"On seeing the Northern Lights (at last!)" Top 5 Page for this destination Tromsø by toonsarah

Tromsø Travel Guide: 253 reviews and 686 photos

Tromsø is reputed to be one of the best places in Europe from which to see the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. Perhaps not from the town itself, since there is some light pollution of course, but from the countryside around.

Since we had failed in the previous year to see the Lights on a brief visit to Iceland, we decided to visit Tromsø and northern Norway (the Finnmark region) for a week in the hope of better luck. And it worked! We were fortunate enough to see them three times during that week ? twice in and around Tromsø, and once during our short cruise on a Hurtigruten ship that took us even further north.

But our visit to Tromsø proved a pleasure in other ways too. This is a compact, friendly town with a picturesque setting on an island. Its harbour stays ice free even in the depths of winter, and the surrounding mountains, snow-covered when we visited, form a lovely backdrop to both harbour and town. In January the town was experiencing the Polar night, when the sun never rises, but on a clear day the blue twilight has a beauty of its own. And on our final day here the sun did rise, for the first time in months, and the mountains glowed.

Most people who come here in winter do so to look for the Aurora, and numerous local companies run tours to help you ?Chase the Lights?. But there is a surprising amount to do in town too. Several good museums, and the attractiveness of its old wooden houses, kept us happily occupied for several days here.

Please start your visit to Tromsø with my first tip, our flight to Tromsø

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  • In a nutshell:One of the best places from which to see the Aurora
  • Last visit to Tromsø: Jan 2013
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (22)

Comments (10)

  • wabat's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Sarah, another wonderful page and an inspiration for everyone to follow in your footsteps.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Nov 30, 2014 at 2:00 AM

      Thank you so much for visiting and for the lovely comments :-)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    How lucky were you to see the Northern Lights so good! Sounded like an excellent cruise and tours to do. I really like the views from the plane, fantastic!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      May 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      Thank you Dee :-) Yes, it was a very special experience!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    Thank you for a magic visit to the Nortzhern Lights city :-)) And sorry that I am a bit lazy in writing/commenting. I am still suffering a bit from "monitor & keyboard phobia" - too much "computering" in my last days at work....

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Apr 17, 2013 at 8:08 AM

      Thank you Ingrid :-) And no worries, ever, about any delay in reading - I am just happy that you find the time one day and if you enjoy what you find when you do :-)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Fantastic page about your adventures above the Artic Circle. Cities like Tromso and Kirkenes are still on my must visit list. I have never heard of Honningsvåg though, but it seems to be keen on being the "northernmost of everything". :-)

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Apr 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      Thanks Holger :-)

      Oh yes, Honningsvåg is determined to be known as the furthest north in everything!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Mar 31, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Love this page about your unique trip! Quite a long time ago I had heard of ferry/mail boats that traveled along the Norwegian coast's on a northerly route which would also carry passengers. You are the first person "I know" who has actually been on a such a route in Winter!! Now on to more detail about the cruise itself on your next page.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Apr 1, 2013 at 1:46 AM

      Thank you Sylvia :-) You'll see that those ferry/mail boats are much grander now than you might expect from such a description! A fantastic way to see the coast though. I would love to go back to Tromso and to the Hurtigruten route in summer some time.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    How fantastic you got to see the Northern Lights! What a wonderful delightful town! Excellent page!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 30, 2013 at 8:28 AM

      Thank you Dee - it was an amazing experience and a great trip :-)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Sarah, I enjoyed reading your Tromsø tips about the museums and the town and the Polar Night.
    For the locals, that must be a great moment when the sun comes up for the first time in two months.
    I like your idea of taking a Northern Lights tour with a photographer ? especially since it worked and you actually saw the lights this time.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 24, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      Thank you Don for visiting my Tromsø page. Yes, the photography tour proved to be a great idea :-)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Lucky you who got to see the northern light! It looks spectacular!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Mar 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      A few nights ago there was northern light over Uppsala, which is not common. If only I had known, but I was sound asleep.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 22, 2013 at 2:35 AM

      Oh what a shame you missed it!

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    A lovely page, so glad you got to see the Northern Lights. Tromsø looks to me a lot like North and West Iceland :)

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2013 at 8:37 AM

      Thank you for visiting my page and sharing our pleasure at seeing the Northern Lights at last :-)

  • Feb 20, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    yay for finally getting to see the northern lights! sigh... you are always going on trips that i have been dreaming about for ages. are you stalking my brain? ;-)


“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust (Joni Mitchell, "Amelia")”

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