Tromso, the city in my heart where I was born and have spent most of my life, is located at 69°North in the Arctic part of Norway. Although Tromso is relatively small with its 73 000 inhabitants it has much to offer visitors, with plenty of things to do all year round.
In the winter, people come to Tromso to witness the amazing northern lights that ripple across the sky in the dark winter nights. Surrounded by unspoiled wilderness of fjords and mountains on every side Tromso is a fantastic place to experience some of nature’s wonders such as the magnificent Northern Lights!
The summer is all about the midnight sun and the long bright nights, hiking, fishing, and basically just enjoying the beautiful nature that Tromso has to offer.
Knowing what to bring for a trip to Tromso can be challenging due to the cold and shifting weather, but don`t worry. Here you get a complete packing list of what to pack for a trip to Tromso summer and winter.
Tromso is also, surprisingly for such a small city, famous for its party life and pubs. The city has more pubs per inhabitants than any other city in Norway and the main street Storgata is packed with happy partying people on Friday and Saturday nights. Maybe the University of Tromso’s 16 000 students has something to do with it.
Tromso has even been rated as the 3rd “Best Destinations in the World for Experiences” by TripAdvisor!! ?❤️ Tromso has totally earned its third place. The best Tromso experiences highlighted by the readers of TripAdvisor are Fjord Tours, Reindeer Feeding, and the Northern Lights. I couldn´t agree more! Tromso has something to offer for everyone all year round!
Here we give you the ultimate travel guide to Tromso with a complete list of the best things to do in Tromso all year round, winter, and summer! This list is written by a local who has lived in Tromso for 40 years! 🙂
How To Get Around Tromso
Tromso is located on a small island called Tromsoya which is only 23 km². The island is 10 km long from the northernmost tip to the southernmost tip, and there is a very popular walking path from one end to the other called Lysloypa. Lysloypa is great for walking, running, cycling and skiing.
Tromso city center is very compact, and most of the things in this guide are within walking distance.
Taking The Bus In Tromso
There are no trains or subways in Tromso, but there are many city buses, covering all areas of Tromso both on Tromsoya, Kvaloya, and the mainland (Tromsdalen). The city buses run every day from early morning around 6 o`clock until around midnight. There are also some after midnight buses running on Fridays and Saturdays. Most bus routes operate on two departures per hour schedule but during the rush hours in the morning and afternoon, there are often as many as four.
You can buy tickets on the bus but you can only pay in cash and a single ticket cost NOK 50 (adult). You can save money by buying the bus ticket up front at a kiosk or at the Tourist Information at Prostneset. Then the ticket costs NOK 30 (adult).
If you plan to take the bus a lot one day, you can buy a day ticket (valid for 24 hours). It costs NOK 110 (adult) if you buy it onboard the bus. A day ticket for children cost NOK 55.
There is also a great free mobile app called “Troms Mobillett” (just search for it in App Store or Google Play) where you can buy tickets for all buses in the whole area of Troms, as well as all ferries and speedboats (Hurtigbaat). A bus ticket for the city buses in Tromso only cost NOK 31 (adult) with this app, while a child is NOK 19. Buying tickets onboard the bus actually cost almost 50% more!
You should also download the free app called “Troms Reise” where you can easily find routes, bus stops and when the bus departs (also in real time, if the bus is delayed it will show up in the app).
- Route map of the city buses in Tromso
- Overview of the different bus stops in Tromso center
- Search for buses (travel planner)
There are some district buses running to Kvaloya, but there are very few departures. So if you want to head out of Tromso city to see the Northen Lights or do some hiking in the mountains on Kvaloya, I recommend that you rent a car.
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.
The Best Things To Do In Tromso All Year Round
1. Cable Car To The Mountain Floya
The cable car “Fjellheisen” is a true icon in Tromso, dating back to 1961, and loved by both the locals and tourists. In my opinion, it is the number one must-do-thing when visiting Tromso.
From the top, you get an amazing view of Tromso city and it`s beautiful surroundings of mountains and fjords. In the background, you can see Kvaloya, one of Norway’s largest islands, where I grew up. ♥
It is magical watching the northern lights dancing above the city in the winter, or see the midnight sun sparkling in the sea surrounding Tromso in the summer. So it is a great thing to do all year-round. Be sure to bring warm windproof clothes as it gets chilly at the top even in the summer months.
There is a nice cafe/ restaurant at the top where you can buy cold beer, hot drinks like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate, cakes, Norwegian waffles (they are the best!), ice cream as well as a light meal.
If you are the sporty type, you can walk up to the top. The walk is great and takes about 30-60 minutes. I really love this hike! You can either take the path to the right of the cable car house, or the new Sherpa build stair steps to the left of the cable car house.
To save your knees and shorten the walking time, you can take the cable car down and save half the ticket price. The mountain where the Cable Car stops is actually called “Storsteinen” (Big Rock, 421 m above sea level), while the actual Floya mountain (671 m above sea level) is a bit further up.
- Opening hours summer (15th of May – 15th of August): 10:00 – 01:00 every day
- Opening hours winter (16th of August – 14th of May): 10:00 – 22:00 every day
- Departs every half hour, the trip takes 4 min each way
- Ticket price: 170 kr for adult/ 60 kr for children (free if you walk)
- How to get there: You can drive a car over to the cable car in Tromsdalen (5 min). There is a big parking place at the bottom of the cable car. You can also walk over the bridge to Tromsdalen (30 min, 2,5 km), which is a beautiful easy walk where you pass the famous Arctic Cathedral. Just follow the signs. Another alternative is the bus, take bus no. 26, which departs near the main square (Stortorget).
- Nearby sights: You will pass the Arctic Cathedral on your way to the Cable Car. There is only a 15-minute walk from the Cathedral to the Cable Car.
- Fjellheisen webpage
2. Fjord Cruise & Fishing
Taking a boat trip is an excellent way to experience the fjords, the arctic wilderness, and its animals up close. There are several tour operators in Tromso offering boat trips around Tromso Island and the surrounding fjords.
A popular trip is the 5 hours fjord cruise on board the classic wooden boat “Fjord Queen“. On this trip, you get a local guide showing you the stunning fjords and wildlife, lunch, beverages and snacks, insulated bodysuits, and you get to borrow fishing equipment if you want to fish from the boat. The boat leaves from the harbor right outside the Scandic Ishavshotel in the middle of downtown Tromso so it´s very convenient.
Click here for information and the latest prices on a Fjord Cruise
Fishing has been a part of the culture of Norway and particular Northern Norway for decades and still is one of the country`s main sources of income. You can fish from the shore anywhere, but it`s extra fun to head out to the sea in a boat and go fishing.
On some boat trips, they even cook your self-caught fish onboard and you can have it for lunch. Super fresh and yummy! One of these tours is the 5-Hour Polar Fishing Adventure. Everything you need is included like fishing gear and insulated bodysuits. You also get lunch.
I would say that chances are pretty good that you will catch some fish, both cod and coalfish are common but you can get lucky and catch more exotic fish like halibut and wolffish.
Click here for information and the latest prices on a Polar Fishing Boat Trip
Every summer we head out to a place called Hella on Kvaloya (a 45 min drive from Tromso Center). Hella is a very popular fishing spot where a big and very strong current makes it excellent for catching some wolffish and coalfish. Hella is the best place to catch some fish in Tromso. It is also a great place to go camping and the views are spectacular.
Hella has many old houses that originally was located in Tromso City so it feels kind of like an outdoor museum. Hella is also a nice and popular place to go camping, and you can actually book a night in one of the old houses.
Click here for information and the latest prices on a Rib-boat trip to Hella from downtown Tromso
- How to get to Hella: Drive to Kvaloya towards Straumsbukta (45 min). Google Maps direction. Or book a Rib-boat trip from downtown Tromso (click on the link above).
3. The Arctic Cathedral
The Arctic Cathedral, or Ishavkatedralen in Norwegian, is a real landmark in Tromso. It is on every postcard and is THE image of Tromso. It was built in 1965 and designed by a famous Norwegian architect called Jan Inge Hovig. Fun fact: He was married to the famous Norwegian TV-chef Ingrid Espelid Hovig, who revolutionized the Norwegian kitchen and cooking skills in all Norwegian homes.
The Cathedral has the shape of an iceberg, and in front, there is a stunning glass mosaic which sparkles with incredible colors when the sun shines through it. Some say that the shape of the Cathedral is inspired by the small island Håja on the outside of Tromso (you will see it if you drive out to Sommaroy island).
You can easily spot the Arctic Cathedral from the city harbor of Tromso Center, but if you want to see the stunning mosaic you have to head over the Tromso Bridge and step into the church. It’s an easy walk (30 min) with a beautiful view of the harbor and the city.
During summer (1st of June – 15th of August), there are organ concerts in the church every day at 14:00, and Midnight Sun Concerts at 23:00. At winter (9th of February – 12th of March) there are similar concerts called Northern Lights Concerts in the church. These are also at 23:00 every week from Thursday to Sunday. The doors open 22:30, the best seats get taken first. The Midnight Sun Concerts and Northern Lights Concerts are a great and a wonderful way to see the church.
A visit to the Arctic Cathedral is perfect to combine with a cable car trip (above). You can, for instance, do the cable car first, and head down to catch the Midnight Sun/ Northern Lights Concert after.
- Opening hours summer (1st of June – 15th of August): 09:00 – 19:00 (Sundays 13 – 19)
- Opening hours winter (16th of August – 31st of May): 14:00 or 15:00 – 18:00
- Ticket price entrance: 50 kr
- Ticket price Organ concert: 70 kr
- Ticket price Midnight Sun concert/ Northern Lights concert: 170 kr for adult, 50 kr for child
- How to get there: You can drive a car over to the cable car in Tromsdalen (5 min). There is parking just next to the church. You can also walk over the bridge to Tromsdalen (30 min, 2,5 km), which is a beautiful easy walk. Another alternative is the bus, take bus no. 20, 24, 26 or 28. They all leave close to the main square.
- Nearby sights: The Cable Car (no. 1 in this guide)
- The Arctic Cathedral Webpage
4. Polaria Arctic Experience Center and Aquarium
Polaria is kind of a museum but also so much more. It is a combination of an experience center and an aquarium where you will learn about the Arctic nature and animals, including several nice films like the one about the Northern Lights.
The highlight at the Polaria is in my opinion when they feed the seals and make them do tricks. I really loved it! Great fun for kids too. There are two feedings per day, 12:30 both winter and summer, and 15:00 during summer and 15:30 during winter. So make sure to be there at one of these times! It is great fun! The rest of the aquarium consists of arctic fish of all kinds like the king crab, cod, and wolffish.
Just next to Polaria is the old seal hunting ship M/S Polarstjerna, covered by a glass shelter. Here you can walk around on the ship and get a feel for how it must have been to live the life of a seal hunter.
On your way out of Polaria, you walk through a really nice gift shop where they sell local handmade products made of seal skin, reindeer bones, wood and so on. They also have a nice cafeteria open every day.
- Opening hours summer (18th of May – 31st of August): 10:00 – 19:00
- Opening hours winter (1st of September – 17th of May): 10:00 – 17:00
- Ticket price: 130 kr adult/ 65 kr child
- How to get there: A short walk from Tromso Center (10 min)
- The PolariaWepage
5. Polar Museum & Skansen
If you are to visit only one museum in Tromso, then this is it. It shows the unique position Tromso had as the capital of sealing and as the “Gateway to the Arctic”. The exhibitions give an insight into the hard life the trappers had on Svalbard through the winter. The lives of famous trappers like Henry Rudi and Wanny Wolstad, as well as the amazing polar exploration expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen, are just some of what you will learn about at this museum.
If you want to learn more about the city of Tromso and its history, you should join this guided city walking tour. This tour is a great deal as a guided tour at the Polar Museum is also included in the price.
At this museum, you will actually also see our old family Siberian Husky dog, Sajak, that I grew up with! He is standing outside of the little trapper´s hut, obviously not alive anymore, but his fur is still looking pretty good if you ask me. He was such a sweet and kind dog. ♥
Just next to the Polar Museum is Skansen, the oldest house in Tromso. It was built as a customs station back in 1789. It is surrounded by other small old houses and a beautiful garden. There is a cafe here in the summer.
This is a nice area to walk around in as this is the “old part” of Tromso. These are the only remaining houses after the big city fire in 1969 where the entire Tromso city went up into flames.
- Opening hours summer (15th of June – 5th of August): 09:00 – 18:00
- Opening hours winter (1st of Januar – 14th of June & 16th of August – 31st of December): 11:00 – 17:00
- Closed: 1st of May and 17th of May
- Ticket price: 60 kr adult/ 30 kr child
- How to get there: It is located in downtown of Tromso
- Nearby sights: Skansen, the old part of Tromso, which consists of the oldest buildings of Tromso
- The Polar Museum´s webpage
6. Extreme Auroras – Northern Lights Movie at The Science Centre
The spectacular Northern Lights movie “Extreme Auroras” is made by the well-known and talented Northern Lights photographer and filmmaker Ole Salomonsen. We saw the movie at the premiere with Ole himself in the audience where he also told us all about the challenges of making this movie.
For 26 minutes you will witness amazing Northern Lights photos and videos in the 360-degree planetarium and it feels so real, almost like witnessing the real thing or maybe even better!
The Planetarium in Tromso is the largest in Norway and is a part of the Science Center of Northern Norway located on the campus of the Arctic University of Norway. Before or after the movie, make sure to visit the Science Center and have some fun doing some science experiments. If you are traveling to Tromso with kids, a visit to the Science Centre is a must!
- The Extreme Auroras film is shown every day at 15:15 (English), and during weekend and holiday also at 13:15 at 14:15 (German voiceover)
- Opening hours Science Center: 10:00 – 17:00 every day
- Ticket price entrance Science Center including the film Extreme Auroras: 120 kr adult/ 60 kr child
- How to get there: The Science Center and Planetarium is a part of the Arctic University of Norway. From Troms Centeryou can walk (45 min), drive (10 min) or take bus no. 20.
- The Science Center of Northern Norway`s webpage
7. Tromso Cathedral
When walking through the main/ walking street of Tromso, Storgata, you can`t miss this old and beautiful wooden church called Domkirka (Tromso Cathedral). Dating back to 1861, this is the Northernmost Protestant cathedral and the only one in Norway that is made of wood.
We join the church service at this Cathedral every Christmas Eve on the 24th of December, it`s an old family tradition.
If you want to learn more about the city of Tromso, you should take this guided city walking tour. This tour is a great deal as a guided tour at the Polar Museum is included in the price of this tour.
- Opening hours summer: June & July 13:00 – 15:00, August 13:00 – 16:00
- Opening hours winter: Monday till Friday 13:00 – 17:00
- Ticket price: Free
- How to get there: It is located right in the middle of downtown Tromso
8. Cafes and Shopping
The main pedestrian street in Tromso is called Storgata, and here there are plenty of nice shops, cafes, and restaurants. Storgata is most lively on Saturdays and is well worth a stroll.
In addition to regular mainstream souvenir shops, there are several unique shops in Tromso that sell local handicrafts and Norwegian design clothing and souvenirs. Some of them are:
- Husfliden – Sell Norwegian handcraft like clothes, knitted stuff, wood art, bunad, and accessories. Address: Sjøgata 4
- Blåst – The only blown glass factory and shop in Tromso
- Krane Art Gallery – Sell art from artists from all over Northern Norway
- There are also other unique shops in Tromso that you should check out: Norrøna (sport clothes, Norwegian brand), Andresen Vaapenforretning (sport clothes and equipment), Gullsmed Kristiansen (jewelry), Wintervold (Scandinavian jewelry design), Britts (clothes and kitchen stuff), and Galleri Nord (paintings and arts by Norwegian painters), Sweet Heart (candy and chocolate)
Approximately every second month there is a Farmers Market in Storgata, where you can buy local homemade organic products like honey, knitted clothes, vegetables and fruits, cheese, berries, pastries, candy, jam, and other delicatessens. Make sure to try svele (Norwegian style pancake served with jam)! Mmmmmm, sooooo yummy! ♥
Us local Tromso people do, however, love Jekta shopping mall. It is the biggest shopping mall in Tromso (probably the whole Northern Norway). It is located next to the Airport, about a 10-minute drive from the Center of Tromso (bus no. 34, 40 or 42).
Tromso is famous for its vibrant nightlife. So if you fancy to head to the clubs and pubs and go partying, Tromso is the place! Most of the clubs and pubs are located in Storgata, so you don`t have to go far to get to the next place to have a beer or a drink or glass of wine.
9. Visit Tromso’s oldest pub Ølhallen
Mack Brewery established in 1877 is, although it moved out of town in 2012, Tromso’s pride and joy. It used to be the Northernmost brewery in the world until Svalbard brewery opened in 2015.
Mack`s famous pub Ølhallen is Tromso’s oldest pub established 29th of February 1928, and a visit here is mandatory if you ask any diehard Tromso fan. Ølhallen has Europe`s longest tap beer tower with 70 beers on tap. Mack also has a Micro Brewery with over 100 different beers on their production list.
I have a tradition with some friends of mine to head to Ølhallen pub every December when Mack releases their famous Christmas Beer. When you enter Ølhallen, you have to take notice of the big stuffed polar bear, it is huge!
If you are a beer enthusiast, join the Tromso Beer Safari Tour!
- Ølhallen opening hours: 10:00 – 19:30 Monday till Wednesday, 10:00 – 00:30 Thursday – Saturday, closed on Sundays
- Address: Storgata 4 (in downtown Tromso)
- Mack`s Webpage
10. The Museums Of Tromso
If museums are your thing, Tromso Museum has exhibitions of everything you want to know about the Arctic and Northern Norway like the Sami people and their culture, the science and myth of the Northern Lights, the Viking era, and the nature and wildlife in general.
- Opening hours summer (1st of June – 31st of August): 09:00 – 18:00
- Opening hours winter (1st of September – 31st of May): 10:00 – 16:30 Mondays – Fridays, 12:00 – 15:00 Saturdays, 11:00 – 16:00 Sundays
- Closed 1st of May, 17th of May, 24th, and 25th of December
- Ticket price: 60 kr adult/ 30 kr child
- How to get there: You can walk from the Center of Tromso (45 min), or you can take bus no. 37 towards “Rostbakken”
- Tromso Museum`s Webpage
Northern Norway Art Museum
If you’re interested in art, you can also consider stopping by the Northern Norway Art Museum. The exhibitions on display vary. Check their web page to get an overview of what`s on display.
- Opening hours: 10:00 – 16:00
- Ticket price: Free
- How to get there: Just walk, located close to the tourist office
- Northern Norway Art Museum`s Webpage
Tromso Kunstforening (Contemporary Art Gallery)
Set in a stunning old bright yellow and white building (just opposite the road from Polaria), the Tromso Kunstforening has great exhibitions of newer and experimental contemporary art. They aim to create reflection and discussion about art. The beautiful building dating from 1924 is well worth a visit in itself.
- Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 12:00 – 17:00
- Ticket price: Free
- How to get there: Just walk, located close to Polaria, in the south end of downtown Tromso
- Tromso Kunstforening´s Webpage
Perspektivet Photo Museum
With a photo archive containing over 500 000 photos, the Perspektivet Museum is a great place to get an impression of how Tromso city has changed over the years from the 1900 and up till today, both when it comes to buildings, people and fashion. Photos from some of Northern Norway’s most famous photographers are on display here.
- Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday 10:00 – 16:00, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
- Ticket price: Free
- How to get there: Just walk to Storgata 95 (downtown Tromso, next to the main square)
- Perspektivet Museum`s Webpage
11. Vulcana Spa Boat
Vulcana is a very cool and quite unique Spa Boat! It was originally a traditional Norwegian wooden fishing boat, that has been redesigned and transformed into a nautical spa. Pretty cool!
The boat has a hot tub, steam bath, and sauna onboard. It also has a modern kitchen on board with a chef that makes excellent freshly-made quality food. So this is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a unique body wellness in beautiful Arctic surroundings, eat, and go for a swim in the refreshingly cold Arctic sea (and rush into the hot sauna, tub or steam bath afterward…). 🙂
You can choose between three fantastic tours/ packages on board the Vulcana Spa Boat:
Spa And Brunch on Vulcana Boat (2,5 hours)
You will be welcomed on board Vulcana by a friendly and English speaking guide that will tell you the history of the boat before you are shown the spa facilities. Here you can soak down into the Have a soak in the saltwater hot tub on the deck and unwind in the warm, soothing water. You can also be brave and go for a swim (or a little dip) in the ocean, before returning to the warm sauna. Afterward, you will feel completely rejuvenated and fresh!
After some time in the spa facilities of the boat, you will be guided to the dining area and will be served a delicious Norwegian meal freshly made of local ingredients from the Tromso area. Really delicious! You can purchase alcoholic drinks and sodas onboard if you want. You get to borrow a towel but have to bring your own swimwear.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Spa and Brunch On Vulcana Boat
Fjord Cruise, Spa, and Lunch On Vulcana Boat (3 hours)
On this Vulcana tour, you will not only be enjoying the luxurious spa facilities onboard the boat, but you will be relaxing in the hot tub while the boat takes you on a 3-hour fjord cruise through the stunning fjord landscape around Tromso! The perfect combination if you ask me! The boat has big glass windows, so the view from the spa facilities is magnificent!
You get to borrow soft towels, bathrobes, and slippers (there is a changing room onboard). After some time in the spa facilities enjoying a complimentary welcome drink and watching the Arctic landscape passing by, you will be served delicious lunch in the dining area. Here you can watch the chef putting the final touches on your meal or enjoy the scenery outside. The lunch menu is a delicious fish soup based on the catch of the day, served with fresh bread. Beer, wine and soft drinks are available for purchase.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Fjord Cruise, Spa, and Lunch on Vulcana Boat
Fjord Cruise, Spa, and Dinner On Vulcana Boat (4 hours)
This Vulcana Tour is almost exactly the same as the above. The only difference is that while you are soaking into the hot tub on the deck enjoying the amazing views of the fjord cruise, the chef prepares a gourmet 3-course dinner for you. The experience aims to spoil all your senses and give you the ultimate taste of the fjord around Tromso, also when it comes to the food. A real treat and a memory for life!
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Fjord Cruise, Spa, and Dinner on Vulcana Boat
The Best Things To Do In Tromso In Winter
1. Northern Lights
Tromso is famous for being one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights is sometimes so strong that you can even see it in the downtown of Tromso or from your hotel window. But it will be more intense if you head out of town to areas where there are hardly any houses and no artificial lighting like street lights.
Witnessing the Northern Lights dancing across the sky is an incredible sight and something everyone should experience once in their lifetime. Since the sun never rises above the horizon in Tromso from the 21st of November until the 21st of January, these are the best months to see the Northern Lights.
The Northern Lights season in Tromso is from early September until early April.
There are many different ways to experience the Northern Lights, here are the best Northern Lights tours in Tromso (in my opinion):
Northern Lights Tour In Tromso
I recommend that you join a Northern Lights Tour. Then your chances of seeing the Northern Lights are the biggest as these tour operators and guides really chase the Aurora and drive you all around Northern Norway and sometimes across the border to Northern Finland or Sweden in order to find the Northern Lights. They are skilled and are highly experienced in reading the weather forecast and the Northern Lights forecast, and can predict where the best chance of seeing the dancing lights is.
This 7-hour small-group Northern Lights Tour is one of the best, and the one that I recommend. This tour includes a small meal, hot coffee/ tea, warm thermal clothes/ suits, warm winter boots, and pick-up and drop-off at Radisson Blu Hotel in the center of Tromso.
They take you to the mountains, fjords, and valleys outside of Tromso, and sometimes across the border to Finland or Sweden (so bring your passport). The actual route depends on weather conditions and where clear skies can be found. You also get to borrow tripods for your camera/ mobile phone for free as this will give you the best photos. The guide will also take photos during the trip that you will get after. And the best of it all, they make a cozy bonfire for you to sit around and warm yourself. Really great, as trust me, it gets incredibly cold standing out in the snow watching and waiting for the Northern Lights.
Click here for the latest prices on our recommended Northern Lights Tour
Northern Lights Photography Tour
If you are interested in taking photos and want to learn how to take the best photos of the Northern Lights, then you can join this great Northern Lights Photography Workshop. The workshop is indoor and lasts for about 2 hours. Here you will learn all the basics from the theory to the settings on your camera, as well as tips and tricks, for taking excellent Northern Lights photos. You can borrow a tripod at the workshop for free if you don´t have one yourself.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Photography Workshop
After the indoor Northern Lights Photography Workshop, you are well prepared to head out into to capture the amazing Northern Lights. This Northern Lights Photography Tour is great. The photo tour lasts for about 7 hours and the guides are professional photographers and will help you and show you how to take the best Northern Lights photos.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Photography Tour
Northern Lights Dog Sledding Tour
If you are like me and love dogs, then dog sledding is something you just H-A-V-E to do! It is amazing, and even better is combining it with Northern Lights. To slide through the peaceful wilderness surrounded by mountains and fjords, only hearing the soft dog paws gently running on the snow while the colorful Northern Lights is dancing across the sky over your head is a beyond this world experience.
This dog sledding and Northern Lights trip takes you through the beautiful mountain-covered landscape on Kvaloya (Whale Island). The trip includes transport to and from the husky camp (pick up at Radisson Blu Hotel in downtown Tromso) and a one-hour dog sledding ride. After the dog sledding, you get to cuddle with the furry and friendly huskies (especially the husky pups are adorable! ♥), and sit inside the big lavvo (Sami inspired tent) around the campfire and have a hot meal of Bacalao (stockfish in tomato sauce, vegetarian options as well). The total time of this tour is approximately four hours (including transport and eating). You get to borrow warm winter shoes and warm insulated thermal suits so you will not freeze.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Dog Sledding Northern Lights Tour
Northern Lights Sailing Tour
The combination of a fjord cruise and watching the Northern Lights is unbeatable! Out on the sea, inside a warm comfortable boat, you get to see some exceptional surroundings of fjords, mountains, and Northern Lights as there is no artificial lighting in your surroundings. So the experience of the Northern Lights will be amazing and unique and something that you will remember for the rest of your life!
On this trip, you will glide through the beautiful fjords surrounding Tromso on a luxurious catamaran. The boat is anchored right by Scandic Ishavshotellet in downtown Tromso, and the trip takes about three to four hours. Inside the warm and cozy boat, you will get hot drinks and snacks, and get to talk to an experienced guide and skipper that will tell you all about the Northern Lights and the nature that you sail through. You get to wear warm and comfortable safety suits and can sit outside or inside and watch the Northern Lights. This fjord cruise is a totally peaceful experience as there is no engine noise, only sails.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Sailing Tour
If four hours of sailing is not enough, then you can go on an overnight trip where you sleep onboard a luxurious and comfortable catamaran sailing boat. Then your chances of seeing the Northern Lights is even better as you get the whole night to see the Northern Lights. You get dinner, breakfast, and lunch onboard, as well as hot drinks and snacks. If the weather is ok and you want, you can even fish your own lunch or dinner! The chances are high of seeing some Arctic wildlife as well, like eagles, whales, and seals. A great opportunity to get a three-in-one-package of both fjord cruise, wildlife, and Northern Lights! 🙂
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Overnight Northern Lights Sailing Tour
Northern Lights Snowshoeing Tour
If you are looking for a unique and unforgettable adventure into the Arctic wilderness where you get some exercise and get to be one with nature, then a snowshoeing trip is your thing!
On this six hours snowshoeing evening trip, you get to do some snowshoeing hiking through the beautiful nature of fjords and mountains under the Northern Lights. You will also have a traditional Norwegian dinner (including dessert, coffee, and tea) in a cozy and warm traditional Norwegian cabin. You are provided with everything you need on this trip; snowshoes, poles, and a headlamp, as well as transport (pick up at Clarion Hotel The Edge at 18:00) and a friendly guide.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Snowshoeing Tour
You can also spend the night at this 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 to fully see and take in the beautiful nature of mountains and fjords.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Overnight Northern Lights Snowshoeing Tour
Northern Lights Snowmobile Tour
If you have a need for speed, then a snowmobile trip might be right up your alley. Just outside of Tromso, in the valley Tamokdalen, is a snowmobile wilderness center called Camp Tamok (a 75-min drive from Tromso). Tamokdalen is inland and the chances of getting a clear sky to see the Northern Lights is much higher here than on the coast where Tromso city is located. Inland the weather is drier and more stable. Also, in this uninhabited area of Tamokdalen, no artificial lights will disturb your Northern Lights experience or your attempts to capture the lights with your camera.
This evening snowmobile tour includes transport from Tromso. They will pick you up at Scandic Ishavshotel at 16:45, and you will return here at 23:45. You don´t have to know anything about how to ride a snowmobile to join this tour, as your English speaking snowmobile guide will teach you everything. Included in this tour is also a hot meal, warmly insulated body suits, boots, gloves, headwear, and a headlamp.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Snowmobile Tour (cross the Evening excursion at the bottom of the page)
Northern Lights Reindeer Tour
Who doesn´t want to meet Santa´s Rudolf the Reindeer live and in person?! To go reindeer sledding, feed the reindeer, and cuddle with these calm and friendly Arctic animals is an amazing and once-in-a-lifetime experience! And to combine it with watching the Northern Lights makes it is even more unique!
On this Reindeer Sledding Evening Trip, you also get to meet and learn about the Sami people, the indigenous people of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, and their culture of herding reindeers. You will get a traditional Sami meal called Bidos (a reindeer soup), or you can choose a fish soup or vegetable soup, and a Joik performance (a very special traditional Sami folk song kind of….) in a Lavvo (Sami tent) with a bonfire. The transport from and to Tromso city is included, and they will pick you up at Scandic Ishavshotel at 18:45 and you are back at midnight.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Reindeer Tour
Seeing The Northern Lights On Your Own – DIY Trips
If you don´t plan on renting a car, and you don´t want to join a Northern Lights Tour, there are some places close to the downtown of Tromso where you get a little bit away from the street lights so you can see the Northern Lights better. Some of the best places are (you can walk, take a bus or taxi there):
- The Cable Car in Tromsdalen (see no. 1 on this list of The Best Things To Do All Year Round In Tromso)
- Prestvannet just above the downtown of Tromso (a 20 min walk uphill)
- Telegrafbukta Beach at Sydspissen, just south of downtown (a 40 min walk)
- Kvaloya (Whale Island), take bus no. 42 to Storelv or Kaldfjord and walk around, or bus no. 425 to Ersfjord
There are several web pages and apps where you can check the probability of Northern Lights at different areas. We like this one: https://norway-lights.com/#tromso
2. Whale Watching Fjord Tour
Over the last five years, whales and dolphins like humpback whales, fin whales, and killer whales (orcas), have been entering the fjords around Tromso city in great numbers to feed on herring fish. A whole industry of Whale Watching safaris and boat trips have appeared and a whale watching trip is one of the highlights during the autumn and winter months from November until February.
Check this amazing whale video by our friend Anders Schürmann:
If you are lucky you can see a lot of whales jumping, splashing, and hunting for fish. You might get a little wet as they sometimes come pretty close to the boats. If you are lucky you will also see other Arctic animals like seals and sea eagles. The whale watching season is usually between October until February.
But, unfortunately, the last couple of years the whales have not entered the fjords surrounding Tromso at all, they have been coming to the fjords further north of Tromso to feed on herring. You can, of course, get really lucky and see a whale on a fjord cruise around Tromso, but it is unlikely. Your best option to see whales is to join a tour that takes you further north of Tromso, to the island Skjervoy.
Whale Watching Fjord Tour To Skjervoy Daytrip
Since the whales nowadays have relocated to the areas further north of Tromso, a fjord tour around Skjervoy Island gives you the best chances of spotting whales.
This Whale Research Safari is an excellent full day tour where you will be transported to Skjervoy by a modern and comfortable bus (a 3,5-hour drive). The bus will pick you up at Scandic Ishavshotell in downtown Tromso in the morning. The drive north to Skjervoy is amazing in itself where you will get a guided sightseeing tour and see some stunning steep mountain and fjord views while you drive through the magnificent Lyngen Alps.
When you have arrived on Skjervoy Island, you will step onboard a comfortable research ship with heated cabins and restrooms. Onboard the ship, you can sit back and relax and watch the whales, or you can be more active and assist the research team collection behavioral observations, photo-identification, underwater footage, and vocal recordings. Totally up to you. You get the chance to learn about whales, their behaviors and why they behave like they do, from the researchers. Food is included in this tour. If the sky is clear, you can even see the Northern Lights dancing across the sky – a full jackpot of whales and Northern Lights! Can it get more perfect?! 🙂
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Whale Fjord Tour to Skjervoy
(pick option 2: Tour & Transport to Skjervøy unless you want to drive to Skjervøy on your own)
Whale Watching & Northern Lights Fjord Tour 2-5 Days
If you want to be almost guaranteed to see whales and the Northern Lights, you should spend more than one day out at sea.
With more days at sea, you get to see more of the beautiful fjords of Northern Norway, and you will even go as far north as Kvænangen, at the border to Finnmark County, where my mother grew up and where we have a family cabin. This area is stunning with steep mountains, waterfalls, and beautiful fjords, and plenty of whales and Northern Lights. You will get a chance to see animals like White-tailed Eagles, Humpbacks Whales, and Orcas from the ship. Depending on the weather, you will visit beautiful places like Reinfjord, Spildra, Skorpa, Jøkelfjorden or Valanhamn.
You can choose the number of days that is suitable for you and your itinerary:
- 2-Days Whale Watching & Aurora Glamping Tour
- 4-Days Hidden Fjords, Whales, and Northern Lights Tour
- 5-Days Hidden Fjords, Whales, and Northern Lights Tour
- 5-Days Northern Lights & Whale Watching Cruise (with one day visiting Tromso City before entering the boat)
3. Reindeer Feeding & Sledding
Tripadvisor and its readers have highlighted Reindeer Feeding as one of the absolute best experiences in Tromso! And I totally agree, who doesn´t want to feed and cuddle with Santa´s Rudolph the reindeer? 🙂 Reindeer are totally adorable and cute animals, and so peaceful and friendly. Their main hobby is simply to eat a plant called “Reinlav” in Norwegian (sorry, I don´t know the English word for it….you can see pictures of it here on Wikipedia).
These reindeer are tame, and not wild like in the southern part of Norway, due to the fact that the Sami people have tamed them and now herd them as farmers do with sheep and cows. If you go to Kvaloya (Whale Island, take bus no. 42 or drive there), you will have a good chance of spotting reindeer. But to be guaranteed to see reindeer, and actually get to feed them and go reindeer sledding, you should join a tour:
Reindeer Feeding And Reindeer Sledding Day Tour
This Reindeer Sledding Day Trip takes you to a reindeer camp just outside of Tromso. Here you will get to see the reindeer up close, cuddle with them, and feed them their favorite food Reinlav. You will also be invited to sit in a traditional Sami tent called a Lavvo where you sit around a campfire, and you will have a warm meal of soup (you can choose between Bidos, the traditional Sami reindeer soup, fish soup or a vegetable soup). Here you will also get to enjoy a performance of Joik, a unique and traditional Sami song, as well as learn how to throw a Lasso, and hear about Sami culture and their way of life.
Transport is included and they will pick you up by bus at 09:15 a.m. at Scandic Ishavshotell in downtown Tromso. The drive out to the reindeer camp is beautiful in itself as you will get a guided sightseeing trip inland through some scenic mountain landscape with awesome fjord and mountain views. The whole trip takes six hours in total, including transport from and to Tromso. This reindeer tour is suitable for everyone, even children, and you don´t have to know anything about reindeer sledding to join the tour.
Click here for more information and the latest prices on the Reindeer Feeding and Sledding Day Tour
Northern Lights Reindeer Feeding and Reindeer Sledding Evening Tour
On this Reindeer Sledding Evening Trip, you will get to not only go reindeer sledding and cuddle and feed the reindeer but also watch the spectacular Northern Lights! A killer combination if you ask me! 🙂
You will also get to meet and hear about the Sami people, the indigenous people of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, and their unique culture. You will get a traditional Sami meal called Bidos (a reindeer soup), or you can choose a fish soup or vegetable soup, and sit inside the Lavvo (a traditional Sami tent) around the warm and cozy bonfire. During the evening you will also get to enjoy a Joik performance (a special traditional Sami folk song). The transport from and back to Tromso city is included in the tour, and they will pick you up at Scandic Ishavshotel at 18:45 p.m. and you are back in Tromso around midnight. As you drive inland through the beautiful snow-covered mountain and fjord landscape, you will also get to see the Northern Lights from the bus (if the sky is clear….).
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Reindeer Tour
4. Dog Sledding
I simply love Husky dogs! I have had Siberian Huskies all my life, five altogether, so for me, nothing is more fun than dog sledding. I highly recommend it! And if you are lucky, you will see the northern lights while being pulled on a sled by 6-8 Huskies and the only thing you hear is the small dog paws running gently in the snow.
Dog sledding is an amazing way to experience Tromso’s wilderness and if you are lucky you can see the Northern Lights.
There are several great dog sledding companies in and around Tromso, with Active Tromso and Tromso Wilderness Center as the ones closest to Tromso.
Dog Sledding Day Tour
To get the best dog sledding experience and get a real hang of it, you should join this Full Day Arctic Dog Sledding Expedition. This tour takes you through the breathtaking nature of fjords and mountains on Kvaloya (Whale Island). If you are lucky, you will get to see some wildlife along the way, like moose, reindeer, fox, hare, and eagles.
The tour includes bus transport from downtown Tromso to Tromso Wilderness Center and back to Tromso city, a 25 min drive one way. They will pick you up at Radisson Blu Hotel at 09:45 in the morning, and you will be back at your hotel around 16:00 p.m. The tour lasts for six hours in total, including transport and lunch.
You don´t have to have any experience with dogs or dog sledding to join this trip. But you should be in a general ok physical shape as you will be handling the dog sled yourself. You will be teamed up with two people on each sled, one passenger that sits in the sled and one driver/ musher. Then you will switch (if you want) along the way. There will be a professional English speaking musher guide looking after you and help you along the way. You get to borrow warm and comfortable winter boots and insulated suits but wear wool or fleece underwear.
After the thrilling dog sledding ride, you will return back to the camp at Tromso Wilderness Center and get to relax in a warm and cozy Lavvo (Sami tent) and sit around the bonfire. Here you will be served warm and tasty lunch of a traditional Sami meal called Bidos (reindeer soup), with tea or coffee and chocolate cake for dessert. Vegetarian option is available. You will also get to cuddle and say hi to the Huskies. They have around 300 (!) Alaskan Huskies in total! They are extremely friendly and love a cuddle! Especially the Husky puppies are soooooo cute! 🙂
Click here for more information and the latest prices on the full day Dog Sledding Tour
If this dog sledding day-trip is not enough, you can become a real pro dog sledding musher and join a multi-day tour where you also sleep in the wilderness in a tent or cabin:
Northern Lights Dog Sledding Evening Tour
Picture yourself gliding through the snow-covered wilderness of mountains, valleys, and fjords, while the only sound you hear is the soft dog paws gently running on the snow. Above your head, the colorful Northern Lights is dancing across the sky. Sounds magical, right?! If you want to experience this, then this Arctic Evening Dogsledding Excursion is the one to join!
This evening dog sledding and Northern Lights trip takes you through the beautiful mountain-covered landscape on Kvaloya (Whale Island). The trip includes transport to and from the husky camp Tromso Wilderness Center (pick up at Radisson Blu Hotel in downtown Tromso at 18:15) and a one-hour dog sledding ride (4 km). You will return back in Tromso around 22:00 in the evening.
You don´t have to know anything about dogs or dog sledding to join this tour as the excellent English speaking dog mushing guides will teach you everything you need to know! You will also get to borrow all the warm clothes and shoes that is necessary for you to have a fun and comfortable dog sledding ride.
After the dog sledding, you get to cuddle with the 300 (!) furry and friendly huskies (the husky puppies are adorable! ♥). When you return back to camp after the dog sledding, you will sit inside the warm and cozy Lavvo (Sami inspired tent) around the campfire and have a hot meal of Bacalao (stockfish in tomato sauce, vegetarian options as well). The total time of this tour is approximately four hours (including transport and eating). This is the ultimate combination of the best experiences that Tromso has to offer; Northern Lights and dog sledding!
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Dog Sledding Northern Lights Evening Tour
5. Snowmobile Tour
If you love speed and a bit of action, then you should sign up for a snowmobile trip! Snowmobile driving is not allowed everywhere in Norway (like it is in Sweden and Finland), so you can only drive a snowmobile in dedicated snowmobile tracks. Just outside of Tromso(a 75-min drive), in the valley Tamokdalen, is a wilderness center called Camp Tamok where they organize snowmobile tours among other activities.
Tamokdalen is a beautiful valley surrounded by steep mountains located inland. Here the climate is different from Tromso, and the chance of getting a clear sky to see the Northern Lights is better than on the coast where Tromso city is located. Inland the weather, in general, is much drier, more stable, and colder. Also, Tamokdalen is inhabited so no artificial lights will disturb your Northern Lights experience or your attempts to capture the lights with your camera.
At Camp Tamok you can choose between a snowmobile day trip or an evening trip:
Snowmobile Day Tour (6 hours)
On this Snowmobile Excursion In Tromso Day Tour, you will get picked up at Scandic Ishavshotel in downtown Tromso at 08:45 in the morning, driven to Tamokdalen by a bus/ minibus, and be back in Tromso at around 15:45 in the afternoon. The drive inland to Tamokdalen (75 min) is stunning and kind of like a sightseeing trip in itself where you will see some of Northern Norway! Along the way, you will have beautiful views of fjords, valleys, and snow-covered mountains.
When you arrive at the Camp Tamok Wilderness Center, you will get to borrow all the warm clothes and shoes that is necessary for you to have a comfortable snowmobile ride (including an insulated suit, warm shoes, headwear, helmet, gloves, and a headlamp). You don´t have to know anything about driving a snowmobile as they will go through all the safety instructions and practical demonstration so that you are fit to drive.
Once you are all geared up and have learned how to drive a snowmobile, you will start driving, two people on each snowmobile (one driver and one passenger sitting behind the driver). You will then switch along the trip so that you both can drive a bit (if you want).
You will drive through the beautiful Finn Valley surrounded by tall mountains where you start at 250 m above sea level. You will drive 15 km through the valley up to 900 m to the ice-covered lake Finn. On the ice-covered lake, you can put on quite a speed on your snowmobile and you will really feel the adrenaline pumping! Great fun! 🙂 The snowmobile driving will last for 2-2,5 hours and you will cover 30 km in total. If you want, you can also go ice fishing on the lake.
After the snowmobile trip, when you are back in the camp, you will sit down inside the cozy and warm Lavvu (traditional Sami tent) around a bonfire. Here you will be served a hot meal and coffee.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Snowmobile Day Tour (cross the Daytime excursion at the bottom of the page)
The pros of joining the day tour instead of the evening tour are that due to the daylight you get to see the stunning mountain nature and surroundings that you drive through. On the evening tour it is dark outside, so you will not see that much of the surrounding nature (although you have a headlamp and a light on the snowmobile of course). But then again, you get the opportunity to see the stunning Northern Lights on the evening trip!
You can also combine this snowmobile day trip with a guided visit to the Tromso Ice Domes. The ice domes are also located in camp Tamok Wilderness Center where you will start and end your snowmobile trip. So it is very convenient to do both, and it will save you some money as well! This combination tour will last for seven hours in total (you add one extra hour due to the guided Ice Domes visit).
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Snowmobile Day Tour and Tromso Ice Domes Visit
Northern Lights Snowmobile Evening Tour
The other option is to join the evening snowmobile tour. Then they will pick you up at Scandic Ishavshotel at 16:45, and you will return here around midnight.
The tour in itself is the same as the day tour (see the description above). The only difference is that is will be dark outside and (hopefully) amazing Northern Lights dancing in the sky above your head.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Snowmobile Tour (cross the Evening excursion at the bottom of the page)
Snowmobile Day Tour Through Norway, Finland, and Sweden (10 hours)
This Snowmobile Day Adventure Through Norway, Finland, and Sweden is the ultimate snowmobile trip of your life! Here you get to see the breathtaking wildness of the three Nordic countries, through snow-covered valleys, forests, lakes, and mountains. You will never forget this trip!
You get picked up early in the morning at 07:00 a.m. in downtown Tromso and go on a scenic drive (2,5 hours) by bus through fjords and valleys to the small village Kilpisjärvi in Finland. Here you will get all the clothes (insulated suits, warm shoes, helmet, face mask) you need to feel warm and comfortable on this snowmobile trip. Then it is on to a thorough safety instruction and demonstration of how to drive a snowmobile. They will teach you everything you need to know, so you don´t have to know anything about snowmobiles to join this trip. You will either drive a snowmobile on your own or be paired up with another person (a driver and a passenger) where you can switch along the way on the driving.
When you are back in camp in Kilpisjärvi, you will have a warm tasty lunch around a cozy bonfire, before the bus drives you back to Tromso. This is a fun and unique opportunity to see a bit of the beautiful nature of all the three Nordic countries; Norway, Finland, and Sweden.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Snowmobile Day Tour Through Norway, Finland, and Sweden
Obs! No drivers license is required to drive a snowmobile on this trip, but the driver of the snowmobile must be at least 18 years old (the passengers can be younger, however).
6. Snowshoeing Hike
Snowshoeing has become more and more popular in Tromso over the recent years. Several mountains in Tromso are perfect for snowshoeing hikes, offering some spectacular views. You can go on snowshoeing hikes on your own, and rent equipment at Tromsø Outdoor. Especially if you are renting a car, you can easily get out of town to go hiking. If you don´t plan on renting a car, then basically your only options are the mountains: Rødtind (bus no. 42), Fløya (bus no. 26 or walk over the bridge), and Ersfjord (bus no. 425).
The best option in my opinion, however, is to join a snowshoeing tour where you get to borrow snowshoes and poles, and a guide will drive you to a great place for snowshoeing hikes and guide you all the way. Here are the snowshoeing tours that we recommend:
Snowshoeing Day Tour
One great snowshoeing tour is this 4-hour Arctic Snowshoeing Excursion in Tromsø where you will hike through some stunning areas on Kvaloya (Whale Island) surrounded by mountains and fjord views. If you are lucky, you will also see some Arctic wildlife like eagles, moose, and reindeer on your hike. This snowshoeing hike is suitable for everyone, even children, also if it is your first time snowshoeing. You get to borrow all the equipment necessary for the hike, like snowshoes, poles, and insulated suits. Included in this trip is also a hot meal, hot and cold drinks, as well as transport (they will pick you up at 11:00 a.m. at Radisson Blu Hotel in downtown Tromso).
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Snowshoeing Hiking Tour
Northern Lights Snowshoeing Evening Tour
If you want to combine snowshoeing with watching the Northern Lights, this six hours Evening Northern Lights Experience with Snowshoeing near Tromsø is awesome! You will also have a traditional Norwegian dinner (including dessert, coffee, and tea) in a cozy and warm traditional Norwegian cabin during the snowshoeing hike. You are provided with everything you need on this trip; snowshoes, poles, and a headlamp, as well as transport (pick up at Clarion Hotel The Edge at 18:00) and a friendly guide.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Northern Lights Snowshoeing Tour
You can also spend the night at this 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
7. Tromso Ice Domes
Located in Tamokdalen, a 75-min drive inland from Tromso, the unique and beautiful Tromso Ice Domes is well-worth a visit! And yes, they are entirely built of ice and snow, even the bar and restaurant! Super cool (and cold, hehe)! 🙂
There are two guided tours to Tromso Ice Domes each day. They both depart from Clarion Hotel The Edge in downtown Tromso, one at 10:30 a.m. and one at 13:00 p.m. From here you will go on a scenic 75-minutes bus sightseeing trip inland through snow-covered mountains, valleys, and fjords. Once you arrive at the Ice Domes in Tamokdalen Valley you are greeted by a friendly and welcoming English speaking guide that will show you around and tell you all about the building process of the ice domes.
Every building, the ice bars, ice cinema, ice bedrooms, and ice restaurant, are all designed with themes from local Sami culture and the northern lights. They are beautifully decorated and lit by colored lighting and ice sculptures. You will be treated with a complimentary non-alcoholic drink at the cool ice bar and can buy more drinks or lunch/ dinner in the awesome ice restaurant.
A visit to the Ice Dome will completely change how you look at ice and snow. It is incredible how it can be turned into big beautiful buildings and sculptures! The entire trip (including transport from and to Tromso) takes about five hours in total.
Click here for information and the latest prices on a visit to the Tromso Ice Domes
Overnight Stay At Tromso Ice Domes Hotel
If you want to stay at a unique and memorable Arctic accommodation, you can even spend the night in the Ice Domes! A night at the Tromso Ice Domes Hotel will for sure be a once-in-a-lifetime winter adventure that you will never forget!
Included in this overnight stay is transport from and back to Tromso (a 75 min drive each way), stay in a double room, a guide for your entire stay, guided snowshoeing and Northern Lights trip, dinner cooked over open fire, a non-alcoholic drink at the ice bar, breakfast the next morning, and warm clothes and equipment needed. You can book extras like helicopter transfer, dog sledding trip, reindeer feeding and reindeer sledding trip, and snowmobile safari.
You get picked up at Clarion Hotel The Edge in downtown Tromso at 17:00 in the afternoon and will arrive at the Ice Domes at 18:30 where you will be greeted by your personal guide for your entire stay. You will be going on a guided snowshoeing trip in the evening, and hopefully see some spectacular Northern Lights, before having a delicious dinner cooked on open fire. At night you will be warm and comfortable sleeping on a mattress covered in reindeer skin. The double bed in your room is surrounded by an ice frame, but the actual bed that you sleep on is not ice (or it would melt and you would be cold and wet… 🙂 ). So don´t worry, you will not freeze to death during the night! It is actually quite warm inside the ice rooms.
The next morning you will be served a delicious breakfast at 08:00, and you can go for a walk in the beautiful surroundings, or join a dog sledding, snowmobile, or reindeer sledding/ feeding tour. If you are satisfied, however, and don´t want to go on any trip, you can head back to Tromso with the bus at 09:00 a.m. This is a real and memorable winter wonderland adventure!
Click here for information and the latest prices on an overnight stay at Tromso Ice Domes Hotel
Tromso is surrounded by some of the best mountains for skiing in Norway, and there are usually excellent conditions from October till June.
Kvaloya island (a 10-minute drive from downtown of Tromso) have the best mountains for skiing close to Tromso. If you want an easy mountain skiing trip, that is easily accessible by bus, then I also recommend that you head to Rødtind (bus no. 42).
Kattfjordeidet is also a very popular skiing area, nicknamed “Little Chamonix” by us locals, with several great mountains for skiing.
The Lyngen Alps is another great area just outside of Tromso (1,5 hours by car including a ferry). The mountains here are spectacular, steep, tall, and go straight down into the fjords.
Do, however, be aware of the danger of avalanche as sadly almost every year people get killed by avalanches in the mountains on Kvaloya or the Lyngen Alps. You should also have the clothes, skiing equipment, and excellent skiing skills if you plan to head up into some of these mountains. I have skied the highest mountain in the Lyngen Alps, Jiehkkevarri, and it was pretty challenging even for me that have been skiing my whole life. So I would say that Lyngen is for more advanced skiers.
Cross-country Skiing Tour/ Course
If you have never been skiing before, or want to work on your skiing skills, you should join this excellent and fun cross-country skiing tour. This awesome cross-country skiing tour is for all levels, and you don´t have to know anything about skiing to join! The experienced and helpful guide will teach you everything you need to know to become an excellent skier.
Along the way, you will enjoy the beautiful nature Tromso has to offer and enjoy it in a fun way and at the same time get some great exercise. The perfect combination! This skiing trip takes 5 to 6 hours (including transport), and is great fun! The tour includes skiing gear, transport from and to Tromso city (they will pick you up at Scandic Ishavshotell in downtown Tromso at 09:15), as well as food and drinks.
Click here for information and the latest prices on Cross-country Skiing Tour
If you know how to ski and want to go skiing on your own, there are some great cross-country skiing opportunities and conditions in Tromso. On top of Tromsoya is the “Lysløypa”, which is a trail with perfect cross-country skiing tracks that are lit by street lights. There are also great cross-country skiing trails on Kvaloya (take bus no. 42 to Storelva) and Tromsdalen. Here is a map of the cross-country skiing tracks in Tromso. You can rent skis and other ski-equipment at Tromso Outdoor.
Ski & Sail Tour
Ski & Sail tours to Lyngen, Senja, and Lofoten has become really popular lately. This is where you stay and live onboard a sailboat while you do hikes to different mountains along the fjords and coast each day.
This 3-day Ski & Sail Tour gives you the option to either go northbound (from Svolvær to Tromsø) or southbound (from Tromsø to Svolvær). You will ski on mountains along the way and see the amazing Arctic nature and wildlife that Northern Norway has to offer. If you are lucky you will get to ski under the Northern Lights, which is an amazing experience! All meals and sleeping on the boat are included. You can also rent skis and gear.
Click here for information and the latest prices on Ski & Sail Tours
The Best Things To Do In Tromso In Summer
1. Midnight Sun
The long summer nights where the sun never sets is the most unique and best things of the summertime in Northern Norway in my opinion.
It is kind of magical when the sky is on fire of a mix of yellow, orange, pink and red it never gets dark. You just want to stay up all night, have a bonfire on the beach or go hiking in the mountains. I`m pretty sure that people living in Northern Norway sleep half as much in summer as they do in winter.
There are several great ways to enjoy the Midnight Sun:
Midnight Sun Fjord Sailing
One of the best ways to enjoy the midnight sun is to be out on the sea and go sailing through the fjords that surround Tromso. On this three hours Midnight Sun Fjord Sailing Tour you will peacefully sail through the fjords of Tromso on a luxurious catamaran while enjoying the golden soaked landscape of mountains, islands, and fjords. If you are lucky, you can even see seals, eagles, and other Arctic birds.
You will be provided with all the equipment you need and an experienced and professional skipper and guide, so you don´t have to know anything about sailing. The catamaran is anchored up by the Scandic Ishavshotel right in downtown Tromso, and you will leave at 22:00 in the evening.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Midnight Sun Fjord Sailing Tour
Midnight Sun Sea Kayaking
If you want to have a bit more adventurous sea and fjord experience, and even get some exercise, then kayaking is the thing! On this stunning Midnight Sun Sea Kayaking Tour you will learn everything about how to paddle a kayak so you don´t have to have any previous experience with kayaking to join.
You will be kayaking through the beautiful fjords and around islands that surrounds Tromso. This is as close as you can get to nature and life at sea. It is an experience of life and great fun too!
The tour starts outside of Radisson Blue Hotel in downtown Tromso at 20:45, from where you will be transported for about 25 minutes to the kayaking area on Kvaloya (Whale Island). At Tromso Wilderness Center you will learn how to paddle a kayak, before setting out onto the sea. The kayaking trip itself will last 3,5 – 3 hours before returning to the Wilderness Center where you will be served something hot to drink and some food. You will be transported back to the Radisson Blue Hotel after the meal. You will be back at 02:30 in the night.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Midnight Sun Sea Kayaking Tour
Midnight Sun Rib Boat Fjord Tour
A more speedy and action filled way of seeing the fjord landscape of Tromso is by this excellent Midnight Sun Rib Boat Fjord Tour. Along the way, you will see beautiful fjords, white beaches, mountains, islands, and Arctic wildlife at sea. It is a thrilling experience filled with speed and great fun and action!
You will be provided with all the warm clothes and safety equipment needed, as well as an experienced skipper and guide. The Rib boat trip takes three hours.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Midnight Sun Rib Boat Fjord Tour (3 hours)
There is also a bit shorter Midnight Sun Rib Boat Trip that takes two hours if you don´t have that much time.
Click here for information and the latest prices on the Midnight Sun Rib Boat Fjord Tour (2 hours)
If you don´t want to join a tour and go out by yourself, the best place to see the midnight sun is on the mountain Floya on the mainland (take the cable car or walk up), and the outside of the island Kvaloya like Sommaroy or Grotfjord.
- Midnight Sun season: 20th of May – 22nd of July
2. Hiking In The Mountains
Tromso has some of the best hiking options in the whole of Norway. The city is surrounded by lots of mountains, and you can start hiking just a 10-minute drive from the downtown of Tromso. To have the wilderness so close to the city is pretty unique and awesome if you ask me! That`s the main reason why I ♥ Tromso so much.
3. Husky Cafe
Visit the wonderful Husky Cafe at Tromso Wilderness Center on Kvaloya (Whale Island) and cuddle with 300 Alaskan Huskies! A guide will tell you all about the Huskies and how they use them for dog sledding at winter timer. They also serve delicious cakes, Norwegian waffles, ice cream, tea, and coffee inside a Lavvu (traditional Sami tent) with a wood fire in the middle. A great and cozy experience!
The transportation to and from the Husky Cafe at Tromso Wilderness Center is included and they will pick you up at Clarion the Edge Hotel in downtown Tromso. The Wilderness Center is located in a beautiful area with great fjord and mountain views. You will remember this special cafe visit for the rest of your life as it is great fun!
Click here for information and the latest prices on Husky Cafe Visit
If you love dogs (like me), you should join this Puppy Husky Training at Tromso Wilderness Center. Here you get to train the husky puppies and cuddle with them as much as you want. They are sooooo cute and fluffy! 🙂 It is a unique opportunity and experience!
Click here for information and the latest prices on Husky Puppy Training
4. Tromso Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden
Tromso has the northernmost botanical garden in the world and it is open from May until October. It is incredibly green, lush and colorful with beautiful flowers from early spring till late autumn, consisting of plants from all over the northern hemisphere of the world.
You can also join a guided tour around the garden in July, every Monday to Friday at 14:00. It cost NOK 225.
There is a cozy cafe in the garden, in an old white wooden house called Hansine Hansen, where you can buy delicious waffles, ice cream, and a selection of cakes. You can sit inside or outside in the garden. The cafe is open during summer (1st of June until 1st of September) from 11:30 till 15:30 every day.
- Opening hours: Open day and night from May until October. You can even walk around the garden at night and enjoy the midnight sun
- Ticket prices: FREE! Yay!
- Where is it: The garden is located to the southeast of the University of Tromsø Campus, in Breivika.
- How to get there: You can walk from downtown Tromso (takes about an hour) or you can take bus no. 20, 33, or 42.
Tromso is actually perfect for sailing all year round since the sea never freezes. There are plenty of great sailing areas around Tromso, like on the outside of Kvaloya where there are lots of small islands, Senja island, Lyngen Alps, or the Lofoten islands.
Arctic Fjord Sailing
To sail among the islands of Tromso is an excellent way to experience the beautiful Arctic nature and wildlife. It is peaceful and thrilling at the same time.
On this guided three hours Arctic Fjord Sailing Tour you will sail around Tromso city in a luxurious and comfortable catamaran where you can sit inside the warm and cozy cabin or be out on deck to fully experience the nature. You get a warm safety suit, fishing gear, food, and non-alcoholic beverage, as well as a professional English-speaking guide and captain. If you are lucky, you can catch your own lunch (fish or crab) that will be prepared onboard! A great experience! The sailing boat is anchored up by Scandic Ishavshotel in downtown Tromso, so it´s very convenient.
Click here for information and the latest prices on Arctic Fjord Sailing
If you want to really experience the life at sea and see more of the fjord landscape of mountains and islands that surrounds Tromso, you should opt for this 2 days sailing trip – Tromso Overnight Sailing Tour. Then you get to sleep on board this luxurious catamaran and get lunch, dinner, and breakfast onboard. Along the way, you will see wildlife like eagles, arctic birds, seals, dolphins and occasionally whales. This is the ultimate fjord cruise if you want to spend more than just a few hours out at sea.
Click here for information and the latest prices on Tromso Overnight Sailing Tour
Hike & Sail Tour On The Arctic Haute Route
This Hike & Sail Tour is the ultimate sailing trip and expedition, where you get to see and experience all the highlights that Northern Norway has to offer when it comes to beautiful fjords, mountains, islands, wildlife, and spectacular Arctic nature!
This sailing tour lasts for three days and is packed with thrilling once-in-a-lifetime experiences. You will be sailing and sleeping onboard this cozy ship and stop at many small and lively harbors like Tromsø, Lofoten, Andørja, Senja, and Kvaløya. You can choose between 2 options – Northbound Sailing (from Svolvær to Tromsø via Stamsund in Lofoten, Vesterålen, Senja, Sommarøy, and Tromsø) or Southbound Sailing (from Tromsø to Svolvær, via Senja, Vesterålen and Lofoten, and Svolvær). Transport, sleeping onboard, captain and guide, and all meals are included.
Click here for information and the latest prices on Hike & Sail Tour
6. Sea Fjord Kayaking
Sea kayaking is very popular in Tromso and there is a big kayaking community. There are several tour operators where you can rent a kayak, learn how to kayak, and join others on kayaking trips. There are lots of places to go kayaking around Tromso both for beginners and more advanced paddlers and lots of islands where you can go ashore.
You can rent a kayak at:
There are some great bicycling options in and around Tromso, both for mountain bike and on the road, and the bicycling sport has become extremely popular among the locals over the past years. Its popularity might have something to do with the Norwegians doing well in the professional tours, like Tour de France and we also have a race up in the Arctic – Arctic Race of Norway.
Foto by Anders Schürmann
You can rent a bicycle at Tromsø Outdoor.
8. Glacier Hike
Just outside of Tromso city is the magnificent Lyngen Alps with its tall mountain peaks that go straight down into the stunning Lyngen Fjord. This Arctic-Alpine wilderness is truly spectacular!
This Glacier HIking Tour takes you to the arctic-alpine area of Lyngen Alps where you will go hiking on the Steindalen Glacier. I have been hiking on this glacier several times and it is perfect for both beginners and more experienced glacier hikers. The glacier stretches from the top of the mountain down into the broad valley called Steindalen. The walking is easy as the glacier is not that steep. And you will have awesome views of the mountains and fjords that surrounds you on the entire hike. This is an epic adventure where you will see the best of what Northern Norway has to offer!
On this tour, they will pick you up at 09:00 in the morning at the Scandic Ishavshotel in downtown Tromso and drive you to the Lyngen Alps and Steindalen Valley. The drive is lovely as well as you will be driving through a stunning mountain and fjord landscape. A guide will provide you with all the equipment that you need, including safety harness and rope, and he or she will guide you safely on the entire hike. You will walk for a total of six hours, so you have to be in decent shape, but you will, of course, have breaks along the way. Remember to bring your own lunch.
Click here for more information and the latest prices on the Glacier Hike In Lyngen Alps
9. Bukta Beach
Whenever the sun is shining and the temperature is above 15 degrees, the locals head to the city beach “Bukta”, or “Telegrafbukta” which is its full name.
Here you will get a nice view over the sea and the surrounding islands and mountains. In the summertime, the sun is shining in Bukta the whole day and night making this the perfect spot to have a barbecue and watch the Midnight Sun. Here you will find picnic tables, benches, grills, beach volleyball nets, and toilets.
If you are a real Viking, you can even have a swim in the ocean as the sand is white and soft, but the water is freezing cold the whole year-round!
It is darker here than in the downtown of Tromso, so it is a nice place to see the Northern Lights at winter. Bring warm clothes and something hot to drink on a thermos as it will be cold.
It is located nearby Tromso Museum, so you can easily combine those two. You can also walk around Folkeparken Open-Air Museum which is located just above Bukta Beach. This open-air museum in Folkeparken consists of 13 houses who originated from Tromso city and the surrounding area. It is actually Norway’s oldest open-air museum.
- How to get here: You can walk from the downtown (about 30 min), or you can drive or take the bus (bus no. 34, departs every 15 min during the day and every 30 min during the evening until midnight). It has it` own bus stop.
- Best of all, it` s free and you can bring your dog!
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.
Hotel 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.
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Next 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!
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The 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.
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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.
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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.
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Comfort Hotel Xpress Tromso
This is a budget hotel with 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.
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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!
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The 10 Best Places To Eat In Tromso
Although there is plenty of international food to find in Tromso, like Asian, American and South American food, as a visitor you would like to try some local food, right? Here are my favorite restaurants in Tromso that serve local Norwegian food:
This place serves local traditional North Norwegian food like different sort of fish, whale, reindeer, seal and all sorts of shellfish. I love their specialty grilled stockfish, not to mention reindeer and whale that are my favorite meats.
- Opening hours: Monday – Saturday from 16:00. Closed on Sundays.
- Address: Strandtorget 1
Located in the same building as Arctandria Restaurant, Biffhuset is one of my favorite restaurants in Tromsoe due to their juicy and tender steak.
They also have ribs, king crabs, goat, chicken, pork, and Norwegian dessert specialties like kjelost and cloud berries (my favorite dessert in the whole world…..). A few fish dishes are also on the menu, like grilled stock fish.
- Opening hours: every day 15:30 – 22:30 (22:00 on Sundays)
- Address: Strandtorget 1
Emmas is centrally located just next to the Tromso Cathedral and consist of two restaurants – Emma` Drommekjokken (“Emmas Dream Kitchen”) and Emmas Under (located down stairs). The Emmas Under is cheaper and has several small dishes perfect for lunch or an early afternoon dinner. Try their signature dish, Fish soup which is delicious. The upstairs Emma` Dromsmekjokken is quite expensive but serves excellent Norwegian food of the best quality. Great for a special night out. We celebrated my dad`s 70th birthday here.
- Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 11:00 – 22:00. Closed Sundays.
- Address: Kirkegata 8
This new restaurant is THE thing in Tromso at the moment, as it has been listed in several top notch international food guides. They serve upper-class food that is made of local ingredients and change the menu every week. You can choose 3, 4, 5, 6, or even 7 courses including specially selected wines that go well with every course.Opening hours:
- Tuesday – Saturday 17:00 – Midnight. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
- Address: Skippergata 16B
Hildr Gastro Bar
Located in an old white wooden house, Hildr is one of my favorite restaurants not only because of their delicious food but because the atmosphere here is so cozy. They change their menu according to what kind of fresh fish they have been able to find, although their tapas is regularly on the menu. They also have a 3 or 5-course set menu with or without wine. Across the street is their “brother restaurant” Burgr serving Tromso`s best burger in my opinion! Well worth a try, and a cheaper option than Hildr.
- Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 11:00 – around midnight. Closed on Sundays.
- Address: Skippergata 11
Their interior decor might seem a bit “cold” and basic, but their open kitchen is super cool and their food excellent. They have different sorts of fish, soups and whale dishes on their menu. You can also choose a 3 or 4-course set menu with ingredients from local food producers. Definitely worth a try for lunch or dinner, or both. They also have a shop next door selling local food from Northern Norway.
- Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 11:00 – 23:00. Sundays closed.
- Address: Grønnegata 60
This fish restaurant probably has Tromso’s best location view-wise right by the harbor. Here you can sit and enjoy some delicious seafood and look at the sea and the boats. You might even see Hurtigruta pass by. If you like oysters, then you should try this as a starter. They mainly have fish on the menu, but also serve whale.
- Opening hours: Every day (also Sundays) 16:00 – 22:00
- Address: Killengrensgate
Bardus is located in a cozy old wooden house right by the library. Their menu is not the biggest, but the dishes they have is delicious. They have fish of the day, goat, hamburger (lunch menu), and some other stuff. If you’re feeling adventurous and you’ve never tried the Northern Norway specialty cod tongue, then you should definitely head here and check it out yourself (I hate it by the way, hehe).Their neighboring bar is also great, and they make Tromso´s best drinks in my opinion!
- Opening hours: Every day 11:00 (12:00 at weekends) – 22:00 (18:00 on Sundays and 17:00 on Mondays).
- Address: Cora Sandelsgate 4
Skirri at Kystens Mathus
Located at the new Kystens Mathus right at the harbor of Tromso, this restaurant has an amazing view over the sea and across the to the Tromso Bridge, the Arctic Cathedral, and the Cable Car.
Here you can eat everything from fresh shrimps, salmon, chicken, a hamburger made of wolffish or moose, lamb, reindeer, grilled clip fish, king crab, and whale carpaccio.
- Opening hours: every day 12:00 – 18:00
- Address: Stortorget 1
This house, which dates back 200 years, used to be an old butchers shop but is now a cozy and atmospheric cafe/ restaurant that serves the best cakes and coffee. They also have light meals like fish soup, sandwiches, hamburger, and salmon. For dessert, try the “suksessterte” (success tart) which is my favorite cake. I bake it for my birthday every year. 🙂 Grab one of the tables along the windows and do some people-watching, great fun.
- Opening hours: every day 11:00 – 22:00 (except Monday and Tuesday when they close at 18:00)
- Address: Sjøgata 29
The Best Festivals In Tromso
Every year Tromso plays host to some excellent festivals that often draw top international artists from all around the world.
Bukta Open Air Rock Music Festival
A rock music festival held in a scenic place – Bukta Beach, with an awesome view over the sea and the midnight sun.
- When: Middle of July every year
Tromso International Film Festival – TIFF
The biggest film festival in Norway with incredible 60619 people attending in 2016. Do not expect to see any blockbuster Hollywood movies here, they mainly screen more challenging films from all over the world.
- When: Middle of January every year
A music festival, “Music in the Arctic”, that has classical music concerts from all over the world.
- When: End of January/ beginning of February
A pop/rock music festival in the middle of downtown Tromso, with Norwegian and international super stars.
- When: Last weekend of August
Midnight Sun Marathon
The biggest marathon competition in Norway, where you can run the full marathon, half-marathon or 10 km. If there are no clouds, then you can even enjoy the Midnight Sun while you run.
- When: Middle of June
A jazzy weekend where you can enjoy concerts by some of the best jazz musicians, both Norwegian and international artists.
- When: Beginning of August
Smak – Tromso Food Festival
A food festival where you can walk around eating your way through Storgata and pop into the restaurants in Tromso getting a special dish at a reduced price. A great way to try out some North Norwegian specialties.
- When: End of September
A techno/ electronic/ dance festival hosting some of the biggest techno artists in the world.
- When: End of October
The Best Day Trips From Tromso
Sommarøy (Summer Island)
The small island Sommarøy, located on the outside of Kvaloya, is a beautiful and charming little fishing village, surrounded by white sandy beaches, and the azure blue ocean.
There is also a hotel on the island, Sommarøy Arctic Hotel, where you can choose between sleeping in hotel rooms or cabins by the sea (traditional Norwegian Rorbu). The hotel also has a lovely restaurant serving breakfast, lunch or dinner. The hotel can arrange fishing trips by boat, sailing, and kayak trips.
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- How to get to Sommarøy: It is easiest to get to Sommarøy by car (1 hour). From Tromsø, drive to Kvaløya and follow the signs to Sommarøy. You can also take bus no. 420 from downtown of Tromsø to Sommarøy. The bus leaves from the downtown of Tromsø (bus stop Prostneset next to the tourist information center Visit Tromsø). The bus ticket cost 100 Nkr with the free app “Troms Mobillett”.
Ersfjord is a beautiful fjord located on Kvaloya, a half an hour drive from downtown Tromso. The fjord is surrounded by jagged mountains that run straight down into the sea.
In Ersfjord is Tromso`s coziest cafe – Bryggejentene which serves delicious cakes, biscuits, coffee, tea, soda, ice-cream and everything a cafe should serve. The cafe is right on the pier with an amazing view over Ersfjord and it` surrounding mountains.
Ersfjord is a great place to take Northern Lights photos, or just go for a walk along the shore.
- Opening hours Bryggejentene cafe/ shop: Monday – Friday 11 – 16, Saturday 11 – 17, Sundays closed
- How to get to Ersfjord: It is easiest to get to Ersfjord by car (30 min). Drive to Kvaløya, take right when you get to Eidkjosen and follow the signs to Ersfjord. You can also take bus no. 425 from the downtown of Tromsø (bus stop Prostneset next to the tourist information center Visit Tromsø) to Ersfjordbotn. The bus ticket costs 42 Nkr with the free app “Troms Mobillett”.
Senja, being the second largest island in Norway, has a great contrast of mountains, sea, beautiful sandy beaches, and fishing villages. It is a very nice day trip from Tromso, both winter and summer, or you can stay a night or two at some of the guesthouses and private cabins or bring your own tent.
- How to get to Senja: You can either drive to Senja with a rental car (3 hours one way), or take the Express boat (no. 4) from downtown Tromso to Lysnes on Senja. The round-trip from downtown of Tromso (the brand new harbour building at Prostneset) to Lysnes and back to Tromso takes about 2 hours and runs on Monday and Wednesday (Tromsø – Lysnes – Tromsø 07:10 – 09:05 and 16:20 – 18:15), Friday (Tromsø – Lysnes – Tromsø 07:10 – 09:05 and 16:00 – 17:55), and Sunday (Tromsø – Lysnes – Tromsø 20:20 – 22:20). The fare is NOK 260.
If you choose to drive, you can take the route through Brensholmen (close to Sommarøy) and take the ferry across the fjord to Botnhamn on Senja. It is a beautiful ferry trip! The car ride takes about 1 hour and the ferry trip takes 35 min (ferry no. 181: Sommerferge Botnhamn-Brensholmen) and operates from April to August.
Lyngen with its peaky mountains that go straight down into the sea is an awesome area north of Tromso, about an hour and a half with car and ferry.
First, you must drive from Tromso to Breivikeidet (1-hour car ride). The ferry trip from Breivikeidet to Svendsby in Lyngen takes 20 min and is well worth the trip in itself as it is a beautiful ferry trip across the fjord with an amazing view of the Lyngen Alps. From Svendsby you can drive through Lyngen and take another ferry from Lyngseidet to Olderdalen. From Olderdalen you can drive back to Tromso, the drive takes 2,5 hours (without taking any ferries).
Some great places to stay in Lyngen are:
- The Magic Mountain Lodge
- Lyngen North – spend the night in a glass igloo watching the northern lights
- Lyngen Lodge (on the Olderdalen side, the other side of Lyngseidet, take the second ferry)
- Sørheim Brygge
If you want a guided tour, AscentDescent offers trips both winter and summer. Lyngen is great for mountain hiking, ice climbing, glacier trekking, skiing, kayaking, fishing, and biking.
North of Tromso lays the beautiful island Skjærvøy. You can do a round-trip from Tromso to Skjærvøy by express boat and/or Hurtigruten through the stunning Lyngen Fjord that runs through the Lyngen Alps.
The express boat (no. 3) does round-trips to from downtown Tromsø to Skjervøy on Tuesdays (Tromsø – Skjervøy – Tromsø 16:00 – 20:05), Thursdays (Tromsø – Skjervøy – Tromsø 16:00 – 20:15), Fridays (Tromsø – Skjervøy – Tromsø 18:10 – 23:20), and Sundays (Tromsø – Skjervøy -Tromsø 14:30 – 19:50). The round-trip fare is NOK 560.
Another option is to take the express boat that departs from Tromso Tuesdays at 16:00 or Thursdays at 16:00 or Sunday at 14:30, and then the southbound Hurtigruten back from Skjervøy to Tromso. The Hurtigruta departs from Skjervøy at 19:45 (18:30 in April and May), and arrives in Tromso at 23:45.
Ferry round-trip to islands outside of Tromso
If you want to see some of the many beautiful small islands outside of Tromso and Kvaloya, you can take a ferry round-trip from Belvik in Skulsfjord on Kvaloya. The ferry goes to the islands Vengsøy, Musvær, and Risøy before returning back to Belvik and it is a beautiful trip. The round-trip takes about 2-3 hours and has several departures every day.
Phew, there you go, our ultimate guide to my hometown Tromso!
To sum up, the cable car is a real must when visiting Tromso, along with the Polaria and the Polar Museum. Then it depends on whether you visit in the winter or summer. In winter the highlights are Northern Lights, skiing, dog sledding, fjord boat trip/whale watching. In summer the highlights are hiking in the midnight sun, boat trip, and fishing.
By the way, have you seen the movie Insomnia from 2002 starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hillary Schwank? Did you know that it is actually a remake of a Norwegian film also called Insomnia from 1997 which was filmed in Tromso? The police officer played by Stellan Skarsgård is really struggling with the midnight sun and cannot sleep due to the bright nights, as the title refers to. You can watch the trailer of the original Insomnia from Tromso here.
Facts about Tromso
What is this article about?
A complete travel guide to my home city Tromso
Where is this?
Tromso is located in the northern part of Norway
How to get there
Fly from Oslo (2 hours), SAS or Norwegian have many departures each day
When to go
Whole year round, summer for the midnight sun and hiking, winter for the northern lights, skiing, and whales
Population: 73 000
Located at 69 degrees north
Northern Lights season: September – March
Whale season: November/ December – February
Midnight sun season: 20th of May – 22nd of July
Skiing season: December – June
Tromso is also called Paris of the North due to the fashionable women
Have you been to Tromso? Is there something I have missed? And if you have not been to Tromso, would you like to go? Please leave a comment below, and if you find this useful please share on social media. Thanks a million! 🙂
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