- 1. The northern lights !
- 2. Discover the wonderful landscapes !
- 3. Go dog sledding with furry friends !
- 4. See whales and orcas
- 4a. Discover Tromso region by boat
- 5. Go snowshoeing and other winter sports
- 6. Meet and feed the reindeers
- 7. Go fishing with a local fisherman !
- 8. Ride a snowmobile
- 9. Fish in a frozen lake
- 10. Enjoy a neverending sunset
- 11. Discover the city of Tromso
If you are here, you are wondering what to do in Tromso. And that’s good ! Because I’m going to bring you a lot of answers in this article because there are a lot of activities during winter !
The very good thing is that some activities are free. Some obviously not (like dog sledding, whale watching), but nature is free, northern lights are free. And the norwegian nature is truly exceptional.
So if you still have doubts about what to do in Tromso (you can discover this city in that article) during winter, i’m quite sure you’ll definitely decide to come at the end of this article 🙂
1. The northern lights !
Obviously, if you’re here, in Tromso during winter, seeing the northern lights is one of your objectives. And, I have to say you are at the perfect place because Tromso is one of the best place in the world for that.
Perfectly located under the “aurora oval”, the chances to see the northern lights is very high every day, when the sky is clear, even if the data are not good.
And Tromso is also good because that’s really easy to find good and nice places far from light pollution. So you can take your car, drive to avoid the light and the clouds, enjoy the auroras 🙂
And if you need a tour to see the northern lights, you can check this article that explains how to chose the correct tour.
Here are 4 tours I strongly advice :
And here are 11 places to see the northern lights around Tromso !
2. Discover the wonderful landscapes !
Be careful, the Tromso area provides some of the most incredible landscapes of Norway ! You definitely have to discover them and not stay in Tromso itself.
The best way to discover the region is to rent a car, and wander everyday in a new place. For example, I would strongly advice you to go to Kvaloya and the two roads to Tromvik, via Ersfjord and Grotfjord, and the one to the Sommaroy archipelago.
Also, go to discover the Signaldalen valley and its incredible mountain, the fabulous Lyngen Alps, the Breivikeidet valley and the Nakkevatnet lake.
And if you don’t drive, some tours will help you to discover the area via an incredible journey. You also have the possibility to discover these landscapes by a boat tour, one of the best experiences to do !
3. Go dog sledding with furry friends !
This is one of the most popular activities in Tromso, and in arctic countries. Dog sledding is also one of the funniest ! Because yeah you’ll ride a sled, you’ll have a lot of great sensations, but you’ll also meet very sociable and lovely animals. The dogs are so cute and this is really funny to see them just before the ride, when they know they are about to run.
Because they are made for this, they will enjoy it more than you. And you, you will have an incredible experience. Just be careful with the safety instructions, don’t go too fast in the turns, but this is not dangerous as it’s full of snow.
4. See whales and orcas
Another incredible moment upthere.
Whales and orcas are visible 3 months per year around Tromso. Not a very long period but a very active one ! You’ll see plenty of them, hunting the fishes, maybe playing with the boat. This is an unforgettable experience !
Even if they moved from Tromso to Skjervoy (2 hours away), there are still a lot of possibilities like a really nice and respectful one, an hybrid boat.
So, don’t wait until it’s too late, they are only here from early november to end of january !
4a. Discover Tromso region by boat
When it’s not the good season to see whales and orcas, you can still go on a boat. But this is to discover the Tromso area, see the fjords and mountains from the sea. This is one of the most popular activities and honestly, this is a really good one. Refreshing, relaxing, and not that expensive.
So I would really advice you to take a look on that activity. There are several companies, you can check this article about day cruise in Tromso, I give you all the advices.
5. Go snowshoeing and other winter sports
So if you’re here during winter, with plenty of snow, it would be a pity not to enjoy the favorite activity of local people : going out. With incredible mountains and valleys, this is the perfect place to go snowshoeing or skiing!
It always surprises me when I’m up there, when people in Tromsø stop working at the end of the day, they immediately go to valleys to sky. And their favorite thing is to go up the snowy mountains and go back. Sometimes by night but it’s more dangerous! Just be really careful about the risks of avalanche, and take the information before.
Snowshoeing is the easiest way to start discovering the nature, to go to the valleys, for exampe Breivikeidet and Kattfjord !
There are several places to rent equipment, like in Tromso Outdoor. But if you want a guided tour, I would strongly recommend you to contact Wandering Owl.
6. Meet and feed the reindeers
If you’re lucky, you can see reindeers by the road or in the fields. But even if we know their favorite places, they wander a lot and sometimes you can spend a week without seeing them.
So in these farms you can discover the Sami culture and their reindeers (because in Norway, only Sami can have reindeers). You can also have the possibility to feed these goofy and friendly animals, and why not go on a sled!
Around Tromsø you only three reindeers centers, offering all the same possibilities. Of course, the classic Tromso Arctic Reindeers, the most famous one. But you can combine a reindeer visit with the famous Ice Domes at Camp Tamok ! Or why not the reindeers under the northern lighs ?
7. Go fishing with a local fisherman !
At the Tromsø Harbour, you have some possibilities to go fishing on a boat led by a fisherman. And that’s quite funny! I did it during summer and I don’t regret it. It’s of course open to beginners, and the good thing it’s that this is very easy to catch fish. Looots of them are here.
You have at least two possibilities. The real fisherman who brings tourists with him and do some tours. Not every day but you can find it in the harbour.
The other possibility, much easier and comfortable is a kind of catamaran to go fishing in these beautiful landscapes. It goes every day.
In general they offer you the fish or they can even cook it for you at the end of the trip !
8. Ride a snowmobile
If you like strong sensations, speed or if you want to try something different, then snowmobile can be for you.
During winter, this is one of the main activities, one of the funniest too ! You will ride your machine for a few hours, at high speed but without any danger! These snowmobiles are really stable and this is something easy to do, even for beginners. The really good thing is that you can reach some places unavailable by foot (or snowshoe).
Be careful, they usually ask your driving licence.
There are only 3 possibilities of snowmobile around Tromso :
- Camp Troll, in the Lyngen Alps
- Camp Tamok, with a visit of the Ice Domes
- Green Gold of Norway, with a snowshoe tour
9. Fish in a frozen lake
This is a more confidential activity, because there are less tours doing it, but this is a funny one.
When you’re in Scandinavia during winter (or any frozen place) you always see locals on the lakes, sitting on a chair, and waiting. They are fishing. This is both a useful activity, because you bring food, but also a very relaxing one.
First, you need to learn how to dig in the very thick ice. It seems to be easy but not at the first attempt !
And after, you “just” have to wait. Seems to be easy right ?
10. Enjoy a neverending sunset
Last but not least, and I would even say one of my top 3 activities, the sunset and sunrise lights are crazy. And the good thing is that they dure at least two hours ! As we are far north, you really have time to enjoy the sunset (and sunrise if you can wake up). Obviously you need to have the sun, so it won’t be possible from the 27th of november to the 15th of january. And then, it’s paradise !
I would strongly recommend Sommaroy, there are a lot of beautiful viewpoints. For example Ornfloya over the archipelago, on the bridge, the Sandvika beach… But this can be almost everywhere, you “only” need a good sky, not too cloudy 🙂
11. Discover the city of Tromso
Tromso is really a nice city, and not only for its numerous activities. Obviously, during winter you’ll have a lot of snow, but the city deserves to be discovered, even when it’s snowing. I love walking in the old town, taking a coffee and a kannelbole in a cozy place.
Wandering in the old town
The city center of Tromso is nice. Lots of old wooden houses, small streets, a really nice harbor and many places to enjoy a coffee. Walking here is not a waste of time, even if it’s small you won’t regret it 🙂
There are some guided visits of the city, to discover all the highlights of this beautiful city. Check it out here !
Polarmuseet : the polar expeditions museum
A super interesting little museum that I just visited, the Polar Expeditions Museum traces over 100 years of hunting and discovery expeditions to Svalbard and the North Pole. The adventures of Roald Amundsen, the first seal and bear hunts, are very well told. This is obviously not an apology for Arctic hunting, but as Tromso was the starting point for all these expeditions, they are very present in the history of the city.
A museum dedicated to the arctic environment, wildlife with sea lions, and the northern lights. So I admit that I was a little disappointed, it’s not a big museum, but the films are interesting and you can watch the sea lions eat. I think it will especially appeal to children with the possibility of learning more about them. Prices are high but there are good discounts for families. See the Polaria Museum website to find out more.
The arctic cathedral
It is very easily recognized with its specific architecture, the Arctic Cathedral is one of the emblems of Tromso. From the port, there is a beautiful view of it. On the other hand, I don’t know if it deserves a visit. The interior is very classic, very Nordic, modern. But relaxing! And the entrance costs 50NOK or 5€.
The Fjellheisen cable car
A place that I love and that I talk about here, the view of Tromso from the Fjellheisen cable car is superb. Obviously during the day and at sunset, but also for the observation of the aurora borealis. It’s not just limited to that. Indeed, we are on a large plateau, so we can walk quite far on the mountain. On the other hand, be careful, there is a lot of wind! See The Fjellheisen website for info and tickets.
If you have any question or need of information, don’t hesitate to send me a little message via this form
In Tromso (which you can discover much more widely here), it’s not just about the Northern Lights. Okay, that’s still the main motivation, but we’ll find plenty of other super cool activities. Special mention to the adorable dogs, but as indicated in this short one-week itinerary in Tromso, between the landscapes to visit in Kvaloya, the aurora and other activities, there is no risk of being bored. It’s also a question of budget because the activities are mostly expensive, but if you’re a little short, then all the free visits and walks will satisfy you. There is something for all tastes and all budgets in Tromso, and that’s what’s really good 🙂
And for accommodation, you can consult this article on hotels in Tromso, it helps to see things more clearly.