Top 10 things to do in Tromsø

La ville de Tromso en hiver, en Norvège du Nord.

Visiting Norway and wondering what to do? Look no further! Visit Tromsø, one of Lapland’s most charming towns!

Located on the island of Tromsøya in Norwegian Lapland, Tromsø is the most northerly city in the world, with a population of over 50,000. It lies 350 km north of the Arctic Circle. Dynamic and multicultural, thanks to the presence of scientists from all over the world, it has plenty to offer in both summer and winter. To visit Tromsø is to discover a breathtaking, magical and wonderful place!

Let’s get started with the 10 must-dos for your stay in Tromsø! Follow the guide!

1. Watching the northern lights

Observer les aurores boréales près de Tromsø, à Ersfjordbotn

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Simone Gramegna

You can’t visit Tromsø in winter without hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights! There are several options for enjoying this majestic spectacle:

  • Take a sea cruise: it’s a unique experience, but you won’t get any exceptional shots: on board a boat, things get moving! The trip will cost you around €150 per person.
  • Join a bus excursion: this is the most practical option, as you can visit Tromsø and discover several spots chosen by the guides, depending on the day’s weather. The trip costs around €150 per person.
  • Do it yourself: rent a car and set off on your own adventure. The tourist office will tell you where the best places to see them are.

In any case, you’ll need to move away from the city to avoid being bothered by light pollution.

The phenomenon is most visible between September and March, so bring warm clothing! What’s more, the polar night considerably increases your hunting time for the Northern Lights. From late November to mid-January, the sun doesn’t rise, plunging the surrounding area into permanent darkness. Then the days gradually lengthen, reaching eight hours of daylight by the end of February.

2. Whale watching

baleine tromso

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Alessandro De Maddalena

Norwegian waters are teeming with aquatic life, and there’s no shortage of it in the Arctic capital. All year round, you can spot different species of whales, orcas and even dolphins! However, it’s in winter that the mammals are most present.

Between October and March, head for the port of Tromsø to embark on a cruise that will take you close to the sites where you have the best chance of spotting these giants of the sea. After a 30-40 minute journey through snow-covered fjords, you’ll be close to the feeding grounds of the cetacean families. This is an expensive excursion, costing around €150 per person, but one that’s guaranteed to fill your eyes with stars.

Good to know: depending on the year, whales, orcas and other cetaceans don’t venture as far as Tromsø. However, many companies offer whale-watching trips to Skjervøy, an island 150 km from Tromsø. Departure is from the city center.

3. Visit the ice domes

igloo tromso

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / dreakrawi

In the Tamok valley lies a remarkable site: the ice domes. Built each year just before the polar night, they are an expression of the ancestral Sami art of working with snow and ice. The Ice Domes offer visitors a bar, cinema, hotel and restaurant, all sculpted from ice. On site, you’ll learn about the hotel’s construction process, and the importance of snow for the survival of Arctic flora and fauna.

The tour lasts 5 hours and costs 879 NOK (439.50NOK for children), or 88€ and 44€. The bravest can even stay overnight, for the modest sum of 12500 NOK, or 1250€!

4. Take a dog sled ride

Monter sur un chien de traîneau, Tromsø

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Adam Knauz

From Tromsø, you can explore the surrounding area in many different ways, but the most remarkable are the dog sledding excursions. This is an experience that allows you to discover the wilderness surrounding the city accompanied by your faithful companions.

5. Take a snowmobile outing

motoneige tromso norvège

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Tyler Olson

Wondering how to visit Tromsø in an original way? Here’s another way to enjoy the city’s outdoors: a snowmobile safari. It’s an ideal way to explore the surrounding mountains and fjords, or to try your hand at driving on the frozen Finn Lake and ice fishing. Please note that you must be over 18 and have a valid driver’s license to take part in this excursion as a driver.

As with the sled dog outing, the snowmobile safari costs around €200 per person for half a day. It is accessible to children aged 7 and over.

6. A trip to the fjords

kayak fjord

Photo credit: Shutterstock / V. Belov

During your stay in Tromsø, you can’t miss a boat trip through the fjords. Enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscape on a sailboat, zodiac or silent hybrid vessel.

From May to September, you can even embark on a cruise under the midnight sun: a unique and unforgettable experience! This outing costs between €100 and €150 per person, departing from Tromsø harbor.

7. Take the Fjellheisen

Fjellheisen

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Dmitry Chulov

Visiting Tromsø without taking the Fjellheisen is unthinkable! This is the cable car that links Tromsø to the summit of Storsteinen mountain. During your ride, you’ll enjoy the best panoramic views of the city, islands, fjords and surrounding peaks. There’s a restaurant at the top, so you can stop for a hot drink or a meal!

Return tickets cost NOK 230 (€23). Departures every day:

  • Summer: 10am to midnight.
  • Winter: 10am to 11pm.

8. Visit Polaria

Polaria, loger tromso

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Spumador

A visit to Tromsø also means discovering its many museums! Among these, the Polaria stands out for its unique aquarium-museum concept. Located a 15-minute walk from the town center, it plunges you into the discovery of Arctic life, with a number of basins in which you can admire seals and numerous species of fish. A second part presents Arctic flora and fauna, as well as the consequences of climate change on the region, through short films shown in a panoramic cinema and various exhibitions.

It’s a great way to keep the kids busy in bad weather! Admission costs around €20.

9. Discover the Polar Museum

Polar Museum

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Oliver Foerstner

Not to be confused with its predecessor, the Polar Museum traces the town’s history, from the first seal hunters to today’s explorers and scientists. Stuffed animals, traditional objects, photos and reconstructions plunge you into the harsh daily life of the inhabitants of this corner of Norway for decades. You’ll also discover the stories of famous local figures, such as trapper Wanny Woldstad.

Admission costs 60 NOK (€6), and the visit is free.

10. Explore the Arctic Cathedral

cathédrales arctique tromso

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Anastasiya Kotelnyk

Tromsø is a walkable city, as most of the infrastructure is concentrated in the center. As you stroll around, don’t miss the Arctic Cathedral, or Ishavskatedralen in Norwegian. Built in 1965, it is in fact a Protestant church with a (very) surprising architecture.

If you’d like to visit, it will cost you NOK 50, or around €5. We highly recommend it, as it’s a must-see in Tromsø!

How do I get to Tromsø?

Getting to Tromsø is a journey in itself. To visit Tromsø, this land at the end of the world, you have 4 options: plane, bus, car or boat.

Good to know: Tromsø is a town without…a railway station!

The plane

There are no direct flights from France to Tromso. So you’ll have to make a stopover in Oslo, then take a domestic flight to reach the Arctic capital. Prices vary widely according to airline and season. To find your flight at the best price, use flight comparators like Ulysse to take advantage of the most affordable fares.

The airport is just 5 km from the city center. Transfers can be made by bus or cab for the same price: around €20 for 2 people.

Bus and car

Tromsø is extremely well served by bus. It can be reached from many Norwegian cities, and even from Finland in summer. In exchange for several hours’ travel, you’ll be able to travel economically, for less than €100 per person.

By car, journey times and prices are much the same.

The boat

The Hurtigruten ferry circumnavigates Norway, calling regularly from Bergen to Kirkenes. The Coastal Express passes Tromsø twice a day, at 2:15 pm on the north quay, and at 11:45 pm on the south quay.

It still takes 24 hours to reach the city from Bodø. Plenty of time to enjoy Norway’s idyllic landscapes! The Bodø-Tromsø trip costs between €300 and €500 per person.

Where to stay in Tromsø?

Visiting Tromsø is no picnic, so you’ll need quality accommodation for the night. Don’t worry, Tromsø offers all kinds of accommodation, from youth hostels to 4-star hotels, apartments and camping sites. As in the rest of Norway, prices are high, and demand is high.

  • In the city center, a night in a double room in a mid-range hotel costs between €140 and €175.
  • The Strandkanten district, a twenty-minute walk south of the city center, offers slightly more affordable accommodation. Indeed, here you’ll find affordable Airbnb. And why not opt for a night in a cottage on a campsite? This will cost you between €60 and €170.
Our selection of accommodation in Tromsø
  • Where to stay in Tromsø?
  • Airbnb Tromsø: the best Airbnb rentals in Tromsø
  • The 5 best hotels for your stay in Tromsø
  • To find the best value for your money, don’t hesitate to use a hotel comparator to see what’s on offer in real time.

    Map of hotels and accommodation – Tromsø,no