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Tromsö & Alta: Arctic Northern Lights - 5 days Tour

Tromsö & Alta: Arctic Northern Lights - 5 days

Under the Northern Lights: Arctic Dreams Norway Tour

  • Active Adventure
  • Northern Lights
  • Partially Guided
  • Personalized
  • Sightseeing
  • Christmas & New Year

Under the Northern Lights: Arctic Dreams Norway

Polar Nights in Tromsø & Sommarøy Island Tour

  • Fully Guided

Polar Nights in Tromsø & Sommarøy Island

Polar Nights in Northern Norway - 5 days Tour

Polar Nights in Northern Norway - 5 days

Grand Lapland Tour, Finland, Sweden and Norway Tour

  • Coach / Bus

Grand Lapland Tour, Finland, Sweden and Norway

"This tour had an amazing itinerary, with lots of fun and memorable activities. It..."

Boreal Sensations Tour

  • Self-Guided

Boreal Sensations

Magic Lapland Adventure Tour

Magic Lapland Adventure

"The tour was amazing ! I come from Canada so for me seeing snow is normal. But the..."

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Tailor-Made Private Norway Trip to Chase the Northern Lights Tour

Tailor-Made Private Norway Trip to Chase the Northern Lights

  • Book With Flexibility This operator allows you to rebook your dates or tours with them for free, waiving change fees.

9 nights Ireland, Scotland & Northern lights Tour

9 nights Ireland, Scotland & Northern lights

Norway Fjords and Northern Lights (8 Days) Tour

  • Ocean Cruise

Norway Fjords and Northern Lights (8 Days)

  • €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Northern Lights of Scandinavia (Classic, 10 Days) Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

Northern Lights of Scandinavia (Classic, 10 Days)

Northern Lights of Scandinavia (Small Groups, 10 Days) Tour

Northern Lights of Scandinavia (Small Groups, 10 Days)

Norwegian Fjords Escape with Northern Lights Tour

Norwegian Fjords Escape with Northern Lights

Northern Norway Explorer Tour

Northern Norway Explorer

Complete Scandinavian Adventure: Copenhagen, Balestrand, Flam, Bergen, Odda, Longyearbyen, Bodo, Moskenes, Kabelvag, Lofoten, Tromso, Oslo, Stockholm Tour

Complete Scandinavian Adventure: Copenhagen, Balestrand, Flam, Bergen, Odda, Longyearbyen, Bodo, Moskenes, Kabelvag, Lofoten, Tromso, Oslo, Stockholm

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Full Suitcase Travel Blog

6 Best Tromso Tours 2023 (Excursions You Must Do in Tromsø, Norway)

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: September 2, 2023

6 Best Tromso Tours 2023 (Excursions You Must Do in Tromsø, Norway)

Looking for the best tours in Tromso, Norway ? The choice can be overwhelming, indeed. In this guide, we feature the VERY BEST Tromso tours and excursions for all seasons. Take a look!

Tromso is one of Northern Norway’s top destinations offering a wide variety of activities. Whether you come in summer or in winter, by plane, traveling around Northern Norway by car , or on a Norwegian cruise , there is always so much to see and do.

However, if you do some research, you’ll quickly realize that most of the best Tromso activities can only be done with an organized tour . After all, you can’t go whale watching or dog sledding on your own…

So what are the best tours in Tromso?

To make your trip planning easier, I researched tens of Tromso tours and excursions and hand-picked some of the best guided tours and day trips in Tromso.

Some tours are only available in winter, some can be done in any season. From whale watching or fishing to reindeer- and dog sledding, Tromso is a fantastic place to tick many unforgettable experiences off your bucket list. The choice is yours to make. Find out!

Good to know: As you will see in the article below, where available, I recommend booking Tromso tours via the GetYourGuide website . They have the best prices on the market, unparalleled customer service, and the most flexible cancelation policy (which is a must when visiting destinations in the Arctic!).

Best excursions and tours in Tromso Northern Norway

These are the best Tromso tours:

1. Fjord cruise

There is probably no better way to explore the magnificent mountain scenery around Tromso than by taking a fjord cruise . Depending on the season, you might get to see some marine wildlife or try fishing as well.

I went on a fjord cruise on a really cold and windy grey winter day, yet it was still amazing. If you are interested, you can read about this and other great things to do in Tromso in winter. But if you’re wondering whether it’s worth it, all I can say is that everyone on our boat was very enthusiastic about the trip.

Here are some of the best fjord cruises, whale watching trips, and other boat trips in Tromso:

  • Polar fjord cruise . This is the tour that I did when I visited Tromso in March. It’s now one of the most popular excursions in Tromso and is available the whole year.
  • Whale and sea bird boat cruise . This tour only runs from November till the end of January (whale season) and is the best option if you want to see whales.
  • Arctic fjord cruise by electric catamaran . This Tromso fjord tour is great for those who are looking for a smoother ride on a more luxurious boat. The boat also has huge windows, so you can opt to stay inside if it’s too cold on the deck.

Polar fjord cruise and whale watching is one of the most popular tours in Tromso

2. Northern Light tours

The most popular winter excursions in Tromso are without a doubt the Northern Lights tours .

I am always a bit hesitant to suggest booking a tour for something that you can see for free. However, there are many reasons to consider taking a Northern Lights tour in Tromso.

First, the Northern Light tours bring you to a place where the chances to see auroras are highest for that specific night. Second, you don’t need to rent a car and drive in the dark on the icy roads. Third, you can benefit from the knowledge and experience of the guides, who will often also give you aurora photography tips . And finally, if you book a small group tour, you also get a warm suit as well as a really nice bonfire experience.

For more information and to get a better idea of what to expect from the Northern Lights tours in Tromso, you can read my personal experience and practical tips for chasing the Northern Lights in Tromso .

Here are some of the best Northern Lights tours in Tromso:

  • All-in small-group aurora tour . This is the best-rated small group aurora tour in Tromso and often sells out many days in advance.
  • Big-bus tour with professional photographers. This is a highly-rated and somewhat cheaper aurora tour in Tromso.

I did both these tours and can highly recommend both. If the conditions are right, you’ll see auroras on any of these tours. The difference is that the small-group tour includes thermal packs, a campfire experience, and some warm snacks.

Watching Northern Lights in Tromso Norway

3. Dog sledding tours in Tromso

My personal favorite tour in Tromso in winter is husky sledding . It was a real bucket list item for me and it didn’t disappoint. 

If you book just one tour in Tromso in winter, make it dog sledding! Note that dog sledding tours are only available in winter, from November till early April. Here you can find some of the best-rated dog sledding tours in Tromso .

I did this self-drive husky sled tour and highly recommend the experience and the location!

Here you can find a somewhat cheaper dog sledding tour in Tromso. This is also one of the few tours that allow kids (from around the age of 7).

If you are interested to learn more about husky sledding, here you can read all about my personal experience and tips for dog sledding in Tromso .

Dog sledding in Tromso Norway - our experience and practical tips

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4. Reindeer sledding and Sami culture tours

Another bucket-list item for many people traveling to Northern Norway is seeing reindeer .

Northern Norway, as well as Finland, is home to the Sami tribe and reindeer are an indispensable part of their culture. Therefore the area around Tromso is a perfect place to see them.

There are many possibilities to see or feed reindeer, as well as do some reindeer sledding in Tromso. Note that the tours that involve reindeer sledding only run in winter (usually from around mid November till mid April).

Here are some reindeer sledding tour options near Tromso:

  • Reindeer sledding and feeding with Sami guide . This is the best-rated reindeer tour in Tromso.
  • Reindeer ranch and Sami culture tour with lunch. This is the cheapest reindeer tour, but keep in mind that it doesn’t include any sledding.
  • Reindeer camp dinner, Sami culture, and a chance of Northern Lights . This is an evening tour, mostly focused on Sami culture, but if you’re lucky, you may get to see auroras as well.
  • Night Reindeer Sledding, Dinner & Chance of Northern Lights . Similar to the one above, but includes some reindeer sledding as well.

TIP:  Reindeer sledding vs. dog sledding.  If you are not sure which tour to choose, reindeer sledding or dog sledding, and don’t have the time or the budget for both, I recommend dog sledding. They are both very different experiences, but dog sledding goes much faster and takes much longer.

Reindeer sledding with Sami people in Tromso Norway

5. Tromso town tours

All the tours mentioned above start and end in Tromso, but they are all located outside the city. If you want to explore the town a bit more, consider one of these excursions.

  • Historical Tromso city walk or a private Tromso city tour .
  • Tromso beer safari . This tour takes you to the world’s northernmost brewery. If you are just interested in the pub and the beer, you can simply visit on your own, without a tour.

TIP: For more ideas on what to do in Tromso town, please check our post on the best things to see and do in Tromso in winter . Among others, it contains the entire section of the main Tromso attractions.

Colorful buildings of the old town in Tromso Norway

6. Other suggested tours in Tromso

The excursions I described above are the most popular tours in Tromso. If you are looking for the most memorable experiences, then look no further – seeing the Northern Lights, reindeer or dog sledding, as well as fjord cruise, are the main options to consider when visiting Tromso.

There are of course many more tours and day trips, so if you are looking for more ideas, read on.

Here are some other tours that you can do in Tromso:

  • Fjords small group bus tour . This minibus tour is a good option to see some of the beautiful surroundings near Tromso if you’re not planning to rent a car.
  • Snowmobile tours from Tromso . Available from December till the end of March.
  • Guided snowshoe hiking tours . Winter only.
  • Cross-country ski lesson for beginners . Winter only.
  • Visit Tromso Ice Domes – various tours available . If you are looking for a really special experience – spend the night at the Ice Domes Hotel . I loved this place and wish I could have stayed there too.

READ ALSO: Tromso Ice Domes

Visiting Tromso Ice Domes in Norway

So, this is my selection of the best Tromso tours . Once again, this is just a small part of all the excursions that are available in Tromso. I hand-picked these tours based on reviews, best date availability, and the easiness of booking (and cancelation).

You can also just go to Tromso’s visitor center upon arrival and try to book some tours directly. However, my experience in visiting the city shows that many tours get sold out. Small group Northern Lights tours are extremely popular, just as dog sledding.

TIP: Book your Tromso tours online in advance! This gives you the possibility to compare offerings and prices, read the reviews, and to make sure that you can do the tours you want, rather than risk them being fully booked. You don’t necessarily have to book Tromso tours months in advance, but if your travel dates are fixed, you might as well do.

Most of the tours we suggest in this post can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance, so you have nothing to lose. As a minimum, I would try to book the tours you really want to do at least two weeks upfront, especially the Northern Lights tours and dog sledding tours in winter.

I hope that this helps you to plan your trip to Tromso and tick some amazing activities off your bucket list.

TIP: If you are visiting Tromso in winter but are not sure how to plan your trip, please check our suggested itinerary for 3 days in Tromso in winter .

If you are looking for an airport transfer to your hotel in Tromso, here you can book a (reasonably priced) airport transfer .

Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to leave a reply below and I’ll do my best to help.

More tips for your trip to Tromsø:

  • Accommodation:   Tromso Hotel Guide
  • What to see & do:   Things to Do in Tromso in Winter
  • Winter trip: Tromso Itinerary for 3 Days in Winter
  • Summer trip: Northern Norway Itinerary (don’t miss Lofoten Islands !)
  • Auroras:  How to See the Northern Lights in Tromso
  • Packing:  What to Wear in Norway in Summer  and  What to Wear in Norway in Winter
  • Huskies:   Dog Sledding in Tromso
  • Ice Hotel:  Tromso Ice Domes
  • Budget:   How Expensive is Norway

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Best tours and activities in Tromso Norway

Featured image by Sharon Ang via Pixabay

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Wednesday 19th of February 2020

Hi, thank you for the list, super useful! Question, do you have recommendations for overnight tours? We have 5 nights in Tromso so we could fit something like this,

Friday 21st of February 2020

Hi Valeria, one of the most special overnight tours you can do is an overnight stay at Tromso Ice Domes (you can book it here). There's also a 2-day husky expedition. These aren't cheap options, but if you are looking for something special - unforgettable. Enjoy your trip!

Sunday 20th of October 2019

Hi Jurga, My family and I will be travelling to Tromso on Nov. 25 (arrive in the afternoon) and leave on Nov. 30 (morning). We will be there for 4 full days. It will be me, my wife and 2 young kids. We are really planning to see the northern lights. Would you be able to recommend a day by day itinerary for us? I like all the things you did listed above and I am trying to work around that for us. We are planning to rent a car to be able to go around ourselves. Hoping to hear from you soon. Thank you!

Monday 21st of October 2019

Hi, it's really difficult for me to recommend an itinerary, especially by car, but here you can find all my suggestions for what to do in Tromso in winter. I think it's best to pick one outdoor activity per day, during the daylight hours, and then spend the rest of the time exploring the town in the afternoon and chasing the Northern Lights at night. You don't really need a car in Tromso in winter, except indeed if you want to drive outside of town every night and go looking for auroras. For the rest - all the activities will include transportation from town and will not be any cheaper if you drive there yourself. Some activities like boat tours don't require the car at all... Maybe Tromso Ice Domes might be a bit cheaper to visit if the transfer is not included, but you'd have to call and ask them how it works because they have set times when they do tours, so it's best to know that before you set because the drive is quite long. Talking of which, they may not yet be open in November... So you should really do some research, decide what you want to do, and then figure out if it makes sense to rent a car (or maybe not for the entire duration). Because renting a car in Norway is really expensive (you can compare prices and find the best deals for car rental here) and parking isn't cheap either and it would be a complete waste of money to rent a car and then have it standing waiting for you while you do organized tours where transfers are included anyway. I'd only rent a car if you are planning to go and explore outside of town, but beware that you'll likely be driving on ice (usually, they don't bother to clean the roads as locals are used to it). PS if you are ok to drive far (2,5-3 hrs one way from Tromso), you may want to visit the Polar Park with kids. Hope this helps a bit.

Thursday 17th of October 2019

hi jurga thank you so much for sharing your experience and travel tips it has inspired me to go to tromso in February for my birthday. I would like a few tips as I will be travelling with my husband and my 9 year old daughter. my main to do list there is to see the northern lights and dog sledging. maybe another activity that you can recommend that my daughter might enjoy. planning of staying for 4 days. I don't mind to drive there but as you said car hire is expensive. if I decide not to drive where would you recommend for us to stay. where its easier to get around with buses etc.. thank you

Hi Jane, you really don't need a car. If you take tours, they pick you up in the town center, and it's so compact that you can easily walk everywhere. Please check our Tromso in winter article for more ideas on what to do in town. At the bottom of that post, you'll also find our tips on where to stay. For your daughter, reindeer sledding might be nice too. Definitely go up the mountain by cable car for nice views. There are several museums and an aquarium in town as well. UPDATE: we now published a detailed guide to Tromso hotels. It contains our hand-picked selection of best-located Tromso hotels for all budgets.

The World Was Here First

The Perfect 2, 3 or 4 Days in Tromso Itinerary

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see our privacy policy.

visit tromso tours

Nestled amidst Norway’s northern wilderness, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, you’ll find the city of Tromso. Captivating intrepid explorers with its ethereal landscapes and vibrant cultural centre. Known as the “Gateway to the Arctic,” this enchanting city is a true winter wonderland. Use this Tromso itinerary to plan your perfect Arctic adventure. Spend 2, 3 or 4 days in Tromso to discover the bustling energy of its city centre, tranquil snow-draped fjords, and vast, untamed wilderness. 

Table of Contents

How Many Days in Tromso?

The first thing you will want to do when planning your Arctic itinerary is decide how many days to spend in Tromso. Unfortunately, this question has no easy answer; it revolves around how many activities you want to do during your stay.

The possibilities are endless. To keep it simple, we have allocated one day to explore the city itself, and then any additional days are dedicated to local activities. 

So, if you only want to do 2 activities, you could fit them into 2 days in Tromso. But be warned, you are guaranteed to fall in love with this winter wonderland, so if possible, try to allocate more time to explore. 

With 3 days in Tromso, you will discover the city centre and rich culture and enjoy at least 3 or even 4 activities of your choosing. Most activities are 3 – 4 hours, so you can easily fit 2 into one day. 

If you are lucky enough to have a full 4 days in Tromso, or even longer, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the Arctic experience. You could squeeze in at least 6 activities in 4 days if you wanted to pack out your holiday or take 4 or 5 at a slower pace.

Some of these activities can be fairly physical, so taking the full 4 days will allow you to take time out in between to relax without feeling like you are missing out. 

The best time to visit Tromso is in the winter. Most of the activities available around the city rely on snow cover, making a winter trip ideal. The Northern lights are also at their most active around this time, so this would be your best chance to see them dancing across the sky in all their glory.

The winter also gives you the opportunity to experience Polar Night from November to January. You could visit during the summer, especially if you want to see the midnight sun, but hiking is the only activity readily available during the warmer months.  

City of Tromso

Getting To & Around Tromso 

Once you see Tromso on a map, it may seem like getting there would be difficult. You have several options to reach Tromso; the quickest and easiest is by plane. Tromso has its own international airport, Tromsø Airport, Langnes, which is well-connected to major cities in Norway and some international destinations.

There are direct flights from Oslo , so this is the most popular way to reach this Arctic city, fly into Oslo and then take a connecting flight to Tromso. Oslo is a major airport with flights inbound from most major international airports. 

If you don’t want to fly, then there are several additional options to get to Tromso. While there’s no direct train connection to Tromso, you can take a train to Narvik, the closest train station to Tromso. From Narvik, you can take a bus or rent a car to reach Tromso.

Some cruise ships and ferries include Tromsø in their itineraries, especially during the summer months. The Hurtigruten coastal ferry service also stops in Tromso, providing a scenic and unique way to reach the city.

If you’re already in Norway or a neighbouring country – for instance, exploring northern Sweden or Finnish Lapland — you can drive to Tromso.

Keep in mind that driving conditions can be challenging in Tromso in winter due to snow and ice, so it’s important to be prepared for the weather and road conditions.

If you are taking your own car on the road trip of a lifetime, make sure you have fitted winter tyres and have snow chains ready. You can browse Rentalcars.com to compare prices for car hire in Tromso.

Once you have arrived for your trip to Tromso, getting around is quick and easy. Tromso city centre is relatively compact, making it a great place for walking. Most major attractions, shops, restaurants, and hotels are within walking distance of each other.

If your accommodation is on the outskirts, Tromso has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses that cover various parts of the city. The bus system is reliable, and you can buy tickets onboard or through mobile apps.

If you have a car, parking in Tromso can be expensive, so it’s best to park outside of the centre and walk or take the bus into the heart of the city. Most activity providers for a day trip offer a pickup and drop-off service from your hotel, so you don’t need to hire a car to make the most of this Tromso itinerary.

Bridge to Tromso

2, 3 to 4 Days in Tromso Itinerary

The trip of a lifetime awaits, this winter destination is pure magic. The colourful buildings, vibrant against the snowy landscape, the majestic fjord, and boats bobbing in the harbour. The city of Tromso is the perfect postcard for northern Norway.

Combine the city with the myriad of outdoor activities on offer, and you have a recipe for the perfect trip. It’s time to delve into this Arctic itinerary, the very best of Tromso in 2-4 days. 

Day 1 – Explore Tromso City

Tromso city .

Tromso’s city centre is a vibrant Arctic hub that seamlessly blends history with modernity. The iconic Storgata Street is the beating heart of the centre; here, you will find souvenir shops, local cafes, artisan producers and plenty of window shopping opportunities.

The city is compact, so you can explore the centre on foot. Take your time, strolling through the streets, taking in some of the unusual architecture. Don’t forget to wrap up warm; you’ll need a good winter coat, gloves, a hat and some sort of thermal layers. You can book a walking tour if you want to learn about the city from a local guide.

Arctic Cathedral 

Next, take a walk across the Tromso Bridge to reach The Arctic Cathedral. The bridge is 1km long, so it can take 15-20 minutes to make your way across, but it is worth it for the views along the way.

The cathedral stands as a striking masterpiece against the Arctic sky. Its contemporary, triangular design resembles an ice-bound cathedral. A wonder of architecture, the Arctic Cathedral is one of the most iconic landscapes in Tromso. You can enter and explore the interior for 55 NOK.

Arctic Cathedral

Polar Museum 

The Polar Museum is a captivating look into the world of Arctic exploration and survival. Housed in a historic warehouse, it recounts the daring expeditions of legendary explorers who braved the frozen unknown. 

Exhibits bring to life the stories of polar heroes across the ages, their challenges, and triumphs while also showcasing incredible artefacts. There is a large area dedicated to Roald Amundsen, the first person to travel to the North and South Poles as well as many other adventurers that headed out in search of the North Pole from Tromso.

Something that is worth noting, alongside the world-famous male explorers, the museum also delves into the lives of many female explorers, such as Monica Kristensen Solås and Liv Arnesen.

The museum’s displays also give you an insight into indigenous cultures and the Arctic’s fragile ecosystem. 

Polaria Arctic Experience Centre

Nestled on the shore, just outside of the city centre, the Polaria Arctic Experience Centre offers an immersive journey into the polar realms. Architecturally unique, its icy design mirrors the Arctic’s frozen landscapes surrounding the city. 

Within, you will discover interactive exhibits showcasing Arctic ecosystems, wildlife, and climate challenges. The centrepiece, an Arctic aquarium, housing bearded seals that gracefully glide through icy waters. Polaris also presents compelling short films capturing the essence of Arctic life.


Ascending from Tromso, the Fjellheisen cable car unveils a breathtaking panorama of the Arctic landscape high above the city. A brief ascent transports you to Storsteinen Mountain’s summit, where you will find far-reaching views across fjords, down to the city lights, and across to snow-cloaked peaks.

Day or night, this journey is like something out of a dreamscape, especially if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights gracing the sky. 

If you want to walk around at the top, you will need sturdy boots and crampons, as the terrain is very icy. The best views of the city are from the viewing platform, so there is no need to prepare for any hiking if you don’t want to. 

View of Tromso

Sami cuisine may not be the most widely recognised, but it is worth embracing the local food during your stay. There is plenty to discover, some of which you may never have heard of before, a true culinary journey.

Local restaurants offer a taste of reindeer meat prepared in diverse ways, from tender roasts to savoury stews. Sample cured fish, such as the iconic ‘rakfisk,’ and indulgent desserts like ‘gáhkko’ – a sweet pastry infused with lingonberries. 

These dishes pay homage to centuries of Sami heritage, their connection with the land, and their ability to transform Arctic ingredients. Dining in Tromso’s Sami-inspired eateries is not only delicious, but it also deepens your appreciation for the indigenous traditions.

Day 2 – Dog Sledding & the Northern Lights

Dog sledding .

After spending the day in the city centre, it’s time to kick off the winter adventure activities. If you only have 2 days in Tromso, this is a must-do, hence why it is the first feature on our itinerary. 

Embarking on a dog sledding experience is an exhilarating immersion into the Arctic wilderness. Guided by the rhythmic harmony of eager huskies, you are whisked away across the snow-blanketed landscapes beneath the Nordic sky.

You can opt to take a self-drive tour where you are in charge of handling your sled or book a husky sledding guide such as this full-day tour. Husky guides share their passion and insights, which can definitely enhance the experience, but there is no experience quite like opting for self-drive.

This way, you get to drive the sledge yourself, taking turns with a partner. You head out in a small group with experienced mushers on hand to help if needed. It is exhilarating, and you learn so much along the way. Some of the daytime tours include a traditional Sami lunch in a traditional, heated tent.

The bond between humans and these remarkable animals spans the ages, and having the opportunity to experience this traditional way of traversing the icy tundra is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one of the best things to do in Tromso.

Northern Lights Tour

If there is one other essential tour on your trip to Norway, it’s the Aurora chasing Northern Lights tour such as this 7-hour tour or this minibus tour.

Unlike some of the other stationary Northern Lights watching tours you actually chase the lights all night long on a minibus – sometimes even dipping into neighbouring Finland or Sweden! 

Witnessing the cosmic wonder of the Aurora Borealis is an experience unlike any other. The sky dances with vibrant hues as ethereal curtains of green, pink, and purple paint the night canvas. 

It’s worth noting most of the late-night guided tours offer a meal around 10pm, so it may be worth packing a few snacks to keep you going until then. 

Northern Lights in Tromso

Day 3 – Fjords, Orcas & Reindeer

Fjord trip / orca watching.

Sailing through the fjords may sound like a summer activity, but taking a trip out onto the water such as on this full-day tour is one of the top things to do in Tromso in the winter. The whale-watching season runs from November to January, so if you are hoping to cruise alongside Orcas, this is the perfect time to visit. 

That first glimpse of the dorsal fin slicing through the waves is magical. These sleek giants arrive alongside your boat against a backdrop of snow-clad peaks.

If you are lucky, you could even see them breach up out of the water, excluding power and grace. Guided by marine experts, you learn about their behaviours, migrations, and the fragile balance of the Arctic ecosystem. 

If you are visiting outside of the whale watching months, don’t worry, you can still enjoy a boat ride through the icy depths to witness a variety of Arctic inhabitants such as dolphins, seals and majestic eagles. 

Reindeer Sledding

Most of the boating trips on the fjord take up the majority of the day, but that doesn’t mean your day has to end there. Visiting the traditional Sami reindeer herds is an activity that can be done day or night on several tours such as this half-day tour or this evening tour.

It’s important to understand the Sami culture and heritage and how you, as a tourist, can support their indigenous population. Visiting a Sami reindeer farm is a great way to immerse yourself in their culture and learn about local traditions.

After a walk around the Reindeer farm and a 20-minute sledding tour through the sparkling frosty landscape, the majority of the tour takes place in a Lavvu, which is a Sami tent. Here you will have a meal (typically Bido, a Reindeer stew), then experience Sami storytelling and Joiking (which is a traditional Sami song). 

This is the perfect activity to do at night, you are far away from the light pollution of the city centre, so it’s likely you will get to see the Northern Lights again whilst enjoying the rhythmic sound of the bells attached to the reindeer as they trot through the snow. If you have 3 days in Tromso, this is the perfect activity to end your trip. 

Reindeer Safari near Tromso

Day 4 – Tromso Ice Domes & Snow Activities

If you are lucky enough to have 4 days in Tromso, there are a few options for your last day, depending on how much of an adrenaline junkie you consider yourself to be. 

Whilst you may not usually include visiting a hotel on your itinerary, the Tromso Ice Domes is the exception. Working around the clock, a dedicated team built these magnificent domes from scratch over the course of 6 weeks.

Using large chunks of ice from a nearby river, each room is handcrafted into the ice, lasting the winter months and then melting away as the weather begins to warm up. There’s no doubt that this is one of the best places to visit in Tromso.

There are full-day tours available , whether you are staying in the hotel or not. Take a shuttle bus (1.5hr) from Tromso through the jaw-dropping Arctic landscapes, then take a guided tour to learn more about the icy hotel.

You can enjoy a drink at the bar and a bite to eat in the restaurant before heading back to Tromso. If you have the budget, you could spend the night in one of the Ice Dome’s rooms, but it is very expensive. 


Guided by the soft crunch of each step, weave through silent forests and across frozen expanses. If you are an avid hiker, this is an amazing way to experience nature in a unique way. Led by experienced guides, you learn about the Arctic’s delicate ecosystem and its resilient inhabitants. 

If you are an experienced outdoor enthusiast, you may want to hire your own snowshoes and head off into the wilderness without a guide, but for those of you that want the comfort and knowledge of local experts, several guided tours such as this half-day tour are available. 

Snowmobile Safari

At a slightly faster pace, our next option for day 4 is a snowmobile safari tour. Tromso is located on the outskirts of the Lyngen Alps, making it the perfect base for a full-day excursion into the wilderness. 

Guided by seasoned experts, you roar across snow-blanketed landscapes, feeling the thrill of speed in the heart of winter’s embrace. Additional waterproof snowsuits are provided to make sure you are dressed up, ready for the blasting of icy air.  

It is worth noting you can only hire a snowmobile if you have a full driver’s license. 

Cross country skiing 

Whether you are an experienced skier or not, you can strap on your ski boots and head out on a cross-country skiing adventure. Gliding along groomed trails, you become part of nature, the only sound being the swish of your skis.

With towering mountains and serene fjords as your backdrop, each stride reveals more of the Arctic’s untouched beauty. There are trails suitable for everyone around Tromso, but if you are a real beginner, there are several options for lessons such as this 3-hour lesson or this guided trip. 

Evening in Tromso

Where to Stay in Tromso

Thon Hotel Polar – Located in the centre of Tromso, this hotel is perfect for mid-rage travellers visiting this northern Norwegian city. They have a number of hip rooms to choose from and there is breakfast available each morning. Click here to check availability

Scandic Ishavshotel – This 4-star hotel is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a high-end place to stay when visiting Tromso. They have a number of plush rooms to choose from along with breakfast and an on-site restaurant. Click here to check availability

Tromsø City Apartments – Those looking for a self-catering place to stay in Tromso will love these cool apartments in the centre of the city. There are a range of flats to choose from and all come fully equipped with all you may need during your stay. Click here to check availability

Tromso Activities Hostel – If you’re looking for a great budget option or if you’re travelling solo, then this hostel is an excellent choice. They offer both dorms and private rooms, good self-catering facilities and an excellent location for exploring the city. Click here to check availability

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Tromso hotels!

An unforgettable adventure high up in the Arctic Circle. Tromso is the beating heart of Northern Norway, blending history and culture with wildlife and vast snow-covered landscapes. This really is a trip of a lifetime, with incredible experiences around every corner. There’s nowhere quite like it. 

Are you planning to visit Tromso? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Neota Langley

About Neota Langley

Neota is a writer for The World Was Here First. Born and bred in Cornwall, she can usually be found with hiking boots on, ready to embark on an adventure. For the last 6 years, she has travelled throughout Europe in her self-built campervan with her trusty canine companion, Ivy. She loves exploring France, the Nordics and spending time in Alpine destinations.

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The Ultimate Tromso Travel Guide

Tromso trip planner.

If you’re visiting the Capital of the Arctic for the first time or you want to plan the ultimate Northern Lights getaway, you need this Tromso trip planner . Below, you’ll find everything you need to plan a trip to Tromso , from the best activities and hotels, to what to pack and how to get around.

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Planning a Tromso trip step-by-step

This Tromso trip planner will guide you step by step, so you cover all the bases :

1. Things to do in Tromso

2. best time to visit tromso, 3. how to get to tromso, norway, 4. where to stay in tromso, 5. how to get around tromso, 6. best restaurants in tromso.

  • 7. How much is a holiday to Tromso
  • 8. Tromso packing list

9. Download a tourist map of Tromso

10. other tips for visiting tromso.

There are countless things to do in Tromso , from chasing the Northern Lights to reindeer sledding and scenic hikes. There are also lots of museums and attractions to discover, so check out the top activities in Tromso below!

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Tromsø Northern Lights tours may be the most popular, but there are lots of other incredible excursions in Tromso . Whether you want a sporty adventure, a whale-watching cruise, or a chance to explore the natural landscapes, we’ve got you covered.

Northern Lights in Tromso - Fact Sheet

You’ll have the highest chances of seeing the aurora if you book one of the best Northern Lights tours from Tromso .

Check out our tips on how to see the Northern Lights in Norway , including when to go and where to see the most beautiful displays.

Plan your trip for the best time to see the Northern Lights , when the sky conditions and solar activity are optimal.

Find out what makes Tromso one of the top places to see the Northern Lights .

If you want to photograph the Northern Lights , read our tips to help you capture stunning images of the aurora borealis.

Check out our lineup of the best cameras for Northern Lights photography with the perfect settings and lenses to shoot the Green Lady.

Stay at one of the best Northern Lights hotels in Norway for an unforgettable adventure and a comfortable place to watch the show!

Don’t forget to check the Northern Lights forecast so you get the best light conditions possible !

The best time to visit Tromso depends on what you want to do. There are lots of  things to do in Tromso in summer , thanks to the midnight sun and the nice weather. However,  if you go during winter, you can see the Northern Lights and wild orcas, and of course, spend Christmas in Tromso !

Tromso in winter

Tromso in summer, tromso weather by month.

To help you plan your trip, below is a chart of  Tromso temperature and weather by month :

How many days to spend in Tromso

It’s a long way to Northern Norway, so to make your visit to Tromo worth it, plan to spend about a week there. I recommend spending at least 4 days traveling in Tromso so you can take the most popular tours and see the top attractions .

Once you decide on the dates for your Tromso trip , it’s time to book your flight. 

The flights to Northern Norway are usually expensive and require a layover. Some of the most popular layover stops are Oslo, Copenhagen, and Frankfurt. I recommend checking Kiwi or Skyscanner for the best deals on flights.

As for ground transportation, there aren’t any direct trains to Tromso, so you’ll have to fly into Tromso Airport .

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5% OFF your travel insurance

Depending on the Tromso attractions and activities you’re interested in, you may want to stay in the heart of the city or closer to the great outdoors. We’ve got you covered with our guide on  where to stay in Tromso .

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Best hotels in Tromso

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Cabins near Tromso

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Tromso campsites

As for Tromso’s public transportation , the city has a very reliable bus system. You can even download the Troms Billet app to purchase tickets on your phone.

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Renting a car in Tromso

Even with a great bus system, there are lots of remote locations around the city that are worth visiting, so renting a car in Tromso is a good idea.

Tromso airport to city

After landing in the Arctic Capital, you can take bus lines 40 or 42, or a taxi, into the city center. The Airport Express Coach,  Tromso’s airport bus , is another way to get to your hotel .

As a coastal city, Tromso serves up plenty of fresh fish and seafood, although you can find options for all dietary preferences.

Despite its small size, the city has lots of places to eat, and I recommend dining at one or two of the  best restaurants in Tromso .

best restaurants in tromso fiskekompaniet

These Scandinavian and Norwegian restaurants focus on regional food with lots of fresh, local ingredients. So, check out our article and dig in !

Tromso's must-eat foods

The most popular foods in Tromso, Norway center around fish and seafood, but you can find vegetarian options and meat-based dishes, too. Of course, the national dish, Fårikål (mutton stew), is a must-eat in Tromso ! Here are some other foods to try during your visit:

  • Tørrfisk (dried cod)
  • Salt cod stew
  • Smoked salmon
  • Seagull eggs
  • Reindeer meat
  • Brunost (brown goat cheese)
  • Rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge)
  • Raspeball (potato dumplings)

7. How much is a holiday to Tromso?

Everyone has different preferences, time constraints, and budgets, so calculating the cost of a trip to Tromso isn’t always easy. Here is a price breakdown to help you out, as well as some Tromso travel tips to help you make the most of your visit!

There are plenty of Tromso lodging options for all budgets. If you’re not sure where to stay in Tromso , I recommend one of the best hotels in Tromso ‘s city center:

  • Room rates : $153-$341/night
  • Room rates : $141-$294/night
  • Room rates : $172-$321/night

Most of Tromso’s restaurants are in the city center, so you won’t have to go far for a delicious meal. To save money, you can book a hotel that serves complimentary breakfast, like the Radisson Blu, or pick up some groceries from a Tromso supermarket . Below are the prices you can expect to pay per day for meals:

  • Breakfast : $0-$10/person
  • Lunch : $13-$18/person
  • Dinner (casual restaurant) : $18-$40/person
  • Dinner (fine restaurant) : $52-$106/person
  • Total : $31-$174/person per day

Most of the top Tromso attractions are in the city center, so you can visit several places in a day. Below are the best ones to check out, as well as admission prices:

  • Arctic Cathedral ($5.50)
  • Polaria Aquarium ($21)
  • Fjellheisen cable car ($21)
  • Tromso Cathedral ($0)
  • Polar Museum ($10)
  • Tromso Museum ($10)
  • Northern Norwegian Science Center ($13)

If you visit Tromso in the winter, you can take a whale-watching cruise or a Tromso Northern Lights tour , two of the most popular activities. However, even if you plan your Tromso trip during another time of year, there are plenty of great Tromso tours you can do.

  • Northern Lights tour  ($95)
  • Whale-watching safari ($140)
  • Husky dog sledding tour ($195)
  • Reindeer sledding tour ($134)
  • Ice domes tour ($98)
  • Fjord cruise ($135)
  • Sami culture tour ($119)
  • Snowshoeing tour ($110)

Tromso’s public transport is very dependable, so it’s a convenient way to get around:

  • Airport Express Coach ($7-$10 one-way)
  • Local Bus ($3.50-$6 from airport)
  • Taxis ($15 from airport)

Another way to get from Tromso airport to the city is by rental car. Renting a car in Tromso is the easiest way to get to the more secluded areas and attractions, and we always find great deals with Rentalcars . The price depends on the vehicle you choose, how many days you rent it for, and the insurance you purchase.

Below is the total cost for one person spending four days and three nights in Tromso. However, the total cost of a trip to Tromso  depends on where you stay, what you eat, how you get around, and what you do in the city, so use this only as a guide:

  • 3-night accommodation : $459
  • Meals : $240
  • Northern Lights tour : $95
  • Whale-watching safari : $140
  • Rental car : $390
  • Total : $1,234 per person for a 4-day/3-night trip

How to travel to Tromso on a budget

  • The best time to visit Tromso depends on what you want to do during your trip, although if budget is a concern, January to March is the cheapest time to go.
  • Many of the best things to do in Tromso (visiting the Arctic Cathedral, seeing museums, taking tours, etc.) are in the city center. Staying in a centrally-located Tromso hotel will help you cut down on transportation costs.

8. Tromso packing list - What to wear in Tromso

Warm clothing is a must if you’re visiting Tromso, Norway in the winter . You’ll want to pack woolly layers to keep you cozy in the cold Tromso climate . Even the summer temperatures in Tromso are on the cooler side, so layers are still a good choice. Think light, windproof jackets, a heavier jacket for when the temps dip, and a hat to shield you from the midnight sun.

Tromso winter packing list

  • Hat, gloves, and scarf
  • Long underwear & wool socks for layering
  • Wool sweaters
  • Hiking boots
  • Crampons for snowy or icy hiking trails
  • Skiing/snowboarding gear

Tromso summer packing list

  • Light, windproof jacket
  • Hiking boots/sneakers
  • Hiking backpack
  • Gloves for chilly days
  • Long johns for layering

Tromso may be small, but it has lots to offer, so keep track of all the details with this map of Tromso :

Here are some final tips to keep in mind while you’re doing your trip planning for Tromso :

  • The supply voltage in Norway is 230V (50Hz), and they use Type C and Type F plugs with round prongs, so you’ll want to bring an adapter for your electronics if you’re visiting from a country that doesn’t use the Europlug.
  • In Tromso, as in the rest of Norway, the local currency is the Norwegian krone (NOK). The current exchange rate is 0.10 USD for 1 NOK; 0.13 CAD for 1 NOK; and 0.081 GBP for 1 NOK. Bank cards are accepted just about everywhere; just be sure to notify your bank!
  • The official language in Tromso is Norwegian , although you can get by with English, as most locals speak some level of it.
  • The price of eating out in Tromso can really add up, so if you want to buy groceries during your trip, it might be a good idea. There are different supermarkets in Tromso ‘s city center, including Rema 1000 and Kiwi . The price of groceries in Tromso is about the same as food prices in the U.S. Most grocery stores are closed on Sundays.
  • There is free roaming in Norway if you use a SIMCard from Europe . However, if traveling from somewhere else, we recommend the Holafly eSIM card . You can keep your phone and get unlimited Internet access for as low as $19 for a 5-day trip.

Holafly logo

5% OFF your international eSIM card

  • Don’t forget to get travel insurance with COVID coverage for your trip! We highly recommend Heymondo , which is the company we’ve been using for years.
  • Tipping in Tromso isn’t common, but if you want to leave a tip for good service, 10% is sufficient.

Tromso travel guide FAQ

To finish up this Tromso trip planner , here are the answers to some common questions about the Capital of the Arctic:

Is Tromso worth visiting?

Absolutely! This beautiful city offers incredible scenery and unique experiences like the Northern Lights, whale tours, and majestic fjords.

How expensive is Tromso?

Tromso isn’t a cheap city but it’s a much cheaper alternative to Oslo.

How many days to spend in Tromso?

Plan your Tromso trip for at least four days, but ideally one week.

What is the best month to visit Tromso?

It’s worth visiting Tromso any time of year, so the best time to visit Tromso depends on what you want to do.

For the Northern Lights, visit Tromso between September and April. If you want to go whale-watching, visit between November and January. To see the midnights sun, plan your Tromso trip for late June or early July.

What is Tromso known for?

The Northern Lights in Tromso are a huge tourist attraction, although the city is also known for its whale tours, the midnight sun, and the polar night.

Where can I see Northern Lights in Tromso?

Tromso is one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis, although you must plan accordingly to make sure you have the highest chances. The best way to ensure you see the most spectacular aurora display is by booking a Northern Lights tour in Tromso .

How far is Tromso from Oslo?

Tromso is about a two-hour flight from Oslo.

Is Tromso safe?

Yes. Tromso is a small city with friendly locals, so you shouldn’t have any problems during your trip.

Are Tromso summers cold?

The temperatures in Tromso in the summer aren’t cold, but they may be chillier than you’re used to. July is the hottest month of the year, with an average temperature of 54°F.

Is Tromso in the Arctic Circle?

Tromso is 220 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

What should I wear in Tromso?

Regardless of when you visit Tromso , pack plenty of layers. You’ll want wool sweaters, socks, and long johns for the winter, and lighter jackets for the summer months. A hat, gloves, and a scarf are also essential.

Do people speak English in Tromso?

Most of the locals speak English in addition to their native Norwegian.

If you have any other questions about our Tromso travel guide , feel free to leave a comment below. I hope you found this trip planner useful and that you create unforgettable memories during your visit to Tromso !

All our Tromso posts

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8 Best Hotels in Tromso, Norway + Map

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Top 7 Cabins near Tromso | Most Beautiful Tromso Lodges

Tromso Center for Contemporary Art, a free Tromso contemporary art museum

8 Best Museums in Tromso, Norway + Map

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8 Best Tromso Hikes + Tromso Hiking Map

8 best things to do in tromso in summer.

Camping in Tromso, the best way to enjoy the great outdoors and explore the Arctic wilderness in Tromso

Guide to Camping in Tromso – Campsites and Wild Camping

Rent a car in Tromso, the best way to explore the snowy Arctic landscapes

Rental Cars in Tromso – Pricing, Booking, and Other Tips

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Best Time to Visit Tromso – Tromsø Weather by Month

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Tromso Ice Domes, The Best Igloo Hotel in Norway

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10 Best Restaurants in Tromso + Map

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Top 5 Things to do for Christmas in Tromso, Norway

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25 Things to Do in Tromso, Norway + Map

10 best things to do in tromso in winter.

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10 Best Tours in Tromso, Norway in 2023

5 best whale watching tours from tromso, where to stay in tromso – best hotels in tromsø, norway.

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Tromso Maps – Tourist Map of Tromso, Norway

Ascen Aynat

8 replies on “ Tromso Travel Guide – Plan your Visit to Tromso, Norway ”

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Hi. I am spending 3 days in Tromso in August. Can you help me figure out what are the most interesting nature places to visit outside of the city? For example: Senja or Knivskjelodden or the Lyngen alps? I can rent a car. How long should I spend in the city? Thanks.

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Hi Michele, I recommend spending at least 4 days in Tromso so you can check out the city and explore the surroundings. If you like to hike, we have a great guide to hiking trails in Tromso . Some of my favorite outdoor things to do in the area are whale-watching tours and visiting the ice domes.

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Thanks for this great article Ascen. Looking forward to my visit here and the information was well laid out and so helpful! Appreciate your time.

Thanks for reading, Cheri!

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what companies to hunt the aurora borealis do you recommend?

Hi Caroline, We like the options mentioned in our guide to the best Northern Lights tours from Tromso !

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I am so sure that this will be useful article and will be amazing for us.

Hope it helps planning your trip to Tromso!

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Norway , Planning tips

25 useful things to know before you visit tromso, norway.

There are several things I recommend travelers to know before they visit Tromso, Norway. This guide is a conclusive list of my Tromso travel tips – and it covers all seasons as I have visited multiple times!

Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more! Donʻt forget to plan ahead when visiting Tromso  and nearby!

🇳🇴  Top activities and tours in Tromso:

  • Best Northern lights tour from Tromso (#1 selling Tromso tour!)
  • Tromso Ice Domes (ice hotel that you can visit – it’s unreal!)
  • Whale Watching tour w/ orcas and humpbacks (bucket-list tour)
  • Sami and reindeer feeding experience (best tour for kids!)
  • Dog sledding through Arctic Norway (no experience needed)

🛌  Top Hotels in Tromso:

  • Clarion ‘The Edge’ (Tromso’s most beautiful hotel – on the sea!)
  • Thon Hotel Tromso (I stayed here twice and recommend it!)
  • Smarthotel Tromso (I also stayed here – mid-range/budget!)
  • Radisson Blu (many tours leave from here – by harbor)

✈️  Want to get from the airport to Tromso hassle-free?   Find the best airport transfer option here!

🚗  Visiting Tromso independently? Be sure to book your Norway rental car ahead of time to ensure availability!

This is a guide of all the useful tips and recommendations I have for those traveling to Tromso , Norway’s Arctic capital and one of the coolest cities in Scandinavia. 

It includes tips for all seasons, particularly winter. Let us know your travel tips for Tromso in the comments!

In this post...

What to Know Before You Visit Tromso, Norway

How to get to tromso, getting from tromso airport to the city center is painless, don’t take taxis in tromso, tromso (and norway) doesn’t like cash, shop at grocery stores in tromso (not 7-11 or narvesen), norwegian grocery stores are closed on sundays, alcohol laws in norway, can you drink the water in norway, ingredients used in northern norwegian cuisine, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian food in tromso, tipping in tromso, tromso restaurant tips, the best time to visit tromso might surprise you, tromso might be colder than you think, tromso tours often provide additional winter gear, summer in tromso delivers… the midnight sun, is there daylight in tromso in winter, can you see the northern lights in tromso city, familiarize yourself with the norwegian language, do you need a power adapter for tromso, is the wifi in tromso good, is tromso wheelchair-friendly, sami national day, sami and reindeer experiences, traveling to tromso on a budget, where to stay in tromso, should you travel to tromso, more northern norway &tromso travel guides, pin these tromso travel tips.

I have traveled to Tromso, Norway twice. Once in the winter and once in the summer. I have also lived in Norway for four years and I know the country like the back of my hand, even still today after moving away!

Norway is one of the easiest countries to travel to… really! It is safe, everyone speaks English, and it is so efficient it hurts. 

But, like anywhere, there are some things you should know before visiting Tromso. This guide is about those things!  

Things to know before you travel to Tromso

It will include practical information for your Tromso trip, but it will also include random facts and observations I have gathered from my two trips there. 

If you have anything to add, please drop it in the comments below to assist travelers. Thanks!

Getting to and Around Tromso

If you’re looking to get to Tromso, the best way to reach the city is by flying there. Some of the airlines that fly there are Widerøe, Norwegian, SAS, Lufthansa, Finnair, KLM, and Wizzair. 

Other airlines go in and out of Tromso as well and you need to check to see if certain routes are year-round or merely seasonal.

Another option for getting to Tromso is to book a journey on the Hurtigruten. I took the Hurtigruten (cruise ship) from the Lofoten Islands to Tromso and it was an interesting and worthwhile experience. 

Flying into Tromso Norway

Driving to Tromso is not the most practical task as it will take ages to get there and is probably a better summer option for those who have an extended holiday or time off. 

If you do choose to consider this route, wild camping is LEGAL in Norway and you can pitch a tent pretty much anywhere. 

Tromso is also a popular starting point for a wide range of Arctic cruises .

If you can, spend some extra time before or after your cruise exploring the unique cultures and local attractions you can find in these vastly different Arctic and sub-Arctic towns.

Like… really painless. When your flight arrives, you will grab your bags and head out to the front of the airport. 

Once here, a bus will be waiting. You will pay with your card to the driver and voila! You’re on the bus to the city center . Don’t speak Norwegian? The bus driver will speak English.  

Bus from Tromso Airport to city center

Once you’re in Tromso city center from the airport, you will get dropped off at one of the few locations that are all centralized and near the hotels. 

Tromso city center is small and manageable.  

I would recommend downloading a map of the city (offline) before you arrive and I would also recommend asking your hotel for specific arrival instructions just in case you’re staying somewhere a bit off the path.

Or anywhere in Norway. Sorry, taxi companies in Norway. It is absurdly expensive and there is always a public transportation option available in almost any city, including Tromso.

Tromso is small, anyway, and walking around is the easiest way to get from Point A to Point B. Aram and I have used public transportation in Tromso (buses) and it worked wonderfully.

Food, Drinks, Shopping in Tromso

Are you planning to arrive in Tromso with a load of cash to change over to Norwegian kroner? 

Well, don’t. Norwegians hate cash. And you will too after you leave Norway! Norway is a pretty much cashless society. 

While it is not completely cashless, it is very rare to see cash when you’re traveling in Norway, and almost everywhere takes card. 

If a place doesn’t accept cards, they will have an app for that where you’re encouraged to purchase a ticket online (ie. buses in Oslo).  

Arriving in Tromso with heaps of cash is really not going to be a great idea as it is just much easier to use your card when there. 

A 'card only' sign at a coffee shop in Bergen

There are ATMs everywhere if you still insist on getting cash out (and ATM exchange rates are usually no different than a currency exchange office, anyway). 

I have a good checking account that allows me a certain number of times that I can take cash out without fees.

If you receive foreign exchange fees with your bank for using your card abroad and in different currencies, many card machines will give you the option to select your home currency or to run the transaction in Norwegian kroner. 

This happens to me a lot so I always choose USD. With that being said, it is always a good idea to have a backup card or a wad of cash somewhere in the event that you do lose your card.

Apple Pay is widely accepted in Norway, as well.

If you’re on a budget, definitely stay away from 7-11 or Narvesen kiosks and convenience stores. 

The cheapest place to purchase food anywhere in Norway is at a grocery store (particularly Kiwi, Rimi, or Rema 1000).  

You will experience at LEAST a 3x higher price inside of a 7-11 or Narvesen on food and drinks. 

The only time I step foot in one of these types of shops is if it is Sunday and I forgot to buy food (more on that later) or if they have a good deal on hot dogs (pølser) and I want something cheap and on the go.

Ouch. This can be a hard one to swallow if you’re from a country where things are open for extended hours (ie: the United States). 

But, it allows Norwegians to keep that good work/life balance and after a while of living in Norway , I got used to it!

I recommend you plan ahead for your Sunday in Tromso or you will be obligated to shop at one of the expensive convenience stores listed above.

Stocking up on cheap eats at the supermarket

However, if you really need to go to a grocery store, there are random ones that are ‘søndagsåpent’ (Sunday open) in Tromso and you can find them in advance by checking Sunday hours before Sunday actually comes. 

Grocery stores in Norway that are søndagsåpent will have their hours listed outside in red.

These grocery stores in Tromso are open on Sundays:

  • Joker Storgata (Storgata 63 in the city center open from 10am-11pm)
  • Joker Dramsveien (Dramsveien 153 in between city center and botanical gardens)

With that being said, other stores will likely be closed too. Souvenir shops will be open still, but clothing stores and other shops will likely have their doors shut on Sundays.

If you’re traveling to Tromso and are excited to learn more about the local alcohol, be ready to pay some money. Alcohol is a heavily taxed item in the Nordics and Norway is no exception.

In addition to heavy taxes on alcohol in Norway, you will find a lot of regulations and laws surrounding beverages. 

Here are some quick thoughts about alcohol in Tromso and the rest of Norway:

Buying alcohol in grocery stores in Tromso is prohibited unless it is beer (øl). You can purchase beer in grocery stores in Norway on weekdays until 8pm and on Saturdays until 6pm. 

It is prohibited from buying alcohol on Sundays . It is also prohibited from buying alcohol on election day in Norway.

Hard alcohol and wine must be purchased from the ‘Vinmonopolet’ , or state-run shop. These shops have limited hours and are expensive.

You can find the Vinmonopolet in Tromso at Nerstranda 9 inside the Nerstranda Senter and it is open from 10am until 6pm daily, except on Saturdays when it is open from 10am-3pm. It is closed on Sundays.

Duty-free at a Norwegian Airport

You can purchase alcohol from duty-free shops upon landing in Tromso, but you will have limited quotas on what you can bring into the country. 

Norway is not part of the EU , so they are not the same rules you’d have in Sweden , for example.

You can bring 1 liter of spirits into Norway with over 22% alcohol volume and 1.5 liters of wine with less than 22% alcohol volume. You can bring 2 liters of beer into Norway up to 4.7% ABV.

Remember this at duty-free if you choose to do your booze shopping there! This is the amount per person over 18 years old.

Drinks are served at bars whenever they are open. Same with restaurants that have an alcohol permit. There is no cut-off time in the evenings, fortunately.  

To buy alcohol in Norway , you must be 18 for beer and wine and 20 for hard spirits.

Um… Norwegian water is pretty much the best in the world.

It is super drinkable and there is no need to ever purchase bottled water in Norway. Bring your reusable water jug and enjoy!

Here are a few of my favorite reusable water jugs you can bring along for the journey. 

  • Klean Kanteen water bottle in teal (brand from USA)
  • Chilly’s no-sweat water bottles (brand from UK)

One of the most underrated things to do in Tromso is to EAT. Many people go for northern lights and winter activities, but trust me, eating should be on your list.  

Tromso and Northern Norway are home to some unique ingredients and you should try them if you have the means to do so. 

Cod and potatoes - super Norwegian and super tasty!

While this is not to shine a light on the uncommon ingredients, here are some that you might come across when traveling to Tromso (along with the name of it in Norwegian):

  • Cod (torsk)
  • Reindeer (reinsdyr)
  • Whale (hval or hvalbiff)
  • Salmon (laks)
  • Dill (dill)
  • Potatoes (poteter), carrots (gulrøtter), leek (purreløk), beetroot (rødbeter)
  • Butter (smør) and bread (brød)
  • Many types of berries such as blueberries (blåbær), cloudberries (multe), lingonberry (tyttebær), strawberries (jordbær), raspberries (bringebær), black currant (solbær), and red currant (rips).

These are some of the main ingredients, or common ones, that you’ll see on menus in Tromso.

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, 99% of places will have an option for you. 

You can see on a menu if something is ‘vegansk’ (vegan) or ‘vegetarisk’ (vegetarian). 

If you’re celiac or not eating gluten, just ask for ‘gluten-fri’ options when you’re at a restaurant. You will also see several gluten-fri options in grocery stores.

You will easily find them as it is a section of a bunch of products with really horrendous and outdated packaging (sorry, it’s true).

Most restaurants, especially in the city center, will have menus in English so identifying products that are plant-based is usually extremely easy.  

Like the rest of Norway, tipping is not a common practice. 

Norwegians make a really great salary compared to many countries and even service workers are paid comparably for their work and don’t rely on tips.  

With that said, if you felt you had exceptional service, tip! I am American so if I don’t leave something, I can’t sleep at night. I always leave 20%, even when in Norway. 

24 Things to do in Tromso in Winter: Northern Lights, Husky Tours, and More!

That is really high… so I would suggest leaving 10% if you’re satisfied with your service and had a great experience.  

Again, you won’t feel obligated and no one writes tacky notes on napkins saying ‘tips appreciated’ in Norway… but if you want to leave a tip, it is a nice and appreciated gesture by many.

Eating out in Norway is pretty expensive but I suggest saving up and doing it a few times because Tromso has some great food (I detail some of my recommendations in my Tromso winter guide ).

Some things to expect when eating out in Tromso are:

Tap water is generally free there. Ask first, of course, but I don’t recall ever paying for tap water in Norway and the quality of it is sensational.

Alcohol is as pricy as many of the dishes and starters. If you’re keen to save money, stay away from the booze, as tempting as it may be! 

But, if you have the means and want to try something, ask for local craft beer that is not Mack Øl (that is a large brewery producing ‘craft’ beer now).

Dairy is used in sauces and dishes quite frequently , especially in fish soups. Just a tip for the lactose-intolerant folks out there. Every restaurant will take credit cards with no problem.  

Practical Information for Visiting Tromso

The next section is some practical information that will be helpful for those visiting Tromso.  

Visiting Tromso in winter, especially December and January, seems to be the popular thing. But, is it the best time to visit Tromso? I don’t think so.  

Many travel to Tromso to see the northern lights. The best season to view the northern lights is generally autumn or spring. 

It is cheaper since it is technically ‘off-season’, the weather is more tolerable, and the aurora is often more active then.

You can actually see the northern lights in Tromso from around August until late April… so definitely consider this when you’re booking your trip there.

Whale watching in Tromso

As noted above, the temperatures are a bit more tolerable during the spring and autumn than during the dark, Tromso winter. 

In addition, if you’re heading to Tromso in January to go whale watching, you may have missed the season. 

The best time for whale watching in Tromso is late October (roughly) until mid-January.

Anyway, just consider all factors when you book a trip to Tromso as there might be a more optimal time to visit as opposed to the high season in December and January. 

Click here to take a glance at our Tromso winter itinerary .

Here’s the thing… Tromso itself is not that cold. The temperatures hover around 0C-2C during the day and about -5C-2C at night (upper 20s to 30s for American travelers).

BUT… if you’re going there to take tours, prepare for significantly colder temperatures. 

Tromso is along the sea and that helps keep things a bit warmer. 

The best time to visit Tromso is perhaps not what you think...

The tours you will take, especially Tromso dog-sledding tours , northern lights tours in and around Tromso, and Sami experiences with reindeer are all inland a bit.  

These areas experience far colder temperatures than Tromso city. 

I remember dog-sledding in temperatures that were around -20C (-4F). Be sure to bring the right clothing for winter in Norway with you or you’re going to regret it majorly! 

On the other hand, many Tromso tours and activities will provide thick suits to participants to help with the temperatures. See below.

If you’re signed up for dog-sledding tours or anything else in Tromso, you might have the option of using their additional winter gear for the journey. 

This is really helpful if you didn’t dress properly (me… ALWAYS). They are not the prettiest things, but hey, it keeps ya warm!

Dog Sledding in Tromso: What to Expect, Tips, and Husky Safari Tours

Don’t count on this, however. If you’re going whale watching or chasing the northern lights, you will be on your own so you better bring your best winter clothing along for the ride!

If you’re taking a Tromso snowmobiling tour , you will be provided some extra gear!

Just as the winters are dark and ominous, Tromso delivers the opposite during the summer. And… it is AWESOME. 

Aram and I traveled to Tromso in summer months and we got to witness the midnight sun there and while nothing compares to the northern lights, the midnight sun sure does come close.

Views from Fjellheisen in Tromso Norway

The best place to witness the midnight sun is atop Fjellheisen, a cable car that takes you to the best view of Tromso. 

There were people from Sweden and southern Norway up top popping open bottles of Champagne and I have to say- it was definitely a moment to celebrate.

One of the biggest misconceptions about winter in Tromso is that there is absolutely zero ‘light’ since the sun never reaches above the horizon. This is actually not true. 

There is a ‘little’ light still out there. The snow helps make it seem a bit lighter than it should, as well.

Below is an unedited photo of mid-day in Tromso in December (around the 10th of the month, I think).

30 Useful Things to Know Before You Visit Tromso, Norway : winter daylight in Tromso in December while dog-sledding

If you’re keen to photograph the city, do be prepared to photograph in a lot of lowlight situations. 

30 Useful Things to Know Before You Visit Tromso, Norway

This can make things rather challenging and I do recommend bringing along a tripod and remote for your camera in order to make things a bit easier.

If the KP Index is high enough, YES. But, don’t necessarily count on it, to be honest. 

My first night in Tromso was insane and the northern lights were extremely visible in the city center for many hours. 

I went out to photograph them and the light pollution mixed with the lights made for some pretty horrendous photographs since I didn’t know what I was doing.

30 Useful Things to Know Before You Visit Tromso, Norway

Above is an unedited photo of the northern lights in Tromso city center from early December. 

This aurora was the weakest we saw it that night- it became pretty vivid and visible to the eye!

Norwegians speak impeccable English but learning a couple of Norwegian words or even just the alphabet will be really impressive to locals when you’re visiting. 

Tromso gets heaps of winter tourism and by showcasing a little bit of knowledge about language, you will stand out from the rest of the people who come to simply take advantage of Tromso’s opportune geographical location.

The Norwegian language has three letters that English does not: Æ, Ø, and Å. The letter ‘Æ’ is similar to the letter ‘a’ in English in the word ‘sad’ or ‘hat’.

The letter ‘Ø’ is similar to ‘ur’ in the word ‘burn’. But, when it is said, it is not really emphasized to the point of hearing that ‘ur’. If that makes any sense. 

Tromso itinerary- how to maximize your Tromso trip with 2-5 days there (best northern lights tours, dog sledding tours, etc)

The letter ‘Å’, sometimes listed as ‘AA’ in Norwegian words (especially old writing) is pronounced like ‘aw’. But, that letter depends on how it is inside of a word.

Norwegians will not laugh or make fun of you for trying. They will be extremely impressed. 

Don’t be offended if they switch over to English- their English will be better than your ten words of Norwegian, anyway. 

Click here to purchase a Norwegian phrasebook for your Tromso trip.  

If you’re reading this, there is a good chance you’re from North America, the United Kingdom, or Australia… and YES, you will need a power adapter. 

Norway uses the usual European socket that you’ll find (except in the UK) with 220v.

My recommendation is that you buy a power strip for your home plug sockets and one single adapter for Europe. 

By doing this, you can charge all of your stuff from one place and only need to invest in one power adapter. It is much easier- trust me!

Another thing to note is that most of Norway’s electricity is hydroelectric so do use it sparingly and make sure you flip off the lights when you go in and out of your hotel room.

>> Click here to find a power adapter for your Norway trip

It is pretty good, actually. It is not as fast as what you’d get in the south of Norway near the larger cities, but it is certainly better than you’d probably expect being in such a remote region of the world. 

You can find wifi almost anywhere and if you have an EU SIM card, you can use it in Tromso and Norway with no issue.

Most cafes will have wifi access points for tourists. It is also readily available at hotels across the city.

For the most part, Norway is friendly to those with mobility issues or disabilities. 

But, you have to consider that Tromso gets heaps of snow during the winter months and this may pose an issue for many people.

One thing I recommend for those who are a bit older or not so sturdy on their feet (like me!) is to bring a pair of crampons with you. 

These are spikes you pull over your shoes that will help you walk better and more securely on snow and ice.

Spikes are useful during the winter months

You can purchase a pair of crampons online but should you forget, don’t worry- they are easy to find in Norway at many shops. 

They are called ‘ brodder ‘ or ‘ broddene ‘ (depending on where used in a sentence and it can sound like two different things) and you can just tell a shop assistant that you need a pair.

Regarding tours, not all are easy to take for those with mobility issues or disabilities. 

Here are a few tours that DO take travelers in wheelchairs (and those with mobility issues):

  • Tromso: Whale Watching Tour by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran  
  • Top-rated Northern lights tour from Tromso  
  • Sami and reindeer experience w/ possibility of Northern Lights

Sami Culture in Tromso

One thing that kind of flies under the radar in Tromso is the indigenous culture and people, the Sami . 

The Sami people make up anywhere from 37,000-60,000 people in Norway and they are underrepresented and have historically been discriminated against.  

Norway is ‘trying’ to progress and give a voice to the Sami but after years of ‘Norwegianization’, the lifestyles, language, and other aspects have become endangered or somewhat extinct.  

While I don’t really know too much myself (shamefully- especially as someone who lived in Norway for so long), I am starting to take an interest in learning more when I am in northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

Sami culture is an important part of traveling to Tromso

If you have some downtime in Tromso and want to learn more, I encourage you to do so. 

A great place to start is the University of Tromso Museum where a permanent exhibition details Sami life and history in Norway.

If you want to explore more of Norway to learn more about Sami culture and lifestyle, I recommend you head to Karasjok and Kautokeino. 

Karasjok is the unofficial ‘Sami capital’ of Norway and nearby Kautokeino has a larger population of Samis… this is a great opportunity to learn more.

Sami National Day is February 6 annually and you can travel there to celebrate if you’re interested. 

Vanessa (formerly the brains behind Nordic Wanders blog and ex-Tromso resident) gave a review of some of the events from Sami National Day in Tromso and said they were a mockery but she recommends you visit anyway as you will get a chance to speak to Samis about their history, challenges, and culture in Norway.

So, is it worth booking a Sami experience at a reindeer ranch? It truly is commercialized and you won’t learn that much about the Sami culture… but I still think it is worth it. 

I don’t find the reindeer sleigh activity part of the experience to be ethical, however.

You can read more about my recommended Tromso Sami experiences at reindeer farms here.

Is Tromso on your bucket list and you aren’t sure you can afford it? I would definitely take many factors into consideration before booking a trip there… and affordability is one of them. 

Here are a couple of generic tips I have for those on a budget:

  • Travel in the off-season. Don’t go to Tromso in November, December, or January but rather in spring, summer, or autumn.
  • Take advantage of your hotel’s breakfast … by packing a ‘to-go’ lunch with bread and toppings. Sorry, Scandic, Thon, and Radisson. It’ll save you a little money and essentially you’re eating the most Norwegian lunch ever- a boring ‘matpakke’.
  • Grocery shop instead of eating out.
  • Rent an Airbnb so you can cook your own food. I actually think this ends up just as expensive as eating out by the time you buy everything you need to make food for a week.
  • Take larger group tours instead of smaller, private ones.
  • Head to another city or area that isn’t Tromso.  Alta, Hammerfest , the Lofoten Islands, Senja, or Honningsvåg are viable options. Or, even make the trek up to Svalbard .

What to know before traveling to Tromso, Norway

Perhaps my biggest budget tip is to PLAN AHEAD ! Tours sell out fast in Tromso and you don’t want to be stuck having to book something more expensive last minute!

You can find links to the best tours in Tromso below: 

  • Best Tromso dog sledding tours
  • Best Tromso northern lights tours
  • Best Tromso whale watching tours
  • Best Tromso Sami and reindeer tours
  • Ice Domes Tours in Tromso

If you’re traveling to Tromso, we recommend you get a place in the city center as it will make going on tours significantly easier. 

It is also very convenient to stay in the city center as the bus from the Tromso Airport will drop you off right there and you can walk to your hotel with ease.

You can check out our Tromso hotels guide here… but here are a few quick recommendations of where to stay if you’re wanting to be centralized and near where the tours leave from:

  • Radisson Blu Hotel Tromso (Luxury- many tours depart from here!)
  • Clarion Hotel ‘The Edge’ (Luxury)
  • Thon Hotel Tromso (Mid-range… this is where I stayed both times! Close to airport bus stop)
  • Smarthotel Tromso (Budget)

YES. YES. YES. Tromso is a great city break for a long weekend in the winter or summer if you’re Europe-based and is a perfect addition to a Norway trip if you’re not. 

You can check out my Tromso itinerary which details just how many days you should spend in the Northern Norwegian capital.

If you’re concerned about visiting somewhere that is quite touristy (it truly is in the wintertime… sorry!), perhaps explore other options in Norway. Alta is perfect for the adventurous traveler. 

The Lofoten Islands have a lot of the same things as Tromso to offer… especially if you visit Lofoten in winter . 

And the wonderful North Cape is just magnificent and one of the best road trips I’ve ever taken.

There are several places to visit in Norway, and Tromso is just fantastic and will offer you a spectacular trip, no matter whether you visit Tromso in summer or winter! 

Please feel free to reach out if you have additional questions.

  • Where to stay in Tromso
  • TromsoCamping in Tromso
  • Things to do in Tromso in summer
  • Best Tromso museums
  • Tromso snowmobiling
  • Tromso airport to city
  • Best ice hotels in Norway
  • How to book a husky safari in Tromso
  • Reindeer and Sami experiences in Tromso
  • Taking the Hurtigruten to Tromso
  • What to do in Tromso in winter
  • The Perfect Tromso Itinerary (2-5 day options)
  • Ethical whale watching tours in Tromso
  • What to pack for winter in Norway
  • Best day trips from Tromso

There are many things to know before you visit Tromso! This guide contains some useful Tromso travel tips to keep in mind as you plan your trip - click to read! | Travel to Tromso | Things to do in Tromso | Tromso restaurants | Tromso sightseeing | Tromso tours | Tromso in winter | Tromso in summer | Visiting Tromso | What to do in Tromso | Tromso tips | Planning a trip to Tromso

Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.

4 thoughts on “ 25 Useful Things to Know Before You Visit Tromso, Norway ”

I need this trip in my life! Great blog, thank you.

great information thank you !Can you advise on what to do and where to eat on National Day in Tromso arriving on Hurtigruten 3-6 pm Thanks you again!

Great write up! Not sure when I’ll get there but on my bucket list!

“service workers are paid comparably for their work and don’t rely on tips” so not true.

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Tromsø tours, the 10 best tromsø tours, dog sledding in tromsø.

Sitting high above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is the perfect destination for snow sports. Dog sledding is a popular choice with first-time visitors, and one of the best ways to get around this icy wilderness. Once you’re kitted up in your thermal gear, it’s time to head off in search of nature.

These Tromsø tours take you deep into the forests, where your trusty dog team effortlessly slices through the virgin snow. You’ll feel like royalty on your sled, but don’t forget to hang on, especially around the corners! Adventurous souls can drive the huskies themselves and learn about indigenous culture along the way.   

Tromsø Fjords

Other iconic Tromsø tours will see you exploring the famous Norwegian fjords, where breathtaking landscapes captivate the imagination. The fjords are a great way to access the remote regions around Tromsø, as they remain unfrozen throughout the year. 

The two most-visited fjords are Balsfjord and Malangen, which lie just south of the city. Wildlife is abundant here, with everything from dolphins and seals to puffins and eagles often making an appearance. If you visit between November and January, you might get to see orcas and humpback whales too. Fishing trips and speedboat rides are also on the agenda.   

Tromsø Snowmobile Tours

Feel the need for speed as you plow through the snow like a pro in the shadow of the icy Tromsø mountains. Snowmobiling has become increasingly popular up here in Norway, with tours for beginners and experts both on offer. Exploring the wilderness by snowmobile is an exhilarating way to get off the beaten track without the effort of skiing or snowshoeing.

On these adventurous excursions, you’ll get to experience some of the country’s most eye-catching scenery, all from the comfort of the saddle. Popular destinations include the Lyngen Alps and the borders with Sweden and Finland.   

Northern Lights Tours from Tromsø

If you’re visiting Tromsø in winter, then don’t forget to look up at night – you might be lucky enough to spot the Aurora Borealis. Also known as the Northern Lights, these dancing green displays are nothing short of ethereal. This is one of the best places in the world to experience this unusual phenomenon.  

On these night-time Tromsø tours you’ll head off into the snowy landscape on a hunt for the Northern Lights. Some excursions are on foot, while others use minivans to travel a bit further. Many trips are led by local Sami guides and include a traditional dinner at a reindeer camp.  

Reindeer Sledding in Tromsø

Fun for explorers of all ages, reindeer sledding is a popular pastime in Tromsø. Sit back and relax beneath your cozy reindeer skins as your new four-legged friend pulls the sled. There are daytime and evening tours available, with the latter being a great opportunity to see the Northern Lights.

Your Sami guide will lead you on a quest deep into the woods, teaching you about local cultures and lifestyles during the journey. Traditional campfire meals and reindeer petting are also part of the experience. A few tours take things a step further with an overnight stay in a Sami tent for a true Scandinavian adventure.   

Lyngen Alps

The mighty Lyngen Alps stretch for almost 90 kilometers, passing northeast of Tromsø beside the Lyngen Fjord. The rugged terrain offers a multitude of day trips from the city, for hardy adventurers and curious sightseers alike. 

The mountains are often accessed by ferry, giving you the chance to soak up the scenery on your journey into the wild. Snowmobile safaris are all the rage in winter, with plenty of Arctic trails to explore. You’ll head high up into the Alps where the views get even better with each mile covered. Enjoy a warming campfire meal before returning to Tromsø.  

Kvaløya Island

Kvaløya is the fifth largest island in Norway and a popular destination on Tromsø tours. Known as “whale island”, this Artic wonderland is famed for its whale sightings in season. The island itself is pretty as a picture, with snowy mountain peaks and a jaw-dropping coastline.

You can reach the island by a series of road bridges and an undersea tunnel – no boats are required here! Road trips through the mountains and around the fjords are heaps of fun while snowshoeing treks can be enjoyed in winter. Expect to see plenty of traditional villages and mysterious forests during your explorations.   

Whale Watching in Tromsø

Norway is one of the top places in Europe to see whales, with the towering peaks around Tromsø making for a dramatic backdrop. The waters here are rich in minerals, attracting the marine giants from miles away. Humpback and fin whales are frequently encountered during winter, and if you’re lucky you might see them breaching in the fjords. 

Boat tours are the best way to see the whales. Catamaran trips and rigid inflatable boat rides are both on offer, depending on how stealthy you want to be. Multi-day whale watching excursions increase your chances of spotting these elusive creatures of the deep.

Snowshoe Hiking in Tromsø

If you want to immerse yourself in the enchanting winter wilderness without using powered vehicles, snowshoe hiking is the way forward. Anyone can have a go, and you’ll soon get used to the motion after a few minutes of trudging through the snow. 

Snowshoe tours allow you to venture deeper into the hills and forests than you would with normal boots. It’s a magical experience, where you’ll feel at one with nature. As you hike along the Arctic trails, keep an eye out for wildlife tracks in the snow. You never know what might be watching from the trees!   

Tromsø Sightseeing Tours

Tromsø tours don’t all take place in the wilderness – some show you around the city itself. As you’ll likely be staying overnight here, it’s worth setting some time aside to explore what Tromsø has to offer. Walking tours are a hassle-free way to get your bearings and learn about the history of the settlement. 

You can visit the Polar Museum and hear about the famed Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen. The Arctic Cathedral is another highlight – its design was inspired by local nature. Kids, meanwhile, will love meeting the seals at Polaria, the most northerly aquarium in the world.   

Looking for more tours?

Planning your visit to tromsø, about tromsø.

Sitting pretty above the Arctic Circle in Norway, Tromsø attracts intrepid explorers from around the world. In summer, the city basks in the midnight sun, while under the cloak of winter, adventurous activities come into their own. Snowmobiling , husky dog sledding and northern lights treks are all notable pastimes here. 

Tromsø is well-connected to Europe when it comes to flights, so despite its remote location, the city is easy to reach. You can also fly from Oslo if you want to add on a few days in the capital. It’s a good idea to book winter tours and hotels in advance as places fill up fast.  

Good to know before arriving

Most people spend at least four days in the city, to make the most of the wide variety of Tromsø tours on offer. The local bus network is the best way to get around – you can buy tickets online or on board.  

Paying by cash is rare in Norway, so it’s a good idea to carry a card that doesn’t have high foreign exchange fees. Tipping isn’t common, but feel free to leave 10% if you’ve received exceptional service. 

If you’re visiting in winter, make sure you pack plenty of warm layers – you’ll be above the Arctic Circle, after all.   

Places and experiences that cannot be missed

Snowmobiling, dog sledding and snowshoeing are the main offerings for active travelers. For those who prefer something a little more sedate, whale watching trips and northern lights bus or jeep tours are sure to impress.  

In Tromsø itself, don’t miss the Polar Museum and the cable car ride up to Mount Storsteinen. The views over the city and the fjords are incredible. You can walk up for free if you don’t mind climbing 1,200 steps up the Sherpa Staircase!

Once you’ve explored Tromsø, head out on a day trip to the islands of Sommarøy and Kvaløya for hiking and nature.   

What are the best day trips from Tromsø?

What are the best outdoor activities in tromsø, what are the best sightseeing tours in tromsø, tours and things to do in tromsø, best day trips from tromsø.

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I have 48 hours in Tromso arriving on December 1st. I am a solo traveler. Friday I plan to visit the town, brewery, a good lunch and walk around. Friday night I have a chasing lights tour booked at 7:30 pm. Saturday morning I have a nature/fjords tour booked at 9:30 am. Saturday night I will do the reindeer experience at 5:30 pm. Sunday morning I leave. Is this too much? Do the northern lights tours really last 7+ hours?

Thanks for your advice!!!

2 replies to this topic

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Northern Lights tours length depends on weather - if they have to drive far to find clear skies you may be back at hotel at 02:00 or later.

Northern Lights occur at random, so it also deoends on when (and if) there is a display. Mother nature can be unpredictable.

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Instead of flying, I spent 13 hours on a bus and 3 ferries in the Arctic Circle. Halfway through, I wished I'd bought a plane ticket.

  • I spent 13 hours on the Arctic Route, a bus and ferry system that runs through the Arctic Circle.
  • The bus ticket cost $114 and included the price of the three ferries on the route.
  • Halfway through the journey, the majority of the passengers on the ferry got sick . 

Insider Today

I knew I'd made a mistake when my bus driver — a burly Norwegian man who's toughed out many an Arctic winter — stopped at the port in Andenes, Norway, and laughed at the wind.

He wished us luck as he pointed to the ferry employee who carried a garbage bag filled with the vomit of arriving passengers.

That moment summarizes my 13 hours on the Arctic Route, a summer bus that runs through Norway's Arctic Circle.

The northbound Arctic Route begins in Norway's Lofoten Islands

Roughly six hours before that ferry ride, two friends and I boarded a bus at the Nyvågar Rorbuhotell in the Lofoten Islands.

We were en route to Tromsø, the route's final of 24 stops. From there, we'd fly to Longyearbyen , the world's northernmost permanent settlement.

The bus had been my idea; flights to Tromsø started at about $200 and included at least one layover . Meanwhile, the bus, which runs from June through August, cost us about $114 and included the price of the three ferries on the route.

We hopped on the bus at 7:20 a.m., with plans to arrive at our hotel just after 8 p.m.

Scenic stops helped to break up the journey

My friends and I were the only passengers for the entire ride, aside from one woman who joined a few stops before Tromsø.

Given the extra space, we each snagged a window seat , from which we enjoyed views of mountains, the coast, and, closer to Tromsø, the occasional reindeer.

However, the bus's biggest benefit was the chance to engage with such scenery. Unlike most buses of convenience, the Arctic Route was akin to a tour of Northern Norway.

The consistent stopping points allowed for bathroom breaks, photos, and time to explore unique businesses in equally unique locations .

My favorite stop was Marmelkroken, a resort and restaurant whose cozy interior and friendly owner made for a stop well spent.

The first ferry was relaxing and helped the time pass quickly

Soon into the route, we drove onto the first of three ferries, during which the Arctic waters remained tranquil. Our bus parked on the lower level, and the ride was under an hour but we had enough time to explore upstairs.

With windows overlooking the water, the ferry was the perfect place to enjoy the cinnamon rolls we'd packed.

We also spent time on the ferry deck, where the cool, fresh air provided us with some much-needed energy after our early start.

The Andenes ferry was both a midpoint and a low point of the journey

Unlike the first ferry, the second required us to switch buses and board a new one upon arrival. This ferry ride clocked in at just under two hours .

Despite the warnings of our bus driver, I didn't expect seasickness to be an issue. But when we sat down, an employee dropped a cluster of barf bags on our table, like a waitress handing out menus.

The next two hours were rough.

The combination of waves and wind rocked the ferry in all directions. As the motion gained momentum, I started to regret not buying the plane ticket to Tromsø.

Although I didn't need those paper bags, the majority of the passengers weren't as lucky. The cabin was filled with nervous energy as well as the sound, sight, and scent of vomit.

The ferry does get canceled in the event of inclement weather, though the recognition of our safety did little to divert my fears in that moment.

After the second ferry, morale improved

When we touched ground in Gryllefjord, we boarded a new bus, whose driver stopped frequently for fresh air.

About five hours remained on the route, which included one more ferry. That excursion, luckily, was less than an hour long and came with smooth waters and an onboard café.

When we arrived in Tromsø, our driver dropped us off at our hotel instead of at the bus stop — a kind gesture that felt monumental after our long day.

Next time, I'd prepare accordingly

The wind that July afternoon was especially strong, so not every Arctic Route journey — nor Andenes crossing — comes with such excitement.

Even so, I would plan better in the future; I would hold off on breakfast and pack motion-sickness medicine . I'd also stand on the outdoor deck instead of inside the cabin.

Beyond the ferry, I would likewise extend my journey by a few days to better explore the passing towns.

Despite the state of its windblown waters, Andenes, especially, appealed to me — it's a popular starting point for Arctic whale-watching tours.

Although I regretted my choice while on the water, I'm ultimately glad I booked the bus

Whenever I fly, I need a few days to truly process where I am. But on the Arctic Route, I was grounded from the get-go. I felt fully present and immersed in my surroundings for 13 hours.

Doesn't that summarize Northern Norway, where extremities are the norm and nature's unpredictability lends it power as much as it does charm?

After all, you don't go to the Arctic unless you want an adventure.

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‘the peasants’ director on how the production had to battle through the ukraine war & covid — contenders film l.a., breaking news.

Home Is Gaza, But He Became Stranded In Norway: Palestinian Director Mohamed On His IDFA-Winning Documentary ‘Life Is Beautiful’

By Matthew Carey

Matthew Carey

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Mohamed Jabaly in 'Life Is Beautiful'

Palestinian filmmaker Mohamed Jabaly is leaving the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam with a major award: Best Director in International Competition for his film Life Is Beautiful . But where he goes next is uncertain – he can’t return to Gaza for the time being because the border is closed as the Israel-Hamas war rages on.

Amid the prestige and excitement of premiering a film at IDFA , the world’s biggest documentary festival, his thoughts, for obvious reasons, have been back in his homeland.

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Director Mohamed Jabaly, at right, with camera.

“Making films,” he continues, “or speaking about it became kind of heavy on our shoulders and then a moment where we just kind of feel our bodies are paralyzed. But then we insist that we should tell, we should insist on our storytelling and that’s the only way I see that we can move forward.”

In a sense, Life Is Beautiful is a film about a film. It revolves around the making of Jabaly’s earlier documentary, Ambulance , an examination of how he joined an ambulance crew in 2014 during another flareup of war between Israel and Hamas.

Two months after the 2014 hostilities eased with a ceasefire, Jabaly traveled to Norway on an exchange program. But while he was abroad, the borders to Gaza were shut indefinitely, stranding him in the Scandinavian country. 

Director Mohamed Jabaly's reflection in glass.

“It was only supposed to be for a short visit, one month, and then just return to Gaza and continue my life,” Jabaly recalls. “That became kind of my dilemma, my limbo of life, not knowing what’s going to happen for me.” 

Life Is Beautiful returns to those days in 2014 when Jabaly became an unwitting exile, unable to return home. He attempted to apply for a visa to stay in Norway, but discovered the online application didn’t list Palestine as a country.

Director Mohamed Jabaly in Tromsø, Norway.

Jabaly lived with a host in the frigid northern city of Tromsø (VisitNorway.com enthusiastically describes the place as “where your Arctic adventure begins.”).

“I made a decision from the beginning to document everything that was happening to me,” he says. “I put this challenge to document basically my diary and it became kind of a series of moments that been developed over these years. At some point I said maybe I will use these materials… I saw it as a film.”

Director Mohamed Jabaly as a young man in Gaza.

Life Is Beautiful is what he made of the materials. The film illustrates the sharp contrast between Jabaly’s life in snowy Tromsø and the world he had left behind in Gaza, superheated in terms of temperature and political conflict.

In the new documentary, we see Jabaly at work on his previous one, Ambulance . As he made progress editing Ambulance in 2014 and 2015, he tried to resolve his legal status in Norway. Some friends counseled him to seek asylum, but the director says he rejected that idea because it would mean turning his back on Palestine. 

“It wasn’t an option for me,” Jabaly says. “Then, I decided to apply for an artist visa.” 

Norwegian authorities initially rejected that visa request because, as a self-taught filmmaker, Jabaly didn’t possess a film degree. But after an eight month wait, he finally got his visa. All the while, he hoped to return home.

IDFA’s International Competition jurors, in their citation of Jabaly for Best Director, called Life Is Beautiful “A timely cinematic expression of the universal need to be recognized in our full humanity. A compelling indictment of the bureaucratic and political structures that deny that. A directorial tone that, almost impossibly, manages to find hope and humor amid unimaginable pain. An urgent call for freedom, freedom of movement, freedom of opportunity and the freedom to pursue our dreams.”

Mohamed Jabaly receives a fond farewell as he leaves Norway.

Jabaly’s sunny disposition and charm helped him form strong bonds in Norway with his host family and friendships with many other people he met there. The title of the film, Life Is Beautiful , may seem ironic given the grim living conditions for Gazans, but to the director, it represents a fundamental perspective.

“’Life is beautiful…’ This is what I always wanted; this is what I always say. I mean, I say it wherever I go,” Jabaly notes. “I wanted to spread this hope even though sometimes hope is hard, it’s difficult to see at a moment that we are living now.”

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