Things to do in

Our most recommended things to do in Tromsøya

Tromsø: Whale Watching Tour by Hybrid-Electric Catamaran

1. 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: Reindeer Sledding & Feeding with a Sami Guide

2. 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: 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. 

From Tromsø: Whale Watching Safari on High-Speed Catamaran

8. From Tromsø: Whale Watching Safari on High-Speed Catamaran

Step aboard our high-speed modern catamaran and join an exhilarating journey to the heart of the whale's winter wonderland. Our swift vessel ensures that we are one of the first boats to arrive at the whale sighting area on every tour, maximising your time among these magnificent creatures. During winter the humpback and killer whales migrate to Northern Norway, to the cold waters of Tromsø to feed on the Atlantic herring throughout the winter months (mid-October until end of January). As we cruise to the whale location, you are treated to stunning views of the Lyngen Alps and a captivating, scenic voyage. Our knowledgeable guides offer insightful information about the whales and local history, ensuring a fun and educational experience. Relax in our spacious lounge, fitted with panoramic windows and watch the ocean wonders unfold. If you don't see any whales on your tour, you get to book a second tour for free at Norwegian Travel sales shop, Sjøgata 16 (subject to availability on the next tour). We are dedicated to providing eco-conscious experiences and our tours are designed to respect marine life. We adhere to the AECO guidelines for whale watching, and we are Eco-lighthouse certified. Our boat is spacious with a comfortable, warm lounge with panoramic windows, a big kiosk, lavatories, and several outside decks.

Tromsø: Northern Lights Chase with Free Photos

9. 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: 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 Tromsøya

What top attractions are a must-see in Tromsøya?

Insider tips: Explore Tromsøya like a local

Megan & Aram is a travel blog that focuses mostly on travel in the Nordics and Eastern Europe with the occasional trip beyond those regions. We love coffee, promoting small businesses, and sports.

What should I do on my first trip to Tromsøya?

For the best views over Tromsøya, head across the Tromsø Bridge to the observation deck. You can get there on a hike or via the Fjellheisen cable car. You’ll get amazing views no matter the season; if you visit Tromsø in winter, you might even glimpse the Northern Lights at night. Another must-do activity is husky sledding. Visit the Tromsø Wilderness Center for a dog-sledding experience, where you can either drive or ride as a passenger, and learn more about the history and culture of the Sami people.

What are some hidden gems to see in Tromsøya?

The Arctic University Museum of Norway is a fantastic place to learn more about Norwegian culture, history, and wildlife and see exhibits about the Sami people and the Northern Lights. Visit the Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden — the northernmost botanic garden on the planet, cared for by Tromsø University — to walk through the stunning gardens full of local and international plant species.

How much time should I spend in Tromsøya?

Plan for at least three days to get the most out of your Tromsøya stay. This allows time to explore the city of Tromsø, do some outdoor activities, and take excursions, such as dog-sledding, visiting a reindeer farm, or chasing the Northern Lights.

What food is Tromsøya known for?

Fish plays a starring role in Norwegian cuisine, and there’s no shortage of tasty seafood dishes in Tromsø. Salmon is popular in its raw form, like sashimi, and some common meats might seem unusual to many visitors, so it’s the best place to try them. Whale, seal, and reindeer appear on many menus. Norway is also famous for its brown cheese, Brunost, which has a rich and sweet flavor.

What is the best way to get around Tromsøya?

Tromsø is a relatively small city. You can reach many of the attractions by foot, and when you can’t, there is a good public bus network that is efficient and reasonably priced. Taxis in Norway are very expensive. If you want to discover the island of Tromsøya and beyond, consider renting a car for the best flexibility.

What are the best months to visit Tromsøya?

While beautiful in every season, the best times to visit Tromsø are spring and fall. The weather is pleasant, there are fewer crowds, and you still have the chance to see the Northern Lights. Summer and winter can be busier with people enjoying all the outdoor activities. Winter is great for whale watching and snowshoeing, while hiking and biking are only really doable in summer, so if these are the most important things for you, then consider those seasons.

What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Tromsøya?

Downtown Tromsø is the heart of the city, with great cafes, museums, and restaurants. Storgata is the main pedestrian street with plenty of shops to pick up a souvenir from your Norway trip. A stroll along the harbor promenade is lovely too.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Tromsøya?

Downtown Tromsø is an excellent place for visitors to stay, as most of the amenities and activities are nearby. Immerse yourself in Norwegian life as you try traditional food, shop at local stores, and learn more about the area’s history at the museums. If you want a more remote spot, rent one of the cabins dotted across the island.

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

For a fun time for kids and adults alike, head to the Tromsøbadet (Tromsø’s public swimming pool), where you can find saunas, cold plunge pools, and heated outdoor pools. There’s a wellness area for adults and a wave machine, paddling pool, and water slides that the kids will love. The Ice Domes Hotel, a fantastic hotel built from snow, is also great to visit. You can get a guided tour, visit the reindeer nearby, and get a hot drink at the cafe. The Ice Hotel is rebuilt every winter, so it always looks slightly different.

What are the best annual events in Tromsøya?

Each February, Sami Week celebrates the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia. You can enjoy a variety of exhibitions, concerts, seminars, and festivities, and learn more about the Sami culture. In July, the Bukta Tromsø Open Air Festival is a rock music festival held on the south end of Tromsøya, with bands from all over Norway and a few international bands in the lineup.

What are the best things to do around Tromsøya?

Tromsø has a ton of outdoor activities. Enjoy hiking, swimming, relaxing on the beach, and sailing under the midnight sun in summer. In winter, try skiing, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, and whale watching. Taking a fjord cruise is lovely in any season. From October to April, if you’re lucky with a clear sky, you might even be able to see the amazing Northern Lights.

What are the best beaches around Tromsøya?

Telegrafbukta, on Tromsøya’s southern tip, is the best beach on the island. With beautiful sand, a grill area, and only a 30-minute walk or a short bus from the city center, it’s a great spot to spend a sunny afternoon. In the aurora season, you can often spot the Northern Lights from here on a clear night without going too far.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tromsøya

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What people are saying about Tromsøya

The activity was perfect, we start at 8 and finish at 12 like they said, and the speed of the boat was good to take pictures outside, the staff was friendly especially thr lady who give us a brief about every small island we cross or about history every 15 min, water is free and u can buy snacks, the boat was clean, i will do it again absolutely terrific

There were 200 huskies and we cuddled with them. All huskies were cute and lovely. The tour guide was very nice that he introduced some background about the huskies. After the funny dog sledding, we enjoyed a soup with reindeer meat in a wooden house. The food was amazing and the environment was wonderful. 10/10!

The guide was amazing. The tour was soooo goood. They are honest people and was kind enough to cancel northern lights tour when they saw that there’s no possibility for it and offered midnight sun one. Very friendly guide and excellent experience. Would definitely recommend and book again.

Rune the your guide and his girlfriend were amazing, the activity was amazing and really fun, the your guides were lovely and very friendly, definitely would recommend this activity.

Activity was great, saw some really beautiful views and the guide was very friendly and warm!