What To Pack For Northern Norway – The Ultimate Winter & Summer Packing List

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Deciding what to pack for a trip to Norway, especially Northern Norway, can be a challenge. After living in Tromsø for most of my life, I know how fast the weather can shift here in the Arctic. Within just a few minutes, the sun can turn to snow, the wind conditions can become crazy, and the temperature can drop by 5-10 degrees in an instant.

Northern Norway is a popular place for outdoor tours and activities. Most people come to Tromsø and the Lofoten Islands to be outdoors and watch the Northern Lights, hike in the mountains, go on a fjord cruise, or try dog sledding. Even though the weather might be sunny and warm when you set out on your outdoor adventure, you should always be prepared for the weather to change.

So in this article I have put together two packing lists for Northern Norway, one for winter and one for summer, with clothes, boots, and gear that should prepare you for almost anything Norway can throw at you.

Dog sledding in Tromso, Northern Norway
Me on a dog sledding tour in Tromsø in January.

The Ultimate Northern Norway Packing List

Packing for the Arctic requires a different set of clothes and shoes than a trip to a city further south in central Europe. Here it can be really cold even in summer!

Actually, the only months where the temperature has never been below zero degrees Celsius in Tromsø are July (record low 0,7 °C/ 33,3 °F) and August (record low 1,1 °C/ 34 °F), which says it all.

Below is my packing lists for women and men, winter and summer, including what shoes, gear, and gadgets you should bring to Northern Norway. Hopefully, this will make packing for your trip to Northern Norway a little easier! ♥

What To Pack For Northern Norway In Winter

Winter in arctic Norway usually starts in October when the temperature drops below zero degrees and typically lasts until May.

The coldest months in Norway are January and February. Tromsø’s average temperature during these months is -3,5 °C (25,7 °F), which is actually the same as Oslo’s despite Tromso being located much further north. This is thanks to the Gulf Stream that brings warm sea currents north and keeps temperatures up here livable. However, it can get quite a bit colder and the lowest temperature ever recorded in Tromso is −18.4 °C (−1.1 °F).

However, if you drive inland from the coast it can get an awful lot colder and temperatures can often drop to below- 30 °C.

If you’re going on organized tours then most of the time thermal suits and boots will be provided for you. Make sure to check before you book your tours though. Also, you should wear wool underwear, wool lining, wool, socks, wool gloves, and a hat underneath the thermal suit. 

However, if you’re planning on doing any exploring on your own and even just walking around sightseeing in cities like Tromso then warm clothes are essential. You don’t need a full-on Thermo suit but make sure to bring clothes that are warm and windproof. 

Make sure to check the weather forecast before going to Norther Norway and especially in the morning each day before heading out on adventures. Norwegians are highly focused on the weather. In fact, it is pretty much all we talk about when doing small talk. 🙂 There is a reason why Norway’s number one most used app is the weather forecast

Below is my complete packing list for a trip to Northern Norway. It is divided into two parts, a winter packing list, and a summer packing list.

Watching the Northern Lights in Tromso, Norway
Watching the northern lights on an autumn day in Tromso, wearing a wool sweater, windproof pants, and a wool beanie.

Winter Packing List For A Trip To Northern Norway

My best tip is to dress in layers; that way, you can easily take off or add a layer depending on how the weather changes during the day. It is also the warmest way to dress.

You might notice a recurring theme in this packing list and that is wool and down. 🙂 Clothes made of wool and down are what you need to stay warm in Norway. 

Winter Base Layer – Wool Underwear, Wool Socks, Wool shirt, Wool Tights

In wintertime, the base layer is the most important as this is the main isolating layer that keeps you warm.
The base layer should consist of wool since wool is antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and keeps you warm even if it gets wet. I personally prefer merino wool since it does not itch but any wool will do.

Base layer clothes to pack for a winter trip to Northern Norway
Baselayer for women: Underwear of merino wool, Wool bra, Wool socks, Long underpants/ long johns of wool, Long-sleeved shirts of wool, Bikini/ swimsuit
  • Underwear of merino wool
  • Wool bra
  • Wool socks
  • Long underpants/ long johns of wool
  • Long-sleeved shirts of wool
  • Pajamas
  • Bikini/ swimsuit (just in case you feel like soaking in an outdoor hot tub/ Jacuzzi)
  • Boxers of merino wool
  • Wool socks
  • Long underpants/ long johns of wool
  • Long-sleeved shirts of wool
  • Swimming Trunks (for the hot tub)

Winter Mid Layer – Wool Sweaters, Fleece, Warm Hat & Gloves

I have to admit I am somewhat of a knitted wool sweater fanatic. I can’t get enough of them 🙂 But it is for a good reason, they are super practical for northern Norway. On a chilly summer evening, or a fall day they work really well as an outer layer, and in the winter you can use them beneath your winter jacket.
Wool sweaters are really warm and I use them almost every day, especially during the winter. You can find wool sweaters in different types of wool, thick or thin wool, and they look quite stylish too. 

A fleece jacket or sweater is an alternative. But be aware that most fleece clothes are made of polyester which is 100% plastic (the same material used to make plastic bottles). So when fleece gets wet, it loses its insulation and will not keep you warm anymore.

There are, however, some fleece clothes on the market where they have added wool to the fabric, which is a much better alternative to bring for a trip to Northern Norway. So check what the fleece is made of before buying it and packing it.

I’d also recommend bringing a warm hat/ beanie and a pair of warm gloves or mittens, preferable windproof and water-resistance. My favorites are mittens as they are warmer than gloves.

A buff or a scarf is also well worth packing, preferably made of some wool, cashmere, or angora.

Middle layer to pack for a winter trip to Tromso
Mid-layer: Wool buff/ scarf, Wool beanie/ hat, Mittens, Fleece jacket, Wool sweater/ jacket
  • Buff/ scarf
  • Beanie/ hat
  • Mittens (or gloves)
  • Fleece jacket
  • Wool sweater/ jacket (I have one from Fjellreven, see the picture above. It’s really warm and comfortable, and looks good too)

Winter Outer Layer – Down Jacket, Shell Jacket & Windproof Pants

In the winter I tend to alternate between my shell jacket and my down jacket depending on the weather and what activities I’m planing. And I always bring my down jacket in my backpack, perfect to add for that extra mid-layer under my gore-tex shell jacket. 

If you are planning on doing some hiking, skiing, and activities where you’ll get warm and sweaty then I’d recommend bringing a shell jacket that you can easily take on and off. It should be windproof and water-resistant, so a Gore-Tex shell jacket is ideal. For trips in the mountains during winter you’ll also want some windproof pants.

However, if you’ll mostly be doing some light walking, sightseeing, and northern light watching where you’ll be standing still a lot then a warm down jacket will be the best choice.

Winter snowshoe hiking to Kjolen in Tromso, Norway
I love my warm down jacket (from Rab) and wind- and waterproof pants (from Arcteryx).
Top layer to pack for a winter trip to Tromso
Top layer to pack for a winter trip to Tromso
  • Winter pants – wind and waterproof (gore-tex)
  • Down jacket
  • Waterproof, windproof jacket (gore-tex)

Winter Shoes – Boots and Shoe Spikes

A good set of winter boots is a real must-have in the artic during winter. Your feet can easily get really cold walking around in ice and snow, so a good pair of boots is perhaps the most important thing to pack. The boots should be warm and waterproof as even in winter we can get days with wet weather (very common in Tromso in January/ February).

Shoe spikes are also a handy thing to pack (although you can buy them in all Norwegian sporting goods stores). They will keep you from slipping on the icy streets that we get a lot of during winter. The kind that is pictured below is very easy to put and remove for when you want to visit shops and museums etc. They’re not really suited to mountain hiking but are perfect for city sightseeing.

What shoes to pack for a winter trip to Tromso
Winter shoes and spikes
  • Waterproof hiking winter boots 
  • Casual comfortable winter shoes
  • Shoe spikes

Gear To Bring For A Winter Trip To Northern Norway

  • Headlamp – The days are short in the artic and a headlamp comes in very handy outside of the city centers
  • Battery pack (cell phone batteries and camera batteries will empty quicker in cold weather
  • Hand warmers 
  • Tripod – Essential if you’re planning to take pictures of the northern lights

Obviously, there are a lot of things that you should bring regardless of whether it is winter or summertime. See the ‘Always Bring’ list further down in this article for more tips on that.

What To Pack For Northern Norway in Summer

The warmest months in Northern Norway are June, July, and August.

These months are, however, still reasonably cool with considerable variations from year to year. For example, the mean temperature in Tromsø in July is 12,4 °C (54,3 °F).  However, in July 1972, Tromso recorded its highest temperature ever at  30,2 °C (86.4 °F). So it varies a lot!

Summer hiking trip to Brosmetind mountain in Tromso, Norway
Me on a summer hike to the mountain Brosmetind on a beautiful and warm summer day in Tromso.

Summer Packing List For A Trip To Northern Norway

Northern Norway can be cold during the summer. So while you can leave the thickest down jacket and winter boots back home, you’ll see that the summer packing list isn’t that different from the winter one.

Summer Base Layer – Underwear, shirts, socks

Base Layer to pack for a summer trip to Tromso
Underwear, Bra, Wool and microfiber socks, Long underpants/ long johns, Long-sleeved shirts, Short-sleeved shirts, Tank top, Bikini/ swimsuit
  • Underwear – I love underwear made of merino wool as it is antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and keeps you warm even if they get wet
  • Socks – Socks should also be made of wool (especially for hiking)
  • Long underpants/ long johns (perfect to put on in the evenings when sitting outside enjoying the midnight sun)
  • Long-sleeved shirts (I have this from Kari Traa as you see on the picture above, and love the design and quality)
  • Short-sleeved shirts
  • Tanktop
  • Bikini/ swimsuit (just in case it gets warm in Tromso, or for the hot tub)
  • Boxers
  • Wool/ microfiber socks
  • Long underpants/ long johns
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Short-sleeved shirts
  • Bathing shorts (in case you want to do a dip in the polar sea or go hot tubbing)

Summer Mid Layer – Fleece Jacket or Light Down Jacket

On top of the base layer, you should add a middle layer (or have this in your day backpack to put on later). The mid-layer should consist of a fleece sweater, a wool sweater, and/ or a thin, light-down jacket. A buff/ scarf, headband, and gloves should also be in your day backpack in case of bad weather.

Middle layer to pack for a summer trip to Tromso
Middle layer to pack for a summer trip to Tromso
  • Fleece jacket
  • Light thin down jacket
  • Buff/ scarf
  • Headband
  • Gloves with touchscreen fabric

Summer Outer Layer – All-Weather Jacket and Pants

You should also pack a waterproof and windproof jacket, and make sure to bring it with you in your daypack in case the weather changes.

Fishing trip to Hella in Tromso, Norway
I use my hiking pants from Fjellreven all summer, it is great! Together with my light Rab down jacket, it is the perfect outfit for outdoor activities in Tromso. A headband is also a must for those chilly evenings.
  • Tights (perfect to use for hiking trips if the weather is nice, and under the dress, skirt, and shorts if the weather is semi-good)
  • Hiking pants (I have this one from Fjellreven in blue and love it! You can see it in the picture above)
  • Waterproof jacket (gore-tex)

Summer Shoes

For shoes during the summer, you basically need two pairs, a waterproof pair for hiking in the mountains and a comfortable pair for sightseeing.

Shoes to pack for a summer trip to Tromso
Hiking boots (Both Espen and I have these from Aku with gore-tex and love them, they look cool too!), Casual comfortable shoes
  • Hiking boots (with gore-tex)
  • Casual comfortable shoes or sneakers

Casual City Clothes

A Tromso trip is, however, not all about being out in nature. For instance, Tromso is the biggest city in Northern Norway and has a vibrant cafe, bar, and restaurant scene. So bring some chic and casual clothes to wear in the city as well. 

  • Casual city pants
  • Jeans
  • Shorts (in case of warm and sunny weather…)
  • Skirt
  • Dress

Gear To Bring For A Summer Trip To Northern Norway

  • Sunglasses – The sun shines all day and night most of the summer above the arctic circle so don’t forget the sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (if your trip is during March-August)
  • Mosquito repellent (if you are going in the mosquito season June – August)

Don’t Forget To Bring This For Your Northern Norway Trip

This is what I’d recommend bringing regardless of the time of year you intend to visit Northern Norway.

  • Small day-backpack (20-40 l)
  • Travel documents
  • Driving license (if you are planning on renting a car). You might need an extra international driving license in Norway, especially if your driving license is not from an EU country. Check the rules for driving licenses in Norway here
  • Passport, wallet (with a backup credit card)
  • Water bottle (the tap water is safe to drink in Norway and tastes delicious)

Gear & Electronics

  • Binoculars (for spotting arctic animals like eagles, reindeers, elk, and whales)
  • Camera/ Phone
  • Extra memory card
  • Europe power adapters 

There you go! I hope this gave you some ideas and inspiration of what to pack for a trip to Northern Norway, especially Tromsø and Lofoten! 🙂

⇒ For more travel inspiration and tips on Northern Norway, check out our articles about 



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What to pack for a trip to Tromso, Norway
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Packing list for the Arctic

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About The Writer 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.


  1. Hi Maria,

    Your posts truely useful in my itinerary and I have planned with my 4 kids and husband to your country in November 2018. I really hope that I manage to create an exciting and unforgettable moments in their lives because my kids like to see whales and all sort of animals whereby normal Zoo they don’t have whales haha… and also the Northern lights that we cannot see everywhere and everyday. Something very very unique in this country.

    Would like your advise whether is it alright if I rent a car and drive around in Tromso, worry the roads may be slippery.

    Thank you very much.

    • Hi Sandra,

      Thank you so much! So cool that you and your family are visiting Tromso in November! Yes, you should definitely hire a car so that you can drive outside of the city to see the Northern Lights. It is better to see it where there is dark and not so much light. The rental cars have studded tires so as long as you drive slow and in control, you should be fine driving in snowy and icy conditions.

      Since your kids like animals, you should visit Polaria in downtown Tromso which has seals, fish, and many other sea creatures. They feed the seals two times a day, so make sure to be there then as the seals do tricks and put on a show. Also, the Science Centre is a huge hit among kids where they can do lots of fun things and activities. They also show an awesome Northern Lights movie which is well worth seeing.

      There is an amazing Polar Park just outside of Tromso which I`m sure your children will love! They have arctic animals like wolves and bears. You can even go inside and meet the wolves in person if you want.

      Here are our recommended things to see and do in Tromso.

      Have a great trip to Tromso in November!


    • Hi Maria,

      Thank you for the very informative articles about packing and what to do in Tromso. I’m actually leaving US and heading to Tromso next week so I’m super excited. However, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get internet access/wifi while I’m traveling there. What would you recommend if someone plan on doing a lot of sightseeing? Is there a way to get local SIM card for my phone when I’m down there?


      • Hi Matthew,

        Thank you so much! So cool that you are heading to Tromso next week!

        To get wifi, you should buy a SIM-card called “Kontantkort”. There are several different options and brands to choose from. You can check the different ones and compare the prices at this webpage (sorry, it is only in Norwegian). Just use the slider at the top of the page to add how much data (GB) you want, and the price is the yellow column called “Pris”.

        You can buy Kontantkort at for instance the shop Telia at the Nerstranda shopping mall in downtown Tromso. Their opening hours are: 09:00 – 20:00 every day, but they close at 18:00 on Saturdays, and are closed on Sundays. Remeber to bring an ID (your passport for instance).

        Have a fantastic trip to Tromso next week! We have plenty of snow here and it has been amazing Northern Lights the last couple of weeks. The sky has been on fire every evening and night. The weather has been great, with lots of sun during the day and no clouds so perfect conditions for watching the Northern Lights. Hope it stays the same next week when you are coming! You can check the weather forecast at (there is also a free app called Yr).


  2. Super Nice List.
    Thank you.
    Norway is not planned now but I want to go sooo badly, now I have my list 🙂
    have a good day.

    • Hi Mia,

      Thank you so much! Glad to hear that Norway is on your travel list! When you visit Norway, you should definitely head up north to Tromso and see the Northern Lights! 🙂

      Happy travels!


    • Hmm, that is so strange. I have just clicked on all the links to Amazon is this article, and they all work for me. Very strange….will have to research this a bit more. Thanks for letting me know, though!


  3. Thanks for posting these lists, but I’m still confused, as I’m from Australia – the summer and winter lists seem much the same to me! Is there a big difference in the type of down jackets or the order in which you layer them? I’ll be visiting Tromsø in June, returning after many years.

    • Hi Jacqi,

      Hehe, yes, they are very similar. The summer down jacket is thinner and you don`t need anything on top of it, you can use it as a top layer in itself (unless if it`s raining then you need a rain jacket on top). While during winter you should have a thicker down jacket as a base layer and a top layer (gore-tex jacket) on top.

      June is one of the warmest months in Tromso, but it can still be quite cold. The mean temperature in June is 9,4 C. The highest temperature ever recorded in June is 29,5 C, while the lowest is -2,5 C. It can also be some rain. So you should pack for every kind of weather :).

      Have a great trip to Tromso in June! I bet the city has changed some since the last time you were here.

      Thanks for commenting!


  4. Hi Maria,

    Great site and so much valuable information. My wife and I will be taking a cruise in the summer of 2019. Cruising is not our favorite way to travel but it allows us to explore a lot of different areas we are interested in. We would prefer to do our own thing as opposed to cruise excursions. We are both in our mid-50’s and healthy. We enjoy kayaking, canoeing, learning, hiking, good food/beer/wine, and obviously… travel. We will have only (I know, that sucks) 1 day in your beautiful area. What would you recommend that we should do while in the Tromso. Thank you in advance. I hope to not hear from you for a while, as that would indicate you are fortunate enough to be out traveling the world as I type.

    • Hi Walter,

      Thanks a million for your lovely words about our blog! You made my day! 🙂

      So cool that you are going on a cruise in Norway next summer, but I`m sad to hear that you only have one day in Tromso. 🙁

      Hmm, since you like kayaking, that would be a great way to see the stunning nature of Tromso. My good friend Tore at Active Tromso is a great guide and has some excellent kayaking tours both during the day and in the night where you get to kayak while enjoying the Midnight Sun. He also does hiking trips in the mountains and glacier walks. We went dog sledding with him this January and had an amazing adventure!

      If you plan on renting a car during your day in Tromso, you can do one or two of these hikes. A trip with the cable car up to Floya mountain to see the midnight sun is mandatory when visiting Tromso, or you can walk up to Floya mountain but it will take a longer time of course.

      A great way to see the famous Arctic Cathedral in Tromso is by going to their Midnight Sun Concert, which start at 23:00 each evening.

      The best museums in Tromso is, in my opinion, the Polar Museum and the Polaria Museum and Aquarium. But if the weather is good, you should rather prioritize doing some hiking or kayaking instead. 🙂

      Since you like good food, beer, and wine, you should try out the restaurants Emmas, Arctandria or if you like fish Fiskekompaniet. They all serve delicious local food from the Tromso area.

      We are actually in Tromso right now but will be heading to Kuala Lumpur next week and travel around Southeast Asia for the next four months. Really looking forward to it!

      Have a great cruise and an amazing time in Tromso next year!


  5. Hello, great tips! I will be moving to Tromsø in a week, since I got a summer job there (until November 2018) – and I am a bit stressed about living in a different place from what I’m used to. I’m not sure where I can make friends, as a friendly 26 year old myself (who doesn’t drink alcohol haha). I would love to integrate in the Arctic life without spending too much money. What would you recommend for someone like me, who’s going to be in Tromsø from May to November, and wants to enjoy nature and culture without spending too much. I’m also a vegetarian/almost vegan and would like to know if it is easy to be vegan in Tromsø.
    Hugs from Transylvania (for now) ?

    • Hi Riluri,

      Wow, it`s awesome that you are moving to Tromsø to work there for the summer!!! You will have great fun, do not worry!!

      The good thing about the locals in Tromso is that we are very social people and love to go out and party, enjoy the nature, have a great time, drink beer and watch the midnight sun. So you will have no problem making friends in Tromso!

      And the best things in Tromso are free – hiking and enjoying the nature!! You should definitely use your spare time to go mountain hiking and fishing, and enjoy the nightlife which is actually quite good in Tromso! We are famous for the awesome nightlife and have more pubs and cafes than any other city in Norway when you look at how many people are living there.

      All the best, and have an amazing summer in Tromso!!! I will be back in Tromso for a couple of weeks in July/August, maybe I`ll see you around? 🙂

      Hugs from Kuala Lumpur! 🙂

  6. Hi babe, Thanks for your generous tips. I am wondering in your experience can you share with me hows cold can it get in first week of December in Tromso Oslo, Ravanemi and Helsinki? ?

    • Hi Eve,

      Thank you so much! It is very difficult to predict the weather and temperature this far ahead, but the climate data shows this:

      Tromso (Northern Norway)
      For Tromso, the daily mean temperature in December is -2,6 C (27,3 F). The record high temperature for December is +9,7 C (49,5 F) and the record low temperature for December is -16,8 C (1,8 F). But usually, it is below zero in the first week of December. It can also be windy and snow in December, although Tromso has no snow right now (beginning of November), the temperature is above zero, and it is raining a lot.

      Oslo (Southern Norway)
      The temperature in Oslo is similar to Tromso in December. The daily mean temperature in Oslo in December is -2,3 C (27,9 F). The record high for Oslo in December is +12,6 C (54,7 F), while the record low is -20,8 C (-5,4 F). But Tromso usually has more snow than Oslo in December.

      Rovaniemi (Northern Finland)
      Rovaniemi is much colder than both Tromso and Oslo in December. The daily mean temperature for Rovaniemi in December is -10,7 C (12,7 F). The record high is +6,2 C (43,2 F), while the record low is -39,3 C (-38,7 F). Rovaniemi also has plenty of snow in December.

      Helsinki (Southern Finland)
      The temperature in Helsinki in December is similar to Oslo. The daily mean temperature in Helsinki is -2 C (28 F). The record high is +10,5 C (50,9 F), while the record low is -35 C (-31 F).

      Good luck with the packing for Norway and Finland!


  7. Hello, we fly to Tromso from the UK at the end of January. We will be stuffi g our suitcases with all our warm clothes. But we don’t know what to wear on our arrival. We cannot wear 3 layers on the plane. Do we open our suitcases on arrival and add layers before we head out from Tromso airport to the bus.?

    • Hi Jason,

      The bus is parked right outside the airport and the bus is heated. So you don´t have to wear that many warm layers to get into town. The bus ride from the airport into the downtown Tromso only takes 10 min. You can just wear a normal winter jacket on the plane and when getting into town. You need the extra layers when going out into the wild on tours and to see the Northern Lights.

      Have a great trip to Tromso in January!


    • Hi Carol,

      March is not that cold in Tromso actually. The average temperature during the day is -2,2 C (28 F), but March is a real snow month. There is usually plenty of snow in Tromso in March and it is the best month for skiing and snowshoeing trips. The sun is back in March and is starting to warm so during the day it is actually quite nice and warm if the sun is shining.

      You should bring proper winter clothes: comfortable winter boots, wool underwear (long johns, shirts, and socks), a warm hat/beanie, scarf, and mittens. A warm and windproof winter jacket is also recommended, preferably with down filling. And also a warm middle layer like a wool sweater/jacket, and a top layer consisting of a wind- and waterproof jacket and trousers in case of rain.

      Have a great trip to Tromso in March! Hope you get nice weather and a clear sky so that you get to see the Northern Lights!


  8. Hi Maria,

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I would like some advice. We will be arriving to Tromso for one day in a cruise. We are a party of 12! The whole family is coming from my husband’s side. The ages range from 12 to 79. I was going thru your suggestions and I am thinking of doing the artic fjord sailing tour. The ship arrives at 9am and then leaves at 8pm.
    Since it is a 3 hr tour, do you think we would have time to visit The Polaria Aquarium? Which one do you suggest, the Polar Museum or the Polaria Aquarium. Thanks so much for your feedback, Glorianna from Mexico City.

    • Hi Glorianna,

      Thank you so much! Awesome to hear that you are coming to Tromso with your big family of 12 people! Yes, I think you will have the time to visit a museum as well as the arctic fjord sailing tour (3 hours). Hmmm, the Polar Museum and the Polaria Aquarium are very different. The Polar Museum is like a regular museum with exhibitions and posters/ displays of the polar history of Tromso, which can probably be a bit boring for the young ones? The Polaria Aquarium has live fish and seals and is much more interactive and fun for kids. They also show a nice movie about the Northern Lights and the Arctic.

      So it really depends what you want and is interested in, and how easy the kids get bored. If you want a regular museum where you learn the Arctic history of Tromso, then go for the Polar Museum, and if you want a bit more interaction and fun for the kids, then go for Polaria. You may even have time to visit both as they are not that big and you can easily walk between the two museums. Or you can split up, some (the grown-ups) do the Polar Museum while the ones with the kids do the Polaria Aquarium.

      I really recommend that you do the cable car trip, however, as it is a great way to see Tromso and its surroundings.

      Have a fantastic cruise of Norway and enjoy your day in Tromso!


  9. Hi Maria!
    We’re going to Tromso in end Apr/ early May next year.
    Coming from a place where it’s either sun, more sun or rain, what temperatures should we expect?

    And if we go look for the Northern Lights, would we be able to catch them?

    Also, is it really necessary to get winter pants (waterproof and wind proof)?

    We’re all so excited and are planning what else to see and do. We’re all adults and have elderly parents along.

    Thank you so much ????

    • Hi Fe,

      Awesome to hear that you are visiting Tromso in April/ May! It is a great time of the year to visit Tromso! Spring is on and the temperatures are getting milder, the snow is melting, it is starting to get green, and the sun is up until late in the evening.

      It will still be snow up in the mountains that surrounds Tromso city, but it is usually not that much snow left in the lowland/ streets. So no, it is not necessary to bring winter pants, unless you are planning on going hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing in the mountains.

      The temperatures in April/ May are usually above 0 degrees Celcius, the daily mean temperatures in April is 1 C and in May 6 C. But the temperatures vary a lot during spring. The record high temperature for April is 17 C while 27 C for May. It usually gets cold in the evenings, however, so bring a warm winter or down jacket.

      As the evenings and nights are sunny and bright in April/ May, I’m afraid that you will not be able to see the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights is not visible between mid-April and end-August. The Midnight Sun season starts on the 21st of May and the sun does not set until the 21st of July.

      April/ May is the perfect time to go on a fjord cruise or fishing trip as the birds and sea wildlife starts to come alive again after the long and cold winter. So being out at sea is a great experience during spring and my favorite time of the year to go on boat and fishing trips.

      Have a fantastic spring trip to Tromso!!


  10. I’d definitely bring some zip-lock plastic bags for anything electrical (camera, phone etc) otherwise the condensation will be a killer!

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for the tips on bringing zip-lock plastic bags for electronics. It is definitely a good idea if you plan on being outside a lot during winter in Tromso.


  11. Hello Maria,
    Thanks for the very useful tips. We are travelling to Rovaniemi and Tromso during Christmas and new year. We are from Germany and -5 to -6°C temperatures are normal here during winter. I was wondering if I can carry the same jacket to Rovaniemi and Tromso that I use here is Germany. I am planning on wearing thermals(polyster)+sweater+fleece jacket+ down jacket and thermals+jeans. Will that be enough? For tours or northern lights chasing we will be getting special suits from the organizing company.
    Please let me know.
    Thank you

    • Hi Teju,

      Thank you so much!

      Yes, I would say that you can use the same winter jacket in Tromso and Rovaniemi as you use back home in Germany. Dressing in layers is king. So it is a good idea, as you say, to wear several layers on top of each other. Then you can take one layer off or add one depending on the temperature and weather, and when you go indoor (cafes/ restaurants, shops and so).

      I am a big fan of clothes made of wool, as wool keeps you warm even if it gets wet from rain, snow, or sweat. Thermals and fleece (polyester) is made of plastic and will get really cold if it gets wet. So I recommend that you bring and wear wool clothes, at least a sweater. Down jackets are my favorite as they are warm, light and comfortable to wear and it packs small too.

      Rovaniemi is colder than Tromso as it is located inland. Tromso is by the coast and benefits from the warm sea breeze from the Gulf Stream in the Barents Sea. The daily mean temperature in Rovaniemi in December is -9,4 C, while it is -2,6 in Tromso. For January the daily mean temperature in Rovaniemi is -11,3 C, while it is -3,5 C in Tromso.

      If, however, your winter jacket is not warm enough, you can also buy a new one. There are plenty of shops selling excellent, high quality, and warm winter clothes in Tromso. These are the best shops in Tromso for clothes:
      MAS (located just opposite Nerstranda Shopping Mall)
      City To Summit (located next to Tromso Cathedral)
      Norrøna (located at Havneterminalen)
      Bergans (located in Havneterminalen)

      And Tromso’s biggest shopping mall, Jekta, is located only a 10 min drive from downtown with plenty of shops.

      You can also rent winter clothes and equipment at Tromso Outdoor (located in downtown Tromso).

      Have a fantastic Christmas trip to Rovaniemi and Tromso! Hope you get to see plenty of Northern Lights! We are heading back home to Tromso next week to celebrate Christmas.


  12. Great info. Heading to Tromso in a few days for Christmas and since we live in Florida packing the right clothes is a big challenge for us. Good to know about clothing rentals and Jekta Shopping Mall.

  13. I love your casual warm boots. Where did you get those from? I’ve been googling for an age and can’t find any that look so lovely.

    • Hi Michele,

      Thanks! Yeah I love my brown winter boots, they are soooo comfortable and warm! The winter boots on the picture are from Bianco.

      Unfortunately, Bianco no longer has a shop in Tromso. But you can order shoes from Bianco online.

      I recently bought a new pair of winter boots from Panama Jack with sheepskin lining and I simply L-O-V-E them! So warm and comfortable, and they look cool too. Highly recommended. Several shops in Tromso sell Panama Jack. I also see that Amazon has some Panama Jack models.

      There are, however, several nice shoe shops in Tromso that have a great selection of lovely and warm winter boots. So if you can’t find any you like where you live or online, you can wait and buy some in Tromso. Then you get to try the shoes on to find the right size and to check if they are comfortable wearing.

      There are two shoe shops in the main street Storgata of downtown Tromso:

      And there is one shoe shop called Din Sko at the Nerstranda Shopping Mall (top floor) in downtown Tromso.

      There are also five nice shoe shops at Jekta Shopping Mall (next to Tromso Airport, a 5-10 min drive/ bus ride from downtown Tromso):

      ECCO Store
      DNA Shoes
      – Skoringen (same that is in Storgata)

      Good luck finding some warm, comfortable, and good looking winter boots!


      • Thank you so much for all this information. You have given so much more information than I imagined. I will find some lovely boots now. Thank you again!

  14. Hi Maria
    I am planning a trip with my friend to Tromsø between 1st Nov – 4th Nov. I’m wondering about clothes jackets and shoes please guide.
    We will be travelling by road from Stockholm. Also anything we must be aware of regarding the cars.
    And are there any grocery stores?
    Is it worth to BBQ during that time period ?

    • Hi Sab,
      Awesome that you are visiting Tromsø in the first week of November! So cool that you plan on driving from Stockholm to Tromsø, that is a long drive!

      I have just updated this guide on what to pack for Northern Norway, so you will find some tips on jackets and shoes to bring on your Tromsø trip there.

      What to pack for November:
      We have no snow here in Tromsø yet (mid-October), but all the mountains surrounding Tromsø are covered in snow, and the weather forecast says that it will snow in the city later this week. So there might be snow here in Tromso in the first week of November.

      You should bring a winter jacket (warm and wind- and waterproof, I love down jackets) and winter boots, especially if you are planning on doing some hiking or outdoor activities. November is a good month for Northern Lights, so if you are lucky and get a clear sky, you should head out in the evenings and watch the Northern Lights. A warm wool beanie/ hat, mittens or gloves, and a scarf is a good thing to bring too. As well as wool underwear and long johns.

      If you plan on joining a tour (for instance a Northern Lights tour, fjord cruise, or whale safari), you often get to borrow warm and comfortable thermal suits (but check with the tour company first). (there is an app too) is the best place to check the weather forecast in Norway.

      Driving a car in Tromsø in November:
      Your car should have winter tires or studded tires. Already, the roads on the mountain passes in northern Sweden and northern Norway are snowy and icy.

      Grocery stores in Tromsø:
      Yes, there are plenty of grocery stores in Tromsø and you will also find some on the way to Tromsø.

      BBQ in Tromsø in November:
      Hmm, it really depends on the weather. It will most likely be pretty cold here in Tromsø during the first week of November, and probably snow. It is already around 0 C here in Tromsø now (mid-October). But if you wear warm clothes and sit around the fire, you should be able to do some BBQ.

      Have a fantastic road trip from Stockholm to Tromsø and enjoy your time in Tromsø! Crossing my fingers that you will see the Northern Lights!

      All the best,


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