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Chasing The Northern Lights in Tromso, Norway

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It is cold, the clock is ticking towards midnight, and we are standing on a frozen lake in the middle of nowhere in a remote valley outside of Tromso city in Northern Norway chasing the Northern Lights. It is so cold that the snow squeaks under our feet as we walk, and when we breathe out it looks as if we are smoking – the temperature has just dropped to a rather chilly minus seventeen degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit).

We are far away from the city with its lights and houses, surrounded by complete darkness — no lights except the faint glow from the camera screen. I have seldom felt this close to nature before, excited and hopeful…..will the Northern Lights show up this evening?!

And yes, it does to its fullest! We are lucky this evening and get to witness nature’s amazing fireworks – the magical Northern Lights in all its colors.

Northern Lights Tromso Norway
Northern Lights in Tromso – Nature´s spectacular firework!

If you are thinking of heading to Tromso, then you should also check out our Tromso guide with tips on what to see, do and eat.

Tromso has a lot of accommodation options. If you haven’t yet decided on where to stay in Tromso, read our complete guide to our favorite Tromso areas and hotels.

Here is everything you need to know to have the ultimate experience of chasing Northern Lights in Tromso Norway, including the best Northern Lights tours in Tromso, and the best place to see Northern Lights in Tromso.

The Best Northern Lights Tours In Tromso

I recommend that you join a Northern Lights Tour. Especially if you are in Tromso only a few days and are short on time, if the weather is not that good with a cloudy sky, or you don´t have a car or plan on renting a car.

The Northern Lights tour guides are highly skilled and experienced in reading the weather forecast and Northern Lights forecast. They are able to find the best areas where it is most likely that the Northern Lights will appear.

The guides really haunt and chase the Northern Lights and will drive you all over Northern Norway and sometimes across the border to Finland and Sweden to show you to the Northern Lights. So joining a Northern Lights Tour will increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.

Chasing Northern Lights in Tromso Norway
Northern Lights at Kattfjordvatnet on Kvaloya (Whale Island) just outside of Tromso city

There are a lot of Northern Lights Tour to choose from in Tromso and Northern Norway in general, so it can be a bit difficult to decide the right one. What tour is best for you, depends on how you want to see the Northern Lights and what kind of activity you want to do while viewing it.

Here are the best Northern Lights Tours in Tromso (in my opinion) and the ones I recommend:

Northern Lights 7-Hour Tour By Minibus

♦ Season: September, October, November, December, January, February & March

Northern Lights in Ersfjord, Tromso.
Northern Lights at Ersfjord in Tromso

This Northern Lights 7-Hour Tour is a small-group tour that takes you to the mountains, fjords, and valleys outside of Tromso by minibus in the chase for Northern Lights.

The actual tour depends on the weather and the Northern Lights forecast. The guide will drive you to the area that has the highest chance of seeing the dancing lights. Sometimes they even drive to Northern Finland or Sweden to find the Northern Lights!

The guides will do everything they can for you to be able to witness the fantastic Aurora Borealis.
On this tour, you get a meal, snacks, hot coffee, and tea. You get to borrow a warm and comfortable thermal suit and a tripod for your camera or mobile phone if you don´t have one yourself (cost 50 kr). You will also receive three photos (two portraits and one landscape) of you in front of the Northern Lights after the tour.

Wherever they find the perfect spot for watching the Northern Lights, the guides will lit a cozy bonfire for you to sit around. A lovely and warm gesture!

They will pick you up and drop you off at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the center of Tromso. Departure time is 19:00 (7 pm), and you will be back in Tromso city at around 02:00 in the night.
Click here for more information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Tour By Minibus 

Northern Lights Photography Tour (7 Hours)

♦ Season: September, October, November, December, January, February & March

If you aim to take awesome shots of the Northern Lights, then this Northern Lights Photography Tour is for you!

Here you will get help and guidance by professional photographers to take excellent photos of the Northern Lights. They will drive you to the best and most stunning places to photograph the Northern Lights, surrounded by mountains, lakes, and fjords.

You get served hot chocolate and marshmallows to barbeque on the bonfire! If you get cold, you can borrow a warm and comfortable thermal suit. Your guide will also take Northern Lights shots during the trip, which you get a copy of after the tour.

This is a small-group tour by minibus, where you will only be eight people (including the guide). This tour starts at 19:00 (7 pm), and you will back in downtown Troms around 2:00 at night.
Click here for more information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Photography Tour

Northern Lights Dog Sledding Tour (4 Hours)

♦ Season: November, December, January, February & March (when there is snow)

If you like dogs and want to try out dog sledding, then this Northern Lights Dog Sledding Tour where you get to combine dog sledding with watching the Northern Lights is perfect!

Dog sledding Tromso Norway
Us on a dog sledding day tour in Tromso in January. It was too light to see the Northern Lights.

Dog sledding is great fun and I highly recommend it! Nothing beats experiencing the stunning Arctic nature of Tromso getting pulled by huskies with an excellent view of mountains and fjords while the Northern Lights is dancing above your head in the sky. It is breathtaking and a memory for life!

A bus will pick you up at 18:15 (6:15 pm) at the Radisson Blu Hotel in downtown Tromso and drive you to Tromso Wilderness Center on Kvaloya, a 20-min drive.  Here they have a camp of 300 friendly huskies. Once you get to the Husky camp, you get to put on a warm and comfortable thermal suit and warm winter boots. You will not be cold. You will also get to borrow headlamps.

Then it´s off to a one-hour thrilling dog sledding ride (4 km) through a stunning landscape of mountains and fjords where you will hopefully get to see lots and lots of Northern Lights. You will be guided by experienced dog mushing guides all the way, so you don’t need any dog sledding experience to do this tour.

You can also choose not to drive/ mush the dogs yourself, but sit in the sled. This is especially suitable for young children and those with mobility problems, or if you want a more relaxed tour and focus on taking photos.

After the dog sledding, you get to cuddle with the furry and friendly huskies. The husky pups are soooo cute! ♥ Then it´s time for something to eat, and you get to go inside a big warm Lavvo (Sami inspired tent) where you get to sit around a campfire and have a hot meal of Bacalao (stockfish in tomato sauce, vegetarian options as well). The total time of this dog sledding tour is approximately four hours (including transport and eating), 18:15 (6:15 pm) – 22:00 (10 pm).
Click here for more information and the latest prices on the Dog Sledding Northern Lights Tour

Northern Lights Reindeer Feeding & Sledding Tour (6 Hours)

♦ Season: December, January, February & March (when there is snow)

If you dream of meeting real and friendly reindeer, where you get to feed them, cuddle, and go reindeer sledding, then you have to dream no more – this Northern Lights Reindeer Feeding and Sledding Tour is it!

This is a once in a lifetime experience, and if you are lucky, you even get to see the amazing Northern Lights while cuddling or sledding with the reindeer.

At the reindeer camp, you will be served a traditional Sami meal called Bidos (a reindeer meat soup), or you can choose a fish soup or vegetable soup. You get to sit inside a Lavvo (Sami tent) around a warm and cozy bonfire.

You will meet and learn about the Sami people – the indigenous people of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. The Sami guide will tell you about their culture of herding reindeers and will perform a Joik, an extraordinary traditional Sami folk song. It is a terrific experience! They will pick you up at the Scandic Ishavshotel in downtown Tromso at 18:45 and you are back around midnight.
Click here for more information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Reindeer Tour

Northern Lights Fjord Sailing Tour (4 Hours)

♦ Season: September, October, November, December, January, February & March

This Northern Lights Fjord Sailing Tour combines a fjord cruise with watching the Northern Lights.

On this tour, you will sail through the beautiful fjord and mountain landscape that surrounds Tromso on a luxurious catamaran sailboat. You get to sit inside the warm and cozy boat and watch the Northern Lights flashing over the sky outside, or you can walk onto the deck outside to see it even better. Up to you.

You get served snacks, coffee, and tea on board the cozy sailboat.

The catamaran sailboat is anchored right by the Scandic Ishavshotel in downtown Tromso. The fjord trip takes about three to four hours, and along the way, you will be served hot drinks and snacks. The experienced guide and skipper will tell you all about the Northern Lights and the fjords and mountain landscape that you sail through. You get to wear warm and comfortable safety suits and can sit outside or inside and watch the Northern Lights and the beautiful Arctic nature.

The departure is at 21:30 (9:30 pm), and you arrive back in Tromso at 01:30 am.
Click here for more information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Sailing Tour

Northern Lights Snowshoeing Tour (5-6 hours)

If you are seeking a real Arctic adventure where you get to experience the Arctic wilderness, then you should join this Northern Lights Snowshoeing Tour.

A snowshoeing hike is one of the best ways to experience the stunning mountain and fjord landscape of Tromso and see the Northern Lights in a dark and remote area. It is an unforgettable wilderness experience!

Best Northern Lights Tour in Tromso Norway
Espen enjoying some Northern Lights on a snowshoeing hiking trip in Tromso

On this tour, you get to go on a snowshoeing hiking trip through the beautiful mountain and fjord landscape of Tromso, and at the same time get some exercise. During the hike, you are served a delicious dinner.  You are provided with everything you need on this trip – snowshoes, poles, and a headlamp. And the guide will teach you how to walk with snowshoes if you have no previous experience with this.

The whole tour takes about five hours, including the transport, snowshoe hiking trip, and dinner.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Snowshoeing Tour

Northern Lights Overnight Snowshoeing Tour

You can also spend the night at a cozy cabin, where you get the whole night to see the Northern Lights if you want. On this tour, you are back in downtown Tromso at approximately 11:30 the next day (dinner and breakfast are included in this trip).

As you will do a snowshoeing hike in daylight the next day, you get both experiences; the Northern Lights and to fully see and take in the beautiful nature of mountains and fjords in daylight.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Overnight Northern Lights Snowshoeing Tour

Northern Lights Snowmobile Tour (7 Hours)

♦ Season: December, January, February & March (when there is snow)

If you have a need for speed and want to watch the Northern Lights at the same time, then a Northern Lights Snowmobile Tour is the one for you!

On this tour, you will go on a fun and thrilling snowmobile adventure trip through the valley Tamokdalen right outside of Tromso city (a 75-min drive from Tromso).

The valley Tamokdalen is inland, and here the chances are higher of getting a clear sky and some spectacular Northern Lights than in Tromso. Here the weather is drier and more stable than in Tromso which is on the coast. Plus there are hardly any houses or artificial lighting in Tamokdalen, making this the perfect place to watch the Northern Lights!

You don´t have to know anything about snowmobiles or how to ride a snowmobile to join this tour. Your friendly and welcoming English speaking snowmobile guide will teach you everything you need to know to safely ride a snowmobile. You will get everything you need, a warm and comfortable insulated bodysuit, winter boots, gloves, headwear, and a headlamp.

After 2-3 hours of snowmobile ride (30 km), you will be served a delicious hot meal and coffee inside a cozy lavvu (Sami tent) with a bonfire. The perfect ending to a great evening out in the wilderness with (hopefully) lots of Northern Lights.

This evening snowmobile tour includes transport from and back to Tromso by bus, where the bus ride in itself is a guided sightseeing trip of the beautiful Tromso area. They will pick you up at the Scandic Ishavshotel in downtown Tromso at 16:45 (4:45 pm), and you will be back at Scandic Ishavshotel at 23:45 (11:45 pm).

If you like some speed and action and want to see the unspoiled wilderness of mountains, fjord, and valleys topped with spectacular Northern Lights, then you will have the time of your life on this tour!
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Snowmobile Tour (cross the Evening excursion at the bottom)

What Is The Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, also called Aurora Borealis, can only be seen in the northern hemisphere and is strongest above the Arctic Circle (60-degree latitude) like in Northern Norway and Tromso where we live.

Spectacular Northern Lights in Norway
Northern Lights can move incredibly fast, almost like it`s dancing! Is this an alien?!

It was named Aurora Borealis by Galileo as far back as 1619 after Aurora – the Roman goddess of dawn, and Boreas – the Greek name for the north wind.

Picture from Nasa
Northern Lights from space (picture from Nasa)

The Northern Lights occur when solar wind packed with charged particles come into Earth’s magnetosphere.

The charged particles, mainly electrons, and protons get precipitated into the upper atmosphere where their energy is lost causing emitting of colored lights. This emitted light is what we see down at Earth as Northern Lights.


Here is an excellent film explaining the Northern Lights:

What Do Northern Lights Look Like?

The Northern Lights often appears as a diffuse glow in the sky or as “curtains” in the east-west direction, being shaped by Earth’s magnetic field.

Northern Lights can sometimes look like curtains blowing in the wind
Northern Lights can sometimes look like curtains blowing in the wind

Most of the Northern Lights is produced between 90 and 150 km above the ground, and reach out to more than 1000 km.

Northern Lights come in many different colors:

  • Red
    The red color of the Northern Lights comes from atomic oxygen that emits at 630 nanometers (red) at the highest altitudes. Red is not so common as green, as our eyes can`t see red very well unless there is intense solar activity.
  • Green
    Green is the most common color of the Northern Light. When molecular nitrogen collides with an oxygen atom, energy is transferred, which radiates it away at the green wavelength (557,7 nm).
  • Blue
    At even lower altitudes molecular nitrogen and ionized molecular nitrogen creates visible light emission in the form of red and blue (428 nanometers). Blue and purple only shows up at the highest levels of solar activity and is not as common as green.
  • Ultraviolet and Infrared
    Ultraviolet and infrared lights are also part of many Northern Lights. Ultraviolet auroras have also been seen on Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
  • Yellow and Pink
    Shades of yellow and pink are can also appear in the Northern Lights. These are a mix of red and green or blue. Other shades of red, as well as orange, may be seen on rare occasions. Yellow/ greenish is most common.
Northern Lights colours
Northern Lights come in many colors – red, green, blue, yellow, and pink

Why You Should Go To Tromso To See Northern Lights?

To see the Northern Lights, you have to head up north above the Arctic Circle and 60 degrees at least. Tromso in Northern Norway is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, located at latitude 69,6 degrees north.

Northern Lights Tromso City
Northern Lights above Tromso city

Tromso is located in the middle of the Northern Lights Oval – the area with the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights Oval is centered around 65 degrees North, and its width is about 10 degrees but expands when the solar activity is intense.

Northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland, Siberia, Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, and Iceland are the only places in the world where you can see Northern Lights. Many of these places are however too remote and uninhabited, and impossible or very difficult to visit.

Tromso is perfect to go to for chasing Northern Lights, as it is a big city (biggest in Northern Norway at least with 70 000 inhabitants), with plenty of things to do besides seeing Northern Lights. You can, for instance, go dog sledding, kayaking, visit museums, mountain hikes, skiing, reindeer sledding, fishing, sailing, and whale safari.

Tromso is easy to get to by air. SAS and Norwegian have more than 15 flights from Oslo to Tromso each day. Tromso is also quite mild when it comes to temperature due to the Gulf Stream. Tromso Airport is only a ten minutes drive from the city center.

Tromso has plenty of great hotels and other accommodation options to choose from, like Airbnb apartments and rooms.

When Can You See Northern Lights In Tromso – Northern Lights Season In Tromso

In Tromso, you can see Northern Lights from mid-September until mid-April.

The best time to see the Northern Lights is during the winter, from mid-November to mid-January as during these months the sun does not rise above the horizon at all and it is entirely dark. This is called the Polar Night and is the perfect period to watch the Northern Lights.

Northern Lights appear in the evenings, often between 19 and 2 o`clock at night (between 7 pm and 2 am). But you never know for sure when or where it will show up, which makes the Northern Light hunting even more exciting. When you finally see it, you feel blessed and privileged and treasure it even more.

Since the Northern Lights occur when solar wind hits the Earth`s atmosphere, there are periods and years when the Northern Lights are more likely to appear. Massive geomagnetic storms are most common during the peak of the eleven-year sunspot cycle or during the three years after the peak.

There are several web pages and apps where you can check the probability of northern lights. We like this one: https://norway-lights.com/#tromso

Northern Lights Norway
Northern Lights are dancing above our mountain cabin in Kvænangen. If you look you look closer, you can even see our Siberian Husky dog Varga

There are several space weather services out there, which forecast the Northern Lights:

Pink Northern Lights
Pink Northern Lights

There are also several great apps that you can use to predict the Northern Lights, like for instance this: Northern Lights forecast that you can download to your phone:
– Android: http://bit.ly/northernlightsforecast
– iPhone: http://bit.ly/aurora-forecast-no

Being out watching the Northern Lights can be a cold experience if you don`t have the right clothes and shoes. Here is a complete packing list of what to bring for a trip to the Arctic to chase Northern Lights.


Tromso has become very popular for chasing Northern Lights hunters over the past few years, and it was the famous British actress Joanna Lumley who kicked it off when she visited Tromso in 2008. Her chase of the Northern Lights was filmed by the BBC and has been watched by millions:

The Best Place To See Northern Lights In Tromso

Northern Lights in Kvaenangen, Norway
The Northern Lights are most visible at remote areas

In order to see the Northern Lights in its full glory and at its strongest, you have to head out of town to more remote areas with as little artificial lighting as possible. Darkness is your friend when it comes to admiring the Northern Lights. The sky has to be clear and not covered with clouds. The darker it is, the better, so full moon is not usually the best.

I recommend that you rent a car in Tromso so that you can get to the best place to see Northern Lights in Tromso. There are very few buses that take you out of the city to the remote areas.


You should drive out of the city to for instance Kvaloya (Whale Island) which is connected to Tromso city by a bridge. Renting a car is best and most convenient if you want to see the Northern Lights on your own on a DIY Northern Lights trip.

Seeing The Northern Lights In Tromso By Car

These are the best places to see Northern Lights in Tromso (in my opinion) on a DIY (do it yourself) tour with a rental car:

  • The Lake Kattfjordvatnet (on Kvaloya)
    Located at Kattfjordeidet on Kvaloya/ Whale Island this beautiful freshwater lake is surrounded by tall peaky mountains.
    This area is by us locals called the “Chamonix” of the Arctic, named after the famous and stunning mountain area in the French Alps. It is very popular among mountain skiers and hikers. The landscape here is wild and spectacular and my favorite in Tromso.
    On your way to or from Kattfjordvatnet, you should stop by our favorite cafe and supermarket, Eide Handel. Eide Handel is a big grocery store/ local supermarket with a great cafe that sells local goods, snacks, and souvenirs. Eide Handel is open until 23:00 (11 pm) each weekday, and until 22:00 (10 pm) on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.
    Click here (Google Maps) for the driving route from Tromso center to Kattfjordvatnet (a 30 minutes drive)
  • Ersfjord (on Kvaloya)
    Ersfjord is a beautiful and peaceful fjord on Kvaloya/ Whale Island. The fjord is quite narrow, surrounded by spectacular mountains on each side which makes it a lovely and favorite place to take Northern Lights photos. This is one of the most popular places to take photos of the Northern Lights in Tromso.
    While you are in Ersfjord, I recommend that you visit the lovely and cozy cafe Bryggejentene. Try their delicious home-made cakes together with a hot cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Bryggejentene also sells clothes and other stuff. It is a great place to shop for gifts to bring back home. Opening hours of Bryggejentene cafe and shop: 11-16 (4 pm) on weekdays, 11-17 (5 pm) on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
    Click here (Google Maps) for the driving route from Tromso center to Ersfjord (a 30 minutes drive)
  • The Lake Finnvikvannet (on Kvaloya)
    Finnvikvannet is a big freshwater lake located in the valley Finnvikdalen on Kvaloya. Here you get a great view of the mountain and fjords surrounding Tromso.
    Click here (Google Maps) for the driving route from Tromso center to Finnvikvatnet (a 20 minutes drive)
  • Snarby
    Snarby is a remote area on the mainland of Tromso with no houses, street lights or artificial lighting. Here you are surrounded by mountains, and you can look down on the Oldervik and on a clear day have a view of the Lyngen Alps.
    Click here (Google Maps) for the driving route from Tromso center to Snarby (a 40-50 minutes drive)
Best place to see Northern Lights in Tromso Norway
The best place to see Northern Lights in Tromso, in my opinion, is Kattfjordvatnet Lake on Kvaloya
Northern Lights Ersfjord Tromso
Northern Lights at Ersfjord in Tromso

Seeing The Northern Lights In Tromso Without A Car

If you don´t want to rent a car, and you don´t want to join a Northern Lights Tour, there are some places close to downtown Tromso where you get a little bit away from the street lights so you can see the Northern Lights better.

These are the best places to see Northern Lights close to Tromso center without a rental car (you can walk, take the bus, or a taxi there):

  • Tromso Cable Car
    Take the Cable Car in Tromsdalen up to the Floya Mountain (no. 1 on our list of The Best Things To Do In Tromso).
    See Google Maps for the walking route from Tromso center to the Cable Car (or take the bus or a taxi)
  • Prestvannet
    A big freshwater lake just above the downtown of Tromso (a 30 min walk uphill, or take the bus or a taxi).
    See Google Maps for walking route to Lake Presvannet
  • Telegrafbukta Beach
    Tromso city´s only beach just south of downtown Tromso with a great view of the fjords and mountains (a 40 min walk, or take the bus or a taxi).
    See Google Maps for walking route from Tromso center to Telegrafbukta Beach
  • Kaldfjord on Kvaloya
    Take bus no. 42 to the last bus stop “Eidkjosen” (a 30 min bus ride one way from downtown Tromso) and walk around the fjord Kaldfjord.
    See Google Maps for the bus driving route
    Have a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and something to eat at the cafe at Eide Handel in Kaldfjord (just next to the bus stop “Eidkjosen”). Eide Handel is a fantastic big grocery store/ local supermarket with a great cafe that sells local goods, snacks, and souvenirs. Eide Handel is open until 23:00 (11 pm) each weekday, and until 22:00 (10 pm) on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.
  • Ersfjord on Kvaloya
    A beautiful fjord surrounded by steep mountains. Take bus no. 425 to Ersfjord (a 40 min bus ride one way, or take a taxi) and walk around the fjord Ersfjord.
    See Google Maps for the bus driving route.
    Stop by the lovely and cozy cafe Bryggejentene located in Ersfjord. Try their delicious carrot cake and chocolate brownie, together with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Bryggejentene also sells clothes and other stuff. It is a great place to shop for gifts to bring back home! Opening hours of Bryggejentene cafe and shop: 11-16 (4 pm) on weekdays, 11-17 (5 pm) on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.

Bring your camera and tripod, warm clothes, something to eat and some hot coffee, tea or chocolate. Cross your fingers and hope that the Northern Lights will show up! 🙂 And the more days you have, the more likely you are to get lucky and see nature’s most spectacular light show.

Northern Lights In Norway
Northern Lights at our family cabin in the mountains of Kvaenangen in Norway

If the weather is bad, with a cloudy sky, it is not that easy to find the best areas for Northern Lights by yourself. You should check the weather forecast for different areas of Tromso and its surroundings and go to the area that has fewer clouds.

The best app for the weather forecast in Norway is the YR App (or webpage Yr.no). You can download the free Yr App here:
– Android http://bit.ly/yr-weatherforecast
– iPhone http://bit.ly/yr-weather

If you are unlucky, however, and do not see the Northern Lights, there is always the next-best-thing – the spectacular Northern Lights movie “Experience the Aurora” at the Science Center. The film is awesome and is shown every day. A real must-see if you are visiting Tromso, even if you get to see the real thing or not.


There you go, our top tips on what are the best Northern Lights tours in Tromso, and where are the best place to see Northern Lights in Tromso, both if you are renting a car or not. Good luck with chasing the Northern Lights! Once you see it, it is a once in a lifetime experience and something truly unique and memorable!

Where To Stay In Tromso

Norway, in general, is quite expensive when it comes to accommodation and dining, and Tromso is no exception. Tromso is a small city with a compact downtown, so everything is within a short walking distance. Here are our favorite hotels in Tromsø, at different price ranges.

Also, click here to read our complete guide to our favorite Tromso areas and hotels.

Mid-Range

Clarion Collection Hotel With

Clarion Hotel With TromsoHotel With, as it is known locally, has the perfect location right by Tromso Harbour with a beautiful view over the sea and over to the Arctic Cathedral, the Tromso Bridge, Tromsdalstinden mountain and Fjellheisen. You are right in the middle of everything if you choose to stay at this hotel, very close to all the city's restaurants and shops.

An extra plus with this hotel is that you get free coffee/tea and Norwegian waffles with sour cream, jam and brown cheese (Espen`s favorite!) in the afternoon (from 15 to 18 o`clock) and a free meal in the evening (from 18 to 21 o`clock). This makes this hotel a good value for your money as eating out is expensive. A friend of mine from my class at the University used to work here during the weekends, and the staff here is well trained and provides good service and help to the guests.
Click here for the latest prices

Clarion Collection Hotel Aurora

Clarion Hotel Aurora TromsoNext door to Hotel With is its sister hotel Clarion Collection Hotel Aurora. This hotel also has free waffles in the afternoon and an evening meal included in the price. The extra plus of this hotel is the rooftop jacuzzi and sauna! Here you can relax in the evenings and watch the northern lights from the hot tub. Sounds pretty sweet if you ask me!
click here for the latest prices


The Edge Hotel

The Edge Hotel TromsoThe new "star" when it comes to hotels in Tromso is, however, The Edge. It is brand new and has an excellent bar and restaurant which is also very popular among the locals in Tromso. You really should try the hamburger, it is great! The breakfast at The Edge is maybe the best in town with everything you can imagine. Located by the harbor, but further south than the hotels above, and close to the Tourist Information office.
Click here for the latest prices

City Living Hotel & Apartments
This apartment hotel has a central location on the street just above Tromso's main street Storgata. The apartments have a small kitchen, which is handy for making breakfast, lunch or even dinner inside. That way you can save some money by shopping at one of the close-by supermarkets and cook your own food.

The hotel also has a laundry room that the guests can use for free. Very handy as dry cleaning is expensive and there are no other options in town if you want to get your clothes washed. There is, however, no daily cleaning service, but you can help yourself to coffee and clean sheets and towels whenever you want from the second floor. You can easily get here by the Airport Bus (Flybuss) from the airport.
Click here for the latest prices

Budget

Amalie Hotel
This is a small budget hotel and a less expensive option than the hotels above. It has an excellent location just next to the big and more expensive Radisson Blu Hotel. An extra bonus is unlimited free coffee and tea the whole day and complimentary waffles in the afternoon. The rooms are a bit small but well equipped with kettle, tea/coffee, mini-fridge, iron, and hairdryer. You get a lot for your money. Great breakfast included in the price.
Click here for the latest prices

Comfort Hotel Xpress Tromso
This is a budget hotel with a perfect location in Grønnegata, the street adjacent to the city's main street Storgata. The hotel rooms are clean, new and fresh, but a bit small. If you are out all day on tours and sightseeing, then the small rooms will not be a problem. There is no daily housekeeping service. There is no restaurant in the hotel, but it is very close to all the restaurants and cafes that Tromso has to offer. You can get a breakfast discount of 50 % (150 KR) at their sister hotel Clarion Hotel, which is well worth the money as you can eat all you want at their excellent breakfast buffet.
Click here for the latest prices

Smarthotel Tromso
Another budget option with small rooms but well equipped, fresh and modern. The hotel has an excellent location right in the middle of downtown Tromso. You get breakfast included in the price, which is fairly good. You get free coffee and tea the whole day. Great value for your money!
Click here for the latest prices

Renting A Car In Tromso

If you want to explore the areas outside the city center, then a rental car is a great option in Tromso. It's easiest to book the car online before you travel and then pick it up your car at the airport when you arrive. Tromso Airport has cars from several international car rental agencies such as Avis, Hertz, Sixt, Europcar, and Budget.

Click here for the latest prices and to see the available cars to rent in Tromso

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Have you seen Northern or Southern Lights, and if so where? If you have not, is this on your bucket list? Please leave a comment in the comment area below, thanks!

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Written by Maria Wulff Hauglann

Maria is a Norwegian travel nerd who has explored more than thirty countries on four continents. She holds a master's degree in Computer Science, as well as an MBA. In 2014 while on a year-long trip across South East- Asia, Maria co-founded the travel blog Nerd Nomads to help others get out and explore the world. In 2018 she left her day job permanently for a life of full-time travel. See our about page for more about Maria.

35 Comments

  1. What a superb article and great photos! We never see anything like that here in Southern California. Makes me want to head out to Norway and experience it for myself!

    Reply
    • Thanks a million James! You should definitely head up north and come visit us in Norway! The season is almost over now, but the northern lights will return next year…. 🙂

      Cheers,
      Maria

      Reply
  2. Wow! I would love to see the Northern lights some day, but since I avoid winter destinations, it will never happen. Thanks for sharing these fabulous photos and information. I am so glad you got such an amazing night. I have been to Norway, but we enjoyed nearly 24 hours of daylight.

    Reply
    • Hehe, well you can visit in September/ October. We usually don`t have snow by that time yet, and the temperatures are not so bad. Still, it`s dark enough so that you can see the northern lights.

      But I agree, the Midnight Sun shining 24/7 is not so bad either…. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Excellent guide, especially the DIY part! The lake looks incredibly scenic for an aurora photography setting. I did manage to catch aurora when I went to Norway’s Lofoten Islands. Sooo beautiful and a great setting too with its steep mountains rising from fjords. =)

    Reply
    • Hi Andrew,

      Thank you so much! Tromso and it`s surrounding areas are awesome for Northern Lights watching and photography.

      So happy to hear that you saw the northern lights in Lofoten! It is such a great place, both summer and winter, we have been there several times.

      -Maria-

      Reply
  4. Hi Maria, I enjoyed your article on the Northern Lights! My husband and I used to live in Anchorage, AK and saw them frequently in the winter, usually just the green lights. Oddly enough, the only time we have seen red and pink was in Kentucky! It must have been a particularly good storm.

    I lived in Mandal, Norway many years ago. I didn’t see the Northern Lights there. It would be wonderful to visit your country again and go to Tromso!

    Reply
    • Hi Peggy,

      Thank you so much! So happy to hear that you liked my article! The green northern lights are most common here in Tromso too.

      Wow, it must have been a pretty huge solar storm when you were able to see red/pink northern lights in Kentucky! I love to watch the northern lights whatever color it is.

      Mandal is too far south of the northern lights oval. You are always welcome to visit Tromso! So cool that you lived in Mandal, and now live in Alaska. Would love to go to Alaska and go dog sledding!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  5. Very helpful…..will be there this Tuesday ’til Friday next week so we’re crossing our fingers that one of those nights we’ll see Aurora Borealis…….

    Reply
    • Great to hear that you will be visiting Tromso this week as the weather is pretty good. Clear sky and good possibility of seeing the Northern Lights! Saw plenty last night.

      Crossing my fingers too! Have a great time in Tromso!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  6. Wow! Truly a magical place. I’m a bit jealous of you right now, you gets to see this all the time. 🙂 Anyway, it was great reading this post. I would love to see the Northern lights some day.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! Seeing the northern lights is awesome, even for me who has grown up with it and see it every winter. I can never get enough of this light phenomenon. You should definitely come to Norway and see it with your own eyes.

      -Maria

      Reply
  7. I HAVE to do this. This has to be one of the most amazing things to see in one’s lifetime.

    I went to Norway last year in Summer and checked out the Sognefjord. Bergen and Oslo were amazing, and it has been my favorite country so far out of so many I’ve visited. I hope I can go back and see the Northern Lights near Tromso. What is the “less cold” time of the year

    Also, Norwegian apple juice and strawberries should be massively exported everywhere.

    Reply
    • Hi P.C.!

      Sounds like you had a great time in the southern part of Norway! Hehe, yep I agree, Norway has the best strawberries, and they are even better and sweeter in the north of Norway since the sun is up all night long (midnight sun). You must try them!

      You can only see the northern lights when it is getting dark in the evenings, from September to April. From May to August the evenings are too bright due to the midnight sun, so you cannot see the northern lights. It is “less cold” in October, March, and April, but it can still be snow at least in the mountains surrounding Tromso. It is coldest during the dark period, 21st of November – 21st of January when the sun is completely gone and never comes over the horizon.

      Hope to see you in Tromso one day! Happy travels!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  8. I got surprised when reading this article and it’s actually a fanstaic article to read and learn. Thank you so much

    Reply
  9. Wow! If I ever get to see the Northern Lights, my life will be complete. Such amazing photographs.

    Reply
    • Hehe, yep seeing the Northern Lights is really breathtaking and something everyone should see at least once in their life. Thank you so much for your great comment!

      Happy travels!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  10. Hi Maria;
    A beautiful blog on Tromso hiking and the Northern lights. We are traveling to Tromso from the 6th to thew 10th of December cause seeing Auroras is one of those things we´ve always dreamt to do.
    Let´s hope to be lucky!! We also want to go hiking even if days are dark during the polar night ( We hope it is not pitch black!), so your tips on places are going to be really useful. We can´t wait!!

    Reply
  11. This article is FANTASTIC! I am heading out to Tromso this week and the article has given me all the information I need! Would love to go hiking but worried about renting a car and having the confidence to drive around there. Have booked a NL tour so fingers crossed we get to see them! Thank you for putting this article together.

    Reply
  12. One of the biggest wish of my life to see northern lights. I wish i could see this in portarlington where i live, but its not possible. What are the best places in ireland to see northern lights?

    Reply
    • The best places in the world to see the Northern Lights are Northern Norway and Iceland as they are located right below the aurora. You can, however, see the Northern Lights in Ireland too as it is located between the 52nd and 55th latitudes. From Ireland, you get to see the edge of the Aurora Borealis. The most consistent regions are the most northern of Ireland.

      Crossing my fingers that you get to see the Northern Lights one day! It is a spectacular show!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  13. Guys, this article is amazing! We are currently planning our aurora borealis experience and aren’t quite sure where to head but we are considering a DIY tour in Tromso. 😉

    Thank you for the great content and all the detailed information about how the northern lights originate.

    Safe travels!
    Julia & Berni from thebackpackway.com 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Julia and Berni,

      Thanks a million for your nice words! Awesome that you are heading to Tromso to see the Northern Lights!

      If the weather is nice with a clear sky, then it is easy to see the Northern Lights and you can see it from anywhere, even in the downtown of Tromso (if the Northern Lights are strong). But it is best to rent a car and drive a little bit out of the downtown of Tromso to escape the city lights. Kvaloya Island (meaning Whale Island) which is connected to downtown of Tromso by a bridge is an excellent area to see the Northern Lights.

      If the weather is bad, however, with cloudy weather, you can consider joining a Northern Lights tour. They really haunt the Northern Lights and will drive you around all night if that´s what it takes to see it, even to other parts of Northern Norway and to Northern Finland. They are skilled in reading the Northern Lights forecast and drive you to where the chances of seeing this natural phenomenon are best.

      Have a fantastic trip to Tromso! Crossing all my fingers and toes that you will see plenty of Northern Lights! 🙂

      -Maria-

      Reply
  14. Northern lights are very beautiful, it is suitable for visitors who want to discover new places. In the future, if I have a chance, I will travel to enjoy the beauty of northern lights.
    It’s very impressive

    Reply
    • Hi,

      You should definitely put a trip to Tromso to see the spectacular Northern Lights on your bucket list. I think you will love seeing the Northern Lights!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  15. Hello Maria,

    Thank you for your article as I have been searching for place to see Northern lights in Tromso not joining tours. May I ask that when I rent a car in Tromso to visit the places out of City to see The Northern Lights, how easy is to find a parking place?

    Andrew

    Reply
    • Hi Andrew,

      Thank you so much! So glad to hear that you find our post about seeing the Northern Lights in Tromso useful!

      The places that I have listed as good DIY spots for watching the Northern Lights (Kattfjordvatnet, Ersfjord, Finnvikvannet, and Snarbyeidet), all have a parking place where you can park for free. Just switch off the lights on the car, and you can watch the Northern Lights from inside the car or just step out and stand outside the car.

      Of the four places that I have listed, only Ersfjord is a residential area with houses. In Ersfjord, you can for instance park by the school or at the cafe Bryggejentene. Or drive to the small boat harbor where we usually park, and walk down to the sea and take photos of the Northern Lights.

      Remember to bring a torchlight or headlamp as it is completely dark at all of these places so you will have trouble finding your way and walk around without a torchlight.

      Crossing my fingers that you will see plenty of Northern Lights!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  16. Hi Maria

    Thanks for the great insight in your article. I am wondering for the DIY option, how easy is the drive to each of the location?

    Reply
    • Hi Adrian,

      Thank you so much! So happy to hear that you find our article on Northern Lights in Tromso useful!

      It is fairly easy to drive to each of the four places I have listed as my favorite places to see the Northern Lights:

      – Kattfjordvatnet on Kvaløya
      – Ersfjord on Kvaløya
      – Finnvikvannet on Kvaløya
      – Snarby

      Three of these places are located on the big island Kvaløya (where I live) which is connected to Tromsø by a bridge. Kvaløya is just a 10-15 min drive from downtown Tromsø. The roads are in good condition to each of these four places and they are kept cleared of snow every day. The roads to these four places are also quite broad so you can easily meet a car without having to stop or drive off the road. Just don´t expect a four-lane highway, the roads only have one lane for each driving direction. 🙂 But there is not that much traffic so you should be fine.

      The roads do, however, get narrow further out on Kvaløya. So if you want to continue driving further out on Kvaløya, to for instance the popular Sommarøy, Grøtfjord, and the mountain Brosmetind, you should drive slowly and be prepared to stop if you meet a car as some places the road is so narrow that it only fits one car.

      You should be fine driving to these four places, just be aware that the roads might be slippery due to ice and snow. There are free parking spots at all of these four places.

      -Maria-

      Reply
  17. What an amazing article, this is really helping me plan my trip to Tromso in the last week of this February…
    I’m wondering, is it a good idea to go on a solo trip from France? Will 5 days be enough?
    I don’t think I can rent a car, that in mind is getting around easy? To and from the Airport?

    I really hope you respond,
    Thanks,
    Sagar

    Reply
    • Hi Sagar,

      Thank you so much! So cool that you are going on a solo trip from France to Tromso at the end of February! It is a great time of the year to visit Tromso to see the Northern Lights! The sun is back (it comes above the horizon from 21st of January) so you will get some daylight during the day which is nice. It is still dark in the evenings and nights so perfect for watching Northern Lights.

      Yes, I think it is a great idea to head to Tromso on a solo trip! Tromso is a small city with only about 70 000 inhabitants and very safe with hardly any crime. And yes, I think five days is enough to see the city and its surroundings and with five days your chances of seeing the Northern Lights is pretty good.

      Tromso is a small city where most of the city, including the airport, is located on a very small island of only 21.7-square-kilometer. It takes about 10 minutes to drive from the airport to downtown Tromso where all the hotels are located. We do, however, sadly not have trains or subway/ metro in Tromso.

      You have three options getting from the airport to downtown:

      1) City Bus (cheapest since you are traveling solo):
      – Take bus no. 40 or 42 which runs from the road next to the airport (you have to go out of the airport and out to the road, just a two-minutes walk) into downtown
      – 15-20 min bus ride to downtown
      – Price one way: 33 kr = 3 Euros = 4 US$
      – Buy the bus ticket at a ticket machine at the bus stop, or download the free app “Troms Mobillett” and buy your ticket there

      2) The Airport Express Bus:
      – 10-15 min bus ride to downtown
      – Price one way: 110 kr = 15 Euros = 12 US$
      – Price return ticket: 180 kr = 17 Euros = 19 US$
      – You can buy the Airport Express Bus ticket at a machine in the arrival hall at the airport, or from the bus driver when entering the bus. Or buy the bus ticket online HERE
      – Leaves every 30 min from 07:50 until 00:15 on weekdays, from 07:55 until 21:15 on Saturdays, and from 10:55 until 00:05 on Sundays. See the time table here (from the airport to downtown)

      3) Taxi (most convenient):
      – There is a taxi stand right outside the airport (just follow the signs)
      – 10 min drive to downtown
      – Price one way: around 250 kr (up to four people) = 24 Euros = 26 US$

      As for getting around Tromso in general without renting a car, I would say that it is quite easy to go around the city by bus and walking. As for sights, you can walk to all sights that Tromso has to offer as most of them are located in and around downtown. Also to the cable car, you can easily walk or take the bus.

      If you want to head out of the city for a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights (escape the city lights), you should head to Kvaløya (connected to Tromso by a bridge) by bus no. 42. Or you can take the bus no. 425 to Ersfjord, a beautiful fjord with stunning views of mountains and the sea and the coziest cafe Bryggejentene.

      But if the weather is bad (overcast), your best chances of seeing the Northern Lights is by joining a Northern Lights tour.

      Download the free app “Troms Mobillett” to buy cheap bus tickets and the free app “Troms Reise” to see the bus schedules and which bus to take.

      Read more about what you should see and do in Tromso here

      Have a fantastic trip to Tromso in February! Crossing my fingers that you will see lots and lots of Northern Lights!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  18. We are going to Tromso next week. We are renting a car and planning to hunt for the northern lights ourselves. We have small children and not sure how they will cope on a tour.
    All these information is exactly what I was looking for. Fingers crossed we get to dance with the stars.
    Thank you so much,
    Wendy

    Reply
    • That is awesome, Wendy! Thank you so much for commenting! Hope that you saw the Northern Lights and had a great trip to Tromso.

      -Maria-

      Reply

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