Top 10 Things To Do And See In Tromsø, Norway

Photo of Billy Poon
9 February 2017

Located within the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is northern Norway’s most densely populated area. Tromsø has many attractions that can’t be found elsewhere. Here we list 10 things that you must do or see when you are travelling to the ‘Capital of the Arctic’.

Tromsø Fjord

Boat tour of breathtaking glacial landscapes

A big shout out to nature lovers. Norway offers many breathtaking glacial landscapes, and Tromsø Fjord must be among the most impressive. The English word ‘fjord’ is actually a loan word from Norwegian that originated in Old Norse and is used to describe a narrow elongated sea inlet that is usually surrounded by steep cliffs. In this Arctic capital the work of glaciers on the local landscape is even more spectacular, and this scenery can not be seen elsewhere. As some of the fjords are quite remote, joining a cruise trip with a professional tour guide may be a more convenient option for you.

Tromsø polar night | © mariusz kluzniak/Flickr

Tove’s Art Glass Studio

Create your own art glass beside the Arctic Sea

Colorful hand-crafted glass is a popular souvenir for many tourists after travelling to Nordic countries. But have you ever thought that you can create your own art glass treasures? Situated on the Kvaløya Island, beside the waters of Arctic Ocean, Tove’s Art Glass Studio gives you a relaxing ambience to view the masterpieces made by the gallery’s owner. In summer the owner offers courses which are designed for those who want to express their creative imagination through art glass. Next to the studio is a café, where you can enjoy a cup of tea while feeling the breeze from the Arctic Ocean.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm; Sat-Sun 11am-5pm

Leirstrandveien 1414, 9106 Straumsbukta Kvaløya, Tromsø, +47 92282844

Tromsø Botaniske Hage

The world’s northernmost botanic garden

Opened in 1994, Tromsø Botaniske Hage (Tromsø Botanic Garden) is ready to impress you. The garden is operated by Tromsø University Museum, and is the world’s northernmost botanic garden. The plants species found in this garden mainly originates from Arctic and alpine regions. This garden is open in the summer months, and from late May to early July, you have a phenomenal view of the surreal midnight sun, when the sun is always above the horizon. Tromsø’s mountainous terrain can also be seen in this garden.

Arktisk-Alpin Botanisk Hage, Tromsø 9006, Tromsø, +47 90941714

Aurora Camp and Dog Sledding

Live in an authentic Sami tent under the Northern Lights

The journey to the Arctic can never be completed without watching the Northern Lights. Here we recommend the Aurora Camp together with exciting dog sledding. In winter, when there is no daylight, it is the perfect time for viewing the Northern Lights. This camp includes accommodation in a large traditional Sami (an indigenous Arctic people) tent, with a campfire inside to keep you warm. You can stay as long as you want to, until you finally see the Northern Lights. In the morning your Arctic adventure continues, as a team of huskies will take you through one of the coldest regions on earth.

Straumsvegen 601 9105 Kvaløysletta, Tromso, Norway, +47 77696002

Ice Fishing

Extraordinary fishing experience on ice

Have you ever thought of fishing on top of glaciers? This is an experience that is almost exclusive to Tromsø, and you can’t find it elsewhere in the world. There are tours organized by local agencies, and you can reserve your place for an amazing and ice cold adventure. The adventure to Kvaløya Island is highly recommended, as the scenery is breathtaking. Together with your fishing experience, enthusiastic tour guides will brief you on the island’s history and culture to make the whole journey even more rewarding.

Arctic Cathedral

When Nordic religious history meets modern architecture

Standing in Tromsdalen Valley is the Arctic Cathedral (Tromsøysund kirke). Characterized by bright white and triangular architecture, this cathedral has been praised as the Cathedral of the Arctic Sea, and is compared to Opera House in Sydney. The cathedral is now a landmark of Tromsø, and is even visible from aircraft. In 2005 the Cathedral underwent a renovation when an organ was installed. For people who are interested in Nordic architecture and the history of religion in Norway, this is surely a place for your itinerary.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm; Sun 1pm-7pm

Hans Nilsens veg 41, 9020 Tromsdalen, Tromsø, Norway, +4741008470


Educational and interactive exhibition hall

If you are travelling with kids and want to visit some exciting yet educational places, then Polaria is surely a spot that you don’t want to miss. Polaria is located in the city centre of Tromsø, and its architecture resembles collapsing glaciers. Inside this modern looking museum is an Arctic aquarium, a knowledge-based exhibition and a panoramic cinema. Through exhibitions and interacting with Arctic animals, such as seals and cold water fish, the museum demonstrates how human has influenced the Arctic’s wilderness and how we can better protect our living environment.

Opening hours: 10am-7pm daily

Hjalmar Johansens gate 12, 9296 Tromsø, Norway, +47 77750100

Spaceship Aurora

Explore Norway’s latest space technology

For space and nature lovers, Spaceship Aurora is a perfect place for you to explore your interest a bit further. Spaceship Aurora is the educational and visitor center of the Andøya Space Center, which is the base of Norway’s space research. You can experience how to move around a spaceship in the simulator, and learn more about the Aurora Borealis, which is closely linked to solar activity. You will be invited to take part in scientific experiments to let you understand how spaceship works. This is indeed one of the best ways to experience Norway’s advanced technology.

Opening hours: 10.30am-5.30pm daily (13 Jun-16 Aug); Mon-Fri 9am-3.30pm (17 Aug-12 Jun)

Bleiksvegen 46, 8480 Andøy, Norway, +47 76144400


Viewing Tromsø from above

If you are tired of experiencing Tromsø on the ground, why not go for a cable car ride and view this Nordic city from the mountain top? Fjellheisen is the name of the cable car, and it takes you up to Mount Storsteinen, which is 421 meters in elevation. This four-minute ride takes you to viewing point where you can have a phenomenal panoramic view of the midnight sun. You can also see the snowy mountain ranges and the whole of Tromsø from the viewing point, which will surely make your trip much more memorable.

Opening hours: 10am-1am (20 May-20 Aug); 10am-10pm (21 Aug-19 May)

Sollivegen 12, 9020 Tromsdalen, Norway, +47 77638737


The closest way to view Tromsø’s natural landscape

Summer in the Arctic is much more exciting than you may think. Many outdoor activities are available, and you are going to enjoy the Nordic sun and breathtaking landscape. Kayaking is perhaps the best way to experience this land of glaciers. The tour is arranged in small groups to ensure your safety. Experienced guides are always here to tell you about the hidden gems of the area. Don’t worry if you’re not a sporty person. The guide will make sure the distance you travel is within your ability.

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