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Tromsø Travel Guide: 272 reviews and 717 photos

- Paris of the North?

The Tromsøvegians are unashamedly in love with their city and surroundings. They might be excused for that. However, their own denomination of Tromsø as the Paris of the North is n o t properly substantiated, and will probably never be. For this I am quite happy, as Tromsø is a bit of a gem as it is and need not be compared to anything, and shouldn't look for models.

I have been to Tromsø several times, both for leisure and work, and I do not tire of the place. The main reason is that Tromsø harbours a spirit that is unique, it is quite international and welcoming, and, as it proudly states itself: it is the gateway to the Arctic.

For a very comprehensive web guide to Tromsø and surroundings, check out the official tourism info at :
Tromsø visitor info
And check how it really is here: The Weather, and live feed from web cams to confirm: Tromsø web cameras

Things to do in Tromsø:
Polaria Arctic exhibits, aquarium Polaria
The Polar Museum Polar
Ishavskatedralen church: Ice cathedral
The cable car to Storsteinen Fjellheisen
The Tromsø University Museum, Saami collections UNI Museum
Saami activities, cultural insights: Ramfjord
Non-commercial hiking and skiing in the Tromsø area: Troms Hiking Association

Nature-based tourism in the Tromsø area:
NaturiNord, %L
Watching Northern Lights, %L
[http://www.villmarkssenter.no] Villmarkssenteret%L*,
Tromsø Friluftssenter, Arctic Adventure

Getting your bearings: Tromsø map
Transport information: Transport

Why go to Tromsø?

There are several reasons why you should go, and here are some of them:

Exotic high north:
This is a city of winter darkness and bright summers with midnight sun. Tromsø is right at the Aurora Borealis belt, and as such, a great place to see northern lights. As you get toward the north of Norway, the more outgoing and "exotic" the local people gets, and Tromsø is a social place with a high party factor.

The city:
Not a very beautiful city, even if it has some quaint wooden house architecture along the main drag and the bourgeois villas of the past, as well as some modern architectural gems; the charm lies in the jumble and the compactness of the city on the limited Tromsø Island (Tromsøya). Given all the coming and going here, highest on the mobility scale in Norway, the city has more than its share of restaurants, pubs, clubs and theatres etc. for extrovert people. Tromsø is definitely the cultural capital of northern Norway.

Transport hub:
From Tromsø transport lines extend in all directions in the Nordkalotten area (northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia), and there is no better starting point for North Norwegian regional travel. You can fly here cheaply from Oslo, and jump on the coastal express to destinations to the north and south of Tromsø, you can take fast boats to neigbouring islands and towns, buses to Sweden and Finland and further north, fly to Murmansk, Russia, and to the northernmost commercial airport in the world, Svalbard's Longyearbyen. In any case, if going to greener pastures, do make sure you make most out of a stopover in Tromsø!

Things to do in Tromsø

If you come here in sleet, rain, grey impenetrable weather your impression will be fogged by that, and you will miss the main experience of Tromsø. Tromsø would indeed be a lesser destination if it weren't for its surroundings, a magnificient, accessible landscape. You should have a strategy to survive this potential stumbling block - the weather. The indoor scene in Tromsø is very good, it is a lively cultural city, fairly international and it has some very good restaurants. Opposed to down in the south of Norway, people will approach and talk with you here, for no particular reason but enjoying company and a conversation.

The outdoor scene is superb, and you can experience Tromsø's natural surroundings by yourself very cheaply or do something organised like northern lights excursions, dog and reindeer sledding, whale safari, open sea fishing etc. Fairly rough outdoorsy lifestyle up here in general, and the coastal population and the Saami reindeer herders are the main exponents of this. during the last decade, it Tromsø with its Kvaløya and Lyngen mountains has also become an extreme sport hub.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful landscape, casual and open people
  • Cons:Far away
  • Last visit to Tromsø: Mar 2007
  • Intro Updated Jun 5, 2015
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Reviews (36)

Comments (4)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Thank you for a very helpful page. Off to Tromsø (hoping to see the Northern Lights on a Hurtigruten trip for a few days) and you've given me lots of useful ideas for if the weather is bad especially.

  • Feb 27, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    The airport bus in Tromso is brilliant! there is a clear timetable in the arrivals hall at the airport and the bus waits just outside and takes you right into the middle of town. Easy to use.

  • Apr 4, 2008 at 2:28 AM

    Har faktisk aldri vært på Polarmuseet - det må jeg få gjort noe med! Ha en fin helg.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2007 at 10:16 AM

    Hi, Olav! Nice place to visit!


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