Insider tips: Planning a trip to Tromsø
Capture the Atlas is an award-winning travel and photography blog run by Dan and Ascen, a jet-setting couple who travels the world and documents their adventures. While Dan is in charge of photography, Ascen is the travel expert with a knack for finding unique spots to visit and condensing her experiences into helpful articles for fellow travelers. If you’re traveling to the Arctic Capital of Norway, checking their travel guide to Tromso is a must!
What should I do on my first trip to Tromsø?
Whether it’s your first trip or not, anyone visiting Tromso from September to April should go aurora hunting. Witnessing the beautiful colors of the Northern Lights dance across the sky is an utterly unforgettable experience and one of the best things to do in Tromso. Other than that, visiting Tromso Harbor is a must-do at any time of year. The charming, colorful waterfront buildings make for the perfect photo, and the views of the city skyline from the harbor are magical.
What are some hidden gems to see in Tromsø?
Plenty of people know about Tromso’s most popular museums, like the Polar Museum and Tromso Museum, but more unique spots like the Perspectives Museum often get overlooked. This museum aims to foster respect for different perspectives, hence its name, through various temporary exhibitions on art, culture, and more, so there’s always something exciting on offer. Another hidden gem is the Tromso Public Library and City Archives. Here, you can learn more about the history of Tromso with the archives and local history collection, admire the building’s beautiful architecture, and enjoy lovely views of the city from the large windows.
How much time should I spend in Tromsø?
Spending 3 to 4 days in Tromso should be enough time to hit all the highlights. You’ll have one day for exploring the city center and Arctic Cathedral, another day for visiting some museums and taking a fjord cruise, and another day or two to go hiking, take a day trip, or go aurora chasing. If you’re visiting Tromso in winter, however, there are so many things to do (Northern Lights tours, dog sledding, visiting the Tromso Ice Domes, reindeer sledding) that 5 days may be a better amount of time for fitting everything in.
What food is Tromsø known for?
As a coastal city, Tromso is, of course, famous for its fresh fish and seafood: crab, herring, cod, shrimp, oysters, and more. After all, these ingredients don’t have to travel very far to get to your plate! There are plenty of excellent fish and seafood restaurants in Tromso, including Mathallen, Fiskekompaniet, and Arctandria Seafood Restaurant, all of which use only the freshest local marine ingredients. If you’re more of a meat lover, reindeer is another delicacy that’s worth sampling. I highly recommend the reindeer stew at Full Steam Tromso, which includes mushrooms, potatoes, and cranberries - it’s absolutely delicious!
What is the best way to get around Tromsø?
Since Tromso is a relatively small city, walking is the best way to reach most places in the city center. For attractions that are a bit farther away, like the Tromso Museum and Northern Norwegian Science Center, Tromso’s city buses are your best bet. They run seven days a week and are quite reliable. If you want to venture even further afield on day trips or to hiking trails, I recommend booking a Tromso rental car, as it’s the simplest and most convenient way to explore the area around Tromso.
What are the best months to visit Tromsø?
The summer (June to August) and late fall to early winter (November to January) are the best times to visit Tromso. The summer’s mild weather makes it the perfect time to go hiking and camping or take a wildlife fjord cruise. Additionally, in June and July, you can experience the beautiful midnight sun, or 24 hours of daylight. On the other hand, the long, dark nights in late fall/early winter create ideal conditions for aurora viewing, plus November to January is whale watching season, so you’ll have a high chance of seeing cetaceans if you book a whale watching tour.
What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Tromsø?
Definitely Tromso Harbor! Most of the best hotels in Tromsos are located here, and you get absolutely incredible views of Tromso Sound, the Arctic Cathedral, and the city skyline from here. On top of that, you’re centrally located by many of the best attractions, including the Polar Museum and Storgata, and top restaurants, like Rå Sushi and Full Steam Tromso. Whether it’s your first time visiting or your tenth, you can’t go wrong with staying here!
What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Tromsø?
Taking the Fjellheisen cable car is an activity that’s fun for the whole family. The four-minute cable car ride up to the mountain ledge of Storsteinen is exhilarating enough to pique kids’ interest but short enough that they won’t get too impatient on the way to the top. Once you reach Storsteinen, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of the city and surrounding islands and fjords. If you or the kids get hungry, grab a bite at Fjellstua, a restaurant at the upper station where you can take in the views while you eat.
What are the best things to do around Tromsø?
The area around Tromso boasts a lot of incredible hiking trails. Some of my favorites include the trail to Steindalsbreen, which takes you through a valley to a beautiful glacier that you can admire up close; the route to Blåvatnet, which leads you to an intensely blue alpine lake; and the hike to Rødtind, a mountain with stunning views of the area. Also, while you’re outside Tromso, I recommend staying in a charming, private cabin, like the log cabins at Viking Cabins, so you can enjoy some peaceful solitude and immerse yourself in nature.