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Things to do in

Tromsø

Sledding, the Northern Lights, and fjords are just a taste of what this gateway to the Arctic has to offer.

Our most recommended things to do in Tromsø

Tromsø: All Inclusive Northern Lights Chase Minibus Tour

1. Tromsø: All Inclusive Northern Lights Chase Minibus Tour

Journey outside of Tromsø, away from the city's light pollution, in search of the Northern Lights together with an experienced guide. Marvel at the immense majesty of the Arctic as you share stories with your companions by a crackling bonfire. Depart from the meeting point in the center of Tromsø and embark on a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Arctic wilderness. Your experienced guide will then lead you in the pursuit of the spellbinding natural phenomenon that is the Aurora Borealis. As you search the skies in multiple locations, take in the rugged beauty of your surroundings. Listen to local myths and stories about the lights, as well as a scientific explanation about why they exist. After finding the best spot to watch the lights, crunch through fresh snow surrounded by towering mountains and deep fjords. Take the time to really admire this incredible natural display of light, where colors dance in the air in beautiful, mesmerizing patterns. Keep your energy up with hot drinks and snacks, cooked over the campfire. Then be taken back to memories of summer camp as you roast marshmallows on a smoky bonfire. Take lots of great photos throughout the night with the tripod provided. Your guide will offer advice to set up your camera properly, and also take photos of your group with the Northern Lights in the background. After a memorable evening, you will be dropped off at your accommodation in Tromsø".

From Tromsø: Aurora Borealis Tour

2. From Tromsø: Aurora Borealis Tour

Increase your chance of seeing the dazzling northern lights on this bus tour from Tromsø. Keep warm with a thermal suit and hot drinks. Ensure you get great pictures on your tour with camera help from your guide. Depart from Tromsø in a comfortable, air-conditioned bus and hunt for the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis. Relax in the comfortable bus on your way to wherever meteorologists have predicted the lights will be at their best. Get an honest assessment of the likelihood of spotting the lights from your guide for that evening. To get stunning views of the sky, head for areas with good solar activity and clear skies. Enjoy flexibility regarding stops, activities, and decisions on the length of the trip. Your guide will assist you with the camera settings and use of a tripod for the best pictures. After the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Tromsø: Self-Drive Husky Dog Sledding Adventure

3. Tromsø: Self-Drive Husky Dog Sledding Adventure

Embark on a guided sledding experience from Tromsø. Take turns directing the sled or simply enjoy the incredible Arctic scenery. After, trade stories around a warm fire with some hot chocolate and cake. Hop on the comfortable minibus and drive to the kennel on the island of Kvaløya. Once kitted out, head to the kennel and see the 130 Alaskan Huskies, who are always excited to meet guests. Get a short demonstration on how to drive a sled and feel free to ask any questions. Then, follow your guide and meet your huskies. Each pair, one passenger, and one driver will have their own sled. Enjoy several opportunities to swap between roles once the trip starts. Finally, head out to the snow and follow the guide along the trail. Take photos throughout the trip and take in the incredible landscapes. After your 90-minute sledding adventure, make your way into the Sami Lavvo for hot drinks and Hege's famous homemade chocolate cake. Trade stories from the trip around the cozy fireplace until it is time to change out of your suits and hop back on the bus. You will be returned to the pickup point. 

Tromsø: Whale and Arctic Wildlife Cruise Safari by Catamaran

4. Tromsø: Whale and Arctic Wildlife Cruise Safari by Catamaran

Experience the pristine beauty of the Arctic landscapes and fjords on a catamaran cruise. Observe native wildlife in their natural habitat with insightful commentary from a local guide. Board a comfortable catamaran in the Tromsø city center. Marvel at the Arctic landscape and the beautiful fjords. Learn about Norway’s wildlife, fishing, aquaculture, local villages, and weather from your knowledgeable guide. Take photos from either the indoor or outdoor viewing decks. Enjoy hot coffee or tea, while admiring the unique natural setting. Pick up snacks at the kiosk on board if you feel hungry. During late October to late January, have the best chance of seeing a humpback whale, killer whale (orca), harbor porpoise, or even a fin whale. Arrive at the whale feeding site and enjoy 1-1.5 hours to take an up-close look at the feast.

Tromsø: Whale Watching Tour by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

5. Tromsø: Whale Watching Tour by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

Set sail on a hybrid electric catamaran cruise for the Arctic waters and observe marine animals in their natural habitat. Watch orcas and humpback whales feed in the icy fjords and admire the stunning landscapes around you. Depart from Tromsø in the morning, and head out to where the whales are in time to enjoy the short hours of daylight. Take in the breathtaking views of frozen landscapes in comfortable, panoramic lounges, and multi-level decks. Find a selection of food and drinks for purchase on board. Sail for about 3 to 3.5 hours to reach the whales and spend about 1 to 1.5 hours with them. The boat uses a hybrid engine to reach their feeding grounds. As you near the whales, the captain will switch to a silent electric engine that allows you to get close without disturbing them.

Tromsø: Northern Lights Tour with Free Professional Photos

6. Tromsø: Northern Lights Tour with Free Professional Photos

Search for the Northern Lights in a small tour group with an expert guide who will find the best spot for viewing opportunities on the night of your outing. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as you sit around a bonfire and listen to fascinating tales from your guide. Get picked up at the meeting point, and ride out away from the pollution of the city lights and into the darkness of the fjords, forests and mountains. Your guide will choose the best spot for that night and take you there, within an area of 300 km. While waiting to see if the lights appear, enjoy hot chocolate with cookies for a warm and sweet start. Then, weather permitting, sit by a bonfire and enjoy homemade sandwiches and roast marshmallows. Your guide will share with you the facts, stories, traditions, beliefs, and superstitions about the lights. If the Aurora Borealis do appear, your guide will take professional pictures and share them with you for free. They will also help you to get the best out of your cameras and even mobile phones.

Tromsø: Reindeer Sledding & Feeding with a Sami Guide

7. Tromsø: Reindeer Sledding & Feeding with a Sami Guide

Discover the way of life of the Sami reindeer herders on this van day trip from Tromsø. Meet the herders and travel on a sled pulled by reindeer. Savor authentic Sami food as you listen to traditional stories and songs while gathered around an open fire. Be picked up from the city center and relax on a short seaside drive to the reindeer area. Be greeted by your host. Hop on a sled pulled by a reindeer and let your guide lead you on a magical sled ride through the snow. Make your way to the camp and feed the majestic reindeer herd of 300 animals. Gather inside the lavuu (Sami tent) for some warmth and a delicious traditional hot meal. Circle around the campfire as your guide tells stories about Sami culture and sings joiks, which are a form of Sami songs. Return to your meeting point in Tromsø at the end of your tour.

Tromsø: Reindeer Sled, Dinner, and Northern Lights Day Trip

8. Tromsø: Reindeer Sled, Dinner, and Northern Lights Day Trip

Experience the magic of the artic on this nighttime reindeer sledding day trip with a bus or van transfer Tromsø. Enjoy a traditional Sami dinner with reindeer herders while they tell you about their culture and their beliefs. Have the chance to spot the northern lights dancing above you.  Board your bus or van in Tromsø and embark on your artic adventure. Stop at a Sami camp and have a chance to feed the herd of around 300 wild reindeer who will eat from your hands. Feel the thrill of riding on a sled pulled by majestic reindeer. Be invited for a cup of hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate and warm up around the fire inside a candle lit gamme (traditional Sami hut). Taste a three course meal including bidos (a traditional Sami stew which is often served at Sami weddings and other special occasions) cooked over the open fire. Join your hots in a lavuu (Sami tent) and gather round the fire to listen to stories about Sami culture. Learn what it is like to be a reindeer herder. Watch as your guide performs a joik (traditional Sami song).  Step outside to see if the northern lights appear above the reindeer camp. Return to your meeting point in Tromsø at the end your tour. 

From Tromso: Whale Watching in Magic Skjervoy

9. From Tromso: Whale Watching in Magic Skjervoy

Watch magnificent humpback whales and orcas feed on shoals of herring when they migrate to Skjervoy between November and January. Enjoy a scenic panoramic drive from Tromso to Skjervoy, then hop into a rigid-inflatable boat (RIB) for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Meet at the Scandic Ishavshotel in Tromso bright and early. From here, drive for 3.5 hours to Skjervoy to meet your guide. Once in Skjervoy, receive a warm flotation suit before getting into the RIB. Then, set off on a 2.5-hour whale watching excursion in the Kvaenangen Fjord. Marvel at the natural scenery and keep your eyes peeled for orcas and humpback whales, as well as other local wildlife. After your excursion, refresh with some sandwiches, tea, and coffee before driving back to Tromso.

Tromsø: Northern Lights Photo Cruise

10. Tromsø: Northern Lights Photo Cruise

Join an evening boat cruise from Tromsø and experience the Aurora Borealis. Watch as the city lights fade and enter the serene darkness of the fjords. Cozy up in the sauna or enjoy the outdoor jacuzzi as you watch. Depart from the harborside of Kystens Hus in Tromsø center. Leaving the harbor, the guide will give you safety instructions and show you around the ship. Stay on the lookout for any signs of the Northern Lights while sailing. The course of the tour will depend on the weather forecast, and the cloud-free sky will define if you are going to see the Northern Lights. When the sky is clear and starry around Tromsø city, you don't need to travel far to watch the Northern Lights. The right settings are a dark location, starry sky, and previous solar storms. Once the conditions are right, the captain will slow down the boat, slowly drifting along with the current. Set up your camera with your guide, watch the Northern Lights dance, and snap photos. Finally, float gently back to the harbor of Tromsø where your tour will finish.

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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tromsø

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What people are saying about Tromsø

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 10,574 reviews

The tour is amazing, since they pick up you you feel like being with friends. The guide was so nice and they are always alert that we were comfortable and warm. The sandwich and coffee were pretty good and we were lucky that we see the best Northern lights of the year, They really take care of you and help you out to see them. Fully recommended, Tromso is the best place to have this tour.

We were five people on the arctic fjords tour. The guides was very nice and told us a lot of interesting stuff about the different places that we visited. The places were beautiful and we enjoyed a nice lunch by the beach. Extra points to Cristian, that made us feel very safe while we were on the road would recommend!

A lifetime experience. Brynjar is a fantastic "hunter". He is a super guide and a great photographer. He is so caring and patient. He told us everything about the area of Arctic Circle, about the phenomenon of the aurora boreallis. We were given warm suits, hot cocoa, biscuits. Choose Brynjar ☄️ Love from Greece

Amazing tour and guide! We had a beautiful show lasting over an hour with the whole sky lit up. Great guide showing us how to take photos & driving us to different locations to view better. Best experience in Norway!

Great experience. Nicola the guide was wonderful, and although the odds where low - he succeeded to fibd the perfect spot for us to watch the northern lights.