Things to do in Tromso, Norway

by Kelly

There are so many things to do in Tromso, Norway it’s such a wonderful country! Tromso is also called the “Paris of the North’ check out all the amazing things you have to do when you visit this gorgeous town as well as everything you need to know to get there and around.

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Where is Tromsø?

Tromsø is located in northern Norway in the Arctic Circle. It is known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ and is situated across two areas, Troms (Tromsøy) and Tromsdalen.

How to get to Tromso

Copenhagen to Tromso!

The easiest way to reach Tromso is to fly. We flew from Copenhagen to Tromso International Airport and it was incredible. The scenery from the air was beautiful and the service with SAS Airlines was excellent. The Tromso airport is located outside of the main area of Tromso. You can take a bus from the airport to the town, a taxi or rent a car and drive yourself!

Oslo to Tromso

In Oslo and want to get to Tromso? The easiest and fastest way is to fly, there are lots of easy 2 hour flights to Tromso. It is also one of the most beautiful flights we have ever taken, the thick snowy landscape was amazing.

You can rent a car and do your Norwegian road trip up to Tromso, or alternatively you can jump on a train in Oslo and get off in Narvik. In Narvik you can get on the Arctic Route bus which will get you to Tromso in comfort.

Do you need a car for Tromso?

Car Rental in Tromso

Car rental in Tromso will make getting around much easier. If you want to visit the area or sites further out from just Tromso town a car will be helpful. Many people rent a car and do a road trip throughout Norway which would be wonderful. You can pick your car up at the airport or in Tromso town itself. Norway is quite easy to drive in, the drives are very scenic and roads are generally good. Some rules are: drive on the right side of the road, do not drink and drive there is an almost 0% alcohol limit, the use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited and dipped headlights are mandatory at all times. It is best to brush up on all the road rules of each destination you visit.

Public Transport in Tromso

If you choose to use public transport (we did) then you catch the bus from the airport. The bus is located a little bit away from the airport. Walk out of the airport and there is a road with buses but this is not the right place. Cross this road and you will see a parking lot. Walk to the right and down the hill and you will see a bus stop across this little road. This is the bus stop into Tromso and Tromsdalen.

Buy a bus ticket on board (cash in NOK only) at the ticket machines or on the app Troms Billett. You have to activate the ticket on the app before boarding and tickets are valid for 90 minutes after activation.

We got into town and had to get to Tromsladen for our accommodation. Catching bus 26 from outside the pizzeria took us over to Tromsladen and also goes right past the Arctic Cathedral, chairlift and the bridge. We don’t recommend staying in Tromsladen, more info on that below.

Another option to get to or from Tromso:

Hurtigruten Tromso

Hurtigruten is the main cruise ship that runs throughout Norway. It is excellent and you can take it for long triops around Norway or join it for shorter trips to get between places. We joined the Hurtigruten in Tromso to get to Svolvær in the Lofoten Islands, these trips are called port to port. You can book a cabin or take deck space and essentially we slept in the bar area. They have large lounges and lazy boy style chairs to sit in. Our trip was an overnight hour cruise, from 1:30am to 6:30pm. Along the way we saw the stunning Norwegian landscape, fjords and more cute towns. There are cafes and restaurants ion board or you can bring your own snacks for the journey. The bus journey between the two locations took the same time and cost. The Hurtigruten was much more comfortable with facilities for the same cost.

How many days for Tromso?

Most people will spend about 5 days in Tromso. It gives you the best chance at seeing the northern lights, as it is weather dependant. Although you may come for the northern lights there are so many things to do in Tromso that you will fill up 5 days easily!

Hotels in Tromso

These are the best hotels to stay in Tromso. You can stay a little outside of the town in Tromsladen if you have a car but if not it is easier to stay in Tromso itself. We stayed in Tromsalden but wouldn’t recommend it. Next time I will be staying in Tromso which is much easier. Book early as the prices rise closer to the season and they also book out early! Norway and Tromso itself is not the cheapest of locations but it is completely worth it for a once in a lifetime experience.

Best budget Tromso accommodation:

Comfort Hotel Xpress Tromso – very popular no fuss hotel, great location, clean and comfortable.

Ami Hotel – great budget stay, 5 minute walk to centre of town, clean rooms.

Best midrange Tromso accommodation:

Radisson Blu Hotel, Tromso – very central, great for tours with Best Arctic, clean and comfortable, next to the harbour and bus stops.

Thon Hotel Tromso – central, convenient, clean and comfortable

Best luxe Tromso accommodation:

OUR TOP PICKClarion Collection Hotel With – beautiful hotel, quayside location in Tromsø harbour, great complementary breakfast, fika (Norway afternoon tea) and dinner included! This is a must to save money and the expereince, hotel and food are exceptional.

Clarion Collection Hotel Aurora – excellent breakfast, clean rooms, lovely staff, great location to water and bus stops.

Camping in Tromso

You can actually go camping in Tromso, it is such a great choice to have a different type of trip. Tromso Lodge & Camping is an excellent option for camping in Tromso. You can rent an RV or bring your own, camp in a tent or one of the onsite cabins. It is located in Tromsdalen which can be reached by bus if you don’t have a car.

Things to do in Tromso

See the Northern Lights in Tromso!

Best Place to see Northern Lights in Norway

Tromso is the best place to see the northern lights in Norway as it is in the centre of the northern lights’ oval, this means the northern lights can usually be seen even when the activity is low. The northern lights’ oval is the ring that circles around the magnetic north pole. It is centred at around 65°N, with a width of about 10°. Tromsø is located at 69°N putting it almost exactly at the centre!

When to see the Northern Lights in Norway?

The northern lights usually show up between September and April. They can start out quiet and grow in intensity as well, building up over time. We visited Tromso in March 2023 as we researched and found that March 22nd 2023 was meant to be the best day ( if conditions were right) to see them.

The solar cycle is reaching its peak and over the next 2 years there is expected increased solar activity. A Solar maximum is a regular period of greatest Sun activity during the 11-year solar cycle. This means that the 2023/2024 northern lights season should be quite active.

Northern Lights Tours From Tromsø

Going on northern lights tours is the most popular activity in Trosmo. I have written this blog on the best Northern Lights tours from Tromso, check it out with all the best of the tours here! We loved our northern lights tour and were so excited to see them in this gorgeous environment. This is our top pick of northern lights tours from Tromso or this Northern Lights Chase by Boat!

Husky Tours Tromso

As well as Northern Lights Tours From Tromsø a husky tour is a must! These are the best ones from Tromsø.

Husky sledding Tromso

Husky Sledding Self-Drive Adventure in Tromso – This activity is an amazing self drive your own team of huskies! In pairs you share control of a dog sled and team of 5-7 Alaskan Huskies, training is provided on how to control your sled and an experienced guide leads the tour. Tea, coffee and cake are also provided as well as warm suits.

Puppy Training Experience at a Husky Farm in Tromso – Visit a husky farm and watch the training. Interact with the huskies and learn about them. Included is a meal, guide, transport.

Museums in Tromso

There are some great museums in Tromso to check out.

Polar Museum (Polarmuseet)

We loved the Polar Museum the most, it is really well set out with rooms showcasing a different theme, including geology, wildlife, the Northern Lights, Sami culture etc.

The Arctic University Museum of Norway

Offering science-based exhibitions which are updated with the latest research. Fossils and rocks to wildlife and changing nature, the exhibitions provide information about evolution and adaptations of birds and animals in the Northern region. It includes an interactive Northern Lights exhibition, an exhibition on how the Sami went from being an oppressed minority to a modern indigenous people as well as a Viking burial tradition exhibition.

Perspektivet Museum

Temporary exhibitions set in a beautiful 1838 villa, exhibitions centre around contemporary life and society. Entry is free.

Tromsø Kunstforening

Established in 1924, the art gallery showcases a program of newer and experimental contemporary art.

Troll Museum

The first museum in Norway dedicated entirely to trolls and fairy tales. Learn about Norwegian folklore and discover how the idea of trolls has changed over time. Meet the Tromso Troll of the seas as well as others that have become part of Norway.

Ølhallen Brewpub

Ølhallen Brewpub is the oldest pub in Tromso, opened in 1928. It has 72 beers on tap, go to taste some great Norwegian breweries and experience the ambiance.

MS Polstjerna – Seal Hunting Vessel

Launched in 1949 the vessel sailed for 33 hunting seasons with the final season in 1981. Enter the historic vessel and use an audio guide to hear stories about sealing based on Polstjerna. A unique and interesting museum.


Polaria has an Arctic aquarium, interesting knowledge-based exhibits, a panoramic cinema, and a gift and souvenir shop.

Tours of Tromso town and history

These tours are excellent and include tickets to the Polar Museum:

Essential Tromso Historical City Walk: Discover the important sites and picturesque spots in Tromsø, 2.5-hour historical walking tour with a local guide. See traces of medieval settlement, explore the vibrant marketplace and fisherman monument. Hear tales of explorers, sealers and polar bear hunters on a guided trip through the Polar Museum then visit the world’s northernmost cathedrals. Finish your tour at Tromsø’s most authentic pub, where dozens of Norwegian microbrews are on tap at an old-school polar hangout.

Tromsø: In the footsteps of Roald Amundsen: Ideal for those short on time, small-group walking tour covers much of the small city center of Tromso while focusing on local fishing history and traditions. Visit the Polar Museum, the Full Steam local seafood restaurant with exhibits about local fishing traditions and the Sami indigenous culture, as well as one of the town’s oldest pubs.

The Paris of the North: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of Tromsø: Self-guided audio tour of Tromso. Traces the city’s central and seaside highlights helping travelers to explore completely at their own pace. Includes visiting the Arctic Cathedral, Polar Museum, Roald Amundsen statue, the main city square, Tromsø Cathedral etc.

Cathedral Tromso

The only timber cathedral in Tromso this cute little church sits pretty in the middle of town. Entry is free, there is an organ which you can catch being played throughout the day.

Fjord Tromso

Visit the breath-taking fjords around Tromso. They are a unique and special sight. Unless you have a car to get there you will want to take a tour, these are the best we have found: Norwegian Fjords Tour, Including Professional Photos in Tromso, Arctic Nature Tour from Tromsø by minibus, Private Tesla X Fjord Sightseeing.

Walk the town

Walking the town of Tromso is a must. You will find the prettiest little streets, street art, Roald Amundsen Monument, churches and more. Our favourite place was the colourful buildings near the Ami Hotel, the Musikkpavilijongen rotunda. There is also some cool street art around Tromso and you have to stop into the souvenir stores. They have excellent souvenirs as well as items you may have forgotten and really need. We found whale salami which Mike tried a sample!

Fishing Tromso

If you are a fishing addict then you have to go fishing in Tromso. What an unique experience to add to your trip. Head out on a tour that includes ice fishing. The best we found is Ice Fishing On The Fjord.

The Tromso Waterfront

The waterfront along Tromso town is possibly the most beautiful place in town. Filled with boats and pretty buildings you will love the views here, there are so many photogenic spots. Make sure to check out the waterfront sauna, pust. The sauna is a triangle shapes structure on the water and you will use the sauna then swim in the icy waters of the Tromso sound!

Tromso Whale Watching

Whale watching is a wonderful tour from Tromso. The killer whales and humpback whales are magical in the pristine Norwegian waters. Peak season is usually between November and January, check out Silent Whale Watching for an incredible experience.

Library Tromso

The public library in Tromso is a unique building. At first we didn’t think too much of it but it soon became one of our favourite places. The boiling is warm and beautifully set out. Walk up the stairs to the higher levels and you will find cosy seats in front of the large windows looking out to he town. There is coffee available for purchase and a free toilet. If you have a little time to spare sitting here reading a book is just lovely. There is also a printer if you ned to print out and documents.

Sauna Pust Tromsø

Sauna Pust Tromsø is located on the Tromso waterfront. It is a great position and spending a few hours in a traditional Norwaegian sauna and then diving in to the Tromso fjord is pretty special! You do have to book in early though.

Reindeer expereinces in Tromso

You are in the Arctic and you need to see a reindeer! They are the cutest creatures and this is one of the best places to see them. You can also include a Sami experience while seeing reindeer as the Sami people are the tradition indigenous people of the area. In some regions only Sami people are permitted to own and herd reindeer, which is why this activity is strongly connected to Sami people. There are tours to see them including sledding, feeding or visiting a farm, these are our picks. Tromsø: Reindeer Feeding and Sami Cultural Experience, Overnight Stay with Reindeer Sledding & Feeding, Reindeer Sledding and Feeding with Sami Culture in Tromso, Reindeer visit, and Sami Culture Including Lunch from Tromso, or Night Reindeer Sledding with Camp Dinner and Chance of Northern Lights.

Cable car Tromso

The cable car in Tromso is a must. Travel up the mountain in an easy 5 minute trip to see the spectacular views from the top. It is also a great place to try and see the northern lights from. The base station is located in Tromsdalen and tickets can be bought there or online here. At the top you can dine at Fjellstua Restaurant for lunch or dinner with a view.

Arctic Cathedral

The Tromsdalen Church, also known as Ishavskatedralen (The Arctic Cathedral) was opened in 1965 and its distinctive triangular shape makes it a very noticeable and famous landmark in Tromso, visible from the Tromsø Sound. You can pay to enter and take a tour or just view from the outside. To get there you can walk from Tromso which would take about 25 minutes or catch a bus. Bus number 20 from near the pizza shop will take you over to Tromsladen and stop off near the cathedral. The Cathedral, cable car and bridge are all quite close together and could be visited at the same time.

Tromso Bridge

Tromso Bridge is a beautiful landmark and one you can walk over to reach the Arctic Cathedral. It is not a difficult walk and the views are lovely from here. Pedestrians walk on the right hand side and bikes take the left.

Where to eat in Tromso:

We stayed in an apartment with a shared kitchen an so did use this for some meals. Although I would not recommend that apartment having a kitchen was useful.

If you stay at the beautiful Clarion Collection Hotel With they include breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner which is a deal that can’t be beat, food is expensive in Norway.

We became obsessed with Raketten Bar & Pølse hot dog stall. It is the cutest little stall in the middle of town. There is a little fire next to it where you can sit, eat and enjoy the warmth, chatting to fellow travellers. The hot dogs are great, they do gluten free and their reindeer hot dogs are delicious. They usually have been reindeer and bratwurst available. The staff are so welcoming and lovely, they play fun 1920s music and the vibe is awesome! You will find the hot dog stall in the middle of town. Founded in 1922 it has been there for 100 years after being opened by 18 year old Margit Løkke. So you get to visit a historical location and get a great hot dog!

The best supermarket in town is the EUROSPAR Storgata. We loved their salad bar and had a fresh salad for lunch each day. They also do lots of hot foods as well as the staple supermarket finds. They are great for gluten free as well.

In the building called Vnerstranda senter you will find some cheap eats, there is a café as you first walking right near some seating that has cheap options and there is a Burger King in town as well.

Coop Prix Kystens Hus is another supermarket closer in town but it is not as good in our opinion.

Is there an easier way?

This tour is really highly recommended and well organised. Check out: Northern Norway Explorer.

Where Next:

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