On the way back from Svalbard to Oslo, we decided to stop in Tromsø for a few days. Our flight was stopping there anyway so it was a good chance to see this beautiful city and surroundings. Travel to Tromsø from within Norway is easy by flight. From London, we could not find a direct flight so had to go via Oslo. Tromsø is in the north, within the Arctic Circle. Many people will know it as one of the best places to see the northern lights (Aurora borealis). In addition, it is a popular starting point to visit the Lofoten archipelago.
Just outside of the city one can find the Tromsø Ice Domes, an amazing hotel built each year out of ice. We had an overnight excursion including snow shoeing, visiting reindeer, dog sledding and a stay in the ice hotel at -5C. I’ll write a separate post on that unforgettable experience.
- Enjoy a stroll around the small town with its cute, colourful buildings
- Arctic Cathedral – beautiful and unique architecture
- Tromsø cathedral
- Roald Amundsen Monument
- Fjellheisen cable car
- Polaria Aquarium
- Polar Museum
- Troll Museum– fun but expensive so only recommend if you run out of things to do
- Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum
- Tromsø Kunstforening Contemporary art
- Tromsø ice domes and Camp Tamok
- Northern lights excursion
Before you go
- Tromsø is in the north of Norway, so be prepared for cold, snowy weather in the winter. The summers are also cool but can be sunny!
- During the winter, the walkways will have snow and ice, so boots are recommended for walking
- Lofoten, the island archipelago is accessible from Tromsø by car on the E10 road
- The airport is small and it’s easy to take the normal city bus to the city centre
- Tromsø is a great location in the centre of the northern lights oval, though you may need to take a trip outside of the city where there is less light pollution. Be patient and keep an eye on the Kp activity and the weather
- Although Tromsø airport in international, most of the flights arrive from within Norway. The airport is small and easy to navigate, although we found we had to walk outside to Terminal C to fly to Longyearbyen.
- The cheapest way to the city centre is with the bus. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes and costs a few pounds. It is cheaper during the off-peak hours. There is a machine to buy tickets at the airport bus stop. And there is an app called Troms Billett which is easy to use to buy tickets for travel around the city
- Within the city centre, it is easy to get around by foot. Crossing the bridge to the other side can be windy, so you may opt for the bus.
- On the east side, there is a cable car called Fjellheisen which takes you to the top of the mountain. It is expensive but offers great views and the start to hiking trails during the warmer months
- In our few nights in Tromso, we stayed in three different places.
- First, we stayed at Clarion The Edge hotel, because the hotel we had reserved was over-booked. This hotel is in a great location with views of the water. The breakfast buffet was one of the best I have ever had! In addition, they have free access to the nearby Feel 24 gym, which has stunning views.
- Second, we stayed at the Radisson Blu Tromsø, which is also very centrally located. The rooms are comfortable and the staff were friendly. Unfortunately, we did not get to try the breakfast buffet since we left early. However, the hotel was kind enough to pack us quite a substantial breakfast bag.
- Finally, our most unusual accommodation was out at the Tromsø ice domes, a real ice hotel. We were the only two there on the evening, so we had the place to ourselves.
Unfortunately, we did not have a lot of time to try the restaurants in Tromsø. The breakfast buffet at the Clarion hotel was excellent and filling, so after that we did not really need lunch. We had to leave for an early flight so missed the Radisson Blu breakfast, but they packed us a really nice breakfast to go.
However, our one dinner out in town at Bardus Bistro was delicious. We had a seafood fest starting with mussels followed by roasted cod. The seafood was very fresh and tasty, and the portions were large. The ambience is quite lively and the décor is stylish. We would definitely go back for the food and also wish we had more time to visit the wine bar next door.
Although we missed out on trying restaurants, we had time to visit two bakeries. The first was Selfie Konditori, which is a very stylish and pink cafe serving cakes and hot drinks. As the title suggests, it has some nice backgrounds for selfies and also for food portraits. The cakes and drinks were tasty, and service was very friendly.
The Vervet Bakeri is also a cafe, though most people were picking up pastries to go. I tried their unusual fennel macaron and a skolebrod, which is a pastry with custard and coconut. Yum!
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: No, you don’t need a tour guide to visit the city. The places of interest are well-marked
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Yes almost everyone speaks English
Q: Is it a walkable city?
A: No, not to go around the city but you will need a car or tour to venture into the countryside
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