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Things to do in
Tromsø

Sledding, the Northern Lights, and fjords are just a taste of what this gateway to the Arctic has to offer.

Our most recommended things to do in Tromsø

Tromsø: Reindeer Sledding & Feeding with a Sami Guide

1. Tromsø: Reindeer Sledding & Feeding with a Sami Guide

Discover the way of life of the Sami reindeer herders on this day trip from Tromsø. Travel to the camp on a comfortable bus. Meet the herders and travel on a sled pulled by reindeer. Savor authentic Sami food as you listen to traditional stories and songs while gathered around an open fire. Be picked up from the city center and relax on a short seaside drive to the reindeer area. Be greeted by your host. Hop on a sled pulled by a reindeer and let your guide lead you on a magical sled ride through the snow. Make your way to the camp and feed the majestic reindeer herd of 300 animals. Gather inside the lavuu (Sami tent) for some warmth and a delicious traditional hot meal. Circle around the campfire as your guide tells stories about Sami culture and sings joiks, which are a form of Sami songs. Return to your meeting point in Tromsø at the end of your tour.

Tromsø: Whale Watching Tour by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

2. Tromsø: Whale Watching Tour by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

Set sail on a hybrid electric catamaran cruise for the Arctic waters and observe marine animals in their natural habitat. Watch orcas, Fin whales, Sperm whales and/or Humpback whales feed in the icy fjords and admire the stunning landscapes around you. Depart from Tromsø in the morning, and head out to Skjervøy where the whales are in time to enjoy the short hours of daylight. Take in the breathtaking views of frozen landscapes in comfortable, panoramic lounges. Our boats are designed for sightseeing and with capacity for over 100 guests. Yet the large panoramic windows and the multi-level decks allows you to enjoy the views from anywhere on board. Find a selection of food and drinks for purchase on board. Sail for about 3 to 3.5 hours to reach the whales and spend about 1 to 1.5 hours around their feeding grounds. Our captain will keep an eye out for the whales. Sometimes it takes a little longer to spot an Humpback, Fin, Sperm whale and/or Orca but our guides have some nifty tricks to spot them. While we search for the whales, our passionate guides will share their personal stories from the Tromsø area and interesting sights that we can see from the fjords. Of course, a whale watching tour would not be complete without an abundance of information about the Humpbacks, Fin, Sperm whales and/or Orca's. Once the whales have been spotted, we will switch to our electric and silent engine to minimize disturbance to the whales. The vibrations and noise from the engines have been cited by researchers as a large disturbance to marine life and whales. We strive to work towards better and more responsible whale watching tourism and therefor we follow a strict whale watching philosophy. Note: Please bring warm cloths, including your wool and equivalent. We sail in the arctic waters, and its cold, especially out at sea. Our saloons are heated and comfortable, but its cold outside.

Tromsø: Northern Lights Chase Minibus Tour with Campfire

3. Tromsø: Northern Lights Chase Minibus Tour with Campfire

Journey outside of Tromsø, away from the city's light pollution, in search of the Northern Lights together with an experienced guide. Marvel at the immense majesty of the Arctic as you share stories with your companions by a crackling bonfire. Depart from the meeting point in the center of Tromsø and embark on a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Arctic wilderness. Your experienced guide will then lead you in the pursuit of the spellbinding natural phenomenon that is the Aurora Borealis. As you search the skies in multiple locations, take in the rugged beauty of your surroundings. Listen to local myths and stories about the lights, as well as a scientific explanation about why they exist. After finding the best spot to watch the lights, crunch through fresh snow surrounded by towering mountains and deep fjords. Take the time to really admire this incredible natural display of light, where colors dance in the air in beautiful, mesmerizing patterns. Keep your energy up with hot drinks and snacks. Then be taken back to memories of summer camp as you roast marshmallows on a smoky bonfire. Take lots of great photos throughout the night. Your guide will offer advice to set up your camera properly, and also take photos of your group with the Northern Lights in the background. After a memorable evening, you will be dropped off at your accommodation in Tromsø.

Tromsø: Wildlife Bird Fjord Cruise with Lunch and Drinks

4. Tromsø: Wildlife Bird Fjord Cruise with Lunch and Drinks

Experience the extraordinary scenery around the region of Tromsø aboard our boats. Cruise out onto the Arctic Sea and around the beautiful fjords and straits of the region. Along the way, enjoy delicious Arctic fish, drinks, and snacks. Benefit from pickup at a meeting point in the city center of Tromsø and be escorted to the harbor to climb aboard a classic boat called the "Capella" or "Polar Adventure". Settle down in a warm cabin, or make use of the insulated bodysuits to stay on deck and admire the views. Experience the wildlife of the Tromsø region as you keep a lookout for birds such as sea eagles, guillemots, and eider ducks. Encounter puffins (in season), cormorants, seals, and otters. Keep your camera positioned at all times for some incredible photo opportunities. See small pilot whales and dolphins playing in the water. Look to the shoreline to spot reindeer, and take in the flora and fauna of Tromsø in all its diversity.  Then, journey back to Tromsø harbor, where your fantastic polar tour ends.

From Tromsø: Northern Lights Chase by Boat

5. From Tromsø: Northern Lights Chase by Boat

The experience starts in the dock in the city center in Tromsø, from there you will take on the arctic night on board MS Polar Adventure. The boat departs at 20:00 and will set course to the destination where the chances of seeing the Northern Lights are the greatest. On board are a variety of warm and cold drinks for you to enjoy and keep you warm, it is self-service and you can eat as many cookies and drink as many coffees as you want. There are also thermal suits available for you to put on for a cold winter night. Photos are not included in this activity, but the crew on board will help you to set up the correct settings on your camera and phone, so you can capture the green lady. You are allowed to bring with you food and beverages, but alcohol is not allowed to take on board. The boat will stay with the Northern Light as long as it can take into consideration the duration of the tour. The boat will return at the same dock right next to Scandic Ishavshotel at 23:30. We cannot guarantee the viewing of the Northern Lights, but if you do not see the Northern Light on your first night, you will be offered a new tour for free on the days we have available places(A new tour is only valid once). Since we do not guarantee to view the Northern Lights, a partial or full refund will not be available if you do not see the Northern Lights. On days when the weather is bad and the chances of seeing the Northern Lights are small, we will contact you and ask you to move your booking to another day, so please be available for contact within 24 hours before departure.

From Tromsø: Aurora Borealis Tour

6. From Tromsø: Aurora Borealis Tour

Increase your chance of seeing the dazzling northern lights on this bus tour from Tromsø. Keep warm with a thermal suit and hot drinks. Ensure you get great pictures on your tour with camera help from your guide. Depart from Tromsø in a comfortable, air-conditioned bus and hunt for the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis. Relax in the comfortable bus on your way to wherever meteorologists have predicted the lights will be at their best. Get an honest assessment of the likelihood of spotting the lights from your guide for that evening. To get stunning views of the sky, head for areas with good solar activity and clear skies. Enjoy flexibility regarding stops, activities, and decisions on the length of the trip. Your guide will assist you with the camera settings and use of a tripod for the best pictures. After the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Tromsø: Self-Drive Husky Dog Sledding Adventure

7. Tromsø: Self-Drive Husky Dog Sledding Adventure

Embark on a guided sledding experience from Tromsø. Take turns directing the sled or simply enjoy the incredible Arctic scenery. After, trade stories around a warm fire with some hot chocolate and cake. Hop on the comfortable minibus and drive to the kennel on the island of Kvaløya. Once kitted out, head to the kennel and see the 130 Alaskan Huskies, who are always excited to meet guests. Get a short demonstration on how to drive a sled and feel free to ask any questions. Then, follow your guide and meet your huskies. Each pair, one passenger, and one driver will have their own sled. Enjoy several opportunities to swap between roles once the trip starts. Finally, head out to the snow and follow the guide along the trail. Take photos throughout the trip and take in the incredible landscapes. After your 90-minute sledding adventure, make your way into the Sami Lavvo for hot drinks and Hege's famous homemade chocolate cake. Trade stories from the trip around the cozy fireplace until it is time to change out of your suits and hop back on the bus. You will be returned to the pickup point. 

Tromsø: Northern Lights Chase with Free Photos

8. Tromsø: Northern Lights Chase with Free Photos

Join this expert-led, small-group excursion to see nature's finest light show. Take part in a chase where the destination changes depending on the best chance of seeing the lights. Sometimes the drive will be out to the coast, sometimes inland, and other times past three fjords up to the Finnish border. The final decision is left as late as possible to maximize your chance of seeing the majestic lights dancing in the sky. Hop in the van and meet your group and expert guide. After finding the perfect spot, settle in and wait for the brilliant colors of the Northern Lights to appear. Your guide will help you adjust your camera so you can take the best photos of them. Enjoy some hot drinks and biscuits while keeping an eye on the sky. Enjoy an exclusive chase with a maximum group size of 16 guests. Your guide will be happy to answer all your questions and will take high-resolution photos to share with the group after the tour.

Tromsø: Arctic Fjord Cruise by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

9. Tromsø: Arctic Fjord Cruise by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

Depart from Tromsø and set off to explore the bays, straights, and fjords of the Arctic which are rich in wildlife and history. Make a few stops en route including at modern fish farms, small fishing villages, and ancient island communities on the outside of Kvaløya or ‘whale island’. Watch as the crew deploys an underwater drone. See the rich marine life found in the crystal clear shallows. Purchase drinks and a warm lunch on board, to enjoy while taking in the magnificent panoramic views.

Tromsø: Reindeer Sled, Dinner, and Northern Lights Day Trip

10. Tromsø: Reindeer Sled, Dinner, and Northern Lights Day Trip

Experience the magic of the Arctic on this nighttime reindeer sledding day trip from Tromsø. Enjoy a traditional Sami dinner and meet reindeer herders while they tell you about their culture and their beliefs. Have the chance to spot the northern lights dancing above you.  Board your bus in Tromsø and embark on your arctic adventure. Stop at a Sami camp and have a chance to feed the herd of around 300 wild reindeer who will eat from your hands. Feel the thrill of riding on a sled pulled by majestic reindeer. Be invited for a cup of hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate and warm up around the fire inside a candle lit gamme (traditional Sami hut). Taste a three course meal including bidos (a traditional Sami stew which is often served at Sami weddings and other special occasions) cooked over the open fire. Join your host in a lavuu (Sami tent) and gather round the fire to listen to stories about Sami culture. Learn what it is like to be a reindeer herder. Watch as your guide performs a joik (traditional Sami song).  Step outside to see if the northern lights appear above the reindeer camp. Return to your meeting point in Tromsø at the end your tour. 

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Frequently asked questions about Tromsø

What are the best day trips and excursions from Tromsø?

The best day trips and excursions from Tromsø are:

Sommarøy

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Tromsø

Capture the Atlas is an award-winning travel and photography blog run by Dan and Ascen, a jet-setting couple who travels the world and documents their adventures. While Dan is in charge of photography, Ascen is the travel expert with a knack for finding unique spots to visit and condensing her experiences into helpful articles for fellow travelers. If you’re traveling to the Arctic Capital of Norway, checking their travel guide to Tromso is a must!

What should I do on my first trip to Tromsø?

Whether it’s your first trip or not, anyone visiting Tromso from September to April should go aurora hunting. Witnessing the beautiful colors of the Northern Lights dance across the sky is an utterly unforgettable experience and one of the best things to do in Tromso. Other than that, visiting Tromso Harbor is a must-do at any time of year. The charming, colorful waterfront buildings make for the perfect photo, and the views of the city skyline from the harbor are magical.

What are some hidden gems to see in Tromsø?

Plenty of people know about Tromso’s most popular museums, like the Polar Museum and Tromso Museum, but more unique spots like the Perspectives Museum often get overlooked. This museum aims to foster respect for different perspectives, hence its name, through various temporary exhibitions on art, culture, and more, so there’s always something exciting on offer. Another hidden gem is the Tromso Public Library and City Archives. Here, you can learn more about the history of Tromso with the archives and local history collection, admire the building’s beautiful architecture, and enjoy lovely views of the city from the large windows.

How much time should I spend in Tromsø?

Spending 3 to 4 days in Tromso should be enough time to hit all the highlights. You’ll have one day for exploring the city center and Arctic Cathedral, another day for visiting some museums and taking a fjord cruise, and another day or two to go hiking, take a day trip, or go aurora chasing. If you’re visiting Tromso in winter, however, there are so many things to do (Northern Lights tours, dog sledding, visiting the Tromso Ice Domes, reindeer sledding) that 5 days may be a better amount of time for fitting everything in.

What food is Tromsø known for?

As a coastal city, Tromso is, of course, famous for its fresh fish and seafood: crab, herring, cod, shrimp, oysters, and more. After all, these ingredients don’t have to travel very far to get to your plate! There are plenty of excellent fish and seafood restaurants in Tromso, including Mathallen, Fiskekompaniet, and Arctandria Seafood Restaurant, all of which use only the freshest local marine ingredients. If you’re more of a meat lover, reindeer is another delicacy that’s worth sampling. I highly recommend the reindeer stew at Full Steam Tromso, which includes mushrooms, potatoes, and cranberries - it’s absolutely delicious!

What is the best way to get around Tromsø?

Since Tromso is a relatively small city, walking is the best way to reach most places in the city center. For attractions that are a bit farther away, like the Tromso Museum and Northern Norwegian Science Center, Tromso’s city buses are your best bet. They run seven days a week and are quite reliable. If you want to venture even further afield on day trips or to hiking trails, I recommend booking a Tromso rental car, as it’s the simplest and most convenient way to explore the area around Tromso.

What are the best months to visit Tromsø?

The summer (June to August) and late fall to early winter (November to January) are the best times to visit Tromso. The summer’s mild weather makes it the perfect time to go hiking and camping or take a wildlife fjord cruise. Additionally, in June and July, you can experience the beautiful midnight sun, or 24 hours of daylight. On the other hand, the long, dark nights in late fall/early winter create ideal conditions for aurora viewing, plus November to January is whale watching season, so you’ll have a high chance of seeing cetaceans if you book a whale watching tour.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Tromsø?

Definitely Tromso Harbor! Most of the best hotels in Tromsos are located here, and you get absolutely incredible views of Tromso Sound, the Arctic Cathedral, and the city skyline from here. On top of that, you’re centrally located by many of the best attractions, including the Polar Museum and Storgata, and top restaurants, like Rå Sushi and Full Steam Tromso. Whether it’s your first time visiting or your tenth, you can’t go wrong with staying here!

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Tromsø?

Taking the Fjellheisen cable car is an activity that’s fun for the whole family. The four-minute cable car ride up to the mountain ledge of Storsteinen is exhilarating enough to pique kids’ interest but short enough that they won’t get too impatient on the way to the top. Once you reach Storsteinen, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of the city and surrounding islands and fjords. If you or the kids get hungry, grab a bite at Fjellstua, a restaurant at the upper station where you can take in the views while you eat.

What are the best things to do around Tromsø?

The area around Tromso boasts a lot of incredible hiking trails. Some of my favorites include the trail to Steindalsbreen, which takes you through a valley to a beautiful glacier that you can admire up close; the route to Blåvatnet, which leads you to an intensely blue alpine lake; and the hike to Rødtind, a mountain with stunning views of the area. Also, while you’re outside Tromso, I recommend staying in a charming, private cabin, like the log cabins at Viking Cabins, so you can enjoy some peaceful solitude and immerse yourself in nature.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tromsø

Want to discover all there is to do in Tromsø? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Tromsø

Overall rating

4.7
(17,781 reviews)

He was very nice, though it was a tough day he tried his best to take us to multiple view points despite of the hurdles and weather he made us through a nice possible time with a very very partial lights but he was that nice provided a small compensation back and proved that why he is such a nice guide on the list, have tried to join his trip but couldn’t because he was sold out though he offered a front passenger seat It wasn’t possible for me as I won’t make it back from my fjord cruise tour. I vouch for him any time!

We had a brilliant time! Our guide was so helpful and patient with us, despite me falling over a lot! It was so fun. Really enjoyed ourselves and learnt a lot on the trip. Thank you!

The whole tour with Juan & Maria was excellent with beautiful scenery taking us to some lovely photo spots

Really nice experience. The voice of the Soprano is super amazing, I cried for the beautiful songs.

It really was fun and something complete different! Can fully recommend :-)