Known as the capital of Northern Norway, Tromso delivers a spectacular Arctic experience within snow-capped peaks and peaceful fjords. This relatively small yet bustling city lies on the eastern edge of Tromsøya ('Troms Island') and 400km north of the Arctic Circle bringing together a cultural hub of Norwegian tradition. Originally a platform for many important Arctic expeditions, Tromso has grown as a university city and fast become a popular destination for those seeking a chance to spot the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
What To Know Before Visiting Tromso
Flights and hotels to Tromso are easy when you're looking for city breaks, package holidays and weekends in Tromso or the surrounding area. Tromso Airport is the main gateway to the city with flights to Tromso from the UK typically stopping off in Oslo. A flight from London to Tromso takes 3+ hrs and flights from Manchester to Tromso take 5+ hrs, all of which are dependent on individual stopover times. Norway is an hour ahead of UK time and the local currency is the Norwegian Krone. The standard Norwegian language (Bokmål) is understood in this area with Tromso also having its own dialect. However, English is widely spoken.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Tromso?
The main attraction for visitors to the city is the exceptional opportunity to experience the Aurora Borealis (or the Northern Lights) which is best viewed during the winter months. This means from September to March, Tromso comes into its own with festivals and concerts celebrating Norway's culture and beauty. Between mid-November and mid-January the sun barely rises above the horizon, meaning the snow-covered city is one of the most magical places to spot the Northern Lights.
The summer months bring another phenomenon known as the 'midnight sun'. For 24 hours, the sun stays hovering above the horizon bringing the opportunity to pack in much more on city breaks in Tromso. Join in the Midnight Sun Marathon or kayak along the fjords at midnight to experience this unique Arctic event. The weather in Tromso reaches around 12 degrees during the summer while winter brings snowy conditions with temperatures dipping to -4 degrees. With plenty of flights, hotels and package holidays, Tromso provides perfect weekend city breaks and more.
What To Do In Tromso
While experiencing the Northern Lights is the most popular reason to visit Tromso, the city offers much more towards your Norwegian adventure. Between November and February, the fjords bring in vast numbers of Humpback whales and Orcas due to its huge supply of fish and clean oceans. Reindeer or dog sledding with the local Sami people, sea fishing, hiking and fantastic views from the Tromso cable car are just some of the many activities the city offers. Various festivals and concerts come to Tromso too, including:
The Northern Lights Festival
Silent Film Days
The Arctic Light Festival
The Tromso International Film Festival
The Tromso Food Festival
Tromso is a lively city with restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs providing a taste of Norwegian nightlife. You can find unique and quirky places to sit and have a drink such as the Verdensteatret housed in Norway's oldest cinema, or grab a pint in the Jernbanestasjon – a railway-themed pub. With an extensive waterfront, there's plenty of restaurants with views of the fjord.
What Are The Best Places To Visit In Tromso?
Norwegians are passionate about their culture and Tromso presents the opportunity to discover more about the history of the area. The Polar Museum is located on the quayside providing a look at Tromso's history with tales of polar expeditions and other fascinating exhibitions. More attractions around the city include:
There are many restaurants in Tromso that take advantage of fresh arctic ingredients which make this city a wonderful place to get acquainted with the taste of Norway. Restaurant Smak is an example of the culinary delights found in Tromso, serving up six course meals for a unique Norwegian fine dining experience. Local food combined with international flavours makes the food scene in Tromso a perfect eclectic mix. From fresh seafood to traditional reindeer or elk stew, your visit won't leave your taste buds disappointed.
What To Bring Back From Tromso?
There are many traditional Norwegian souvenirs to be found in the shops around Tromso, such as knitted jumpers, mittens and socks. The small, mischievous trolls commonly lining the souvenir shelves come in all shapes and sizes making them a unique gift for family and friends. Alternatively, pick up some Norwegian delicacies such as salmiakki (salty liquorice) or brunøst (brown cheese) to bring home.
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