjord located?
- Best Things to Do in the Lyngen Alps and Lyngenfjord
- Best Restaurants in Lyngen (Lyngseidet)
- How to get to Lyngen Alps
Where are Lyngen Alps and Lyngenfjord located?
Lyngen Alps are a mountain range located in Northern Norway on the Lyngen peninsula, in the county of Troms og Finnmark 70 km east of Tromsø.
The Lyngen Peninsula includes the municipalities of Lyngen, Balsfjord and Storfjord and extends for a length of over 90 km, dominated by the Lyngen Alps, whose highest peak is the Jiekkevarre, 1833 meters high overlooking the icy waters of the Lyngenfjord.
The Lyngen Alps dominate the landscape of the entire region, which is bordered by the beautiful Lyngenfjord, one of the most scenic fjords in Northern Norway. The Lynges Alps feature over 140 glaciers on the high peaks of the mountain range, lakes and rivers.
The views are truly breathtaking and this makes this area very popular with both local and international travelers. The Lyngen Alps region is an attractive destination in both winter and summer. In winter it is a popular destination for winter outdoor activities, such as skiing and snowmobiling, as well as being one of the best places in Norway to see the Northern Lights. In the summer it is a paradise for hikers, as many hiking trails are opened to allow you to explore the area.
Don’t expect big towns on the Lyngen Peninsula, just small villages along the main roads, such as Lyngseidet, Koppangen and, on the other side of the fjord, Skibotn.
Best Things to Do in the Lyngen Alps and Lyngenfjord
Visit the town of Lyngseidet
Lyngseidet is one of the main villages on the Lyngen Peninsula, located approximately halfway from all major attractions, making it a great starting point for exploring the Lyngen Alps and the north of the peninsula.
Lyngseidet is also home to some of the best accommodations in the area, such as the fabulous Solhov Castle of the Lyngen Alps and Aurora Fjord Cabins, which boasts stunning views of the Lyngenfjord and is in an enviable position for spotting the Northern Lights.
Other good accommodations are the Lyngseidet Gjestegård, which also has a modest restaurant serving local cuisine, and the Magic Mountain Lodge Lyngen which offers inexpensive accommodation in double rooms or dorm beds.
So, if you are planning your visit to Lyngen, you will most likely be staying in Lyngseidet.
Lyngseidet is also the main point of reference for winter outdoor activities, here there are in fact ski facilities and snowmobile rentals.
Also from Lyngseidet you can take the ferry to Olderdalen, a tiny and picturesque village located on the opposite bank of the Lyngenfjord, with truly wonderful fjord views. From here you can continue northeast to explore the wild coast to Skjervoy or Alta via Storslett.
From Storslett you enter Reisa Nasjonalpark, one of the most beautiful national parks in Northern Norway, towards the Finnish border (there are no roads across the border, but just a few trails through wild lands that were once the territory of the Sami, the nomadic peoples of Lapland). The fertile Reisaelva Valley in Reisa Nasjonalpark is renowned for its wild salmon fishing.
Visit the Quaint Fishing Village of Koppangen
Koppangen is a tiny and picturesque fishing village located on the eastern side of the peninsula, north of Lyngseidet. It is easily accessible by a road that starts from Lyngseidet and ends right in Koppangen.
It is really very small with some red wooden houses by the sea, a small pier, and a few small houses around it, very typical of Norway.
There are no particularly popular attractions or museums, but the view is gorgeous, with a beautiful view of the Lyngenfjord and Lyngen Alps. It is an excellent spot for the Northern Lights and to take beautiful photos, thanks also to the suggestive background of the fjord and the mountains.
It is also a great place to explore the area and enjoy the best of the outdoor activities that the Lyngen Alps has to offer. In winter you can go skiing in the surrounding mountains, while in summer you can go hiking, there are several beautiful waterfalls in the surroundings and the area is perfect for picking mushrooms and berries, especially in late summer and autumn.
Another very popular activity in Koppangen is fishing in the fjord. Local fishermen in this area have been fishing for halibut, catfish, cod or coalfish for centuries. While walking around the village you will surely notice the huts with stockfish hanging to dry.
According to an ancient tradition of the village, the fish is not salted, because the sea breeze already brings with it enough salt to perfectly flavor the fish.
You can stay overnight at the beautiful Koppangen Brygger, a lovely guesthouse located right on the picturesque Koppangen pier, offering excellent accommodation right on the fjord and arranging various excursions in the surrounding area.
Visit the village of Skibotn, the gateway to Finnish Lapland
Skibotn is a small village overlooking the Lyngenfjord, at the mouth of the Ivgojohka River, surrounded by scenic mountains and at the entrance to a wonderful valley that leads to Finnish and Swedish Lapland.
It is considered an important crossroads of the Cap of the North (Nordkalotten), the name that the locals give to this wild subarctic region that stretches between the northern regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. These territories, roughly corresponding to Lapland, were (and are) home to the majority of the Sámi people.
Skibotn is in fact famous because in the past it hosted an annual market where different Nordic peoples met, such as the Norwegians, Kven (Finns) and Sami.
The beautiful Skibotn Chapel (Skibotn Bedehuskapell), dating from the late 1800s, is one of the main pilgrimage destinations of the Læstadians, a native religion of Lapland. Built entirely of white wood, in the typical style of the old churches of northern Europe, it can accommodate over 700 worshipers.
It is a great place to see the Northern Lights, because its climate is among the driest in the region and for this reason it hosts an important astrophysical observatory of the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, specializing in the study of the Northern Lights.
The village is also famous for being the home of the Norwegian poet and artist Sámi Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, an innovator of visual art and defender of the rights of indigenous peoples. His house, where he lived most of his life, is now a museum with an exhibition of artworks inspired by the Nordic countries.
From Skibotn the scenic E8 road runs towards Finland, passing the border a few kilometers from the point where the borders of the three countries, Norway, Sweden and Finland meet.
This point, called Three-Country Cairn (Kolmen valtakunnan rajapyykki in Finnish, Treriksröset in Swedish and Treriksrøysa in Norwegian), can be visited on an approximately 11km (one way) trek from the Finnish village of Kilpisjärvi. Alternatively you can take the boat from Kilpisjärvi which takes you about 3 km from the Treriksrøysa (around € 40 per person, summer only).
From Skibotn you could take a trip to the two Lappish towns of Karesuando (Sweden) and Karesuvanto (Finland), located opposite each other, separated by a bridge. You could then stay in the Finnish village of Kilpisjärvi, halfway between Skibotn and Karesuvanto.
Kilpisjärvi is one of the best destinations in Finnish Lapland to see the Northern Lights, and is a perfect destination for hikers and lovers of outdoor activities.
Here are some fabulous accommodations like the breathtaking Arctic Land Adventure Glass Igloos (if you’re lucky to find it available, book it well in advance), the Saivaara Cottages and the Tundrea Holiday Resort, which offer wonderful cottages with a sauna and hot tub, as well as a restaurant serving regional cuisine. A good alternative for those traveling on a budget is the Arctic Polar Holiday Village.
Take a Hike to the Steindalsbreen Glacier
Steindalsbreen is one of the most famous glaciers in the Lyngen Alps and its formation dates back to around 10,000 years ago. It is located above the Steindalen valley, in the southern area of the Lyngen peninsula.
It is possible to reach the glacier with a beautiful 5-6 hour hike, starting from the valley on the eastern side of the Alps. The trail starts near a parking lot along the main road Fv868 (GPS: 69.37594, 20.03902).
The path is quite easy, steep in some sections but still feasible even for non-professionals. It is about 14 km long (round trip) and leads right to the glacier.
During the walk, the path is partially signposted and has information signs on the fauna, flora, history and geology of the area. Once you arrive the landscape is breathtaking. We advise you not to walk on the glacier as it could be very dangerous if you are not an expert or if you are not with an expert guide. Near the glacier you can see the traces of its recession in recent years, due to global warming.
Take a Hike to Blue Lake (Blåisvatnet)
Blåisvatnet, or Blue Lake, which owes its name to its dramatic turquoise color, is located just below the Lenangsbreen Glacier and is easily accessible on a nice 4 km hike (one way), which takes roughly a couple of minutes. hours to get there.
Blåisvatnet (or Blåvatnet) is located at an altitude of 189 meters and the trail is mostly flat, except for the last section, where you will have to climb a few stone steps. But it is still suitable for the whole family as long as you wear suitable shoes.
The trail starts from the Sørlenangsbotn car park (GPS: 69.75818, 19.95605), along the main road on the western side of the Lyngen peninsula.
The trail allows you to visit two beautiful lakes, Blåisvatnet and Aspevatnet. After about 500 meters from the start of the trail you will see a fork, it will take you 5 minutes to get to Aspevatnet Lake. We recommend this small detour. Although less famous there is a beautiful landscape and the color of the water is blue like that of Blåvatnet. After visiting Aspevatnet you can go back and continue to Blåvatnet.
The trail is signposted with red signs or markings on the rocks and crosses a dramatic glacial valley. The best time for this excursion is in autumn or summer, because on sunny days it looks even bluer.
Take a hike up to the thrilling Gorsa Bridge
A nice day trip for adventure lovers could be to the ancient mining area of Ankerlia, and from there a hike to the wilds on the border with Finland, through the astonishing Kåfjord valley.
Located about 50km from Lyngen, the Kåfjord valley offers various opportunities for beautiful nature walks. The most famous is the excursion to the Gorsa Bridge, suspended over a 150-meter-high canyon, with a mind-blowing view.
Just below the bridge is an impressive waterfall, called Gorzifossen, and around it a rough mountainous area crisscrossed by streams and waterfalls. Near the Gorsa Bridge there is also a rest area with fireplaces, the perfect place for a picnic before going back. If you’re feeling brave enough, on Saturdays (summer only) it is possible to bungee jump from the bridge.
To get to the Gorsa Bridge you can drive along the Fv333, which runs through the Kåfjorddalen valley. It is taken right from the eastern side of the Lyngenfjord, with a detour from the main E6 road at Birtavarre.
The trail starts from the Ankerlia car park (GPS: 69.41484, 20.98296) and is almost 4 km long (one way). Along the way there are information boards about the mining area, the ruins and the iron extraction techniques. The Ankerlia car park can also be reached with a normal car (2WD), the road is a bit bumpy, but with a little attention and some driving skills you can easily do it.
The route is open all year round, but in winter it is covered with snow and therefore it is possible to reach the bridge only on skis or snowshoes.
If you have a suitable car (4WD) you could go as far as Lake Guolasjávri, a large lake located at the end of the gravel road up the Kafjord valley, at the foot of the mountain Halti, which with its 1,365 m is the highest mountain of Finland.
Along the very view highland-roads towards Lake Guolasjávri there are several wild camping spots. Tourists rarely come to this area, mostly you will encounter some Sami reindeer herders on their ATVs.
The whole area is accessible only in summer (mainly from July to September). However, it could be quite cold, as the temperature in August here could be just a couple of degrees above freezing. Be aware that there is no cell phone coverage here!
If you want to fish in the river or lake you need to buy a fishing card before coming here, you can ask for it at the Joker mini-market in Birtavarre (behind the gas station), at the beginning of the Fv333 for the Kåfjord Valley.
Take a hike to Lyngstuva Lighthouse
One of the most beautiful excursions on the Lyngen peninsula is the one up to the Lyngstuva Lighthouse (Lyngstuva Fyr), a desolate lighthouse (complete with the hut of the old lighthouse keeper) located in a truly scenic and remote place.
Lyngstuva is the northernmost point of the Lyngen Peninsula and can be reached on an easy hike suitable for the whole family. The trail to Lyngstuva is about 3 km long (one way) and starts from the Russelv car park, at the end of the road on the western side of Lyngen (GPS: 69.95075, 20.22566).
Along the way there are restrooms, picnic tables and rest areas, also the area is famous for being inhabited by Sami people and along the path you will be able to see the remains of some Sami settlements dating back to around 4500 BC, most of which marked by signs.
Lyngstuva is one of the best places to come and enjoy the midnight sun in peace. The view of the surrounding fjord, islands and mountains is truly breathtaking.
Near the Lyngstuva Lighthouse there is a small red wooden hut, built in 1922 as a shelter for the lighthouse keeper and later fallen into disrepair.
It was rediscovered by two German travelers in 1986, who repaired it, and has been left mostly to the good hearts of travelers ever since. You can freely enter the cabin and maybe, if you find it free, stay overnight on the floor (if you bring a mat and a sleeping bag).
Lyngstuva’s hut is undoubtedly one of the most romantic and charming places in Lyngen, and perhaps in all of Northern Norway. The best time to go is in summer, until early autumn, when there is still no snow and temperatures are not too cold.
Whale Watching on the remote island of Skjervøya
Skjervøya is an island located north-east of the Lyngen Alps, reachable by car thanks to a road bridge and an underwater tunnel that connect it to the mainland. The main village is Skjervøy, which is located in the central area of the island.
Skjervøy is home to a beautiful church from 1728, which is one of the oldest and best-preserved churches in Northern Norway. It was built by the architect Hans Michelsen, who designed this Nordic-style church at the behest of the priest Thomas von Westen, who moved to this remote place with the aim of Christianizing the Norwegian and Sami population.
Skjervøy is famous for being the first port of call for the polar vessel “Fram” upon returning from the legendary expedition to the North Pole which took place between 1893 and 1896. The legendary “Fram” was used until 1921 in the polar expeditions of the famous explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen, and is now exhibited and perfectly preserved at the Fram Museum in Oslo.
Even today, the small port of Skjervøy is one of the most remote ports along the Hurtigruten Coastal Express route.
Skjervøy is renowned for being one of the best destinations in Norway for whale watching (and arguably one of the best in the world). Boat tours depart from Skjervøy led by experienced sailors and guides, who take you up close to the hundreds of whales and orcas that swim around Skjervøy and the Kvanangen Fjord.
The best time for whale watching is between late October and late January, but be sure to book well in advance as it’s one of Northern Norway’s most popular activities.
On the nearby island Kågen, also belonging to the municipality of Skjervøy, you can take a look at the beautiful Maursund trading post, a 17th century farm. In the past it was one of the main trading posts in the area, when the local economy was mainly based on agriculture and large-scale fishing.
Today it is part of the North-Troms Museum and hosts various exhibitions, including a permanent exhibition on North Troms fishing and one on local crafts.
Spend the night in a Lavvu to see the Northern Lights
One of the most popular things to do in Lyngen is to sleep in the typical Sami tent, the Lavvu. It is actually possible to have this experience in glamping mode, that is, in a modern and welcoming wooden lavvu with a glass roof, from which you can see (weather permitting) the Northern Lights in total comfort.
It is certainly a fascinating experience, which combines the romance of staying overnight in a warm lavvu in the heart of the forest, with the opportunity to enjoy the best outdoor activities that the Lyngen Alps have to offer.
This (very popular) experience can be booked online, and includes all meals (breakfast, lunch and traditional dinner) and a whale watching boat tour. As an alternative to whale watching you can choose the option with a snowmobile trip. Round-trip transport from Tromsø is always included.
Live the magical experience of a reindeer sleigh ride
Another great thing to do in the Lyngen Alps is to take a reindeer sleigh ride and discover the Sami people and their culture.
There are several tours departing from Tromsø that will allow you to visit the reindeer farm. The Lyngen area is in fact well known for traditional reindeer farming. You will be able to see more than 200 reindeer up close, you can feed them from your own hands and then enjoy the magical experience of a sleigh ride, undoubtedly one of the must-do on a trip to Norway.
After your reindeer sleigh ride, you can relax and enjoy a hot drink inside the typical Sami tent, the lavvu, where you can find out more about the local culture.
Best Restaurants in Lyngen (Lyngseidet)
The small town of Lyngseidet has few restaurants and bars, as most travelers stay in one of the area guesthouses, which often serve meals for guests, or self-catering apartments. You can find everything you need to prepare your meals in two good supermarkets: Extra Lyngseidet and SPAR Lyngseidet.
Otherwise these are a couple of good restaurants in the area:
Lyngseidet Gjestegård is a modest, very traditional restaurant, made of wood and with a very welcoming atmosphere. It also functions as a bar and dance hall for the town. It serves good Norwegian cuisine, the specialty is fish, but they also have meat options. Lyngseidet Gjestegård also offers good accommodation with mountain and fjord views.
Hakon Guesthouse Cafe
Hakon Guesthouse Cafe is located on the opposite bank of the fjord from Lynseidet, in the village of Olderdalen, connected by the ferry. The restaurant is located in a guesthouse, offering basic but good accommodation in double rooms and apartments, and serves good Norwegian and Thai dishes.
How to get to Lyngen Alps
How to get to Lyngen by car
The best way to get to the Lyngen Alps is by car. There are good roads from Tromsø, Alta, Narvik and even Finland. The roads are passable in all seasons, as long as you have studded tires in winter (there is a lot of ice and snow on the road).
You can rent a car in Tromsø, where there are major international and local car rentals. It is best to book well in advance through a reputable site such as Rentalcars or Discovercars, in order to get better deals from the most reliable car rentals.
If you are coming from Tromsø, the shortest route is the ferry crossing between Breivikeidet and Svensby. The journey to Breivikeidet takes around 1 hour, while from Svensby to Lyngseidet it takes around half an hour. As an alternative to the ferry, you can take the E8-E6 road towards Nordkjosbotn and Oteren, and from there the Fv868 road that runs along the Lyngenfjord to Lyngseidet.
How to get to Lyngen by bus
There are two buses a day (in the afternoon) from Tromsø to Lyngseidet which depart from Tromsø Prostneset and take approximately 2 hours, taking the ferry from Breivikeidet to Svensby. Tickets can be bought at the ticket machine at Tromsø Prostneset bus station. You can find the timetables here.