Norway is a beautiful country filled with breathtaking landscapes, interesting historical landmarks, beautiful art, and great restaurants. One of the most interesting cities in northern Norway is the city of Tromsø, a charming and highly populated place located within the Arctic Circle.
Though at first sight, it might seem like a small village with not too many tourist attractions and captivating activities, the truth is that this little Norwegian town rapidly became a modern city with a diverse population and a vibrant life.
So, if you are planning to visit northern Norway, you should definitely explore this charming city, but not before reading this epic guide of things to do in Tromsø.
Whether you are a nature lover, a scientist, a writer who seeks to be inspired by the mesmerizing nature, or just a regular traveler who wants to explore the world, Tromsø is going to surprise, impress, and inspire you.
Are you wondering when is the best time to visit this little Norwegian treasure? The answer is simple: no matter if you plan to travel during the winter season or if you prefer summer vacations, there is always something to see and do in Tromsø.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Norway (Travel Guide)
10 Epic Things to Do in Tromsø, Norway
1. Wander Around and Admire the City Center
Exploring a new city by foot is a great thing to do, not only because it gives you the chance to discover the most hidden gems, but it is also the best way to “feel a place”.
Wandering around Tromsø, looking at the historical wooden houses, admiring the Empire houses, and studying daily life in northern Norway is a fantastic manner to begin your vacation.
Stroll the charming pedestrian street, known as Storgata, and enter the inviting shops. Then stop for a tasty coffee and admire the diversity of people who walk the beautifully arranged streets of this northern paradise.
Discover the important sites and most picturesque spots in the city of Tromsø on a 2.5-hour historical walking tour with a local guide. See traces of medieval settlement, and 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.
2. Admire the Fine View from the City Cable Car
One of the best things to do in Tromsø is to take the cable car to the top of Mount Storsteinen and enjoy the midnight sun and the beautiful view of the city, gaze in awe at the surrounding islands, mountains, and fjords.
Fjellheisen is the name of the cable car and it will take you to the destination in just four minutes.
After letting the memorable views amaze your eyes, you can also indulge in a delicious meal at the restaurant available at the top. Keep in mind that the operation of the cable car is highly dependent on the weather. So if you arrive in Tromsø on a beautiful day, don’t put off your visit.
3. Visit World’s Most Northerly Aquarium: Polaria
People who travel with children, as well as those who want to learn more about the area in an interesting and interactive manner, should not miss visiting Polaria. The museum focuses mainly on displays for kids but it is a great attraction for adults too.
Located in the center of the city, Polaria has a great impact on visitors even before they begin the educational experience, through its fascinating architecture which resembles collapsing glaciers.
Expect to learn about the northerly islands of Svalbard, the local marine life, and many other surprising things.
4. Enjoy a Tour and Beer Tasting Session at Mack Brewery
Mack Brewery is a place all adults who visit Tromsø will enjoy. Visitors have the chance to learn about the history of the brewery which was established in 1877. In addition, during the tour, everybody can have some fun while indulging in the most delicious beers available here.
Who can say “no” to a beer tasting? Just keep in mind that this is a famous touristic attraction, to ensure you get to see it, reserve your spot in advance.
Looking for more breweries to try? Taste your way through Tromso’s best brews with a 3-hour beer tour in the Gateway to the Arctic. Explore the city on foot as you trace a route to three atmospheric pubs and bars. Sample locally produced beer, learn about Norway’s brewing traditions and taste a classic dark lager from the world’s northernmost brewery.
5. Visit the Peculiar Arctic Cathedral
If you expect to see a regular church, like in all European cities, you will definitely be surprised by the Arctic Cathedral. This white church that can be seen from almost anywhere in Tromsø. Those who want to know more about the strange triangular-looking church should join the interesting tour available here to find out about its history and how it was built.
6. Explore the Latest Space Technology at Spaceship Aurora
Spaceship Aurora is a famous institution created for education. It is also open to locals and visitors, which offers useful information. It is part of the Andøya Space Center, the base of Norway’s space research center.
If you want to know more about the Aurora Borealis, are interested in being part of scientific experiments or you just want to have a memorable stimulation of how to move around a spaceship, you can’t miss visiting Spaceship Aurora.
7. Enlarge Your Knowledge at the Polar Museum
Since there were many expeditions to the Pole launched from this beautiful northern town, there is also a museum where the information about these pioneering expeditions are available for both locals and travelers.
Expect to find out interesting things about the Arctic life, to learn about the famous expeditions, as well as to admire amazing artifacts and even stuffed polar creatures. This is a great landmark for both adults and kids.
8. Adventure into Hunting the Aurora Borealis
If you travel to northern Norway between September and March, you might get very lucky and have the chance to admire the amazing Northern Lights. Located in the middle of the northern lights belt, Tromsø is one of the most popular destinations in the world for people who want to see the Aurora Borealis.
There is even an annual 9-day Northern Lights Festival in this charming city, so if you plan to visit at the end of January, you can enjoy great music and entertainment, as well as mouth-watering food, while hunting the breathtaking Aurora Borealis.
Set out from Tromso on a hunting tour of the Northern Lights. Join a small group and a guide in a fun quest to ‘chase down’ the Aurora Borealis, traversing the nearby countryside and even into Finland to catch a glimpse. After finding the right setting, gather around a campfire, warm up with some soup, and await the spectacular nightly light show.
9. Explore the Fascinating Fjords
Travelers who love outdoor activities should not miss the opportunity to explore the fjords and the surrounding islands. You can rent a car and adventure into discovering Norway’s amazing beauty by yourself, or you can join one of the many tours available and let a guide show you the fjords, the charming villages, and all the other northern miracles. Just check out the many tour companies and choose the one that meets your needs and desires.
Go on an adventure through some of Norway’s most beautiful fjords on this 5-hour, small-group tour from Tromso. Ride aboard a cozy vehicle as your guide shows you picture-perfect spots along the fjords. Make stops for pictures, and enjoy some time warming up by a campfire with hot drinks.
10. Join a Snowmobile Safari
If you are visiting northern Norway during the winter season, December until the end of March, you should not only adventure into hunting the Aurora Borealis but also into the amazing winter sports available in Tromsø.
Why not admire the amazing scenery while enjoying a snowmobile safari through remote mountains and valleys? And if you are lucky enough and the weather allows it, you can even have some fun while ice fishing on a frozen lake.
Day Trips From Tromso, Norway
Did you know you can see many of the great fjords on a day trip from Tromso? Below we have listed out the top 3 day trips you simply can not miss when visiting Tromso, Norway.
Our Top Recommended Tours:
- Norwegian Fjords Tour, Including Professional Photos in Tromso
- Discover the Fjords of Kvaloya: a Roadtrip along Fjords and fishing villages
- Northern Lights Small-Group Tour from Tromso, Including Photography Tips
Multi-day & Extended Tours
There are so many great things to do in the Tromso area, so why not explore more by booking a multi-day tour? Viator offers 9 different multi-day tours from Tromso, Norway. Below we have listed out the top multi-day tour you simply can not miss when visiting Tromso, Norway.
Ready to plan your own adventure in Norway? Have a look at the exact itinerary we did on our 11 days Cruising the Norwegian Fjords in Depth tour with G Adventures.
|Cruise the Norwegian Fjords in Depth|
Tromsø to Bergen
Small Expedition Ship
|Norwegian Fjords & Arctic Discovery|
Bergen to Longyearbyen
Small Expedition Ship
|Scottish Islands & Norwegian Fjords|
Edinburgh to Tromsø
Small Expedition Ship
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Other Great Adventures G Adventures Offers in Norway
Northern lights & arctic circle by rail – Oslo to Tromso 9 days
Norway fjord trekking – Round trip from Bergen 7 days ** This includes Trolltunga (the “Troll’s Tongue”) a world’s top 100 travel adventure! **
Where to Eat in Tromso
Knowing the best things to do in Tromsø will help you have a great vacation but, in order to have a memorable one, you need to add food to the “perfect vacation recipe”. Tasting your way around a new place gives you the chance not only to understand it better but also to get closer to its inhabitants.
Tromsø is filled with great restaurants where mouth-watering local dishes, as well as international food, is served in a flawless manner. One of these amazing restaurants in Mathallen. With an industrial but elegant design and divine modern Norwegian food, Mathallen is a hip restaurant where every visitor should eat, at least once. What to order? Anything that contains local meats and fish!
If you want to brag about eating at one of the best restaurants in northern Norway, go to Emmas Drømmekjøkken. In case fine dining is not your thing, go to the ground floor, at Emmas Under, and enjoy a less formal dinner. Expect to be served home cooking inspired dishes that will make your taste buds go wild!
Check out this mouth-watering food tour: Reindeer Camp Dinner with Chance of Northern Lights in Tromso
How to Get to Tromso
Though many travelers believe that because it is located in the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is a difficult place to reach, this is far from being true.
Many visitors choose to travel to Tromsø by air, but if you don’t like flying you can easily get to the city by bus, or even by boat. No matter where you come from, you will most likely have a stopover in Oslo, Norway’s capital.
The flight time from Oslo is about an hour and a half and there are more than ten flights to Tromsø every day.
We flew to Trømso via Copenhagen from the United States. It was our first city to visit before boarding an expedition ship with G Adventures that sailed the coast of Norway. Our 11 Day itinerary departed from Trømso and sailed north to Nordkapp before turning around and heading all the way south to Bergen.
Where to Stay in Tromso – Tromso Accommodation
Since it is a popular destination for tourists, the city is filled with different types of accommodation. Whether you travel on a budget or money is not a problem, Tromso has your back.
Many visitors use Airbnb, not only because there are great apartments and pretty good deals available on the platform, but also because it gives them the chance to interact with local hosts and receive valuable information and tips about visiting the city.
However, if this is not something you want to do, you can stay at one of the welcoming B&B’s or one of the full-service hotels in the city. Radisson Blu is a great choice, offering guests comfortable rooms, flawless services, and quite affordable prices.
Book your stay today at the Radisson Blu Tromso
Our Tromso hotel was the Clarion Hotel The Edge, located right on the water and just steps from the downtown city center, including the pedestrian street with many shopping options.
Book your stay today at the Clarion Hotel The Edge Tromso
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More on Norway:
- Visiting Nordkapp Norway: Everything You Need to Know
- Trolltunga Hike in Norway: The Only Guide You Need
- 13 Fun Things to do in Trondheim, Norway
- Practical Norway Cruise Guide
- 10 Reasons to Take a Norway Fjords Cruise with G Adventures
- Hiking in Norway: 7 Incredible Hikes to Try
- 35 Epic Norway Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip