Tromsø is not only Norway’s northernmost city, but also the worlds largest city situated north of the Arctic Circle.
The region is known for being an ideal location for spotting the enchanting natural phenomenon of the Northern Lights dancing across the dark winter skies. Conversely, over the summer months the city has weeks where the sun never sets.
70,000 people call Tromso home. The island measures 11km long and just 3km wide, separated from the mainland by an icy stretch of the Norwegian Sea.
Langnes Airport is just 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre. The roads connecting the two destinations descend into multi-lane underground tunnels. After flying in over rugged mountain ranges as far as the eye can see, it’s easy to understand why there are so many tunnels used in Norway.
Fun fact: you’ll also find the world’s northernmost brewery, library, Catholic church, golf course and even Burger King in Tromsø.
Where to Stay
The Radisson Blu was an ideal base for a stay in Tromsø. Its central location meant that most of the places I visited were within easy walking distance.
My room was neatly decorated in bold tones of the ‘Chilli’ theme and looked directly out to views of the fiord, the iconic Tromsø bridge, Arctic Cathedral and snow-covered mountains. As night fell, the city began to light up and flakes of snow gently started drifting down from the skies above, making it feel like I was in a real-life snow globe.
The hotel has been recently renovated, with each of the 269 rooms providing modern amenities and free high-speed wireless internet.
The 10th floor offers impeccable views of the bay and city – so I can see why they conveniently located the fitness centre and sauna here.
In the darkness of the winter nights, the Northern Lights can even be spotted from the hotel’s glass bridge.
Charly’s Restaurant & Bar offers a la carte dining and serves a seasonal menu featuring a selection of sumptuous meat and fish dishes. Here’s what we enjoyed:
Norwegian crab spring rolls with sweet and sour tomatoes, carrot and coconut salad.
Charly’s Famous Steak – 200g steak carved at your table, served with herb butter potatoes, broccoli and fried mushrooms.
Crème brulee for dessert.
If you are looking for something a little more casual, head to Yonas Pizzeria & Catering for fresh artisan pizza or Rorbua Pub for a warm drink after a day in the outdoors.
A complimentary Super Breakfast Buffet is also included in the room rate – take a look at some of the photos below for a taste of the delicious food on offer. This certainly was the perfect way to fuel up before a day of adventures!
Things to see and do in Tromsø
I was only spending a weekend in Tromsø so didn’t quite get the opportunity to see and do everything on offer, although I still had a great time walking around the snowy streets and checking out some of the cities most iconic sights.
Cruise the fiords
Tromsø is surrounded by pristine fiords, making it the ideal place to get out on the water and discover the region from the sea. Cruise through arctic fiords while taking in the stunning panoramic views and learning a bit about the history of the region on-board the Vulkana.
The sun was setting as we made our way out past the port and toward the southern end of the island. The Vulkana isn’t just your average boat either, the restored ex-whaling ship was fully equipped with a Finnish sauna, hot tub on the top deck and even a Zen lounge to relax in. If you’re up to it, jump off to boat into the icy ocean for a true Arctic experience!
Fjellheisen (Tromsø Cable Car)
Just a four minute cable car ride will take you high up a mountain above Tromsø to an altitude of 421m above sea level. Here you’ll be able to appreciate the spectacular panoramic view of the city and the spectacular fiords that lead out into the open sea.
Snow-capped mountains lined the horizon, including Tromsdalstinden, which towers 1,238 m above sea level.
They operate day and night, so in winter you should keep an eye out for the Northern Lights in the evening, or in summer – appreciate the wondrous midnight sun.
The Tromsø bridge connects the island of Tromsoya (where I stayed) with the mainland, Tromsdalen. It runs for more than a kilometre across the Tromsøysundet strait and makes iconic tourist attractions like the Arctic Cathedral and Fjellheisen (Tromsø Cable Car) easily accessible by foot.
The Arctic Cathedral stands proud at the end of Tromsø bridge, clearly visible from the centre of the town, set against the background of the 1238 metre Tromsdalstind peak. It is actually called “Tromsdalen Church”, and serves as the parish church for mainland Tromsø. However, on account of its striking shape and daring architecture, the church became known as Ishavskatedralen (The Arctic Cathedral) as soon as it was opened in 1965.
There are also plenty of adventure activities on offer in Tromsø – from dog sledding, reindeer sleigh rides, snowshoeing, whale watching, aurora borealis tours and even snowmobiling. It depends how long you are staying in the region as to how much time you’ll have to experience these activities though.
Tromsø is home to some of the cutest cottages I’ve spotted on my travels – the snowy front gardens and icicles hanging from the window sills really made it all the more magical. Here were some of the places I came across on my walk through the city.
Some other snaps taken around Tromsø:
Tromsø was a place that I had considered visiting when planning my trip to Norway, although I wasn’t sure I would have enough time.
Once I actually arrived in Scandinavia and got chatting to the locals, many were recommending it as a place I should try and visit. In the end, I spent a weekend here and was so thrilled that I did. It’s such a cosy city and like all of the places I had visited in Norway, the people were so warm and welcoming. This was definitely the perfect place to end my trip to Scandinavia!