What to visit in Tromsø?
Updated: Jun 7
Tromsø is the 12th largest municipality in Norway. The city is home to the world's northernmost university and also houses the northernmost botanical garden and planetarium. The city is the administrative center of Tromsø Municipality and the administrative center of Tromsø County.
Tromsø is a great city for a long weekend in the winter or summer, if you are Europe-based.
There are wonderful things to visit in Tromsø, such as fjord landscapes or the northern lights. But there are also beautiful monuments like the Arctic Cathedral. Below you will learn all about Tromsø!
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What not to miss?
The Arctic Cathedral
The Arctic Cathedral is a cathedral whose architecture was inspired by the angular shapes of Arctic winter ice. The cathedral is composed of 11 immense triangles made of white concrete. These 11 immense triangles represent the 11 apostles after the betrayal. The cathedral is a landmark of Tromsø. It is visible from the Tromsø Bridge, the Tromsø Sound, and from the plane upon landing.
The light both inside and outside the Arctic Cathedral is very special. The aluminum-coated concrete panels create a huge stained glass window. The interior lighting is placed so that it illuminates the outside of the panels as well as the inside of the church. This gives the church a visual effect.
Between late September and late March, northern Norway is dark from early afternoon to late morning. During this period, the northern lights often float along the sky. Viewing the northern lights from this point is beautiful. This is due to the beautiful surroundings of many islands, deep fjords, and steep mountains. Tromsø is the largest city in Northern Norway, making it the perfect place to view the Northern Lights.
There is more to experience in Tromsø in Northern Norway besides the northern lights. There are fun towns to visit, great nightlife, wonderful museums, quiet spots with no light fill, and small fishing villages.
The Planetarium & Science Center
The Northern Lights Planetarium was the first planetarium in Norway open to the public and is now the science center of northern Norway. There are daily shows about and featuring the northern lights. Some shows may also feature constellations, distant galaxies, and travels through the solar system. The Planetarium is located in the Science Center.
The Science Center hosts interactive exhibits suitable for all ages. It is possible to experiment here, increasing your knowledge of the universe, Arctic weather phenomena, climate, and the human body. It is a perfect activity if you want to give your brain a challenge.
And if you want a break in between, the Science Center offers coffee, ice cream, muffins, etc. There is also a cafeteria and restaurant available!
The Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden
In this beautiful garden, the flowering season begins around the first days of May. During this time there can still be quite a bit of snow in the garden. At this time, purple stone crop and its relatives dominate, as do yellow cushion plants and various bulbs. The flowering of plants in the garden continues until about October when the snow returns. In autumn there are beautiful colors due to the reddish leaves of the plants. The garden consists of 25 collections. Most have an impressive selection of species, which you will not easily find anywhere else.
In winter it is also attractive to visit the garden. The rock landscapes and evergreen shrubs make it look beautiful on winter days. If the snow cover is deep, you can even bring your skis.
Fjord Cruise & Fishing
It is also possible to take a beautiful fjord tour by boat and fish. During this trip, you will experience real Arctic wildlife, such as bald eagles and all kinds of birds. It is also possible to sail past the most famous places with a boat trip. You will sail past majestic fjords in Tromsø during the boat trip.
At some stops, there will also be fishing. You will be taken to the best fishing spots that have been fishing for centuries. Traditions and old stories about fishing will be told. It is an outing for everyone, including families, who would like to see more of the Arctic landscape.
What else to visit?
Whale watching doesn't that sound great! It is possible in Tromsø. The biggest chance to spot whales is by participating in a whale safari. Whales are shy and will not show themselves easily. By joining a whale safari you will almost certainly spot whales because you will be traveling with professionals who know exactly where they can best see the whales and how best to attract them. During the winter, Tromsø offers daily whale-watching departures from the city center.
Reindeer Feeding & Sledding
It is possible to sled with a reindeer and feed reindeer in Tromsø. The reindeer is the true hero of the Arctic. There are a huge number of organizations that offer an adventure with reindeer. You can go on a reindeer sled to see the northern lights or towards a lavvu tent for a meal. It is an amazing thing to experience.
You can not only sled with reindeer, but also with dogs. Dog sledding is one of the most prized activities you can do in the Arctic landscape. There are also a huge number of organizations that organize this activity. Usually, the dog sleds are pulled by Huskies. Huskies belong to the polar dogs. Originally, the husky is a working dog used by Siberian nomads to move quickly by sled over snow and ice.
Tromsø Ice Domes
Tromsø Ice Domes is a hotel built entirely of ice and snow. It is rebuilt every year in the middle of a frozen valley above the Arctic Circle. You can get guided tours and you can also visit them on your own. There is much more to see besides ice suites, including ice art, an ice bar, an ice cinema, and much more!
Shopping on Storgata Street
Storgata Street is the main pedestrian street in Tromsø. It is full of nice restaurants, cafes, and stores. It is a perfect place to explore Tromsø. The street is all coziness and definitely recommended if you want to have a drink somewhere. You will also come across many local stores where you can buy genuine local goodies.
Trip to Sommarøy
In Sommarøy you will find beautiful Riviera beaches, great views, and a lively fishing village. It is a great excursion destination from Tromsø. Sommarøy is one of the most active fishing villages in the province. The product at Sommarøy is herring, which is used for export all over the world.
Trip to the North Cape
The North Cape is the northernmost point in Europe. It offers great views of the midnight sun from the famous cliff that is 307 meters high. The best months to visit the Nort Cape if you would like to see the midnight sun are June and July.
How to travel there?
The easiest way to reach Tromsø is by plane. There are many European airports that offer direct flights to Tromsø. The only problem is that these flights are not offered all year round. Below are the European airports and when you can use them to reach Tromsø directly.
- London Luton (LTN) - December to March
- London Gatwick (LGW) - November to March
- Frankfurt (FRA)
- Düsseldorf (DUS) - December to March
- Munich (MUN) - December to March
- Zurich (ZRH) - as of June
- Krakow (KRK) - September to March
- Gdansk (GDN) - October to March
- Copenhagen (CPH) - November to March
- Helsinki (HEL) - From November
- Stockholm (Arlanda) (ARN) - From August.
In the period between April and August, there are no direct international flights to Tromsø. However, during this period there are domestic flights from Norway's four largest airports, namely Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen, and Stavanger. From these airports, you can take a flight to Tromsø.
If flying is not an option, you can also take a boat to Tromsø. There are many different cruise lines and ferries that go to Tromsø. The most popular cruise line sailing to Tromsø is Hurtigruten.
There are direct ferries from most of Norway's coastal cities. Ferry travel times are very long, though. Also, most ferries to Tromsø are for passengers only and not cars.
By train and bus
There are no direct trains to Tromsø. The nearest train station to Tromsø is Narvik. From Narvik, there are several bus connections to Tromsø. Narvik's train station is connected to Sweden, with direct trains from Stockholm and Kiruna.
Another train station near Tromsø is Fauske. Direct trains from Oslo and Trondheim travel from Fauske. Fauske's train station is not connected to bus lines from Tromsø. So if you travel from here, you might as well catch a train to Harvik.
There are also some direct buses to Tromsø from a few cities in Finland, namely Helsinki, Rovaniemi, and Kilpisjärvi. These buses only run during the summer, though.
Tromsø is connected to major roads in Norway and Sweden. This makes it quite possible to reach Tromsø by car.
It is about a 21-hour drive from Oslo to Tromso, and most of that time you drive through Sweden. The cost of such a long drive is often more expensive than the price of airfare. If you do not plan to use the car in Tromsø to travel through different cities, for example, then it is not really worth driving all the way to Tromsø. The other options are then easier and cheaper.
When to travel there?
Tromso can be visited all year round. But if you consider ideal climate conditions, avoidance of peaks, and travel costs, May till August is the best time to go.
In summer, it can get around 18 degrees in Tromso. In the winter months, it can drop to -12 degrees.
If you prefer to enjoy long daylight, August is the best month.
In the month of March, on average, it rains the most. The month of July has the least rainfall.
If you like to go in the warmest month, July is the warmest month.
Per person per day, you spend about 96 euros.
Per person per week, you spend about 669 euros.
Per person, for two weeks you spend about 1339 euros.
With two people for one week, you spend about 1339 euros.
With two people for two weeks, you spend about 2678 euros.
Accommodation for one person costs about 47 euros per night.
Accommodation for two people costs about 93 euros per night.
For food, you spend about 33 euros per day.
Transportation costs about 24 euros.
Where to eat?
In Tromsø, you can enjoy unique Norwegian food, such as brown cheese (brunost), whale meat, reindeer steak or sausage, and salmon. Below are some tips for restaurants.
This restaurant offers delicious grilled meats and traditional Norwegian side dishes. Their "Grillfest" is the favorite among their customers and is a dish of different types of grilled meat, including spare ribs and chicken wings. It is served with soppstuing, which is a Nordic mushroom dish, corn crest, which is a Norwegian corn cream dish, fries, and more side dishes. Doesn't that sound delicious?
Seafood is an important part of Norwegian cuisine. At Rå Sushi restaurant, they have delicious unique sushi rolls and sashimi. Here you can try the truly delicious salmon and other seafood. The restaurant is recommended by many locals.
Besides the delicious meat and fish dishes, there are other things to try, such as the chocolate-corn hybrid "Smash." According to locals, you can't take just one because they are so delicious. or the brown cheese Brunost. This is brown goat cheese with a uniquely rich and sweet taste. In short, there is plenty to try in Tromsø!
Tromsø International Festival
The Tromsø International Festival takes place every year in January. It is Norway's largest film festival. It has been a festival in Norway since 1991. Various documentaries, short films, and feature films are shown during the festival.
Northern Lights Festival
Every year the Northern Lights Festival takes place in February. During this festival, musical performances take place with many world-famous and Scandinavian symphony orchestras. At the end of February, the annual championships of reindeer racing also take place.
Tromso Annual Beer Festival
The Tromso Annual Beer Festival takes place every August in Tromsø. It is a big festival that attracts many people, especially many local people. It is a festival of one and all conviviality where all people gather.
This is the end of the Tromsø guide. We believe that this article will you help by planning your trip. Tromsø is a beautiful city and we are sure you will be amazed by it. We also have other places for you to explore, see our guides to Oslo, Stockholm, and Sweden! Do not forget to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be always updated on the new releases.