3 Days Exploring Tromso
Well known for its deep and extensive fjord systems, stunning mountain ranges, and rugged coastline, Norway is sure to charm most travelers (and landscape photographers for that matter) looking to connect with nature.
While this Nordic country might be most loved among outdoorsy types, that's not all that's on offer here. Right, let’s get down to it. We had three days in Tromso to make the most of. Here’s how myself, Kriti and Parnika did it, in the dark polar winters of the Arctic region. But first a picture of us! Yay.
Top tips for a weekend in Tromso
Go in December, If you like to experience the Arctic Cold. People asked us why we’d chosen to go then,It was for two reasons, 1. the northern lights and 2. the £6 flights on Ryan Air. January to March is also a good time to visit.
Stay at Tromsø Lodge & Camping – Located by the Tromsdalselva River, this property is just 5 minutes’ drive from Tromsø city center.
Buy stuff for breakfast and snacks from the supermarket. (expensive city)
Dress warm. Real Warm. (My Lips and ears froze when i was trying to shoot the Aurora
Get some good, grippy shoes. (Slips hurt Butts!)
Talk to the locals, they are just the friendliest on this planet.
The polar nights are drastic, Lack of Vitamin D can take a toll on you. We 3 were knackered by the end of the trip. Get enough sleep and pace yourself.
The Aurora Hunt
We had time in our schedule to try the Aurora hunt for another day, It’s best you keep two evenings/nights for it just in case you are not lucky on the first night. You can check the forecast for Aurora Hunt here and book it with Arctic Holidays, we went went to with these guys and they were really good.
No matter how much of an independent traveler you are, don’t be tempted by a DIY chase to save money. Being in the right place to spot the lights and at the right time isn’t as simple as it may sound. It also requires a network of local connections who can share information with you about different behaviors of the lights. You’ll likely miss them if you venture out alone and risk getting stuck in the snow or ice somewhere in the darkness. It happened to our driver and she’s had years of experience driving in extremely snowy conditions.
Tromso’s best view – Fjellheisen cable car
Fjellheisen cable car is Tromso’s most popular tourist destination and it’s easy to see why. Panoramic views over the city surrounded by islands, fjords, and mountains are simply phenomenal! In summer it’s an ideal place to see the Midnight Sun, and in winter you may even get lucky and spot the Northern Lights.
TIP: If you have an hour to spare, make sure to go for a short hike in the direction of Steinbohytta. There is another viewpoint, a bit higher, from where you can see even more spectacular views. It’s not an easy walk, however, and especially in winter you need good winter boots (hiking poles and crampons would make it even more enjoyable), but it’s worth it!
Tromso Arctic Cathedral is one of the most recognisable and iconic buildings in town. Located not too far from the Tromso cable car, it’s a nice stop if you are walking there from the city centre. Sometimes they have concerts there, so check it out when in town.
Tromso museums and other attractions
For a rather small town, Tromso has quite a big variety of interesting attractions and museums. From the world’s northernmost University, Brewery, Cathedral or a Glass Blowing Studio to some interesting museums, art galleries, and also an aquarium. It also has a really nice waterfront area – Tromso Harbour, and if you like shopping don’t miss the main shopping street – Storgata.
Where to stay
Tromso city centre is small, so if you choose one of the most centrally located hotels, you don’t need to rent a car in Tromso at all. You can walk to all of the attractions in town, take a bus to the airport or to the cable car, and all the organised tours and excursions have a pick-up in the old town centre. Here you can find the best deals for Tromso accommodation in Booking.com
Airbnb is common in most major cities, with shared accommodation costing around 400 NOK for a night. If you want a private apartment or home, however, you’ll pay closer to 950 NOK per night.
Weather in Tromsø
Winter in Tromso is considered from December until late March. Many people assume that since Tromso is so high up north, it must be super cold in the winter. However, Tromsø is located by the coast, which means that it has a surprisingly mild climate.
The temperatures can range from -25°C (-13°F) up to 8°C (46°F) in winter. The average winter temperature is around -2°C (28°F), but during my visit the temperatures settled at -5°C during the entire trip.
How Expensive is Tromsø?
Norway is undeniably an expensive destination. You also need to consider that life in the Arctic seems to come with extra costs attached. But in my experience, Tromso turned out to be not as expensive as everyone was scaring me it would be.
Most tour packages priced 3-day trips to Tromso incl. activities and partial food at about €1500 per person based on double occupancy. We wanted to spend no more than €500 per person including everything and everything came down to exactly €522. We saw almost everything We wanted to see. We just ate indoors.
Here are some sample prices:
Bus ticket from the airport – 100 NOK (€9)
Dinner at a restaurant – 150-400 NOK (€15-35)
Bottle of soda – 25 NOK (€2.20)
Beer or cider at a bar – 45-60 NOK (€4.5-6.5)