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, snacks, and warm locally-made stew. 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".

Tromsø: Whale and Arctic Wildlife Cruise Safari by Catamaran

2. 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: Reindeer Sledding & Feeding with a Sami Guide

3. 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: Self-Drive Husky Dog Sledding Adventure

4. 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 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.

Breivikedet: Fun and Easy Dogsledding Adventure

6. Breivikedet: Fun and Easy Dogsledding Adventure

Drive your own team of huskies in an extraordinary experience and a must-do for anyone visiting Northern Norway. Get up close to raw Arctic nature and try this adventurous way of travel. Be welcomed by the activity staff upon arrival at the camp in Breivikeidet. Put on thermal suits, boots, hats, and mittens before heading out to meet the huskies, hear the safety instructions, and be taught the basics of driving the sled. Enjoy a fun and easy and a great way to experience Northern Norway's unparalleled landscapes. Two people will share one sled: one as a driver and the other as a passenger, with the chance to swap halfway through the tour.

From Tromsø: All-Inclusive Whale and Sea Bird Boat Cruise

7. From Tromsø: All-Inclusive Whale and Sea Bird Boat Cruise

On this comfortable cruise from Tromsø, head to Whale Island and the open sea. Listen to your guide’s commentary about the fish and whale species that thrive in waters that are filled with herring and plankton. The local partner's fast boat ensures that you'll get plenty of time on the water. The coast of Tromsø in northern Norway is widely considered among the best areas in the region for spotting whales. You’ll be on the lookout for inquisitive humpback and killer whales swimming and feeding, and for birds such as sea eagles, gulls, guillimots, eider ducks, and cormorants. Frame all the action through the lens of your camera. With outdoor decking and indoor seating on board the heated boat, you can enjoy an up-close experience with Norway’s native wildlife. Keep warm and refreshed with snacks and drinks.

From Tromsø: Northern Lights Guided Bus Chase

8. From Tromsø: Northern Lights Guided Bus Chase

Meet your guide in Tromsø and drive by bus to the location with the highest possibilities of Aurora viewing that day. Enjoy hot drinks and biscuits as you wait for the Northern Lights to occur. Your guides will stay with you for the entire evening while making sure you are as comfortable and warm as possible. As the weather in Tromsø is very unpredictable, you might move to various places throughout the night. If you are lucky and the Northern Lights start flickering above in the sky, as your guides will take portrait photos which will be sent to you after the tour. The time of return to Tromsø depends on the course of the tour: the distance of the chase, weather conditions and the displays of the northern lights.

Arctic Nature Tour from Tromsø

9. Arctic Nature Tour from Tromsø

Come on this 5-hour day tour and experience nature in one of the purest natural regions in the world. Your guide knows the area very well and will take you to the most picturesque spots. On this tour you will receive pick-up/drop off at your accommodation, pictures of you and the landscape, homemade lunch and hot beverages. Enjoy the beauty of the Arctic on this wonderful experience!

Tromsø: Northern Lights Trip with Campfire and Snacks

10. Tromsø: Northern Lights Trip with Campfire and Snacks

Increase your chances of seeing the northern lights with a guide that has seen over 1000 sightings of this stunning natural phenomenon on this tour from Tromsø. Get camera tips on how to best capture pictures of the northern lights from a photographer.  Meet your guide in Tromsø and travel to a location that is outside the city with excellent viewing conditions. Know that your guide will take you as far away as Finland to ensure you get the optimal viewing conditions.  Once on location, sit in a camping chair and enjoy a cozy bonfire with traditional knekkebrød (crispbread) and gulrotcake (carrot cake). Keep your hands warm with a piping hot drink and wear a cozy thermal suit. If you still get too cold, stay warm on the heated bus.  Make use of the camera tripod and get tips on which camera settings to use from your guide, so you can share photos of the dazzling aurora borealis with your friends and family back home. Return to your hotel in Tromsø.

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

Incredible experience, absolutely recommend this to anyone wanting to see the lights. Our guide Mag was extremely nice, knowledgable and gave us the best experience possible. The weather was pretty bad in tromso, snowing a lot, and he was able to get us to a place where we say the lights. Then we kept driving and saw them 2 more times. The pictures he took with his camera came out spectacular, almost unreal. Do yourself a favor a book your tour with them!

I'd waited years to see them and was not disappointed. The guide and driver were determined to get us to clear sky so we stood a chance and they didn't let us down. We had to drive to Finland mind, but wow, what a display we saw. Great information along the way and looked after us with hot drinks, food and some stunning photo's. Would definitely recommend out Tour company.

people on the tour were really nice and explained about the possibilities to watch the auroras, for us it was not a good day due to the weather but still they drove long time to find an spot with clear sky and we got to see them. You can notice the effort they put to chase them. My experience was super nice.

It was such a nice tour, Thomas and the crew are so nice and always pendent of your needs, they are constantly explaining everything really well and making you feel like it's your own boat. The fishing experience was great!

Our guide, Anett was determined that we would experience the northern lights and we did, despite all the worst weather forecasts. Thank you!