Best Things to do in Tromsø

11 min read

Popular Winter Activities

With bucket list activities like Northern Lights, dog sledding and snowmobile tours, Tromsø is a popular winter destination and the perfect place for your Arctic winter holiday? The following are popular winter activities.

Dog Sledding Tours

The eager sled dogs are at their happiest when they get to do what they were born to do – run. Want to join them on an adventure? Try your luck as the musher for a day on a self-drive tour. Take your place behind the sled, step off the break and feel the Arctic wind blow on your face as you let the huskies lead the way through the Arctic landscape. The only sound you'll hear is the dogs breathing and the sled sliding through the snow. Go on a day tour and enjoy the beautiful scenery or take an evening tour and see if Lady Aurora shows up. Read more about Dog Sledding Tours in Tromsø.

The Northern Lights

As one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, Tromsø gives you a great opportunity to experience the Green Lady dance above you. Watch the dark sky break into an explosion of shimmering lights and wonderful colours – a guaranteed heart stopping moment. Just remember to bring enough clothes, because when Aurora makes an appearance, you are not going to want to leave any time soon.

You can also chase the Northern Lights with a local guide in the outskirts of Tromsø. With the wilderness just outside the city, you will easily be able to escape the light pollution and find Lady Aurora’s favourite dancing spots.

Snowmobile Tours

Ready for some action? The snowmobile tours is an activity for the adventurous kind. Take your place in the driver seat or kick back and relax in the passenger seat. Slide through the snow in Camp Tamok or Lyngsalpene and switch places along the way. Go on an evening tour in the wilderness where the only light you'll see is the snowmobile in front of you. If you are lucky, the Northern Lights will dance above you all night. Check Out: Snowmobiles – The Scooter of the North

Whale Watching Safaris

Every year, during winter, giant humpback whales travel thousands of kilometres from the warm Caribbean coast to the cold waters off Tromsø. The whales go where the fish go and Tromsø coast is a superb feeding ground for these majestic creatures. During the peak season (approximately from November to January) there are daily whale safari departures from Tromsø giving you the chance to spot killer whales (orca), harbour porpoises and fin whales as well as the humpback whales. On a whale safari you’ll also get an incredible sightseeing tour of the beautiful fjords and the rough mountains brutally rising from the sea. Read more about whale watching safari tours in Tromsø.

Tromsø Ice Domes – The Magical Ice Hotel

Each year, as the polar night approaches, Tromsø Ice Domes are built in the gorgeous Tamok Valley, situated a 75 minute drive from Tromsø city centre. Every year new ice sculptures, carvings and themes are created, so each year will be a brand new experience. The art work represents the local history, culture and wildlife. There are plenty of day trips allowing you to explore the art and if you want an extended experience you can book a package including an overnight stay at the domes. Read more about: The Ice Hotels in Norway

Reindeer sledding

Reindeer sledding is one of the oldest forms of transport in the region and offers visitors an authentic way of experiencing the scenery. Day tours gives you a greater chance of taking in and experience the scenery you are passing through, while the evening tours offers the chanced to spot the Northern Lights. Tromsø and Northern Norway is also a great place to learn more about the Sami culture and experience ancient traditions like reindeer sledding and joik – a traditional form of Sami song, usually dedicated to a person, an animal or a place, that has strong roots in the Sami culture.

Popular Summer Activities

Wondering if Tromsø is worth visiting during summer? Tromsø is known as hotspot for Arctic winter activities, but there's a lot to do and see during the summer months too. When the midnight sun makes its appearance the days are extended into the later hours with loads of activities allowing you to enjoy the magical bright nights the best way possible. Join a kayaking adventure or listen to a midnight sun concert at the Arctic Cathedral. Go on a shopping spree in the city's many busy shopping street. Explore museums and culture activities. Enjoy the mountains and the sea. Explore the nightlife or join a festival. Check out the "What's on list" for more things to do in Tromsø during summer.

Marvel at the Midnight Sun

Above the Arctic Circle the sun never sets during summer months – approximately from May to July. This means that Tromsø – the Arctic Capital – gives you the perfect excuse to stay out all night and soak in everything this vibrant city has to offer. Join a cruise or a midnight kayaking adventure and experience the midnight sun from the sea. Or take the Fjellheisen cable car and enjoy the views in the orange glowing light.

Fjord Cruises

Cruise past majestic mountains under the midnight sun. Relax in the comfortable lounges and enjoy the spectacular Arctic landscape when the weather is not on your side. There are daily fjord cruises and sightseeing cruises from Tromsø during summer allowing you to experience the wonderful scenery.

Husky Summer Adventures

In Tromsø dog sledding is mainly a winter activity but there are some summer alternatives for the dog lovers out there too. Visit an Alaskan puppy farm and help train the dogs. Go on a husky mountain hike and soak in the beautiful surroundings accompanied by a furry four legged friend. Or go for a husky wagon tour and travel by wheels.

All Year Activities

Below we'll give you a few tips on activities you can do all year round. Whether you are visiting Tromsø during summer or winter, you can combine the typical bucket list activities with cultural activities and museum visits.

The Polar Museum

Pay a visit to the Polar Museum, preserving and conveying stories related to the history of Tromsø and the Arctic regions. In the late 19th century, Tromsø ended up being a base for many polar expeditions and this museum gives you great insights into this narrative.

The Fjellheisen Cable Car

Step into the Fjellheisen cable car and let the gondola transport you to Mount Storsteinen 420 metres above sea level while you enjoy spectacular views of the city. Thanks to the gondola you can go from the busy city to a calming mountain viewing platform in just under four minutes. You can also make your way to the top using your own two feet. Follow the sherpa stone staircase consisting of 1200 steps and enjoy a well deserved break at the top as you take in the city views.

Polaria – The Arctic Experience Centre

Visit the seals in Polaria – an Arctic Experience Centre perfect for the whole family. This is one of two places in Europe you get to see bearded seals up close. After you have gotten acquainted with the seals and learned all their names, you can visit the aquariums and explore different fish, shellfish and plants from the Arctic oceans. At the panoramic cinema you can take part in an epic ocean journey through films from Northern Norway and Svalbard and immerse yourself in the local landscapes.

Things to do in The City

Dubbed the “The Paris of the North'', the streets in Tromsø are filled with shops, cafés and restaurants. The dynamic nightlife unfolds in the evenings allowing you to dance the night away at the many pubs and clubs.

Tromsø is also the perfect place for cultural experiences. Visitors can appreciate a range of concerts, art exhibitions and festivals happening throughout the year. Step into the Arctic Cathedral – a modern architectural masterpiece – and sit back and enjoy a magical musical evening lit up by candles.

For the film enthusiasts Tromsø can offer TIFF (Tromsø International Film Festival) every year. Taking place in January TIFF has 5 movie venues, including an outdoor snow cinema. This is a popular cultural event among the audience as well as an important meeting point for anyone working in the film industry.

With its many restaurants the Arctic Capital is a great spot to check out the local treats. Sink your teeth into delicacies like stockfish, reindeer steak, whale, pork ribs and more. Bardus Bistro, Smak and Full Steam are all good choices for an Arctic menu. If you are looking for something more familiar, Pastafabrikken has a wide variety of pasta and pizza dishes and Skarven is a popular steakhouse.

Free Things to do in Tromsø

Go hiking. Tromsø is an eldorado for any mountain lover – whether you are seeking peace and quiet or looking to spruce up your Instagram feed. Must see mountains in the area include Tromsdalstinden (1238 metres above sea level), Bønntuva (776 metres above sea level), Fløya (671 metres above sea level) and Storsteinen (421 metres above sea level).

Tromsø Botanical Gardens – check out different plants from all continents of the world! This is the world's northernmost botanic garden. Free entry and open 24/7 this could be a good place to kill a few hours.

Couple on top of Storsteinen Mountain Tromsø
Couple on top of Storsteinen Mountain

Telegrafbukta Beach – Conveniently located at the southern tip of Tromsø islands this area lets you explore vast grass areas, forest, beach and boulders.

Grotfjord Beach – located in the bottom of a little fjord, this idyllic beach offers mountains sceneries and views of the open sea.

Tromsø Cathedral – This yellow cathedral dates back to 1861 and is the only cathedral in Norway made of wood.

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