My dog Alfie and I recently returned from a two week road trip around Northern Norway, and I loved our itinerary so much that I thought I would share it. I’ve been living in Northern Norway for three years now, so most of the places we went to weren’t new to me – they were places I love so much I want to return to again and again. But I did manage to include a few new stops along the way as well. You can find all of my Norway itineraries here.
And this was also my first road trip with a dog in Norway! Alfie and I have stayed at this gorgeous cabin in Lyngen together in May, but we had never done an extended trip together. And I’m so happy to report that Alfie was a wonderful road trip buddy, so I think we have many Norway road trips together in our future.
Compared to a lot of other European countries, Norway is not particularly dog friendly. Dogs are very rarely allowed in shops or restaurants. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that traveling with a dog in Norway is actually quite easy. My accommodation choices were certainly more limited, but I still managed to find pet friendly accommodation in every stop on our itinerary.
I booked all of our accommodation on Booking.com and simply filtered my search results for pet friendly stays. One thing that definitely helped is that most Scandic and Thon hotels, which are two of the most common hotel chains in Norway, have pet friendly rooms for an added fee. You just have to call the hotel to double check that they have pet rooms available when you make your booking.
I also found several pet friendly cabins, so we were able to stay at a nice variety of places, which I love doing on road trips around Norway.
Day 1- 2: Tromsø to Storslett
I live in Tromsø, so if you wanted to replicate this itinerary you could spent a couple of days in Tromsø first and then rent a car from here (in Tromsø I like Sixt for car rentals, or you can compare prices at autoeurope.com).
Things to do in Tromsø
I’ve now been living in Tromsø for an entire year, so it really is time for me to write up a full Tromsø guide. But until then, I’ll just say that downtown Tromsø is quite small so you can just explore on foot.
There are lots of cute cafés, including Risø, Smørtorget, and Selfie. For restaurants I would check out Casa Inferno for pizza, Rå for sushi, Art Cafe for a cosy setting, and Burgr for burgers. And for bars I like Bardus, Huken, and Amtmandens. And Storgata Camping is a popular nightlife place with indoor mini golf, karaoke, and lots of couches and tables to hang out.
Tromsø has so many wonderful hotels, so you’ll have lots of options here. I’ve stayed at the Thon Hotel Polar and loved it, and my parents stayed at the Thon Hotel Tromsø across the street, which is just as wonderful. But everyone I’ve asked in Tromsø seems to agree that the nicest hotel in town is the Clarion Hotel The Edge. The Edge is right on the water and is home to Tromsø’s only sky bar. Check current rates and availability here
Storslett is about a three hour drive from Tromsø. In Storslett we stayed at this cabin, which is right on a river and actually ended up being one of my favorite stays of the trip. It was perfect for Alfie because he could run free along the river, and the cabin itself is really big and has everything you could need. We spent two nights here, but I could have happily stayed longer.
Things to do in Storslett
I booked the cabin by the river thinking Alfie and I would just spend all our time there, but then a friend who used to live in Storslett sent me a bunch of tips for the area and I had to check them out. I stopped by Bærkokeriet and Kronebutikken for local products. There’s also a lovely little gallery next to Kronebutikken.
And then she suggested we hike up to Sarafossen waterfall in Reisa National Park, which was just difficult enough to justify a big chocolate bar, but short and easy enough for me not to want to murder my friend.
Day 3-4: Porsangerfjord
From Storslett I drove up to Porsangerfjord, which was about a four hour drive from Storslett. I could have broken up the drive with a stop in Alta, but since I’ve been to Alta many times before I decided to drive straight through.
If you do want to stay in Alta, the Thon Hotel Alta allows dogs, or if you’re not traveling with a pet my absolute favorite stay in Alta is the Arctic Dome at Glød Explorer. You can read about my stay at the dome here.
On Porsangerfjord I stayed at Bringnes Camp, which is a cabin on a farm. The cabin was perfectly fine and included a sauna and grill hut, but to be honest this was probably my least favorite stay of the trip.
The surrounding area was beautiful, but I felt that the cabin itself was overpriced and didn’t have much character, and the entire time I kept thinking how I wished I had stayed at the Arctic Dome/Turf house in nearby Kokelv instead. So I definitely recommend you stay in Kokelv instead!
The Arctic Dome in Kokelv includes a traditional style turf house, and they also allow dogs. This is one of my favorite places I’ve stayed in Norway, and it’s always my top recommendations for people wanting to see the northern lights in Norway. You can read about my stay here. But even in the summer when you can’t see the northern lights this would be the perfect place to enjoy the midnight sun instead.
Day 5: Hammerfest
Hammerfest is one of my favorite towns in Norway. In fact if it were a bit bigger I would totally move there – maybe I will one day. The town itself is lovely, and the surrounding landscape is stunning. Plus there always seem to be so many reindeer on the drive into town in the summer, making Hammerfest feel extra magical.
Alfie and I stayed at the Scandic Hammerfest. They charge a 200 kroner pet fee, and I had to call the hotel to make sure they had a pet room available. If you do call, be sure to dial through to the hotel reception and not bookings, because the booking number will take you to the Scandic central booking line and you’ll be on hold for ages.
This was a particularly great place to stay with a dog because at the bottom of the hotel there’s a path right along the water that’s perfect for dog walks.
Day 6: Sørøya
Sørøya is Norway’s fourth largest island. I actually got the idea to visit from my doctor, who said she’s always wanted to see Sørøya but had never made it there.
Alfie and I got the express boat from Hammerfest to Akkarfjord on Sørøya, which only took half an hour. You can check the time table and prices here.
As soon as I stepped onto Sørøya I couldn’t stop smiling. It reminded me a bit of the feeling I had when I visited Træna last summer – I guess there’s something special about islands. There’s a tiny little village at the harbor, but after a ten minute walk uphill Alfie and I were totally alone.
Sørøya is super green and doesn’t look quite like anywhere else I’ve been in Norway. In fact Sørøya reminded me a bit of the southwest coast of Ireland.
The weather was beautiful so I had decided to bring my tent and wild camp on Sørøya. I had done lots of research to figure out the best hiking trail for us but needn’t have bothered – pretty much all of Sørøya is covered in hiking trails, marked with DNT signs.
We started out on the trail to Tarhalsen, but then the view down to Lille Sand beach tempted me down there, but it was a bit windy so we then cut across towards Mefjord to camp for the night.
I had recently bought the super light MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 person tent and it was perfect for camping with a dog. Plus it was so much easier to hike with a really compact, lightweight tent.
If you don’t want to camp you could also visit Sørøya on a day trip from Hammerfest, or you could overnight at one of the Sørøya accommodation options.
Day 7: Porsanger
After Sørøya I wanted to go to Vardø, but Alfie doesn’t enjoy long drives as much as I do so I decided to split up the seven hour drive from Hammerfest to Vardø with a stop on Porsangerfjord.
We spent then night at this little cabin, which was basic but had everything we needed – even a heated outdoor shower! Plus the owner had just spent the weekend fishing and left me some king crab legs in the freezer.
Day 8: Vadsø & Vardø
Things to do in Vardø
Vardø is another one of my favorite towns in Finnmark. It’s almost strange how adorable and hip and quirky Vardø is. Like, walking around town, I definitely don’t feel as cool as the locals. But then everyone is so lovely and friendly (Alfie always invites conversation) it doesn’t matter.
In Vardø you should definitely check out the Steilneset Memorial, erected in memory of the 91 people who were burned as witches in Vardø from 1598 to 1692. Walking around here reminded me of visiting the Salem Witch Trials Memorial in Massachusetts when I was younger – it’s just so crazy to think that similar trials were happening oceans away.
Then at the edge of town you’ll find the incredible Drakkar – Leviathan sculpture, which is part Viking ship, part dinosaur, and part whale, keeping watch of the strait between Vardø island and the mainland. You can drive right up to the sculpture, or hike out there from town.
And when you’re tired from all the sightseeing you can stop in at the Nordpol Kro, Northern Norway’s oldest pub.
Last time I was here I drove along the Varanger National Scenic route and spent the night in Hamningberg. Even if you don’t spend the night there, it’s definitely worth the drive for the scenery.
Where to stay in Vardø or Vadsø
I booked last minute and there wasn’t any pet friendly accommodation available in Vardø, so I stayed at the Vadsø Fjordhotell in Vadsø, an hour from Vardø. The hotel is a little worn, which is actually ideal when traveling with a dog – I always get nervous in brand new rooms, even though Alfie is such a good boy and
never rarely destroys anything. I also slept through breakfast, but I’m sure it was great! And there’s a beautiful nature walk along the seaside right from the bottom of the hotel, which was perfect for our dog walks.
Day 9: Tana
After Vardø I wanted to go to Karasjok, but for Alfie’s sake I split up the drive with a night at this cute little cabin in the Tana valley. It was just a couple of kilometers from the Finnish border – I even got nervous that we actually would have to cross over, which wasn’t allowed at the time because I wasn’t yet fully vaccinated. Plus Alfie hasn’t gotten his passport yet. But I can’t wait until I can go to Finland, and in the future I would definitely include Finland on this itinerary as well.
Day 10: Karasjok
Things to do in Karasjok
Karasjok is Norway’s Sami capital and you can learn more about the Sami, who have lived at the top of Europe for thousands of years, at the Sami museum.
I also visited Sapmi Park to learn more about Sami history and culture.
Karasjok is also home to the Sami Parliament, which is in the coolest building, shaped like a lavvu tent.
We stayed at the Scandic Karasjok, which strangely reminded me so much of the hotel my grandparents had in Telemark. It was built in the early 1980s and just had a really lovely traditional hotel vibe. And the breakfast was wonderful! I paid an extra 200 kroner for Alfie and called in advance to make sure they had a pet room available.
Day 11: Kautokeino
While Karasjok is known as Norway’s Sami capital, Kautokeino actually has more Sami residents. To be honest the town itself isn’t super exciting, but it was really interesting to visit and hear everyone speaking Sami in the supermarket.
We stayed at the Thon Hotel Kautokeino, which I absolutely loved. The hotel is beautiful, set on a hilltop overlooking Kautokeino, and the breakfast was my favorite of the trip.
I also liked that they had their pet rooms on the bottom level, sort of tucked away from the rest of the rooms, so I didn’t worry about Alfie barking in the middle of the night and waking someone up (kind of a silly fear, but one that I had in other hotel rooms).
Day 12: Alta
If the Finnish border had been open I would have been able to take a shorter route through Finland back to Tromsø, but this time instead I had to stay in Norway and head back up towards Alta.
I only spent a night outside of Alta because I’ve been several times before, but if you could spend a couple of nights here if you want to see town a bit.
I stayed at Gargia Lodge, which I absolutely loved. The studio was so cute, and right at the start of a mountain hike – again, great for those dog walks. It is a twenty minute drive out of town, so I made sure to stock up on groceries beforehand.
Day 13-14: Lyngen
If you follow me on Instagram you know how much I love Lyngen. Lyngenfjord and the Lyngen Alps are home to some of my favorite views in Norway. And one of my favorite places to enjoy those views is Lyngen North.
I first stayed at Lyngen North a few years ago, in one of their glass igloos. What I love about Lyngen North is that it’s a small property with just a few igloos and cabins, right on the fjord. And they’re pet friendly!
This time Alfie and I stayed in one of their fjord cabins, which was perfect for us.
I love Lyngen North for the gorgeous mountain and fjord views, but their glass igloos are also the perfect place to watch for the northern lights in the winter.
Also, since the last time I stayed there Lyngen North has built a new restaurant, Solvind, where I had the most delicious dinner (I slept through breakfast, whoops).
And then Lyngen North is about a three hour drive back to Tromsø.