Beyond the Northern Lights in Tromsø, Norway

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Curated By

Traci Shapiro

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  • Norway

  • Arctic Circle

  • Digital Nomad Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Outdoors

  • Sightseeing

  • Local Food

Advisor posing in front of the Northern Lights
Curator’s statement

Tromsø, nestled in the heart of northern Norway, is a captivating travel destination that seamlessly combines breathtaking natural beauty with adventures abound. The city's enchanting allure lies in its extraordinary blend of Arctic landscapes, soap-sud snow flurries floating through the air and the mystical dance of the Northern Lights. From the snow-capped peaks of surrounding mountains to the lively afternoon buzz across shops and restaurants, Tromsø boasts an authentic Nordic experience. Whether you're encountering rare wildlife or immersing yourself in the warmth of Sami hospitality, a journey to Tromsø promises a memorable escape into the wonders of the Arctic North.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Tromsø

Radisson Blu Hotel, Tromsø

Experience Arctic charm and contemporary comfort at this waterfront hotel, offering breathtaking views of the Northern Lights and the stunning landscapes of Tromsø.

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Things to do in Tromsø

A whale swimming through the water in front of snow-covered mountains

Northern Lights Chase

Northern Lights Tour by Minibus

Small group Northern Lights tour - All inclusive Northern Horizon
Perhaps the most appealing reason to travel as close to the North Pole as you’ll ever be, there are several Northern Lights tours guided by professional astrophotographers with expertise in finding the ever elusive aurora borealis. I recommend a smaller tour via mini bus for comfort and intimacy to maximize your experience.

Northern Lights Luxury Cruise

Stella Oceana's Aurora Paradise Cruise
A more unique (and perhaps romantic) option for watching the spellbinding pirouette of the Northern Lights is by water, as you cruise through Norway’s renowned fjords. As rare as it is to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, it’s even rarer to do so by hot tub!

Other Arctic Adventures

Whale Watching in Skjervøy

Whale Watching Rib Tour
Bundle up and voyage out on the frosty waters of Reinfjord, guided by a marine-life expert, where you’ll get closer to Orcas, humpback, and sperm whales than you’ve ever imagined!

Husky Sledding

Husky Dog Sledding Daytime Adventure
Mush your own team of huskies as they guide you through the Arctic wilderness.

Visit a Traditional Sami Camp

Reindeer Feeding and Sami History
Learn first-hand from the indigenous people of Lapland as they illustrate their culture, history, traditions, and folklore.

Reindeer Encounters

Night Reindeer Sledding with Camp Dinner and Chance of Northern Lights
For visitors to Tromsø, the opportunity to encounter reindeer up close, whether feeding them at a Sami camp or taking a joyride via Reindeer-guided sled, provides unparalleled and authentic insight into the longstanding relationship between the Arctic North, its people, and these iconic Arctic animals.

In Town

Explore the Shops
Make sure to carve out an afternoon to explore a variety of stores showcasing handmade Sámi crafts, Nordic design, and outdoor gear essentials for Arctic weather. The atmosphere is often welcoming, allowing shoppers to discover a range of treasures that capture the essence of Tromsø's distinctive character. Recommended Souvenir Shop: Way Nor (Address: Storgata 56, 9008 Tromsø, Norway)

Visit the Troll Museum

Troll Museum
No, I’m not trolling you! Trolls are mythical creatures deeply rooted in Norwegian traditions, often depicted as supernatural beings inhabiting the remote and wild landscapes. Learn more about the country’s cultural folklore and mythology through Norway’s first and only museum dedicated to trolls.

Places to eat & drink in Tromsø

A blue plate of food on a wooden table

Restaurants:

Art Cafe Bistro (Richard Withs plass 2, 9008 Tromsø, Norway)
One of the most popular dining choices in Tromsø, make sure to book your reservation well in advance, especially if you are visiting during peak season!

Bardus Bistro (Cora Sandels gate 4, 9008 Tromsø, Norway)
Among the few higher-end choices in town, Bardus Bistro is a top-choice for those wishing to savor traditional Norwegian fare.

Mathallen (Grønnegata 60, 9008 Tromsø, Norway)
With a surprisingly extensive wine list, Mathallen takes pride in its use of in-season, fresh arctic ingredients.

Bars:

Aunegården Nordic Spirit Bar (Sjøgata 29, 9008 Tromsø, Norway)
No visit to Norway is complete without experiencing the native Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit, and Aunegården’s selection is nothing short of generous.

Ølhallen - Mack.no
Open since 1928, not only is this Tromsø’s longest-standing brewpub, Ølhallen boasts one of the largest tap offerings in Europe and an extensive lineup from Mack’s brewery, known as the northernmost brewery in the world. Not to be missed!

Magic Ice Bar (Kaigata 4, 9008 Tromsø, Norway)
Much more than your average cocktail bar, Magic Ice Bar is an experience in and of itself. Constructed entirely out of natural ice from Norway, explore Tromsø’s history through ice carvings and significant figures.

Fun Bar (Grønnegata 83 Inngang, Cora Sandels gate, 9008 Tromsø, Norway)
Outside of its genius SEO moniker, Fun Pub lives up to its name with shuffleboard, darts, and a dance floor that comes to life as the evening progresses.

No Stress (Storgata 55, 9008 Tromsø, Norway
Not that you should have any stress on vacation, but this cocktail bar certainly guarantees a stress-free evening. Aside from probably the best playlists I heard in Tromsø, No Stress also has a variety of games to keep the night entertaining, including Mario Kart on N64! A Millennial’s dream in the form of a cocktail bar.

Need to Know

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Norway.

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Anne Bisgaard’s guide, Stunningly Beautiful Norway.

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Travel Advisor

Traci Shapiro

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